There must be a referendum on Irish unity in the event of a no-deal Brexit - Pearse Doherty TD
Speaking during Post-European Council Statements in the Dáil this afternoon, Sinn Féin deputy Dáil leader Pearse Doherty TD has called on the Taoiseach to establish an All-Ireland Forum on Irish Unity and to call on the British government to stage a Unity referendum in the in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
The Donegal TD said that "whilst none of us want a no-deal situation to transpire, if that is not possible then a referendum on Irish Unity must be called as the only sensible, logical and rational response which would provide a pathway for the entire island to retain membership of the EU".
Teachta Doherty said:
“With every passing day we lurch closer to a British exit from the European Union without a deal that safeguards Irish interests, north or south.
“That is not something anybody here wants to see because we all know the dire consequences that entails; the return of a hard border; severe economic difficulties on both parts of our island; the erosion of the Good Friday Agreement and the weakening of citizens’ rights.
“Instead of staring blindly into the abyss, I want to challenge the Taoiseach to look beyond that. I want to challenge him to stand up and be counted, and to be a Taoiseach for the whole island.
“I want him to state loudly and clearly, that if a no-deal Brexit happens, he will put the case for Irish Unity and I want him to state that he will call on the British government to do the only thing it should do in that scenario and that is to put the Constitutional future of the north to the people in a referendum.
“In a series of polls a majority in the north have indicated that in a no-deal situation they would vote for a United Ireland. Polls indicate a similar sentiment in this part of our island.
“It is time for the Taoiseach to grasp the gravity of that and to articulate that he, too, would like to see a Unity referendum being held in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
“The European Council agreed in April 2017 that the whole of our island would be afforded membership of the EU in the event of national reunification.
“So whilst none of us here want a no-deal situation to transpire, if that is not possible then a referendum on Irish Unity, as provided for in the Good Friday Agreement, must be called as the only sensible, logical and rational response which would provide a pathway for the entire island - north and south - to retain membership of the EU.
“It must be our ultimate ‘backstop’ and our mission statement in finding a way forward for our country - all 32 Counties - if a no-deal Brexit transpires. That means a referendum on Unity must be held.”