Irish unity poll now ‘inevitable’ after Sinn Féin success, warns former PM
- Credit: PA
Ireland's former prime minister Bertie Ahern has warned that a border poll on a united Ireland is now 'inevitable' after Sinn Féin's election success.
Bertie Ahern, the former taoiseach and Fianna Fail leader, said: "I think a border poll is inevitable".
While he expected it to not happen immediately, he did expect it to be something that faced Ireland in the next decade.
He continued: "If you ask me when that is, I think it's probably five years off at least.
"I think the Sinn Féin position is it should be held within five years.
You may also want to watch:
"So let's say we are talking about it being five years off, I do not think you are going to get the circumstances where it would become a condition of government that it has to be held in the short term.
"But it will be inevitable over this decade."
- 1 Brexiteer Prue Leith quits Tory Party after government votes down motion to protect UK food standards
- 2 Public slams Brexit Party tweet which shames Tory MPs who voted against free school meals
- 3 Piers Morgan must expose the government's Brexit betrayal
- 4 Group in protest against Tory MPs who voted down free school meals targets offices with empty plates
- 5 Peers set to remove law-breaking sections of Boris Johnson's Brexit bill
- 6 Tory minister blames journalists for NHS Test and Trace failure as he defends Dido Harding
- 7 Michel Barnier postpones Brussels return as Brexit trade talks in London continue
- 8 Brexit shambles: A stress of our own making
- 9 Priti Patel set to hand private firms £28 million in government contracts to deport asylum seekers from UK
- 10 Boris Johnson and Priti Patel urged to end 'attacks' on lawyers in letter by 800 legal professionals
Ahern also warned against rushing towards a poll on reunification before extensive preparatory work had been completed.
"It can only be done when the preparation is done, when the case is made, when it has been well explained, when people know the outcome," he told BBC Radio 4.
"To try and push it or rush it, which some people will probably try to do, would be a grave mistake."
Sinn Fein has gained the most first preference votes in Ireland's 2020 election held on Saturday, however a united Ireland and Brexit did not feature as major voting issues.
Domestic crises in the health and housing sector are widely accepted as the two main drivers behind the shift in Irish politics.
Northern Ireland deputy first minister Sinn Fein's Michelle O'Neill said she "absolutely" feels this election has pushed Irish reunification closer.
"We have said things are going in this direction for some time, I think for a number of reasons not least the fact that the unionist majority, the very basis on which this northern state was founded, is gone and has been gone over the last number of elections.
"But I think this is a seismic election shift in the 26 counties, Sinn Féin are the largest party in the 26 counties, I think that is significant in itself."
Become a Supporter
The New European is proud of its journalism and we hope you are proud of it too. We believe our voice is important - both in representing the pro-EU perspective and also to help rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.