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A united Ireland is the only way out the Brexit mess, Sinn Fein says

Sinn Fein MEP Matt Carthy said the British Prime Minister must order a poll on Irish unity

SINN FEIN said today that a united Ireland was the only way out of the Brexit mess and that Prime Minister Boris Johnson must order a border poll.

Sinn Fein MEP Matt Carthy was speaking as Mr Johnson met his Irish counterpart Leo Varadkar in Dublin today for talks over the so-called “Irish backstop” agreement to deal with the British border in the north of Ireland.

He said the reality of a no-deal Brexit meant it was time to take the issue of Irish unity seriously, urging Mr Varadkar and Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin to face up to their political responsibilities by accepting the inevitability of a referendum.

“For too long our government and some political parties, particularly Fianna Fail, have dismissed calls to engage in a process of planning for reunification,” he said.

“The real prospect now of a no-deal Brexit will expose that stance as nothing short of reckless irresponsibility.

Mr Carthy said it was time for the pair to join Sinn Fein in planning how to move forward, while ensuring the maximum amount of stability and cohesion on the island.

“A united Ireland is a legitimate, eminently sensible political objective.

“It is fully in line with the Good Friday Agreement which explicitly provides for a referendum on the issue,” he said.

Sinn Fein President Mary Lou McDonald has previously called on the Irish government to appoint a minister specifically tasked with preparing for a united Ireland.

Mr Johnson insisted in his meeting with the Irish premier that he was committed to negotiating a deal with Brussels over Britain’s exit from the European Union (EU), scheduled for October 31.

But he conceded that leaving the EU without a deal would be “a failure of statecraft” by all as the pair held a joint press conference.

Mr Johnson claimed that he did not underestimate what he described as “technical problems” in resolving the issue of the Irish backstop.

He said that plans included “electronic pre-clearance” of goods and insisted that Britain was bringing forward a range of proposals he said could resolve the problems “with sufficient energy and a spirit of compromise.”

But Mr Varadkar trashed Mr Johnson’s talk of a “clean break” from the EU as a fantasy after his counterpart suggested it would be possible to reach a deal ahead of October’s EU summit.

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