herald

Sunday 17 November 2019

Leo for united Ireland but 'nobody should be forced'

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said he would like to see a united Ireland in his lifetime.

Mr Varadkar was taking part in a phone-in on Today FM in which listeners "could ask him anything".

Asked if he would like to see a united Ireland, he said: "I would, but only in accordance with the Good Friday Agreement so that's only with the consent of the majority of people in Northern Ireland.

Warm

"That's really important stuff and nobody should be forced into anything they don't want.

"And also, I think, if we ever get to that point, we need to make sure that unionists in Northern Ireland and British people in Northern Ireland feel that a united Ireland is a warm place for them.

"We don't want to have a repeat of what happened 100 years ago when a minority were left behind."

Earlier this week, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson was warned that loyalists in the North will "not tolerate an economic united Ireland".

Sinn Fein vice president Michelle O'Neill said on Tuesday that Brexit meant the Irish and British governments needed to prepare for a Border poll.

Asked how he felt about the current Brexit impasse, Mr Varadkar said the UK leaving the EU was only stage one of the process, and compared the proceedings to a divorce.

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