‘Fantasy’ Michelle O’Neill told to ‘dial down’ over United Ireland claims

Last week, Sinn Fein’s Vice President said that Britain’s exit from the EU will lead to a referendum on the matter, adding that we are “closer than we’ve ever been” to a United Ireland. Ms O’Neill, who could become Northern Ireland’s First Minister after the Stormont elections in May said that now is the time to “make the preparation”. She added: “If that last couple of years of Brexit has taught us anything, it’s that the Tories will never prioritise the interests of people here, whether you be Unionist, Nationalist, or other. Ireland has been partitioned since May 1921, when the state of Northern Ireland was created by the implementation of the Government of Ireland Act 1920.

The Irish Republican Army (IRA) had a United Ireland as its goal during the conflict with British security forces from the 1960s to the 1990s, known as The Troubles.

The Good Friday agreement, which was signed in 1998 and marked the end of The Troubles, recognised the legitimacy of the desire for a United Ireland but declared it could only be achieved with the consent of a majority in Northern Ireland.

The agreement states that the Northern Ireland secretary can call a referendum at any point.

However, they are legally obliged to call one if there is a majority in Northern Ireland in favour of unification.

In 2016, following the result of the Brexit referendum, Sinn Fein called for a referendum on a United Ireland.

The UK’s decision to leave the EU has increased the perceived likelihood of a United Ireland in order to avoid the requirement for a possible hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has argued that if reunification were to occur, Northern Ireland should be able to rejoin the EU in the same way that East Germany was able to join the EU’s predecessor institutions by reuniting with the rest of Germany following the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989.
Jamie Bryson, the editor of Unionist Voice told Express.co.uk that the idea of a United Ireland is “fantasy” and that Michelle O’Neill needs to “dial down her aggressive rhetoric” to avoid more tension being created in Northern Ireland.

He said: “The notion that a United Ireland is in any way closer is fantasy in so far as no self-respecting unionist or loyalist is ever going to accept or follow a United Ireland.

“I think Michelle O’Neill needs to dial down her aggressive rhetoric.

“Things are already tense in Northern Ireland and the last thing that’s needed is further tension being added on top of that by irresponsible attempts to wind things up in pursuit of Sinn Fein’s fantasy agenda for United Ireland.”

Mr Bryson added that there would be a “civil war” before there would be a United Ireland.

He said: “Not that anybody would want to see this, but I imagine there would be civil war before there would be a United Ireland.

“There’s over a million Unionists and loyalists and no self-respecting unionist or, loyalist is ever going to go quietly into a United Ireland.

“So the notion that there would be some peaceful, quiet handover of sovereignty and we would all go happily into the night and the United Ireland is just for the birds.

“You know, it’s not going to happen.”

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