Saturday, September 10, 2022

James Cox

Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has said a Border Poll would be a “waste of space” without a significant amount of preparatory work.

Mr Ahern was the keynote speaker at the Kennedy Summer School Speakers Lunch in New Ross, Co Wexford on Friday.

In his speech, he paid tribute to the Britain’s Queen Elizabeth, and addressed the difficulties the Government may face in negotiations on the Northern Ireland Protocol with the new British prime minister Liz Truss.

Asked for his views on a potential Border Poll, Mr Ahern told “I wouldn’t put a length on it, it has started. There are a number of academic institutions doing it. The people in the Shared Island Initiative are doing a certain amount of that work. I’ve been supportive of that, and I’d like to see it extended. But the work has to be done.”

Mr Ahern said he had been present for the Scottish independence referendum in 2014, which saw the country vote against leaving the United Kingdom.

He said part of the problem was plenty of questions about what an independent Scotland would look like had not been addressed.

Mr Ahern feels there are currently too many unanswered questions on what a United Ireland would look like.

“Say we were discussing it today people could ask things like… how are the PSNI and An Garda Síochána going to amalgamate? How is that going to happen?

“How are the Irish Courts going to work? Will we amalgamate the QCs and the SCs? That’s before you get to the money arguments.

“The state agencies? How do you bring state agencies together?”

While he highlighted the various issues, Mr Ahern still believes the solutions are “doable”.

“I think it’s all doable, these are all issues that can be teased with and dealt through, but if it’s not done having a vote is a waste of space, that’s my continual view.

“How long it will take? That’s for others.”

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