Sinn Féin’s leader says Irish reunification is now possible thanks to Brexit

Mary Lou McDonald and Theresa May
Bryan Wall

The leader of Sinn Féin has said a hard Brexit means a united Ireland is now more likely. Mary Lou McDonald made the comments while appearing on CNN. She said Theresa May, encouraged by “hard-line Brexiteers”, chose a “high wire strategy”. This hasn’t worked out for May, though. And now, given the chances of a hard Brexit, McDonald believes Irish reunification is possible.

Brexit fears

In the interview, McDonald said Brexit “has been a very long drawn-out process”. In her view, the Tories have shown “recklessness”. May, she said:

Hope[d] that somebody somewhere might blink and that they might get some leverage but that hasn’t happened.

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And now a hard Brexit is possible because of this stubbornness:

I have always feared that that could happen, as much by accident as by design.

The future of Ireland

But a hard Brexit also increases the possibility of a united Ireland. If there is a hard Brexit, she said:

The issue of putting the question of the border on our island to the democratic will of the people will be unanswerable.

Therefore:

A referendum on Irish unity will I think be absolutely essential in the event of a crash out.

Given the effects of a hard Brexit on Ireland, she is calling for a referendum:

If for no other reason but to protect our economic and national interests.

The Northern Secretary can decide to call a border poll on Irish reunification at any time. And recently, calls for Irish unity have increased. One example is the emergence of Trade Unionists for a New and United Ireland (TUNUI). It held its launch in Dublin on 25 February. It calls for “trade unionists across Ireland to begin engaging in the debate for Irish unity”.

The future of Brexit

McDonald had earlier also said that the Tories showed a “disregard” for Ireland. This, she argued, “is at the heart of the Tory Brexit agenda”. And now, because of the chances of a hard Brexit, it is “imperative to ensure no return to a hard border”.

But a hard Brexit seems to be a real possibility. The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) voted against May’s new deal. DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds has also said the threat of a hard Brexit should be kept as a bargaining tool. He said:

Once you take that threat off you are bound to be offered terms which are less advantageous in the sure and certain knowledge that the other side have that you’re not going to walk away.

MPs are due to vote on leaving the EU without a deal. If they vote no to this, they will then vote on whether to extend Article 50. The deadline for Brexit is currently 29 March.

Featured image via Flickr – Sinn Féin / Wikimedia Commons – Annika Haas

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            1. Which part? I’m completely Irish you numpty so I win. Is that how it works?

              The NI Parliament voted to opt out of the Free State on Dec 7 1922. There you go. You learned something.

          1. Effectively sidestepping the actual question again Jimmy, that’s so unlike you!.

            I will extract it as slowly as you like Jimmy, Which parliament imposed it’s laws on that border on Irish land?.

            1. Craig, although as the power lay with the legislature, not the executive, the point is irrelevant.

            2. ps, you don’t automatically know about Irish history simply by being “part Irish”. I’m afraid it does still require some actual reading.

          2. ps we dealt with that point already Jimmy, it was a simple response to your ad-hom and not a statement of authority.

            Starting to be silly again Jimmy… I suspect many of your interactions descend into similar silliness.

            How do you feel about todays ruling Jimmy?. or the events it pertains to??.

          3. The Government of Ireland Act 1920 put the parliament you are referring to in place Jimmy, this forced the events that brought about a hard border. but you know this Jimmy, don’t be coy.
            Which country enacted it and tried to govern both subdivisions Jimmy? C’mon Jimmy name the elephant in the room.

            1. The Act did not create an international border. Britain and Ireland agreed to allow NI to opt out of the Free State and the NI Parliament exercised that right. Like I said, there are books on this stuff.

            1. Without reviewing the evidence impossible to second guess. Either way it should have happened much sooner,

    1. LOL Jimmy. You seem to be using an ad hominem here. Instead of engaging with Rex’s point you suggest he is ignorant.

      Please expand on your suggestion that no one did more to prevent Irish unity than SF. Make an argument with actual points, not just a vague statement.

      And maybe engage with Rex’s point, not just display arrogance. It’s not a good look.

      1. Well I encountered Rex on another thread where he was defending racism, so my expectations weren’t high. Not sure what points you think he’s made here.

        1. No Jimmy, You insisted in another thread that “Corbyn is Anti-Semitic and hates Jews”. When I asked you to provide proof you had none and accused me of being a racist because I did not accept your opinion (which is purely formed from right wing press propaganda).

          Let’s go again, a week or two has passed since you made your assertion surely now you have an iron clad example of Corbyn’s Anti-Semitism or “hatred for Jews”, here’s your chance to shut me up… Go!.

          1. We both know what happened. I pointed you to a resignation letter from a Labour councillor setting out instances of antisemitism. You initially pretended to have read it when you hadn’t, then you claimed there was nothing wrong with any of the incidents, then you suggested that they were all made up.

            1. No no no Jimmy. You linked a letter that was littered with phrases that started with “I feel” and “I believe” and offered no actual evidence or any credible cases of Corbyn being an “Anti-Semite” who “hates Jews”.

              Burden of proof is on you Jimmy, back up your words with anything of substance and I will admit defeat. Go.

            2. Com’on Jimmy answer REX’s questions we’re all waiting with bated breath to see you squirm out of this one .
              Sands owned and thrashed , nothing more than like your pseudo-name Sand being washed away by the tide of truth and facts.

    2. Mary Lou McDonald is the silver living coming out of this dark cloud of a hard Brexit. Her May ‘s ” high wire act which has failed” s is the language of a good sense, plainly spoken. Refreshing to hear from one who has a mind.

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