Enda Kenny and Micheal Martin ‘grandstanding about a united Ireland', says Martin Mansergh

Dr Martin Mansergh has warned that talk of a border poll is 'disruptive and destabilising'

FORMER Irish government adviser Martin Mansergh has warned that talk of a border poll is "disruptive and destabilising".

Mr Manseragh, a former senior adviser to a number of taoisigh, has also claimed Enda Kenny and Micheál Martin are "grandstanding about a united Ireland".

Speaking about remarks made by the Taoiseach and the Fianna Fáil leader about a possible referendum on the status of Northern Ireland, he said it was a "complete misrepresentation to say that a border poll is now more viable than before the Brexit result".

Mr Kenny last week raised the possibility of a border poll on a united Ireland as part of the Brexit negotiations.

Mr Martin later said he hoped the Brexit vote "moves us towards majority support for unification, and if it does we should trigger a reunification referendum".

But Mr Manseragh, who helped to negotiate the Good Friday Agreement for Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, criticised the remarks made by both politicians on Monday night.

"I think there’s a certain amount of defining, stroking and refining positions in order to not make it look as if Sinn Féin is the only party that has an interest in this," he told

"I think the Taoiseach's remarks were exceptionally hypothetical, Micheál Martin’s likewise.

"I think they both recognise that the conditions don't exist (for a border poll)."

Mr Manseragh also dismissed suggestions that a border poll was now more viable.

"Although I don’t think Sinn Féin are misinterpreting it, I think they are using it to push an agenda for a united Ireland," he added.

"They have long wanted a border poll, fully realising it would be lost, but to set up momentum for the future - but I’m not sure it works like that to be honest.

"I also think it’s very disruptive and destabilising to get people going back into the trenches in a fundamentalist sort of way, unionism versus a united Ireland."

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