Patrick Kielty claims hard Brexit will lead to border poll
CO Down comedian Patrick Kielty has claimed that a hard Brexit will guarantee a border poll.
The TV presenter (48) said the only two options to resolve the border issue post-Brexit are custom checks between Northern Ireland and the Republic, or in the Irish sea.
Dundrum-born Kielty, whose father Jack was shot dead by the UFF in 1988, said that either option would cause divisions.
He hit out at Brexiteers saying that if they had an alternative option, they would have agreed to a backstop, a mechanism in the Withdrawal Agreement that ensures Ireland's border with Northern Ireland remains open.
Writing in The Guardian, he said: "The fact that they won't bet on themselves tells you all you need to know about what they have in the locker."
"When Conservatives say they care about Northern Ireland, they actually just mean the freehold.
"Like a stable block with planning permission, they know the extra square footage adds value but they've no intention of actually developing it.
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"Just as long as they can see it from the big house, they're happy. As for those who live in the stable? If Brexit has proved anything, it's that many Tories don't give a stuff about the people of Northern Ireland - not even the unionists.
"If they did, they wouldn't dream of a hard Brexit because it only guarantees one thing - a border poll."
The father-of-two, who is married to TV star Cat Deeley, said a border poll would be decided by nationalists and 'pro-European unionists'.
He added that an "inevitable" economic downturn and "border circus" of a hard Brexit could swing floating voters and Northern Ireland out of the union.
"So, why would any member of the Conservative and Unionist party take that risk? Because no matter what they say in public, they've never honestly believed Belfast is just like Finchley," he added.
"On the one side is May's deal (complete with backstop). On the other is the ERG (European Research Group) and a hard Brexit.
"If the DUP buckles on the backstop, party members will walk away with their UK sovereignty between their legs. For those of us who have their early albums, this isn't going to happen," he added.
"Which leaves just one option. The DUP holds firm and jumps off the cliff with the ERG, knowing a hard Brexit is the only scenario that guarantees a hard border in Ireland, a border poll in Northern Ireland and the perfect economic storm where it could lose that vote.
"By trying to be the most British person in the room, the DUP could actually end up the most Irish."
He added that another referendum on EU membership is the only way to save peace and a continued shared future in Northern Ireland.
He continued: "It's wrong that Northern Ireland should take one for the team so that others can have their version of Brexit.
"It's now time to act, or Northern Ireland might decide the team is no longer worth playing for."