US Congressman Brendan Boyle tells 'Dublin, London, Brussels and Washington' to get ready for a border poll
A LEADING Irish-American congressman has urged "Dublin, London, Brussels and Washington" to prepare for a border poll.
Brendan Boyle, a Democratic member of the US House of Representatives, said it was "obvious there will be a referendum on Irish reunification" and that the British, Irish and American governments, as well as the EU, should lay the groundwork ahead of any vote.
The congressman's comments, made in an op-ed carried in the Dublin press yesterday, came as former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern said the right time for a border poll would be on the 30th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement in 2028.
Mr Boyle, who was part of a Congressional delegation headed by Nancy Pelosi that visited the Irish border in April 2019, cited the recent Sunday Times commissioned research which showed majorities in both Northern Ireland and Scotland favouring a vote on their constitutional future with within five years.
He quotes University of Pennsylvania professor Brendan O’Leary who recently said of the potential for a nationalist majority in the north: “This prospect is arriving faster than most expected.”
The Pennsylvanian congressman said it is "abundantly clear" there will be a referendum on independence in Scotland and "it is equally obvious there will be a referendum on Irish reunification".
He said the "responsible course of action" was to prepare for a border poll, and he urged the governments in London and Dublin, along with the EU and the Washington administration, to join civic society and academia in planning for the referendum and beyond.
Mr Boyle said the process "must be inclusive of all" and include "protections for human rights".
He said the work need to begin now to "maximise the chances of success, and minimise the chances of failure".
The congressman said most in the north would vote in "strict accordance with their national or ethnic identity" but pointed to a "growing segment of the population that is pragmatic and will cast their vote based on facts and evidence".
He argued that "unity is the better choice" because after a Scottish independence referendum "there may no longer be a United Kingdom" and that the economic case is "profound".