Republic of Ireland news

`Border poll or united Ireland now would be dynamite' - Ahern

Bertie Ahern said: `Trying to throw a border poll or a united Ireland into this agenda would be dynamite.' Picture by Rui Vieira/PA Wire

FORMER Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, one of the architects of the Good Friday Agreement - has suggested holding a border poll on its thirtieth anniversary.

There have been increasing calls for a vote on reunifying the two parts of the island as the fallout from the UK's exit from the EU continues.

The British government can call a vote if it appears likely that a majority in Northern Ireland back a united Ireland.

However, Mr Ahern told Italian newspaper, La Repubblica, that while "the last time to have that poll is now", a united Ireland is achievable within the next decade.

He said: "Trying to throw a border poll or a united Ireland into this agenda would be dynamite."

But he said "it can be done in the long term".

"The vote should be the end of next decade, maybe on the thirtieth anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement," Mr Ahern told the publication.

"The only way it can happen is if the nationalist people, the republican people and all the people in the south and the republican Ireland can convince our unionist friends that this is the best thing for the whole island."

Mr Ahern, who helped negotiate the 1998 accord, said more use should be made of the series of institutions for political cooperation it established across Ireland.

A LucidTalk poll, commissioned by The Detail last month revealed if there was a border poll, 46.8 per cent in Northern Ireland would vote to remain part of the UK and 45.4 per cent for a united Ireland, with 7.8 per cent `unsure'.

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