Brexit: O’Neill discusses Northern Ireland’s place in the UK
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Journalist and author Tony Parsons, who voted for the UK to leave the European Union in 2016, spoke to Mark Dolan on GB News about the inevitability of Britain losing Northern Ireland, noting that it is “not inevitable” but the disputes with the Northern Ireland Protocol could be driving the Emerald Isle towards unification. Mr Parsons stated: “I think it’s not inevitable. Ireland was united throughout most of its history, it’s a relatively recent development, partition, but I think the fact that there’s a customs union down the middle of the Irish Sea now, certainly takes Northern Ireland further away from Great Britain, makes the United Kingdom less united.”
He added: “I think Brexit has certainly weakened the UK it’s indisputable, they’re being treated differently from the rest of us.”
According to the latest poll for the Belfast Telegraph conducted by LucidTalk, support for the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) is at 20 percent while support for Sinn Fein stands at a six-point lead at 26 percent.
If this poll is reflected in the results of the election on May 5, the nationalists will be able to nominate Vice President Michelle O’Neill as Ulster’s First Minister.
Ms O’Neill stated that Brexit has led to many questioning Northern Ireland’s place in the UK, as she said: “I think a lot of people are now considering the constitutional position because Brexit has pulled us out of the EU, stolen our EU citizenship from us.”
Speaking on the Trevor Phillips on Sunday show, she said: “I certainly think we are closer than we have ever been previously [to Irish unification], and now is the time to plan.”
DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson aimed to quash the results of the poll by stating: “I think the polls are not reflective of what I find on the doors… I’m not bothered by polls, and I think the political pundits who stake their reputation on the results of polls might get a surprise on May 5.”
He added: “Most unionists recognise the DUP is the only unionist party that can win, they don’t want to see Sinn Fein winning and taking forward their decisive border poll agenda.”
In order to “get Brexit done”, Boris Johnson backtracked on his promise to the DUP that he would not erect a customs border down the Irish Sea.
This border, which leaves Northern Ireland inside the EU’s single market, has not only put into question Northern Ireland’s position in the UK but has also caused problems for intra-UK trade.
The border has been labelled “a steppingstone to all-Ireland unity” by the leader of the hard-line Traditional Unionist Voice Jim McAllister.
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Mr Parsons concluded by saying: “I don’t think [reunification is] inevitable, but I do think that Northern Ireland has been cut adrift by Westminster and cut adrift by this country.
“The Northern Ireland Protocol hasn’t been addressed enough, wasn’t thought through enough and we haven’t really stood by the people of Northern Ireland the way we should’ve done.”
Mr Parsons added: “It’s one of the great sadness’s I think about Brexit that it’s definitely weakened the United Kingdom.”
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