Government rules out border poll

August 8, 2016

The British government has dismissed any moves for a border poll as the criteria to trigger such — a tangible increase in support for a united Ireland — has not been met, House of Lords deputy chief whip Lord Empey has confirmed.

However, the senior peer said that London will continue its regular meetings with the Irish Government during Brexit negotiations with the EU.

Stating that a border poll should not be linked with Brexit talks, Lord Empey said: “From the moment the referendum result was announced, Sinn Fein was calling for a border poll. Although initially cool on the idea, Taoiseach Enda Kenny moved his position to argue that the matter of a border poll should be on the table during talks on Brexit.

“I believe that the Brexit talks and a border poll are not connected in any way, and if we are to make a success of Brexit talks, linking them with a border poll is a recipe for disaster.”

Lord Empey claimed talk of a border poll “would sour any trade and free movement discussions and unionists would not accept this as part of the Brexit process”.

“I hope that now the Government has set out its position, politicians here and in Dublin will concentrate on getting the best deal with our European partners on trade, free movement and avoid, if possible, a hard border.  These are the things that matter most to people — the protection of trade and jobs,” he said.