Kenny: Government must prepare for possibility of a border poll

Kenny: Government must prepare for possibility of a border poll

Enda Kenny has opened up the possibility of a border poll in the context of Brexit negotiations, writes Elaine Loughlin, Political Reporter in Glenties.

The Taoiseach has also promised to “further strengthen” Ireland’s lucrative corporate tax rate and hinted at reducing personal taxes.

The upcoming budget will be shaped by the challenges posed by Brexit the Taoiseach said adding that a second secretary general will be appointed to his department to deal with Britain’s exit from Europe.

Foreign embassies will also be bolstered with more staff employed abroad.

Speaking at the MacGill Summer School last night Mr Kenny said that a vote on whether Northern Ireland should join the Republic must be considered during Brexit negotiations.

Mr Kenny said: “If there is a clear evidence of a majority of people wishing to leave the United Kingdom and join the Republic that that should be catered for in the discussions that take place.

“The discussions and negotiations that take place over the next period should take into account the possibility, however far out it might be, that the clause in the Good Friday Agreement might be triggered."

Comparing the situation to Berlin Wall he suggested that Northern Ireland would be able to stay in the EU if it voted to unite with Ireland.

“In the same way as East Germany was dealt with when the wall came down, and was able to be absorbed into West Germany, and not to have to have to go through a torturous and long process of applying for membership of the European Union.

"People said it would be impossible that Britain would leave the European Union, and that has taken place now by virtue of the Brexit referendum.

“So in the context of discussions that will take place about the future, about the connections between the republic and Northern Ireland, between Northern Ireland and the UK and the EU and our relationship with both, these are things that should be looked at in the context of that they might happen in some time in the future.”

Mr Kenny was last night adamant that the current government would go “the full distance”.

“The thing is the Programme for Government is based on a five-year term and we have a supply and confidence arrangement with the Fianna Fail party, guaranteeing three budgets and the review of the programme at the end of 2018.”

He added that the agreement with Fianna Fáil is based on “good faith and no surprises” and said: “You can’t act as if you have a majority because you don’t have a majority therefore it’s very important to share necessary information”.

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