The leader of the SDLP has followed the Taoiseach in suggesting a united Ireland must now be looked at in the wake of Brexit, Elaine Loughlin, Political Reporter in Glenties.
Colum Eastwood has said that the reunification of Ireland is “the biggest and best idea around” adding that it would be a “natural” way forward in the context of Britain leaving the EU.
His comments come after Enda Kenny this week opened up the possibility of a border poll in the context of Brexit negotiations.
Speaking at the MacGill Summer School earlier this week 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.”
Mr Eastwood, who was speaking in Glenties this morning said: “Much of the headline talk at MacGill this week has focused on the prospect of a further constitutional change through the calling of a border poll.
“This is a natural and welcome development.”
He told those attending the summer school that the events of the past few months have proven that “political life can no longer afford to presume the permanence of anything”.
“The SDLP, as a party, continues to believe that the reunification of Ireland is the biggest and the best idea around.
“However if the Brexit result and the demise of David Cameron has also taught us, it is that we should make sure to fight referenda that we are confident of winning”.
He added: “Scottish independence campaigners produced a 670-page document outlining the path to independent nationhood and how it would operate.
“It was credible and detailed. Irish nationalism now needs to start on its page one.”
Speaking about growth figures released last week which were described as “leprechaun economics” after they showed a 26.5% jump in projections Mr Eastwood said these figures made us realise that statistics do not always reflect reality.
“I think the CSO did us all an inadvertent favour last week in releasing their revised growth rate of 26%.
“The absurdity of those figures made us all sit up for a moment and realise that statistical facts do not necessarily correspond with reality. Sometimes ridicule manifests the most lasting realisations.
“If we are to reignite the European project we must escape from the culture of a distant centralism which has ceaselessly enveloped modern political thinking.
“A renewal of the European vision is therefore badly needed,” Mr Eastwood said.