UK Parliament MP: If a Referendum Is Held Northern Ireland Will Again Vote for Remaining Within the UK (EXCLUSIVE)
"Armedia" IAA presents an exclusive interview with Northern Irish politician and Member of the UK Parliament for Lagan Valley representing the Democratic Unionist Party, Jeffrey Donaldson on the recent EU summit and the discussions over the future of Northern Ireland after Brexit.
- Mr. Dolandson, is there any consensus between the EU and the UK to fix the possibility of the reunification of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and through that the perspective of the united Ireland becoming an EU member state.
- Under the agreement reached as a part of the peace process in Northern Ireland, it has been agreed by the British government, the Irish government and the Northern Ireland political parties that the question of whether Northern Ireland should remain a part of the United Kingdom or be a part of the united Ireland is a question exclusively for the people of the Northern Ireland to decide. It can only be decided by a referendum, so it is not a matter that British or Irish governments can decide over the heads of the people of Northern Ireland. The people of the Northern Ireland have a final say on whether there should be a re-unification of Irelands. The question is whether the other part of the United Kingdom, known as Northern Ireland, wants to leave and became a part of the united Ireland. At the moment I don’t think the majority of the people in the Northern Ireland will vote for the united Ireland.
- Do you consider holding a referendum in Northern Ireland possible? If this is the case, do you see any risks of resumption of the conflict?
- I don’t think that the referendum is likely to take place in a short term, but if a referendum was held, I believe that the result would be the vote of the Northern Ireland to remain within the United Kingdom. Hopefully that would not result in the resumption of a conflict and I see no reason why it should. And on the question of the EU membership, the EU has made it clear that with the case of Germany, when Eastern Germany was reunified with Western Germany, the former automatically became the part of the European Union. And so it is in Ireland: if Northern Ireland was to leave the United Kingdom and become part of the United Ireland, then the EU has made it clear that in all probability Northern Ireland would then become the part of the EU automatically.
- Can the EU use the issue of the reunification of Ireland as a tool for threatening Great Britain to quit the idea of Brexit?
- No, I don’t think they can for two reasons: first of all, I think that because the people of the United Kingdom voted for Brexit and the part of the United Kingdom has now triggered the Article 50 to begin the process of negotiating the exit for the EU, I don’t think that the UK government is going to go back on that. But I think that the conservative party in the UK will probably be given a very strong mandate in the general elections to negotiate the exit from the EU. Secondly, since it is only the people of Northern Ireland that can decide by a referendum whether they want to be a part of the united Ireland, I don’t think that the EU will give a tool with which they will threaten the British government, because in the end the EU does not control the people of the Northern Ireland and it is the people of the Northern Ireland, who will decide whether they want a referendum. Therefore, I don’t think that the EU will be able to use this as a lever to try to persuade the British government to back away from Brexit.
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