Primate says border poll plan should proceed with caution

Primate says border poll plan should proceed with caution Archbishop Eamon Martin
Archbishop says plan must proceed slowly with consideration


Archbishop Eamon Martin has said that politicians must work towards a poll on Irish unification, but that this is something which must proceed slowly and with all voices considered.

Speaking to The Irish Catholic about Britain’s departure from the European Union (EU) at the weekend, Archbishop Eamon warned that politicians on both sides of the border need to remain focused on ensuring that damage to the North from Brexit is minimised.

On the issue of Irish unification, Archbishop Eamon said: “You hear a lot of talk for example about a border poll – I would be along the lines of those who think that this is something we must work slowly towards.

“If there is to be a border poll it must be prepared for and it must be in a way that only takes place whenever we’re confident that the necessary building of relationships in these islands, north, south, east and west are sound and are indeed mature enough to accept the outworking of such a border poll,” he said.


He insisted that “this reconfiguration and this recalibration of relationships will demand a lot of positivity from everybody, and a lot of willingness to work through whatever tricky issues begin to emerge”.

The governments, he said, should “work very closely on North-south relations, east-west relations, and with Britain and Europe”.

He added that the Good Friday Agreement proposed an infrastructure to improve relations between “these islands”, and with Europe, saying “therefore I think perhaps it might be worthwhile reigniting interests in those particular relations”. He also warned that Brexit “has only begun” and is far from reaching a resolution with many businesses and farmers still very concerned.

“People talk about getting Brexit done, Brexit hasn’t even begun and I think that certainly border communities – and I’m speaking to the people involved in agriculture, in fisheries and in small and medium enterprise businesses – are concerned that the outworking of Brexit does not impact unfairly on border communities,” he said.