Reacting to comments by Sinn Féin deputy leader, Michelle O’Neill, Fine Gael Senator, Neale Richmond has stated that talk of a United Ireland referendum is irresponsible.
“At such a vital juncture in Brexit talks, with tensions across the UK, talk of a referendum on a United Ireland is wholly irresponsible.
“With emotions charged, the Irish Government is going to great lengths to reassure unionists in Northern Ireland and in Great Britain that the current negotiations are not an exercise in securing a United Ireland by stealth.
“It is vital that we respect the constitutional integrity of the United Kingdom as a whole and crucially that of Northern Ireland.
“A referendum on a United Ireland can only be deemed required by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and it is clear that nothing of substance has changed in terms of political representation in the North that would merit such a referendum.
“Rather than floating such notions, the leadership of Sinn Féin should really be focused on re-establishing power sharing at Stormont.
“Indeed if Sinn Féin wanted to materially impact the lives of the people of Northern Ireland for the better, their MPs should take up their seats in Westminster for crucial upcoming votes on Brexit and also marriage equality.”