Former taoiseach Bertie Ahern has mentioned an enormous quantity of “preparatory work” must be carried out to forestall any Border ballot within the North from resembling the failed Scottish referendum.
In an interview on the Anton Savage Show on Newstalk, Mr Ahern mentioned that within the run-up to Northern Ireland’s Assembly election there was “very little talk” by nationalist events a few Border ballot or about unity.
He mentioned though the election was about “economic bread-and-butter issues of the day” , the problem of a united Ireland “is continually on the agenda”.
“It is on the agenda since 1998. The provisions for having a Border poll is there,” he added.
Mr Ahern acknowledged that Sinn Féin has moved to a place on the problem which he mentioned he has been articulating for a very long time – “that you don’t have that poll until the work is done”.
He mentioned a few of the tutorial preparatory work is underneath manner, and added there isn’t a level in having an election “until you work out what does unity mean? What kind of a new Ireland is it? How would you bring it all together?”
He mentioned: “The Scottish referendum proved that . . . they hadn’t worked out the cost issue and how you were going to fund an independent Scotland. ”
He mentioned there was financial and sensible work to do: “How it would be paid for? How long would the British continue to pay? Would you still have an Executive in Northern Ireland? Would there still be a regional Executive?”
Mr Ahern mentioned there have been additionally “fundamental” points reminiscent of policing, the courts, public administrations and semi-State firms that wanted to be checked out.
He added: “The fact is that none of this has been thought through. We have been yapping about it for years but it hasn’t been done. It has to be done otherwise you are asking people to vote in an entire vacuum. What happens when you do that it that people vote no.”
Mr Ahern additionally mentioned efforts must proceed to be made to succeed in out to the unionist group within the North, regardless of any lack of engagement: “Their view is for them to even interact in that vote is a mistake. Because as soon as they get in to that debate, even taking part in that debate, they’re accepting that there may very well be a change from their beloved union with the United Kingdom. That is their place.
“In building a new Ireland you have to try and reach out and bring in as many people of unionist tradition as you possibly can. But the concept that you will be able to bring in the entire lot will never happen.”
He reiterated remarks from Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney that the partnership and co-operation the State had with the British authorities has “lapsed”.
Mr Ahern mentioned the main target as soon as the Executive is up and working must be looking for an answer to the Northern Ireland protocol, which permits items to movement freely between the North and the Republic to keep away from a tough border.
Meanwhile, Mr Ahern added that Fianna Fáil is dealing with a “big challenge” within the coming years in opposition to Sinn Féin.
He mentioned: “Fianna Fáil need to be re enacting their ability to organise themselves, attract candidates and have policies. As it stands now Sinn Féin are in a very strong organisational position right across the Republic . . . There is a big job to be done.”