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Nicola Sturgeon on a united Ireland: 'You can guess my general predilection around it'

Sturgeon said reunification was made ‘more likely’ because of Brexit.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
Image: PA Images

SCOTTISH FIRST MINISTER Nicola Sturgeon has said that a united Ireland has been been made “more likely” by Brexit and hinted at her own view of reunification.;

The leader of Scottish National Party made the comments as part of a series of ticketed online interviews being held this week by the Irish Times

Sturgeon was speaking to journalist Fintan O’Toole and said that she has previously speculated about whether a United Ireland would happen before an independent Scotland. 

A poll released over the weekend showed that over half of people in Norther Ireland supported the holding of a referendum on Irish unity in the next five years.

In the same poll, 47% of people surveyed want to remain in the UK, while 42% of people are in favour of a united Ireland and 11% are undecided.

Half of people in Scotland also want an independence referendum, but a majority would support it if a vote was held. 

When asked about the her view of a united Ireland, Sturgeon said:

“It is entirely a matter for the people in Ireland… I suspect Brexit probably makes that more likely than it was before.”

I do have friends in Ireland. We sometimes joke about which will come first – an independent Scotland or a united Ireland. Who knows? Maybe neither will happen, but I firmly believe in an independent Scotland will happen. Maybe before too long we will see both.

Sturgeon did not give her view on whether she’d support Irish unity but said “you can guess my general predilection around it”.

Pandemic

Following the poll at the weekend it was announced that UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson would be visiting Scotland, with many speculating that it was part of efforts to firm up support for the union. 

The visit took place yesterday but Sturgeon had questioned whether it was necessary during the pandemic, saying that politicians have a “duty to lead by example” as the public live under strict restrictions. 

During the interview, Sturgeon also described dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic as being the “most stressful” period of her life.

Sturgeon also addressed the inquiry that’s underway by the Scottish parliament into the Scottish Government’s handling of complaints made against her SNP predecessor Alex Salmond. 

Earlier this year Salmond was acquitted in court acquitted of 13 sexual offences.

The Court of Session in Edinburgh subsequently ruled the Scottish Government’s handling of complaints against the former first minister to be “unlawful” resulting in a £512,250 payout to Salmond.

Speaking about Salmond’s impact on politics, Sturgeon said: 

“It’s incredibly difficult for personal, political reasons and I’m not going to go into all that’s subject to inquiry.”

Nobody can take away the contribution – massive contribution – that Alex Salmond made to the growth and the current strength of the SNP and the independence movement.

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“Whatever has happened over the past couple of years and whatever happens in the future, the changed relationship between him and I, nobody can take away the massive influence he was on my life.”

- With reporting by Press Association 

About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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