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Dublin: 7 °C Tuesday 18 February, 2020

Ask all you want but the government doesn't have a view on Scottish independence*

* Publicly at least.

Michael Noonan and Enda Kenny won't say publicly if they favour an independent Scotland (File photo)
Michael Noonan and Enda Kenny won't say publicly if they favour an independent Scotland (File photo)
Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

THE TAOISEACH AND two senior ministers have declined to express a view on whether or not they would favour an independent Scotland ahead of the much-anticipated referendum in a week’s time.

The Irish government has remained tight-lipped and insisted that independence from the UK – or not – is a matter for the Scottish people alone although Enda Kenny admitted that today that his government is “not indifferent” to the result next week.

Voters in Scotland will be asked to answer Yes or No to the question ‘Should Scotland be an independent country?’ next Thursday with opinion polls showing separatists narrowing the gap to those favouring the union in recent days.

“Clearly the decision in the referendum in Scotland is a matter for the Scottish people,” Kenny said today at the Fine Gael think-in in Cork, repeating a well-worn line from the Irish government.

However, he added: “That does not mean that we are indifferent to the result either way. Clearly, whatever the decision of the Scottish people is there are implications.

“Obviously we’ll consider those but it’s a matter for the people in Scotland to decide on their turnout and how they wish to vote. My understanding from the polls over the last period is that the result will be very close. But it’s a matter for the Scottish people. But we are not indifferent to the outcome either way of what their decision will be.”

Standing beside the Taoiseach, Finance Minister Michael Noonan was asked for his views to which he replied briefly: “I am in full agreement with the Taoiseach’s response. I’ve nothing to add to it.”

And earlier, upon his arrival at Fota Island, the Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan was similarly tight-lipped.

“This is utterly and exclusively a matter for the people of Scotland. The campaign is reaching a critical stage,” he said.

“We know what referendums are like, particularly in the last few days. I think it would be entirely inappropriate for the Irish government, indeed any foreign jurisdiction or any foreign minister, to comment [in a way] that might be seen to be prejudicial either way.”

Explainer: Are we going to see an independent Scotland?

Read: Where do the political parties stand on the Scottish independence?

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Hugh O'Connell

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