The Fianna Fáil leader, Michéal Martin, has warned of the “deep social and economic impact” of erecting a hard border on the island when the UK leaves the European Union.
Speaking at the MacGill Summer School in Glenties tonight where he made the John Hume, annual lecture, Mr Martin said the result of the poll in Northern Ireland showed the majority of people, in the North want open borders and a single market.
“No one can seriously question the deep social and economic impact of erecting a hard border on this island,” he said. “We have a community of interest which spans political beliefs and we must act accordingly,” he said.
He said the vote in Northern Ireland may very well be a defining moment in politics in the north , but not at this moment. “The Remain vote may show people the need to rethink current arrangements,” he said.
“I hope it moves us towards majority support for unification, and if it does we should trigger a reunification referendum. However at this moment the only evidence we have is that the majority of people in Northern Ireland want to maintain open borders and a single market with this jurisdiction, and beyond that with the rest of Europe.”
Speaking about the political situation in the republic, Mr Martin said political reform is an absolute requirement.
“The need for political reform in Ireland is not some abstract elite idea - it is founded on a broadly held demand of the Irish people that we address the clear failures of our system,” he said.
“They want a system which tackles problems before they become crises. Which delivers substantive debate and more effective governance.
“Reform is not an option; it is an absolute requirement if we want to begin to reconnect with the people and show them that their interests are the driving force behind politics.”