More discussion needed on united Ireland – Varadkar

The Taoisech has said he would like to see a united Ireland in his lifetime

  • September 11, 2023
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said there needs to be more discussion among people in the south about how people from a British culture would feel welcome in a united Ireland.

Speaking about the reaction to comments he made last week, in which he said he believed he would see a united Ireland in his lifetime Varadkar said: “It is not the first time I have expressed my view that I would like to see a united Ireland in my lifetime.

“Every time I say it, it is not the right time. So, I would often ask the question, when is the right time? I stated very clearly that I believe the success of a united Ireland would be judged on how we treat our minorities. That is how you judge the success of states.

“In a united Ireland there would be one million people who are British. They don’t just identify as British, they are British. That is their culture, that is their heritage, and we in the south need to talk a lot more about what we would do to make sure they feel included, feel wanted, would put their effort behind a united Ireland and not seek to oppose it.

“If a united Ireland is going to be successful, and I don’t want it if it’s not going to be successful, we need to make sure that we do everything we possibly can to make sure that minority feel included, feel respected, feel wanted.”

Varadkar also said that confidence is “starting to wane” among Northern Ireland parties that it will be possible to get the Stormont institutions up and running again.

“I don’t want to put an artificial deadline on it, work is ongoing, talks are still ongoing. But I think we all appreciate they can’t be ongoing forever,” he said.

“I think if it is advancing at all, it’s advancing at a snail’s pace, and I know from talking to all five main parties here that confidence is starting to wane about whether it is going to be possible to get the assembly and the executive up and running.

“I am worried about that, I am certainly not giving up on it. We are willing to help in any way that we can. But there does come a point at which the stalemate can’t go on forever.”