THE leader of Ireland’s chief Opposition party said he hopes Brexit will
move Ireland closer to reunification. 

Micheal Martin said a “reunification referendum” should be called if it becomes clear a majority want to see an end to Irish partition over the UK decision to pull out of the EU.

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The Fianna Fail leader added that Northern Ireland’s 56 per cent majority vote to remain within the bloc could be a defining moment for the region.
He made his remarks delivering the annual John Hume lecture at the MacGill Summer School in Glenties, Co Donegal.
“It may very well be that the decision of Northern Ireland to oppose the English-driven anti-EU UK majority is a defining moment in Northern politics,” he said.
“The Remain vote may show people the need to rethink current arrangements. I hope it moves us towards majority support for unification, and if it does we should trigger a reunification referendum.”

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But Mr Martin added: “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.”
The 310-mile frontier that separates the island of Ireland is the only land border between the UK and the rest of the EU. Although heavily militarised with checkpoints and road closures during the Troubles, the peace process has opened up a seamless crossing between both jurisdictions.
Tens of thousands pass over the border every day on their way to work, for shopping or on day trips.
Concerns about its status after the Brexit result – and whether free movement of people, goods and services will be impacted – have
dominated political debate since the poll.

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During the referendum campaign, Theresa May indicated some form of border control would be required in Ireland if the UK voted to leave the EU.
But just last week, Northern Ireland’s new Secretary of State James Brokenshire insisted he does not want to see a hardening of the border.