Brexit makes a united Ireland more likely, says Nicola Sturgeon

ireland
Brexit Makes A United Ireland More Likely, Says Nicola Sturgeon Brexit Makes A United Ireland More Likely, Says Nicola Sturgeon
Nicola Sturgeon being interviewed by Fintan O'Toole
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By Conor Riordan, PA Scotland

Brexit has made a united Ireland more likely, the Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon has said.

In an interview with journalist Fintan O’Toole as part of The Irish Times Winter Nights online festival, Ms Sturgeon said the outcome of a Border poll was a matter for the people of Ireland, but “you can guess my general predilection around it”.

The leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP) said she “firmly believed” that an independent Scotland would happen.

When O’Toole asked her view on a united Ireland, the first minister responded: “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.”

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Ms Sturgeon also claimed nobody can reduce her predecessor Alex Salmond's impact on the Scottish independence movement, despite fractures within her own party.

Her comments come amid a Holyrood committee inquiry into the Scottish government’s handling of complaints made against the former politician and allegations of conspiracy.

She 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.

“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.

“But often in life things that you don’t anticipate and don’t relish and wouldn’t have ever wanted to happen happen and you have to deal with those and you have to live with them.

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“The one thing I think I can safely say though, notwithstanding the contribution I hope I’ve made and will continue to make, is that both the SNP and the Scottish independence movement is much, much bigger than any individual or any two individuals – no matter how important one or both of them might have been.”

The Scottish Government Handling of Harassment Complaints Committee has offered February 9th for Mr Salmond to give evidence – adding that no further dates would be available.

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It was set up after the Court of Session in Edinburgh ruled the Scottish government’s handling of complaints against the former first minister to be “unlawful” resulting in a £512,250 (€578,000) payout to Mr Salmond.

Ms Sturgeon also commented on Brexit and sexism in politics during the Irish Times interview.

She described dealing with the coronavirus pandemic as the “most stressful” period of her life.

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