Nancy Pelosi describes Irish unity as an ‘exciting idea’

Nancy Pelosi Describes Irish Unity As An ‘Exciting Idea’
Nancy Pelosi is in Dublin for a couple of days and is attending various events. Photo: PA
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By Cate McCurry, PA

The former speaker of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, said that Irish unity is an “exciting idea” but that it is up to the Irish people.

Speaking at the residence of the US ambassador to Ireland, in Dublin’s Phoenix Park, Ms Pelosi said it is important how the British and Irish governments “arrive at” at united Ireland.


Ms Pelosi is in Dublin for a couple of days and is attending various events. On Sunday, she became the inaugural recipient of the Fulbright Ireland Public Service Award, and later on Monday she will receive the Sutherland Leadership Award at University College Dublin.

The Sutherland Leadership Award was established in 2018 to recognise outstanding international leaders.

Nancy Pelosi visit to Ireland
Former Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi at a meeting with US Ambassador to Ireland Claire Cronin at the ambassador’s residence, Phoenix Park, Dublin (Brian Lawless/PA)


Ms Pelosi, who says she does not have Irish grandparents but has three Irish grandchildren, was asked whether she would like to see a united Ireland in her lifetime.

“Well, that’s a question for Ireland,” she said.

“As a schoolgirl in America, I would have thought that that was a great idea and why not do that? So I carry that with me.

“What would be important about [that path] is how you arrive at it and I think it’s an exciting idea, but it’s up to the Irish to decide that.


“When you think of the Brits and their role in this and so much that has been overcome.

“As I said, when I was first coming here 30 years ago there were fisticuffs like ‘we’re going to go outside, not in the room, we’re going to go outside and settle this kind of thing’.

“And now there’s been so much progress.”

Ms Pelosi also said she was “very excited” to see the restoration of the Northern Ireland Executive.


In February, devolution in the North was restored following a two-year stalemate over post-Brexit trading arrangements.



During the Brexit negotiations, Ms Pelosi told Britain there could be no US-UK trade deal if it proceeded with plans unilaterally to scrap some of the rules governing trade with Northern Ireland.

On Monday, she said that while she was “sorry” it took years to restore the Executive, she is “glad” to see it return.

She said: “We’re very excited about the restoration of the Executive in Northern Ireland. It’s long overdue.

“To see an Executive, and I’m sorry it took so long, but I’m glad it’s there.

“We had to make it clear to the Brits and that’s what I said – if you think that messing with the Border is going to be a path to having a bilateral with the United States, forget about it.

“[Years ago] I went to the Border, and saw [the road markings] was just a different colour – yellow and white lines to distinguish one place to another. I would not have appreciated that had I not been to the Border.”

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