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Fintan O'Toole Calls For A Referendum In Northern Ireland To Settle Brexit
12 October 2019, 10:25 | Updated: 12 October 2019, 10:27
The columnist thinks a referendum might be a solution to granting Northern Ireland consent in negotiations.
Andrew Castle said: "So Northern Ireland will have to follow EU rules for goods but will have no say... that's fundamentally undemocratic, isn't it?"
O'Toole responded: "Yes, and that, of course, is the entire problem of Brexit which is that whatever way the future relationship works out, whether you think Brexit is a good idea or a bad idea, after Brexit you're going to have to have some economic relationship with the EU and the EU is going to say you actually trade with us in accordance with our standards which are set."
He went on: "This is going to be part of the negotiations... what right do the people of Northern Ireland have to consent? That's going to be a key issue in negotiations."
O'Toole said: "You don't have a sitting assembly, devolution has collapsed and one solution to this - I know people will tear their hair out - is a referendum in Northern Ireland. "
Andrew exclaimed: "God, Fintan!"
O'Toole replied: "Well, let's just think about this. The Belfast Agreement was passed by referendum, for example. We do know that there's, the polls show, that this is much less divisive in Northern Ireland than it is in the UK. Most people in Northern Ireland will support these arrangements. The polls pretty much show that.
There's different ways of getting consent, you need some involvement, some mechanism whereby people in Northern Ireland can be involved in being consulted about EU rules."