Former Taoiseach Says Brexit Does Not Bring Us Closer To A United Ireland

9 December 2017, 12:55

A former Irish Prime Minister has told LBC he doesn't believe this week's deal over Brexit brings a united Ireland closer.

Brexit will have no impact on the short term likelihood of a united Ireland, former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has said.

Taoiseach when the Good Friday Agreement was signed in 1998, Ahern says the agreement to have a "soft border" between Northern Ireland and the Republic keeps the terms of that alive, but he doesn't think it brings unity any nearer to being reality.

The former Fianna Fáil politician, who served as Taoiseach from 1997 to 2008, also told Matt Frei that he expected future Brexit negotiations to be "tortuous."

"You were running Ireland at the time of the Good Friday Agreement, are you now confident that agreement is safe?" Matt asked.

"Yes I am," Ahern replied. "I can give an unequivocal answer to that."

He pointed out, though, that Brexit was not making the prospect of a united Ireland anymore likely.

He said: "I think it will bring the debate about [a united Ireland] closer, whether it can be resolved in the medium term. We're not going to see a united Ireland in the short term.

"Anyone who really believes that is living in cloud-cuckoo land.

"I'd love to see it in my lifetime but we're not going to see it in the next few years."

Watch the interview at the top of this page.