Former Taoiseach: Northern Irish people don't want a United Ireland 'in near term'

12 June 2021, 14:32 | Updated: 12 June 2021, 14:40

Former Taoiseach on future EU-UK relations and possibility of United Ireland

By Seán Hickey

The Northern Irish public are very much supportive of remaining within the UK, according to this former Irish PM.

John Bruton is former leader of Fine Gael, former EU Ambassador to the US and former Taoiseach of Ireland. Matt Frei quizzed him on whether "a united Ireland is more on the cards than ever before" as a result of Brexit mishaps.

"It is more talked about than it has been for quite some time," claimed Mr Bruton, adding that he doesn't believe Northern Irish people support reunification.

The former Taoiseach claimed that people support the "present status of remaining in the United Kingdom" despite the fallout of Brexit.

"I don't think Northern Ireland opinion has changed sufficiently for that to happen in the medium term or near term," he told Matt.

The former Fine Gael leader spoke to Matt Frei as the G7 summit takes place in Cornwall and tensions continue between the EU superpowers and the UK over the Brexit deal.

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Mr Bruton noted the "the UK can't claim that it doesn't understand what the EU customs code means because the EU customs code was drawn up by the ERU with British participation."

"It knew what it was agreeing [to], this is not purism, it's simple, common sensical interpretation of words."

Matt moved the conversation onto UK-US relations and asked the former EU ambassador to the states whether he felt Joe Biden would "get along with Boris Johnson."

"He's very emotionally committed to Ireland," Mr Bruton said of President Biden. "That's an important factor."

He added that Biden will want to ensure the EU and the UK aren't fighting because it "undermines the United States' interests."

"He wants this matter settled on the basis of respect for treaties and agreements."