United Ireland Poll Now Would be ‘Dynamite,’ Ex-Irish PM Warns

An Irish reunification referendum anytime soon would be “dynamite,” a former Irish Prime Minister warned.

Calls for a vote on reunifying the two parts of the island after more than a century have grown amid the complications caused by the U.K.’s decision to exit the European Union.

“The last time to have that poll is now,” said Bertie Ahern, who played a key role in the 1998 peace agreement which ended decades of violence in Northern Ireland, in an interview with Bloomberg Radio. “Trying to throw a border poll or a united Ireland into this agenda would be dynamite.”

The British government can call a vote if it appears likely that a majority in Northern Ireland back a united Ireland. While that has seemed unlikely for decades, Brexit has deepened divisions in the region.

Opinion polls show support for a poll within the next few years, with a slim majority in favor of remaining in the U.K.

“My personal view is that it will be toward the end of the decade,” Ahern said.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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