Michelle O’Neill. RollingNews.ie photo.
By Anthony Neeson
The economic consequences of a no-deal Brexit would be so catastrophic that it would lead to a referendum on a united Ireland.
Sinn Féin deputy Leader Michelle O’Neill was speaking as British Prime Minister Theresa May has struggled to win support among MPs for her withdrawal deal with the EU.
Economists have warned against a no-deal Brexit, which would occur if Britain left the EU without a trade deal with Brussels.
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Northern Ireland would be “among the worst hit” parts of the UK in the circumstances of a no-deal Brexit.
Support for a united Ireland among voters in the North has risen since Britain voted to leave the EU. The most recent opinion poll found that half the population of Northern Ireland would back a united Ireland in the event of a hard Brexit.
“Clearly, Brexit has injected a new dynamic into the debate and more and more people are looking at a future where our economy and our interests are not jeopardized by chaos and civil war in Westminster,” said O’Neill.
“A no deal situation would be catastrophic for our economy and society. It would see us crashing out of the EU with no terms of departure, over an economic cliff-edge with supply shortages and many businesses unable to trade, job losses, possible recession, no access to the EU single market and a physical hard border being put in place in Ireland.
“In such a context, a referendum on Irish reunification, as provided for in the Good Friday Agreement, is the sensible, logical and entirely rational response which, if passed, would see the North readmitted to the European Union.
“Not only would it alleviate the impact of Brexit, reunification would also unlock huge economic benefits.
A leading international report recently concluded that reunification would provide an economic windfall of €23.5 billion by 2025, whereas a no-deal Brexit would lead to a slump of over €10 billion.