SNP calls for new referendum, Sinn Fein demands border poll

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon says she plans to trigger another independence referendum. The Scottish National Party leader said the new poll should be in 2018 or 2019, Irish Republican News reported on March 13.

“Right now, Scotland stands at a hugely important crossroads,” Sturgeon said, referring to the “Brexit” vote that will take all of Britain out of the European Union, despite a majority in Scotland voting to remain.

 “We didn’t choose to be in this position,” Sturgeon said. “But we are, and the stakes are high — so we must have a plan for the way forward.”

In a 2014 referendum on Scottish independence, 55% of voters backed remaining part of Britain. The establishment-backed “No” side ran a scaremongering campaign based on fear that included, among other things, the insistence that an independent Scotland would be unable to join the EU — a claim dramatically turned on its head by Britain’s “Brexit” vote.

IRN said that Sturgeon also pointed to the likelihood of a hard-right Conservative government taking back powers already devolved to Edinburgh, while pushing austerity measures to undermine living standards.

“In short, it is not just our relationship with Europe that is at stake,” she said. “What is at stake is the kind of country we will become.”

In response, Irish republican party Sinn Fein has reiterated its call for a “border poll” on a united Ireland. Most voters in Northern Ireland also backed staying in the EU, creating momentum for calls to unite the six counties of Northern Ireland with the 26 Irish counties that make up the Irish republic, which is part of the EU.

The Belfast Telegraph reported that Sinn Fein’s Northern Ireland leader Michelle O’Neill said: “Brexit would be a disaster for the economy and the people of Ireland.

"To us in Sinn Fein that increases the urgency for the need of a referendum on Irish unity and that needs to happen as soon as possible."

Welsh nationalists have also used Sturgeon’s call to reiterate calls for Welsh self-determination, The Independent said on March 14.

Welsh nationalist party Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood said Scottish independence would “lead to the end of the UK as a state” and said “in that situation Wales would need to decide its own future”. She called for a debate “to explore all of the options, including that of independent Wales”.

Wood said: “If the UK Government’s Brexit negotiation also leads to the Welsh national interest being overlooked, support will grow for greater control of our own affairs in Wales.