Northern Ireland

Scottish independence: Northern Ireland politicians react

Politicians and prominent figures in Northern Ireland have been giving their reaction to Scotland's vote to remain in the United Kingdom.

The "No" side won with 2,001,926 votes over 1,617,989 for "Yes".


Alasdair McDonnell, SDLP leader

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"The Scottish National Party has shown how independence campaigns should be fought.

"It was a campaign where proper time and space was taken to debate the issues fully and this along with the incredibly high turnout has meant that the democratic process has been the true winner.

"The people of Scotland have engaged in a rational, sensible debate on their future. This was a campaign of ideas, policies and debates not violence, death and intimidation. The futility of our own recent history has been drawn into stark contrast.

"The SNP have taken forward how politics in terms of how the 'Union' is defined. It is essential that the parties in the Northern Ireland Executive learn these lessons. We cannot continue to have limited politics. We must maximise our own politics and devolution. We need to maximise our achievements for the good of all of our people."


Naomi Long, Alliance Party MP

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"While Scotland has been pushing for greater devolution - or possibly independence - Northern Ireland's politicians seem incapable of exercising the current set of devolved powers in a mature way, typified by recent suggestions of a desire to allow Westminster greater decision making control. This is nothing short of embarrassing and at odds with the direction of travel across the UK.

"There will now be a new constitutional settlement for the UK, which will have potentially significant impact on Northern Ireland. Worryingly, the current immaturity displayed regularly by some of our so-called political leaders makes it almost impossible for Northern Ireland to be taken seriously in talks - never mind getting the best deal out of any changes.

"Our politicians must face up to their current devolved responsibilities, putting what the public needs ahead of their own party agenda.

"They cannot continue to toy with our political process, putting at risk important public services and resources, and then expect to secure greater standing and influence in the national debate with England, Scotland and Wales."


Mike Nesbitt, Ulster Unionist Party leader

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"This is a victory for common sense. Congratulations to all the Scottish voters, whether they voted yes or no, on their ability to get to where they are today without one bullet being fired or the creation of one innocent victim. Unfortunately that was not our experience in Northern Ireland.

"The United Kingdom is not a neat homogenous unit, but a complex mix of people who can live side by side in this great nation. To think in terms of Orange and Green all the time is binary and does not reflect the support for the Union in Northern Ireland.

"Yesterday's vote proves that the Union is durable and creates an opportunity to fashion it for the 21st century. So far devolution has happened on a piecemeal basis. We now need to have a UK wide debate on where devolution goes from here. This is a great opportunity to achieve a lasting settlement and address the asymmetrical devolution currently in place.

"The independence debate has already yielded big gains for Scotland - not least the commitment from all three main parties at Westminster to keep the Barnett formula that affords relatively generous financial settlements for Scotland and Northern Ireland. That is where I want the debate to go today, to discussing how we recalibrate the Union to the best effect for all the people of the UK."


Edward Stevenson, Orange Order grand master

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"Our family of nations, and the unmistakable bond we all share, remains unbroken and we look forward to Scotland remaining British for many generations to come.

"We congratulate our Scottish friends on making the right decision, and pay particular tribute to our colleagues in the Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland who worked tirelessly, despite being excluded by the Better Together campaign, to galvanise support and mobilise votes to maintain the Union.

"There can be no doubt that the Union we cherish has been altered by the referendum campaign; and so there is an onus on those in government to take notice of the concerns and issues raised, and work for the benefit of Scotland and the entire UK going forward.

"This referendum has highlighted to the main political parties that they can never be assured of the status quo and they must learn lessons from this debate."


Enda Kenny, Irish prime minister

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"Attention will now turn to the changes likely to take place following the referendum, particularly in terms of devolution of powers - this process will be closely followed in Ireland.

"As neighbours, friends and partners across political, economic, cultural and many other spheres, relations between Ireland and Britain have never been stronger. We look forward to working with all parties across these islands in the years ahead.

"The Good Friday Agreement of 1998 is the historic template for harmonious and mutually beneficial development of the totality of relationships among the peoples of these islands. In particular, it has led to a transformation in relationships between the two great traditions on this island.

Our commitment to that agreement, and to partnership, equality and mutual respect, today stands more firm than ever."

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