Northern Ireland

EU referendum: Theresa Villiers rules out Sinn Féin's border poll call

Villiers
Image caption Ms Villiers said the circumstances in which a border poll could be called do not exist

Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers has ruled out Sinn Féin's call for a border poll on the reunification of Ireland.

She was speaking after the UK voted by a narrow margin to leave the EU., although Northern Ireland voted to remain.

Ms Villiers said the circumstances in which a border poll would be called did not exist.

Nothing indicated that such a poll should be called, she said.

"The Good Friday Agreement is very clear that the circumstances where the secretary of state is required to have a border poll is where there is reason to believe there would be a majority support for a united Ireland," she said,

"There is nothing to indicate that in any of the opinion surveys that have taken place.

"Again and again they demonstrate that a significant majority of people in Northern Ireland are content with the political settlement established under the Belfast Agreement and Northern Ireland's place within the United Kingdom."

Mrs Villiers said she was "delighted" with the Brexit result.

"It is a fundamental question about do we become an independent, self-governing democracy again. I am really delighted that the people of the UK have voted for that outcome. This is a good day for our country," she said.

She was very positive about how the border system between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland would operate.

"With common sense between us, the UK and Ireland can maintain a border which is just as open after a Brexit vote as it has been for many years," Ms Villiers said,

"It's important that it will."

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