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15.47 24 Oct 2020


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Fianna Fáil remains committed to a united Ireland, the Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said. 

On Thursday, Mr Martin said a border poll would not be on the Government's agenda for the next five years.

However, speaking at the McGill Summer School this afternoon, the Taoiseach said he is not straying from a core Fianna Fáil policy.

He stated that to suggest otherwise is "nonsense".

He said: "Fianna Fáil is committed to a united Ireland, that has always been its position.

"But it didn’t stop Seán Lemass from meeting Terence O'Neill, or indeed Bertie Ahern from that historic breakthrough with Tony Blair.

"So I think it's a very false and frankly ill-informed position to adopt to suggest that putting forward a shared island agenda within the context of the Good Friday Agreement is somehow straying from Fianna Fáil policy.

Mr Martin also spoke about the COVID-19 pandemic, telling the summer school that the R rate of the coronavirus in Ireland has remained between 1.2 and 1.4.

He said that the low number means a lot of people have followed public health advice.

He added that Ireland has managed to keep its economy viable during the pandemic and that both are important achievements.

He said: "As a country we have managed through the first lockdown, through the reopening, to keep our economy viable and to keep the foundations right for a recovery after COVID.

"That's no mean achievement in itself."

The Taoiseach added that a herd immunity plan is not credible as it would lead to a higher number of deaths and illness.

A zero-COVID approach would also not be a workable solution, he said.

Mr Martin said: "An elimination strategy...is possible for Ireland, and those who advocate it don't follow through on the what-ifs afterwards.

"Our geographic location is not conducive to it, we do have two jurisdictions on the island, we're very close to Britain and we're very close to Europe, and that flow of people because of our connections means that to seal off the island I don't think, or to seal off the border, is a possibility."

Main image: Taoiseach Micheál Martin. Photo via Merrion Street

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