Historic speech to Seanad greeted with support for Scottish independence
IRISH SENATORS SPOKE out in favour of Scottish independence at a historic reception with Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in Dublin.
Sturgeon became the first serving head of a government to speak to the Seanad, the upper chamber of Ireland’s parliament.
Speaking of the ancient ties between Ireland and Scotland, Sturgeon said those deep ties will be important during the tumultuous Brexit process – where the Scottish and Irish governments are seeking to avert a ‘hard Brexit’.
Yet the response from Irish senators across the chamber went beyond Brexit to embrace the ongoing movement for Scottish independence, while the British ambassador to Ireland watched on from the gallery.
Catharine Ardagh of Fianna Fail said “Scotland’s day will come” on fulfilling its constitutional destiny. “I admire your continuing passion for independence,” she told Sturgeon.
Independent senator Michael McDowell dedicated much of his response to independence, arguing that Scotland would benefit from self-government and the ability to determine its own future.
Irish Labour senator Aodhán Ó Ríordáin said it was now “inevitable” that “Scotland will take its place in the nations of the world”, and commended the civic nationalism and democratic nature of Scotland’s independence movement.
“I do wish you all the best in fighting for independence for your country.” Senator Frances Black
Senator Mark Daly, also Fianna Fail, asked Sturgeon how his party and Ireland can assist Scotland in its moves towards independence.
Independent senator Frances Black told Sturgeon: “I do wish you all the best in fighting for independence for your country.”
The outpouring of support for independence marks a dramatic sea change amongst the Irish establishment towards Scotland.
In 2014 party leaderships were cautious over the potential change in British-Irish relations, were anxious to avoid interference, and saw an independent Scotland as a potential competitor.
Following the Brexit vote – and a shared political alliance on maintaining open borders and trade – Irish politicians have become more outspoken on alliances with Scotland.
Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin has called for Ireland to support fast-tracking EU membership for Scotland, while Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny intervened on Scotland’s behalf at the first meeting of EU28 leaders after the Brexit vote.
Irish Government ministers have said they will be supportive of Scottish interests in the Brexit talks, while Sturgeon has publicly supported efforts for Northern Ireland to be given a special status in any deal.
Picture courtesy of Scottish Government
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