Sun Apr 16, 2017 9:47AM
Sinn Fein party president Gerry Adams (C) stands with Sinn Fein's northern leader Michelle O'Neill (2L) as they speak to the media in Belfast on March 4, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
Sinn Fein party president Gerry Adams (C) stands with Sinn Fein's northern leader Michelle O'Neill (2L) as they speak to the media in Belfast on March 4, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

Northern Ireland threatens to break away from the United Kingdom over Brexit and rejoining the Republic of Ireland. What does it mean for the future of the United Kingdom?

Northern Ireland should hold a referendum on leaving the United Kingdom and joining the Republic of Ireland as “as soon as possible”, Sinn Fein’s new leader has said. Michelle O’Neill said Brexit would be a “disaster” for the province and that a referendum on Irish unity could be one way of bypassing its effects.

The intervention came hours after Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon called for a referendum on Scottish independence – arguing that the Scottish people should be given a choice on Theresa May’s final Brexit deal.  

The possibility of a referendum on a united Ireland was included in the Good Friday agreement and the British government is committed to accepting the result of such a referendum. However, British Prime Minister has already rejected Sinn Fein’s call for a referendum on joining Northern Ireland with the Republic but if there is enough support in the Northern Ireland for a referendum she might not be able to stop them because of the Good Friday agreement.