IN the event of a no-deal Brexit, council will write to the British and Irish governments asking for a border poll.
Agreed recently at a full meeting of Derry City and Strabane District Council, the plan to send the letter followed a protracted discussion about an border motion from Strabane councillor, Paul Gallagher and a subsequent amendment from Karina Carlin.
Cllr Gallagher had proposed that council writes to both governments asking them to “immediately remove the constraints known as the border before the deadline of March 29, 2019.”
The motion continued, “This council asserts that the border is this district’s main cause of high deprivation, high unemployment and poor health and housing.
“This council is confident that once the border is gone and partition is ended that many advancements will be made in economic, health and social issues as well as allowing for the ending of community divisions within this district.”
However Cllr Gallagher garnered little support for his proposal.
Described as “silly” by the SDLP’s Brian Tierney and “ludicrous” by the DUP’s Hilary McClintock, the motion was then the subject of an amendment from Cllr Carlin.
She said, “When I read Cllr Gallagher’s motion, I did have to scratch my head.” Cllr Carlin’s amendment suggested that as co-guarantors of the Good Friday Agreement and in the event of a no-deal Brexit, an Irish unity referendum or border poll “should be implemented in both jurisdictions”.
Outlining his opposition to the amendment, Cllr Gallagher said it totally changed the tone of his motion
and that it should be brought back as a separate proposal.
However council’s legal opinion said the motion was legitimate and Mayor John Boyle accepted it as such.
“If there’s a (Brexit) deal, you’re content to accept partition?” Cllr Gal- lagher asked Sinn Féin, prior to the vote.
Cllr Carlin replied, “I’ve never accepted partition in my life and I never will.”
The amended motion was eventually voted through by a majority of members.
Posted: 10:00 am December 8, 2018