Nicola Sturgeon has declared Brexit could lead to Scottish independence.
The First Minister warned London that if it tries to drive Scotland off a “hard Brexit cliff edge” then Scots would have the right to “choose other alternatives”.
“I have always believed Scotland will become an independent country and I think it will become an independent country well within my lifetime - and this may be the moment for that,” she said.
The First Minister was speaking at Trinity College Dublin, where she was awarded an honorary patronage from the university’s Philosophical Society.
She also said a proposal to allow Britons to remain EU citizens after Brexit for a fee should not be ruled out.
The suggestion of individual EU membership for the 48% who voted Remain merits discussion, she said.
“We should be open-minded about solutions that can help, whether it is Scotland or individuals, who want to retain their citizenship, their relationship with the EU,” Ms Sturgeon added.
The “associate citizenship” idea gained has gained the backing of Guy Verhofstadt, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator.
The former Belgian prime minister, who held talks with Brexit Secretary David Davis last week, said he liked the idea “that people who are European citizens and saying they want to keep it, have the possibility of doing so”.
Ms Sturgeon said she was willing to consider the possibility as one of a number of “proposed solutions”.
“We shouldn’t be ruling out anything just now,” she said.
We are going into a period that is completely uncharted, she said.
She added: “We are going to have to be imaginative, innovative and creative”.