Leo Varadkar believes border poll would be defeated

The Irish prime miniter has said he believes a vote on Irish unity would be “divisive” and a “bad idea”.

Leo Varadkar, who is visiting the Orange Order headquaters in Belfast today, also felt that a border poll would not be successful.

Leo Varadkar

Leo Varadkar

His comments come the day after former first minister Peter Robinson suggested holding fixed generational polls on Irish unification as a way to stabilise politics in Northern Ireland.

The ex-DUP leader said a border poll being carried with a majority of just one vote was a “recipe for chaos”.

When asked on BBC’s Good Morning Ulster if he would accept a “simple majority” referendum result on Irish unity, the taoiseach said: “I think a border poll would be a bad idea quite frankly. I think it would be defeated and very divisive.

“We should be respecting the primacy of the Good Friday Agreement, and at the heart of the Good Friday Agreement is power-sharing within Northern Ireland, ever-increasing cooperation between the north and south and peace in Britain and Ireland.

“While the Good Friday Agreement provides for the possibility of a border poll, and would allow that to pass by a majority of one, I don’t think the time or the conditions are right.

“I think the focus should be on having the institutions up and running, rather than focusing on a border poll.”