Brexit fuelled concerns republican parties such as Sinn Fein could generate a renewed push towards the reunification of Northern Ireland with the Republic in the south of the Irish isle. But according to DUP MP Jim Shannow, Britain’s departure from the European Union had local businesses looking forward to the many opportunities the withdrawal will afford the UK. Speaking to RT UK, the Strangford MP said: “Not in my lifetime, not in my children’s lifetime.
“Michelle O’Neill, as always, has a different point of view from one that I would have.
“Quite clearly, for me, the last period of time has cemented our position within the United Kingdom.”
Mr Shannon continued: “I think there are many, many people who have concerns, who would wish to see an agreement with the EU whenever we leave on December 31 of this year.
“At the same time, there are many people also who even vote for Sinn Fein and the SDLP saying to themselves, ‘you know guys, we’re better off within the United Kingdom’.”
JUST IN: House of Lords ‘cronyism’: Tom Watson nominated for peerage AGAIN after previous block
The Strangford MP suggested talks with his constituents and businesses had highlighted many Northern Irish citizens remain committed to membership of the UK.
He said: “Many of the businesses I’ve talked to over the last few weeks are saying that they see many opportunities for the future of their businesses and where they are.
“And many people who I said vote for those other nationalist parties, when it comes to what side their bread is buttered on, they all know it’s buttered better in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
“And for that reason I think a United Ireland for Michelle O’Neill will be a pipe dream, will be a wish and will be nothing else.”
READ MORE: ‘Real threat is Russia!’ MP fears UK has taken ‘eye off the ball’ when it comes to Putin
The Sinn Fein leader, who has been serving as deputy Northern Irish First Minister since 2020 alongside Arlene Foster, continued: “Now is the time to plan for unity and to start to put the facts on the table.
“Let people understand what does an all-Ireland health service look like, what does an all-Ireland education system look like.
“We now need to put that information out for all to see and let them make an informed choice, because I believe we are now in a decade of opportunity.
“I believe in the next number of years, certainly before the end of this decade, we will have voted for a united Ireland.”