UK & World News

  • 5 September 2014, 9:13

Scotland Vote Will Impact Northern Ireland

Scotland's referendum on independence has been described as "a ticking time bomb" for Northern Ireland.

Some Unionists fear a "yes" vote would encourage the terrorist campaign of dissident Irish republicans.

Ian Paisley junior's North Antrim constituency is closer to Scotland than it is to Belfast.

Descended from the Scots who sailed west to establish Ulster, he is passionate about the union.

He said: "If Scotland decided to leave the union, it would encourage nationalists, who in Ireland have been violent in the past, to up the ante again and think that they can pull and wrestle Northern Ireland from the union also.

"Now, we've got to send a very solid message, that won't happen and that's why we're relying on our Scottish cousins and on our Scottish neighbours and on our Scottish people to maintain this union."

A "yes" vote in Scotland would leave Northern Ireland with independent countries on either side.

It shares a border with the Republic of Ireland but Sinn Fein wants it removed.

The party thinks there should be a vote on Northern Ireland exiting the UK too.

Chris Hazzard, a Sinn Fein member of the Stormont Assembly, said: "I think people are looking enviously at Scotland and saying I wish we could have that debate here.

"I want to see a better health system, better education system. I want to see it done on an all-Ireland basis. How do we do that? Well, there's one very simple way. Let's have a border poll. Let's have an informed discussion. It's the best way forward."

It is 400 years since Scottish protestants settled on land confiscated from the Gaelic Irish.

But their influence can still be seen, not least in the plethora of Presbyterian churches.

The Ulster Scots share a language, surnames, place names and a passion for pipe bands.

The Field Marshall Montgomery Band from Northern Ireland has won the World Championships 10 times.

Whatever happens politically, there will always be an ethnic link between Scotland and Northern Ireland.

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