THE PEOPLE of Ireland could decide on the future of Irish reunification within a decade if political parties in Northern Ireland work together, Bertie Ahern has said.
The former Taoiseach was speaking on Independent.ie's podcast 'Floating Voter' when he made the comments, and admitted that had the Good Friday Agreement been properly utilised, there would likely have been a border poll within ten years of it being signed.
Mr Ahern said that while negotiations were taking place in regards to the GFA back in 1998, those involved had all expected a unity referendum to have taken place long before now.
He blamed political instability on both sides in Northern Ireland for the stalemate until now, particularly pointing out Sinn Féin's lack of engagement with the original intention of the agreement, and said "you're not going to get any Border poll as long as you've no executive working".
Speaking on the podcast, Mr Ahern said:
"Somewhere in the next decade you'll probably see a Border poll.
"You probably would have had a Border poll by now if you had a stable executive and Assembly working."
"What was envisaged was that [a Border poll] would probably arise in the first ten years. The only reason it didn't arise was because the executive was stop-start.
"It would be hard to believe that if you don't get that vote in eight years' time, it'll be 30 years since the Good Friday Agreement."
Mr Aherne remains cautiously optimistic about the new Brexit deal being reached between Boris Johnson and the EU, and said that it could result in advantages "if Northern Ireland handles it right".