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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 August 2006, 15:45 GMT 16:45 UK
Irish TD defends monarchy remarks
Gay Mitchell made his comments in Dublin
Gay Mitchell made his comments in Dublin
A member of the Irish parliament has defended comments he made suggesting a future role for the British monarchy in Ireland.

His comments have angered unionists and republicans.

Gay Mitchell made his comments at the annual Fine Gael Collins-Griffith Memorial in Dublin.

As a constitutional nationalist, he was interested in looking at Ireland's relationship with NI's unionist population, he said.

He widened his argument to ask what role the British monarchy would have if a united Ireland came about by consent.

"Are we prepared to actually think out of the box and say, well how - if this is to come about - it will be accommodated," he asked.

"Or alternatively, are we saying that we are abdicating solely to Provisional Sinn Fein, the role of being advocates for a united Ireland in the Republic?

"I think that would be a disastrous thing to do."

Sinn Fein criticised Mr Mitchell's comments. It was also condemned by unionists.

DUP assembly member Ian Paisley Jnr completely dismissed the idea.

"What I think nationalists have really got to grasp... and what they have failed to grasp is what part of no thank you do you not understand?" he asked.

"Unionists are unionists. They want to remain in the union."

Fine Gael said it supported the idea of a united Ireland and said the questions raised by Mr Mitchell were nothing new.

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