Anti-Brexit Unionist farmer elected to Seanad with SF help
Former Ulster Farmers’ Union president Ian Marshall has been elected to Ireland’s Seanad Eireann – with the support of Fine Gael and Sinn Féin.
Mr Marshall, a Unionist and an anti-Brexit campaigner works in Queens University Belfast in the Institute for Global Food Security. He had been approached to stand by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.
The electorate comprised TDs and senators from all parties. Mr Marshall, from Markethill, Co Armagh, described himself as a “pragmatic” Unionist and said he was willing to listen to economic arguments for a united Ireland, but did not believe that the case was a compelling one. He said he had never foreseen that one day he might be in the Seanad but added “I am hugely grateful for the opportunity.”
He said it was important for building relations across the island that a northern Unionist voice was heard in Dublin and that opinions were shared. He had serious fears for the economy if Brexit went ahead but was not convinced that the UK would actually leave the EU . Many people had voted on “incorrect and misleading” information.
“The people probably in many cases have a slightly different perspective of this now,” he told RTÉ Radio One. “I haven’t conceded the fact that we are going to leave. It looks so complex and so difficult at the moment that I believe there is a lot of discussion we still have to have.
“If we are truly serious about this, then this should possibly go back to the people, and the people it will impact most will have the chance to voice their opinion again. I firmly believe if that opportunity arises I think the people will say maybe this isn’t the right idea for the UK to Brexit.”