Published Wednesday, 18 September 2013
The countdown to the Scottish referendum has prompted calls for one in NI. (© Pacemaker)
The people of Scotland will go to the polls on 18 September 2014 to decide whether or not the country should leave the United Kingdom.
First Minister Alex Salmond and his SNP government are leading the yes campaign, while the main opposition parties argue Scotland would be better off remaining in the Union.
Under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement, a poll on Northern Ireland's status can also be called if there is evidence indicating support for a constitutional change.
Newry and Armagh MP Conor Murphy said a vote should be held in the next Assembly term.
"A year from now the people of Scotland will vote in an exercise of self-determination that will decide their relationship with their nearest neighbours," said the Sinn Féin man, speaking at the Liberal Democrat Conference in Glasgow on Wednesday.
"It is now time that the people of Ireland be allowed to exercise their right to determine relationships across the island of Ireland and with Britain. The Good Friday Agreement provided for a border poll and it is now time to set the date for such a poll."
Earlier this year the DUP said it would consider "calling Sinn Féin's bluff" by holding a poll, confident that the outcome would see a united Ireland rejected.
Arlene Foster said: "If such a destabilising and polarising message continues to be pushed then we may call their bluff. We may put an end to this foolish talk once and for all.
"Northern Ireland currently receives a £10bn subvention from the Treasury. There has never been a rational argument put forward as to how this gap would be filled."
Any referendum would have to be called by the Secretary of State.
Theresa Villiers said that the UK Government has no present plans for one based on recent election results and opinion polls.
"It is crucial that political leaders here concentrate on working together on pressing economic and social issues, including the rebalancing of the NI economy and building a genuinely shared society, rather than being diverted into divisive constitutional debates," the NIO said.
"We believe that political attention is really better focused elsewhere."
Meanwhile the latest opinion polls in Scotland suggest that the 'No Campaign' is ahead, with YouGov indicating half of the population (52%) want to remain in the Union and a third will opt for independence (32%), while 13% say they do not know and 2% do not plan to vote.
© UTV News