Jeremy Corbyn tells Derry's Gasyard Féile Brexit has made island of Ireland a 'stronger, self-looking economic entity'

Jeremy Corbyn believes Brexit has made the island of Ireland a stronger, self-looking economic entity.'

The former British Labour Party leader made the observation at a Féile 2021 event on Tuesday.

In conversation with former IRA hunger striker and Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney, Mr. Corbyn said: "In a way the issues of the debate over Brexit etcetera have meant that the island of Ireland as a whole has become a stronger, self-looking economic entity than it was before and I think that's quite significant and it's quite important."

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Mr. Corbyn, who has been a long-term supporter of a united Ireland, said he was watching the debate around partition and the potential for reunification 'very closely indeed.'

Jeremy Corbyn

The erstwhile British leader of the opposition who narrowly missed out on becoming Prime Minister in 2017 said he has always been fascinated by Irish history.

"I'm fascinated by the brutality of the treatment of the Irish people going back to the English occupation, going back to Cromwell and what he did at the end of the English civil war when he tried to march those who fought against the English crown in order to establish a colony in Ireland, so he was practising his own imperialism in what he did.

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"And, of course, the horrors of the famine - the Great Hunger - which was later analysed for what it really is. It was an act of horror against the Irish people. Ireland, at the same time as many people were being starved to death, was actually exporting food at the same time," he remarked.

Mr. Corbyn said this history has to be learned 'over and over again'.

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"It's that understanding of Irish history and culture that is so important and to me, the island of Ireland as a whole," he said.