Residents of Rathlin Island, located off the northwest coast of County Antrim in Northern Ireland, are considering the possibility of joining an independent Scotland following the Brexit referendum.
Scotsman.com reports that the island, which is often cited as the location where Robert the Bruce sought refuge and found inspiration from a determined spider, could once again become linked with the Scottish independence movement
European funding helped the island, which has a population of around 145 people, secure a modern harbor and connections to the National Grid, and now locals are worried about their future after the Leave vote won the EU referendum. A campaign has been building on the island to reestablish its historic connections with Scotland.
In Scotland, there have been renewed calls for the country's independence after it voted overwhelmingly to Remain. Like its neighbor, Northern Ireland also voted to Remain, and local island residents say they are “half jokingly” talking about the possibility of joining their “historic friends” should an independent Scotland become part of the European Union.
Margot McCuaig, whose father was an islander who left for Scotland in the 1950s, told HeraldScotland.com: "Brexit is the talking point on the island and no-one appears supportive of the Referendum decision.”
“They're wondering where this leaves them. A fortnight on, people who you bump into at the harbor, in the shop or the pub, the topic hasn't changed,” said the novelist and film-maker, who splits her time between Glasgow in Scotland and Rathlin.
"And now the younger people especially are beginning to question what their future is. Their situation has changed regarding freedom of movement and are upset that things might be different."
Said a spokesman for the campaign: “In the immediate aftermath of the referendum result, people on Rathlin talked, like people all over the UK, of little else.
“And very quickly talk turned, only half jokingly, to new ways of thinking about the island’s relationship with its neighboring islands. A unilateral declaration of independence worked for some, but others looked east and north to Rathlin’s historic friends in Scotland.”