NICOLA Sturgeon has made the case for Scotland joining Ireland as an independent nation in the EU in a column for the Irish Times.

The First Minister explained the only way for Scotland’s “aspirations” to be met is for Scotland to become independent and join the bloc, and set out the kind of role she wants the country to play in the EU.

The Dublin-based newspaper published the opinion column just a day after the UK left the EU, dragging out Scotland where 62% of voters cast a ballot for Remain.

In her article Sturgeon also reiterated her government's commitment to a “legal, constitutional route to becoming an independent state”.

The National:

Having a Section 30 order granted by Westminster and then holding a referendum has long been the SNP’s preferred route to independence – but parts of the party want to see more done to establish a “Plan B”.

Activist Martin Keatings is currently pursuing a court case, aiming to establish that the Scottish Parliament has the power under the Scotland Act to hold a referendum without consent from the UK Government.

In her column, the First Minister set out why Scotland feels such a connection to the EU and wished to stay.

“The founding values of the EU – human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights – are Scotland’s values,” she wrote.

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“Over our nearly 50 years of membership, we have benefited enormously from the single market’s ‘four freedoms’ including freedom of movement.

“More than 230,000 people from across Europe have made Scotland their home. They are part of who we are, they are our friends and family and we really want them to stay.

“And in turn I believe Scotland has contributed a great deal to wider European goals.”

Sturgeon argued that Scotland has “much to offer” – from its record on the climate and the “wellbeing economy”.

Given the backdrop of Brexit, Sturgeon then made the case for an independent Scotland.

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“The idea of Scottish independence has never been about separatism, it is instead about the right of people to decide the form of government best suited to their needs,” she explained.

“That right has never been more important given the threat Brexit poses to the internationalist, welcoming European ethos held by so many people in Scotland.”

Referencing the latest opinion polls on independence, putting support as high as 58%, Sturgeon went on: “We are comfortable with multiple identities and the other countries of the UK will always be, not just our closest neighbours, but our closest friends as well.

“But for too long successive UK governments have taken Scotland in the wrong direction, culminating in Brexit and the introduction of legislation that had threatened to break international law and which still undermines the Scottish parliament. It’s no wonder so many people in Scotland have had enough.”

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The First Minister put forward that in the EU Scotland would be a “partner and a bridge-builder”, supporting work on a stronger economy and fairer society but also aiding understanding between the bloc and the UK.

Sturgeon concludes: “We have been inside the EU family of nations for nearly 50 years. We didn’t want to leave and we hope to join you again soon as an equal partner as we face the opportunities and challenges of the future together.”

The column is the latest in a series of interviews and articles Sturgeon has given to the international media.

Weeks before Brexit the First Minister spoke to CNN’s Christiane Amanpour setting out Scotland’s hopes for an independent future, and shortly after she gave interviews to some of Europe’s biggest newspapers making the case for self-determination.