We are resharing this article as Michelle O'Neill has just been appointed as First Minister after the Stormont reconvened. 

The appointment of the Sinn Féin vice president provided a moment of history on the day the powersharing institutions returned following a two-year hiatus. 

We’ve had a look at what the new leader has said about Scotland and independence.

Following the 2022 Stormont elections, which saw Sinn Féin become the largest party in the Northern Ireland assembly for the first time in history, a spokesperson for the party said that O’Neill was “determined to strengthen our bonds of friendship with Scotland and with the Scottish Government as we work hard to defend our shared interests against a self-serving Conservative government".

O’Neill went on to meet with Scotland's first minister at the time, Nicola Sturgeon.

The National:

Following the talks, O’Neill said: “The historic bonds between Scotland and the island of Ireland go back centuries.

“We enjoy a long and enduring affinity, as close neighbours and good friends.

READ MORE: Sinn Fein leader says Stormont return of ‘great significance’

“Moving forward I am determined to strengthen the bond that ties us – politically, culturally and economically - so that our administrations can work together in our shared interests through strong intergovernmental relations.”

More recently, O’Neill met with Humza Yousaf at Bute House, where they discussed “the importance of restoring devolved institutions in Northern Ireland”.

The National: Sinn Fein Stormont leader Michelle O'Neill and Scottish First Minister Humza Yousaf

After dialogue between O’Neill and SNP leader Yousaf , both leaders praised the meeting on social media.

“We discussed hopes of a deal to restore power-sharing and the opportunity for more co-operation between Scotland and Northern Ireland,” the SNP leader wrote, adding: “Including on tackling Westminster's cost of living crisis and underinvestment in public services.”

And O’Neill said: “Great to be in Edinburgh to meet with Scottish First Minister @HumzaYousaf.

“Scotland and Ireland have centuries-old ties of shared history, culture and friendship. A connection we want to remain strong.

“We discussed areas of mutual interest and concern, and our hope of an imminent agreement to get Stormont moving.”

What has Michelle O’Neill said about a second Scottish independence referendum?

Responding to Sturgeon’s statement in 2022, in which she told MSPs the Scottish Government intends to stage a second independence referendum on October 19, 2023, O’Neill told The National: "Scotland’s future will be determined by the Scottish people through a second referendum.

“The Tories have forced Scotland out of the EU without its consent. The political and economic impact six years on is felt acutely.”

READ MORE: Senior DUP member 'wore a wire to leak Stormont meeting details'

O’Neill defended the then first minister’s right to pursue another referendum, saying: “Nicola Sturgeon is mandated to defend Scotland’s interests as first minister.

“The imposed hard Tory Brexit has exposed the democratic deficit in Scotland, and the North of Ireland. Re-entry back into the EU is through independence.

“The political landscape across these isles is now rapidly changing and public attitudes are shifting. People want change.

“This will inevitably lead to the break-up of the current constitutional arrangements in Britain and in Ireland and opens up the prospects for new arrangements which serve the best interests of Scotland."