THE former Irish ambassador to the European Union has said it would be "great" to have Scotland back in the bloc.

Bobby McDonagh wrote a message on Twitter this morning on the second anniversary the UK's departure from the EU.

His comments were in response to a tweet by Dr Kirsty Hughes, the founder of the former think tank the Scottish Centre on European Relations, who highlighted Scotland's remain vote, referenced the current political situation in the UK and stated Scotland would be back in the EU.

The National:

"Two years since Scotland left EU, despite its remain vote," she wrote.

"Meanwhile Johnson talks of Brexit freedoms, lies about trade damage and seeks photo opps in Ukraine to cover up partygate. Scotland will be back in EU."

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McDonagh replied: "It would be great to have you back," and posted symbols of the EU flag and the Saltire alongside his message.

The retired diplomat is a vehement critic of Brexit and Boris Johnson and writes regularly for Ireland's leading newspaper, the Irish Times.

He is regarded as an expert on EU affairs, having spent 23 years of his career either in the corridors of Brussels or in the EU division of the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs.

This included periods in the Secretariat of the European Parliament, periods in the cabinets of two European Commissioners and a period (2005–2009) as the Irish Permanent Representative to the EU.

He served as director general of the EU division of the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs (2001–2005).

He was Ambassador of Ireland to the UK from 2009–2013 and served as Ambassador of Ireland to Italy from 2013 to 2017. He retired in 2018.

The UK formally left the EU at 11pm British time on January 31 2020 and entered a transition period when it stayed in the EU single market and customs union.

At 11pm on 31 December 2020, the transition period ended and the UK left the EU single market and customs union.

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Nicola Sturgeon urged the Prime Minister to ask for an extension to the transition period until the pandemic was over. However,he failed to do so and pressed ahead with departure from the single market and customs union despite the coronavirus crisis.

The First Minister has pledged to take Scotland back into the EU as an independent nation state following a second independence referendum which she intends to hold by the end of 2023.