Scotland leader: Keeping EU trade could require independence

Scotland's leader says her country could consider independence again if Britain withdraws from the European Union single market as part of its expected EU exit.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon says Scotland must retain free trade with EU partners.

She told Irish lawmakers during a speech Tuesday in Dublin: "If the path that the U.K. chooses to take turns out to be deeply damaging to Scotland's best interests ... then the people of Scotland must have the right to choose a different future."

Sturgeon's speech was the first by a foreign government leader to Ireland's upper chamber of parliament, the Seanad.

Ireland was part of the U.K. from 1801 to 1922. Ireland and the U.K. together joined the then-European Economic Community in 1973. Scotland voted against independence in 2014.