View Full Version : Northern Ireland: Most Support Staying in UK

Sunday, September 11th, 2016, 10:53 AM
First post-Brexit vote Northern Ireland poll: Most oppose holding a referendum on joining the Republic, and if there was one, 3x as many would vote to stay in the UK as to join the RoI.

More than eight out of 10 people in Northern Ireland say the UK's decision to leave the European Union has not changed the way they would vote in a future border poll.

That is the finding of a survey carried out by the pollsters, Ipsos Mori, for BBC Northern Ireland's political programme, The View.

In the wake of June's EU referendum result, Sinn Féin demanded that the secretary of state should call a border poll as provided for under the Good Friday Agreement.

The Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin also reported a sharp rise in the number of people from Northern Ireland applying for Irish passports.

However, this survey reveals that less than a fifth of the people interviewed by Ipsos Mori say the Brexit decision has influenced how they would vote in a referendum to decide whether Northern Ireland remains in the UK or joins the Irish Republic.

More than 1,000 people were interviewed by the pollsters face to face at locations across Northern Ireland between mid-August and early September.
A third of those interviewed (33%) want the government to call a border referendum.

However, more than a half (52%) oppose such a move. Opposition was strongest among those with a Protestant background with 72% against holding a border poll.

If such a poll is held, a clear majority of people, 63%, say they will vote for Northern Ireland to remain in the UK, while only 22% would support a United Ireland.

Some 13% of those polled don't know how they would vote, whilst another 2% would not participate in a border poll.


Monday, September 12th, 2016, 03:41 AM
If this is correct, and there seems no reason why it wouldn't be, then the leadership of the Irish Republican/Nationalist movement on both sides of the Border clearly cannot take the Catholic vote in NI for a reunified Ireland, thus ending Irish partition, for granted. One can easily imagine that many Irish Catholics in NI would quite happily stay in a state that has the world's 5th largest economy and all that flows from that.

Monday, September 12th, 2016, 09:29 AM
Yeah, the republican failure to lock down the Catholic vote is one of the biggest obstacles to NI joining the Republic. Since the Good Friday Agreement many Catholics, especially the younger generation, have come to accept the union, or atleast are satisfied with the status quo. There is an open border and free trade between north and south - the UK and Irish PMs stated in a post-Brexit meeting this will continue.

In polls NI Catholics tend to say that they would like a united Ireland in the future, but oppose one now. There's not much urgency in the community for immediate unification - thus the opposition to a border poll.

The Horned God
Tuesday, September 13th, 2016, 08:38 AM
This change of heart on the part of the Catholics in Northern Ireland is because of the demilitarisation of the border which occurred after the Good Friday agreement of 1998.

Here's a map of Northern Ireland with the majority catholic areas coloured green and the majority Protestant areas coloured orange (the Protestant areas are more densely populated so there is still a slight Protestant majority).

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/b/b9/Districts_of_Northern_Ireland_by_strengt h_of_religious_majority_2011.png/640px-Districts_of_Northern_Ireland_by_strengt h_of_religious_majority_2011.png

What you will notice is that most of the areas that border the republic are Catholic areas. So most of the people who had to deal with the border were people who didn't particularly want it.

I live in a border county in the republic and I know several people who live in Northern Ireland but work in the south and vis versa. That would have been rare during the troubles. The nearest large town to me is Enniskillen which is the largest town in Co. Fermanagh which is in the north. I go there to shop more often than I go to Dublin. If it wasn't for the difference in currency it would almost be as if it was all the one jurisdiction.

Prior to 1998 I had been to Enniskillen exactly once. That's what a militarised border does, it makes people a lot less likely to cross it unless they have a particularly pressing reason to do so. Because who wants guys with guns asking you questions and peering into the boot of your car? It can hardly be over emphasised what a source of resentment and animosity a hard border is when it divides people from their ethnic kin on the other side of it.

Catholics in the North do not currently want to seek reunification because they fear it could destabilise the current situation perhaps leading to a return of the troubles. There is simply not that much to gain from reunification and potentially a lot to lose. However, if there was a return of the hard border that attitude might well change. Even the return of a customs border would be considered an unwelcome development.