Sunday, December 5

Most Northern Ireland voters want to vote to stay in the UK | Northern Ireland politics

Two-thirds of voters in Northern Ireland believe there should be a vote on their place in the UK, but only 37% want it to take place in the next five years, according to a new poll for the Observer.

About 31% of voters said there should be a vote at some point on Northern Ireland’s place in the UK, but after 2026, according to the LucidTalk poll. Another 29% said there should never be such a vote. There is currently a seven point lead for Northern Ireland which remains part of the UK should any vote take place.

When asked how they would vote, 49% said they would support staying in the UK, while 42% supported being part of a united Ireland, and 9% said they did not know. Other recent polls have made support for a united Ireland much lower. the Survey on the Life and Times of Northern Ireland, published in June, suggested that 30% supported a united Ireland.

Former Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams
Former Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams recently said a poll could be conducted within three years. Photograph: Niall Carson / PA

There have been lingering concerns within the UK government that the fallout from Brexit could lead to increased support for a united Ireland, with problems still lingering with the Northern Ireland protocol, an element of the Brexit deal that has effectively erected barriers. between Great Britain and the North. Ireland. The UK government is trying to renegotiate the deal.

While many experts said they believed the political temperature in Northern Ireland was cooling, prominent figures have raised the issue in a border poll in recent months. Earlier this summer, the British government chastised Ireland’s Deputy Prime Minister Leo Varadkar for suggesting that there might be a united Ireland in his life. Former Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams also said in recent weeks that he believed a poll could be conducted within three years.

Peter Hain, the former secretary of Northern Ireland, accused Boris Johnson of complacency with the problem. “The prime minister ignores Northern Ireland at his own risk and has done so consistently now during his tenure,” he said. “He will bite him and bite everyone if he is not careful. I don’t think an early poll is very likely, but I think there is an inexorable drive towards one. That would throw the kaleidoscope into the air and who knows where it will fall. “

Leo Varadkar, Deputy Prime Minister of Ireland
Leo Varadkar, Ireland’s deputy prime minister, has said he could see reunification in his life. Photograph: Niall Carson / PA

Even if support for conducting a border survey were to rise further, there are serious barriers that its supporters would have to overcome to get it done. The 1998 Good Friday agreement gives the Northern Ireland secretary the discretion to call a referendum at any time. However, you are legally bound to call one if there is a majority in Northern Ireland in favor of unification. According to the analysis of the Constitution Unit of University College London, a vote could be called at any time if it appears to the Secretary of State that “a majority of voters would express the wish that Northern Ireland cease to be part of the United Kingdom and become part of a united Ireland”.

Bill White, Managing Director of LucidTalk, said: “Once again, and as with all the polls on the NI border issue, we see that approximately 50% of Northern Ireland support the union and remain in the UK. This pro-union score has been remarkably consistent across Northern Ireland border referendum polls. It is the other 50% where we have a difference of opinion between those who support a united Ireland and those who do not know.

“This is not particularly surprising, however, as a united Ireland remains the unknown option, and while many people support the concept of a united Ireland, they would like to know a little more about it and how it would work.”

LucidTalk surveyed 2,403 people in Northern Ireland online between August 20 and 23

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