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Majority in the north disagree with Varadkar and are in favour of Irish Unity Referendum – Tóibín

25 October, 2017 - by Peadar Tóibín TD

Sinn Féin TD Peadar Tóibín has said that a number of interesting insights have come to light in the latest Lucid Talk survey of public opinion in the north of Ireland, saying that the findings jar considerably with An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s announcement last week that the democratic will of the people should not be the yard stick for unity.

The Meath West TD said:

“The first of the fascinating findings is that there is now a clear majority of people within the north of Ireland in favour of a referendum on Irish Unity; by far, the largest cohort of people holding this view agrees with Sinn Féin’s analysis of the timing of this poll. It is clear that a referendum is going to happen now and is just a matter of timing. The political establishment in Dublin and London need to prepare for this eventuality.  

“The second finding of interest is that the majority of people in the north believe that the referendum should be based on the basis of 50% plus 1. This is the law currently. It is a central plank of the Good Friday Agreement and it is the basis of self-determination and democracy everywhere in the world. This finding jars considerably with An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s announcement last week that the democratic will of the people should not be the yard stick for unity.  

“We in Sinn Féin seek to persuade far more than this threshold that unity is good for our society, our economy, and our lives. However, changing the Good Friday Agreement’s goal posts now and forcing a majority to remain in the union with Britain would be unjust and unstable.

“Thirdly, the Lucid Talk Survey indicates that there is a substantial majority of voters under the age of 44 years of age are in favour of Irish unity. This is a startling finding and one which points to the future decisions of voters in the north on this issue. There currently a difference of only 7% between those seeking Irish Unity and those seeking British Rule. This is a very slim majority and would only necessitate a switch of about 35,000 votes to change the path of the whole of island of Ireland.

“Interestingly, 57% of those undecided would consider voting for Irish Unity if Brexit was detrimental to them. It is hard to see Brexit being anything else but detrimental to the people of the north. This is one of the reasons why we have seen a large number of people in the north including people who would have been considered Unionists taking Irish passports in recent times.

“It is now time that we, as a people, prepare for these changes; that we start the process of engaging with our unionists brothers and sisters in detailing what an independent and unified Ireland could achieve in terms of economic growth, societal progress and regional development, and how we will be stronger because of our diversity.” 

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