English / Gaeilge

Welcome to A Decade of Opportunity - Towards The New Republic – Sinn Féin’s webpage dedicated to the advancement of Irish Unity.

Sinn Féin is the United Ireland party. This is our core political objective.

In 1998 the Good Friday Agreement set out the context for a referendum on unity.

The Agreement asserts that it is for the people of the island of Ireland alone to shape our future and to exercise our right of self-determination on the “basis of consent, freely and concurrently given, North and South”,

This democratic and peaceful mechanism to achieve Irish Unity is a game changer which was not available to previous generations.

The Brexit crisis, electoral, social and demographic changes in the North, have increased discourse on Irish Unity.

A new and united Ireland must be a place for all, if you are Irish, British or both or neither. The Orange and British identity is important to a section of the community who share this island. It is therefore important to us all.

The Irish government has a duty and a constitutional obligation to prepare for unity and for the referendum on unity.

This means the Irish government must:

A referendum on Irish Unity is achievable and winnable. It’s time to set a date for the referendum and to let the people have their say.
Irish Unity is now a do-able project.

We welcome feedback. If you have an opinion/suggestion/proposal why not share it with us by emailing [email protected]

Submit a question

Deich mBliana na Cinniúna – Gníomhú i dTreo na Poblachta

Fáilte romhat chuig ‘Deich mBliana na Cinniúna – Gníomhú i dTreo na Poblachta’ – leathanach gréasáin Shinn Féin dírithe ar athaontú na hÉireann.

Is é Sinn Féin an páirtí a bhainfidh Éire Aontaithe amach. Is í príomhaidhm pholaitiúil an pháirtí aontacht a chinntiú.

In 1998 leag Comhaontú Aoine an Chéasta an comhthéacs amach ina mbeadh reifreann aontachta:

Deimhníonn an comhaontú gur faoi mhuintir na hÉireann amháin é ár dtodhchaí a leagan amach agus ár gceart féinchinntiúcháin a fheidhmiú ar ‘bhonn an toilithe, arna thabhairt dá ndeoin féin agus i gcomhthráth, Thuaidh agus Theas.’

Tá an mheicníocht daonlathach síochána seo, nach raibh ar fáil ag líne daoine romhainn, le hÉirinn athaontaithe a bhaint amach.

Tá an diochúrsa ar Éire Athaontaithe méadaithe le gairid óir na géarchéime Brexit agus athruithe toghchánach sóisialta agus déimeagrafach ó thuaidh.

Ní mór do chách bheith ar a suaimhneas in Éirinn nua aontaithe atá uainn, beag beann ar a fhéiniúlacht ina nGaeil nó ina nGaill, ina nGaeil-Ghaill nó ar nós Cuma liom féin. Tá an fhéiniúlacht Óraisteach agus Briotanach tábhachtach do dhream dár bpobal. Mar sin féin, tá sí tábhachtach dúinn.

Tá sé de dhualgas bunreachtúil ar Rialtas na hÉireann ullmhúchán a dhéanamh don Aontacht agus an reifreann dá réir.

Caithfidh Rialtas na hÉireann

Is féidir linn reifreann d’Éirinn Aontaithe a chinntiú agus é a bhuachan. Tá sé in am dáta ar mhaithe le reifreann a leagan síos agus ligint don phobal a gcuid a rá.

Is togra indéanta é Éire Athaontaithe a bhain amach anois.

Cuirtear fáilte roimh aiseolas. Má bhíonn aon tuairim/ aon mholadh/ aon togra faoi mhachnamh agat, ba bhreá linn sin a chloisteáil trí ríomhphist a chur go [email protected]

Resources on Irish Unity

Sinn Féin Policy

"Towards A United Ireland’, Sinn Féin, 2016, Sinn Féin - Towards A United Ireland

‘A United Ireland: Better for Enterprise’, Sinn Féin, 2018, Sinn Féin - A United Ireland - Better for Jobs, Enterprise and Research

‘A United Ireland: Better for Health’, Sinn Féin, 2018, Sinn Féin - A National Health Service for a United Ireland

‘Economic Benefits of a United Ireland’, Sinn Féin, 2020, Sinn Féin - Economic Benefits of a United Ireland


Ben Lowry: Unionists have fully turned against the Irish Sea border because since January they have seen the scale of the disaster - Ben Lowry, 2021

Dual citizen: Ciarán McMenamin on growing up in a world divided by more than a Border - Ciarán McMenamin, 2021

We could all learn thing or two from clever and respectful young leaders - Fr Martin Magill, 2021

How cold is your house? - Ian Clarke, 2021

Why the Eurosceptics will fail in bid to scrap protocol - Sean O’Grady, 2021

Irish Examiner view: Time to be a school not a weak shoal - The Irish Examiner, 2021

North’s status under Belfast Agreement is an inconvenient truth - Monica McWilliams, 2021

Scottish independence could pave the way for a United Ireland, expert warns - Steven Brown, 2021

Ben Lowry: Amid Irish Sea border crisis, Peter Robinson has long experience of what is and is not politically feasible - Ben Lowry, 2021

Change is coming and Republic needs to talk to North about it - Denzil McDaniel, 2021

Sturgeon could spark England’s breakaway from rest of UK ‒ ex-Welsh First Minister claimed - Joel Day, 2021

Irish government must redouble diplomatic efforts with Northern unionism - Gareth Brown, 2021

Defensive and oppositional – the DUP is completely out of touch with Nothern Ireland’s ‘peace generation’ - Abby Wallace, 2021

Irish unity will take place within a generation – historian Max Hastings - Ronan McGreevy, 2021

When should the UK call a border poll in Ireland? Calls for clarity on this 'quite remarkable' question - Rónán Duffy, 2021

Unionists may find being bounced into Border poll is Boris's preferred option - Alex Kane, 2021

Is the tide turning on Irish reunification? - Ian Johnston, 2021

Writing is on the wall, it’s time for a Northern Ireland border poll - Irish Voice Editorial, 2021

Will Economics decide for Unionists ultimately a break with Britain merits serious consideration? - Trevor Lunn, 2021

British government 'must lay out its criteria for holding a border poll' - Claire Simpson, 2021

My generation deserves to have its say on Irish unity now - Emma de Souza, 2021

The bill for Boris Johnson’s Brexit is coming in and it’s punishingly steep - Andrew Rawnsley, 2021

Unleashing nationalism has made the future of the UK the central issue - George Osborne, 2021

Unionism Fighting a Border Poll… - Choyaa, 2021

Senior DUP MP Gavin Robinson warns unionism to prepare for border poll - John Manley, 2021

Referendum on Irish unity is coming down the tracks faster than most expected - Brendan O'Leary, 2021

A referendum on Irish unity is coming, whether we like it or not - Brendan O'Leary, 2021

Questions around Irish unity referendum to be examined in new initiative - Ronan McGreevy, 2021

Friends of Sinn Féin USA, 2021

First Dáil could be template for Scottish independence, says MP - Ronan McGreevy, 2021

Ian Dunt, 2021

Public Opinion and Irish Unity: Some Comparative Data - John Coakley, 2020

A border inside the UK brings Northern Ireland closer to the republic

Think32, 2021

UK heading towards ‘breakup’ says Financial Times

Mary Kenny, 2021

Think32, 2021

The Malign Incompetence of the British Ruling Class - Pankaj Mishra, 2019

Fresh calls for United Ireland referendum as Sinn Fein TD demands campaign be 'stepped up' – Harry Brent, 2020, Harry Brent

Doherty calls for campaign for Irish unity to be stepped up - Aine McMahon, 2020, Aine McMahon

Michelle O’Neill on Brexit and Irish unity: Politics Weekly podcast – The Guardian, 2020, The Guardian

Brexit will lead to united Ireland in 10 years, says Sinn Fein's O'Neill - Allan Preston, 2020, Allan Preston

Public consultation on format of any future Border poll begins – Freya McClements, 2020, Freya McClements

‘It is absolutely crazy to think that constitutional change in Ireland would happen overnight’ – Paul Gosling, 2020, Paul Gosling

‘The unity conversation needs to be open, transparent, and let’s keep open minds, because we need to flesh out what Irish unity would look like and what the UK union would look like’ – Paul Gosling, 2020, Paul Gosling

ESRI: Voters, North and South, must be fully informed ahead of any border poll – Eamon Quinn, 2020, Eamon Quinn

Local politicians react as Martin says no to ‘divisive’ Border poll – Rodney Edwards, 2020, Rodney Edwards

Ireland is on a journey; let’s talk about the destination – Denzil McDaniel, 2020, Denzil McDaniel

Irish Reunification is Still Inevitable – Kevin Meaghar, Irish Unification is Still Inevitable

Irish unification is becoming likelier – The Economist, 2020, Irish Unification is becoming likelier

‘Why the idea of a United Ireland is back in Play’, David McWilliams, Financial Times, 2018, David McWilliams

Irish politics needs to wake up to the consequences of a no-deal Brexit, Fiach Kelly, Irish Times Opinion Piece, 2019, Fiach Kelly

A progressive, united Ireland seems more likely than ever – thanks to the DUP, Séamas O’Reilly Guardian, Opinion Piece, 2019, Séamas O'Reilly

A united Ireland now looks like an increasing possibility, Cealainn Hogan, New Statesman article, 2019, Cealainn Hogan

Taoiseach says he is not in favour of ‘divisive’ poll on Northern Ireland border - Aine McMahon, 2020, Aine McMahon

'Young voters aren't green or orange' - Jim O'Callaghan's warning to Fianna Fáil – Philip Ryan, 2020, Philip Ryan

The time has come for unionists to decide what kind of United Ireland they can accept – Shane Greer, The Telegraph Comment, 2020, Shane Greer

McDonald says new Government should start preparing for United Ireland referendum – Press Association, 2020, Press Association

Ulster’s Brexit Identity Crisis – Maurice Fitzmaurice, Daily Mirror (NI edition) 2020, Maurice Fitzmaurice

Johnson's risky approach to virus raises new questions about Irish unity - John Downing, 2020, John Downing

How coronavirus is spurring the cause of a united Ireland, Una Mullally, The Guardian Opinion, 2020, Una Mullally

Coronavirus crisis has brought Irish unity closer, says Sinn Fein president Mary Lou McDonald, Christopher Leebody, Belfast Telegraph, 2020, Christopher Leebody

Mary Lou McDonald: Covid-19 more likely to unite us than Brexit, Justine McCarthy, The Sunday Times, 2020, Justine McCarthy

UUP 'will not engage with single direction talks' on united Ireland, Allison Morris, 2020, Allison Morris

Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and the united island, Tommy Gorman, 2020, Tommy Gorman


Ireland's Future discussion document, Advancing the Conversation - The Way Forward

The 2020 Fianna Fail/Fine Gael Framework Document on government formation, FF/FG Framework Document May 2020

‘Modelling Irish Unification’, Dr Kurt Hubner, 2015, KLC University of British Colombia, Modelling Irish Unification

'A New Union a New Society: Ireland 2050’, Paul Gosling, 2018, A New Union

‘The Economic Effects of an All Island Economy’, Paul Gosling, 2018, All Island Economy

‘Economic Case for Irish Unity’, Michael Burke, 2015, The Economic Case For Irish Unity

‘Brexit and the Future of Ireland – Uniting Ireland & Its People in Peace & Prosperity’, Joint Oireachtas Committee Report, 2017, Brexit and the Future of Ireland - Uniting Ireland & Its People in Peace & Prosperity

‘The Future of Our Shared Island: The Logistical and Legal Questions Surrounding Referendums on Irish Unity’, Colin Harvey, Mark Basset, Brexit Law NI, QUB, 2019, Logistical & Legal Question - Irish Unity

‘Unionist Concerns & Fears of a United Ireland: The Need to Protect the Peace Process & Build a Vision for a Shared Island & a United People’, Senator Mark Daly, 2019, Oireachtas,  Process & Build a Vision for a Shared Island & a United People

The Good Friday Agreement, 1998, Good Friday Agreement

Political Party Documents

‘Northern Ireland (Policies), Fianna Fáil, Fianna Fáil

‘Progressive Nationalism, SDLP, SDLP

Kieran Allen speech on Irish Unity, People Before Profit, 27/06/17, People Before Profit

Brexit & Irish Unity, Aontú, Aontú

Recent Polls


In the north 47% wanted to remain in the UK, 42% wanted a united Ireland and 11% were undecided Irish Times, 2021

There should be a unity referendum in the next 5 years: 50.7%. There should not be a referendum in the next 5 years: 44.4%. Don't know: 4.9% - Sunday Times/Lucid Talk Jan 18th, 2021


46.8% to remain in UK / 45.4% for a United Ireland / 7.8% Don’t know - The Detail/Lucid Talk, 2020 LucidTalk/The Detail, 2020

80% of people in the south support Irish unity - The Sunday Times / Panelbase, 2020 Sunday Times, Panelbase 2020

57% of people in the south want a referendum on Irish unity in the next five years - IPSOS-MRBI exit poll, 2020 Irish Times, More-than-half-of-voters-want-border-polls-north-and-south

Journal.ie ge2020-border-poll

75% of young people want a referendum on Irish unity in the next five years! - IPSOS-MRBI exit poll, 2020


THE MAJORITY OF Irish people believe a referendum on Irish unity should be held in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Responding to a poll for Claire Byrne Live/Amárach Research, 44% of people said they felt that a referendum on a united Ireland should be held.


77% of people in the south support Irish unity - RTÉ/TG4/RED-C exit poll, 2019 Red C Research

51% of people in the north support Irish unity - Ashcroft poll, 2019 Ashcroft Polls

British Identity

Sinn Féin has a vision of a new and united Ireland, firmly rooted in the republican values of equality, fraternity and liberty. We want an inclusive Ireland in which the diversity of identities on our island is embraced, protected and celebrated. This must include those who cherish and celebrate their British identity.

Concerns have been raised about the protection of non-Irish identities in a new and united Ireland.

All proponents of Irish unity must listen to these concerns. Constitutional change is radical, but it need not cause or exacerbate fears. Unionists fears must be heard and addressed in this debate.

No one’s identity should ever be challenged by constitutional change. Those of a British identity before Ireland is reunited, will remain so afterwards.

A new and united Ireland must be a place for all, a united Ireland that is home if you are Irish, British, both or neither. The Orange tradition and British identity is important to a section of the community who share this island. It is therefore important to us all.

The Good Friday Agreement not only provides a peaceful and democratic pathway to Irish unity, it also provides a model regarding rights and parity of esteem for identity, regardless of national allegiance, for all those living in a new and united Ireland.

Sinn Féin acknowledges the real need for all those who wish to see a united Ireland to engage with our unionist neighbours. We must listen to and engage with their hopes and fears regarding unity. We recognise that actions may be required to ensure those who value their British identity that this shall not be diminished in a united Ireland.

As such, Sinn Féin is committed to;

  • An all-Ireland Bill of Rights
  • Bespoke and comprehensive arrangements around flags, symbols and emblems
  • The safeguarding of British citizenship and all associated rights
  • The continuation of safeguards contained within the Good Friday Agreement post unity
  • Measures to tackle sectarianism across society
  • Maintaining and developing bodies designed to strengthen the relationships between the islands, such as the British-Irish Council, the British-Irish Parliamentary Association, and the British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference.

Historical Republican Documents

Significant Interventions on the subject of Irish Unity


Person/Entity Responsible Info Title/Nature of Intervention Date Link Note
Seamus McGuinness Research Professor at the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI)

‘It is absolutely crazy to think that constitutional change in Ireland would happen overnight’

Slugger O’Toole

10.8.20 Seamus McGuinness “Just thinking strategically… there are clear opportunities for cross-border co-operation in a number of areas that are just so obvious and mutually beneficial that should be pursued. The obvious case is health services. Another is around infrastructural planning, but another is economic development…. You can only imagine that the North would be a net beneficiary of that joint approach.”
Ian Marshall Former member of Seanad Éireann and President of Ulster Farmers' Union

‘The unity conversation needs to be open, transparent, and let’s keep open minds, because we need to flesh out what Irish unity would look like and what the UK union would look like’

Slugger O’Toole

3.8.20 Ian Marshall “So for me, the unity conversation needs to be open, transparent, and let’s keep open minds, because we need to flush out what the Irish unity situation would look like, what the maintenance of the UK union would look like, how the island would function. How would it affect education, healthcare, society, how would businesses function, would we ultimately be richer or poorer? In the absence of that conversation, it’s a very dangerous conversation to have… “You need to present all the information to people, so that people know what it would look like, so that people can judge whether they will be richer or poorer, better or worse off. And then, and only then at that point, it’s perfectly reasonable to ask those people to take a vote on that.”
Mary Lou McDonald TD Úachtaran Shinn Fén

The need for an all-island approach to combating Covid-19 is basic common sense


12.05.20 Mary Lou McDonald: Newsletter

“Irish unity is a perfectly legitimate aspiration. The Good Friday Agreement, designed to give parity of esteem to both the British and Irish identities and to our political aspirations, clearly states as much.

There is no faux outrage when unionists talk about valuing their British identity or their hopes of maintaining the union with Britain. Nor should there be. It is every bit as legitimate as my desire for Irish unity.”

Una Mullally Columnist for the Irish Times and Repeal the 8th activist

How coronavirus is spurring the cause of a united Ireland

The Guardian

2.5.20 Una Mullally

“Unexpected events often act as a catalyst for finding new pathways towards a goal. Nobody could have conceived that the case for a united Ireland would dovetail with the now urgent practicalities of a united approach to a public health crisis.

But the big ideas we have about society often don’t pan out how we anticipate. Eradicating the border’s segmentation of two jurisdictions has been a peacetime issue, a Brexit issue and is now a public health issue.”

Oran Doyle Professor in law at Trinity College

Constitutional Dimensions of Irish Unification

The International Association of Constitutional Law

20.02.20 Oran Doyle

In this post, I explore the issue from the perspective of Irish law to identify what unification processes would be legally effective in Ireland.

I suggest that a referendum to amend or replace the Irish Constitution is the most plausible process. I then explore how such a referendum could be integrated with processes in Northern Ireland and the United Kingdom in a way that does not reproduce the Brexit model of leaving fundamentally important choices to be made after the referendum.

As the concept of Irish unity continues to go mainstream, , Kevin Meaghe explores the state of the debate

Kevin Meagher Writer, commentator and author of ‘A United Ireland: Why unification is inevitable and how it will come about’ Irish Unification is still Inevitable 17.05.20 Kevin Meagher

“But what has fundamentally changed in recent years is that the argument for Irish unity has developed into an evidence-based proposition.

There are clear benefits to governing Ireland as a single state — from economics to epidemiology — while Brexit has provided a powerful fillip, widening the constituency of people, who, if not wishing to see it on principle, can certainly accommodate themselves to the reality of it.”


Person/Entity Responsible Info Title/Nature of Intervention Date Link Note
Mary McAleese Former President

Brexit offers chance to improve Irish unity debate - McAleese

Speech at DCU seminar on the Withdrawal Agreement, reported by The Irish Times

29.03.19 Mary McAleese

“I am one of them, who believe that the truest and best potential of this entire island and all its people will only be realised when Northern Ireland and Ireland merge, and emerge as a modern, European democracy, inclusive of all, respectful of all,”

“Long before any future referendum goes live, we need to do what Brexit has abjectly failed to do. That is to delve deeply, objectively, consciously, in a considered way, into all the issues, whatever they are, the 5,000, the 10,000 issues, that would be raised by the ending of partition and the creation of a new reconciled Ireland.”

“From economics to esoterics, we need an army of scholars and lawyers and of intellectuals, and of people of good will, and we need a reservoir of credible good will to approach these issues in a respectful way, before they overwhelm us, as those very issues have overwhelmed and stymied Brexit.”

Eileen Paisley Baroness, wife of late Ian Paisley

A United Ireland would be ‘acceptable’, says Ian Paisley’s widow

Interview, BBC’s Sunday Sequence (and follow up The Irish World piece)

26.05.19 Eileen Paisley
Eileen Paisley 2

On whether she could live in a United Ireland: “It would depend, I suppose, on what, on how it was being ruled. I wouldn’t like a dictatorship and I wouldn’t like a person, because of whatever their religion was, to be persecuted because of that.”

She added that once there was “freedom of worship and freedom of choice in life”, she would be comfortable living in a United Ireland.

“If you go right back to the beginning, the dividing of Ireland, I think the Irish people all over – north, south, east and west – I think they are a great people.”

“And especially when you are away from home and you meet another person, no matter what part of Ireland they come from, by their different accents, you would say that man is from the south…but they are a fellow countryman of yours or woman.”

“I just wonder why it had to be divided at that time and I think perhaps that was a wrong division.”

Adrian Dunbar Actor

Line of Duty star Adrian Dunbar predicts Brexit will lead to a United Ireland as he shares views on abortion rights and great telly

Interview, The Irish Sun

28.06.19 Adrian Dunbar

“A lot of what we do, everything of what we do, there is not a border anymore.

“You don't feel like there's a border anymore and we have lived for many years now with that feeling and that feeling is great for all of us.

So to go back to that would be a really backward step, and nobody wants that. I think there'll be a bit of civil unrest if there is ­border infrastructure.

“So most decisions, or all decisions, are England-centric. So a decision will be made on what's best for England and then the regions, as they call them, will ­follow.

“It's only six counties of Ireland now and one of these days it'll be 32 and that'll be the end of it.”

James Nesbitt Actor

James Nesbitt wants 'new union of Ireland' as he reveals project to give voice to 'silent majority

Interview, Irish News

08.07.19 James Nesbitt

James Nesbitt says he is open to the idea of a "new union of Ireland".

Nesbitt said he now describes himself as "an Irishman, from the north of Ireland who in no way refutes nor shies away from my Protestant culture".

Nesbitt said a border poll "is going to happen at some point" and there is a need to commission independent research on the changes this will make.

In a New Union of Ireland he claims Unionists need reassurance that “they have an equal voice and that they are part of a society that is progressive, inclusive and diverse. They have prosperity, that they're not marginalised, and that they can be proud to be from the north of Ireland in a new union of Ireland.

I think a lot more people are coming round to the idea of just even considering themselves Irish. It just feels that there's been a silent majority here for far too long that actually needs a voice."

Jarlath Burns GAA

Jarlath Burns has said the GAA should not stay neutral is there is a border poll

Interview, Irish News

04.03.19 Jarlath Burns

“The GAA states that the association is a national organisation, which has as its basic aim the strengthening of the national identity in a 32 county Ireland through the presentation and promotion of Gaelic Games.

“That doesn't make us neutral on the issue of a border poll, it gives us a position on a border poll and a position that I as a GAA member in a border county would like to think that from a logical, as well as an ideological, perspective that the GAA would have a strong position on."

Joe Brolly GAA

Joe Brolly urges GAA chiefs to 'back unity poll'

Interview, Irish News

11.03.19 Joe Brolly

Northern society has become “intolerable” for people who identify as Irish.

NI has now become a “diseased, dysfunctional society” and he is urging the GAA to formally support a border poll.

The GAA was founded on the basis of politics. It was to create a sense of identity. A 32-county community.

“…GAA’s endorsement and support for a unity poll... is entirely legitimate, peaceable and reflective of our membership's views.”

Brian McAvoy GAA

Ulster GAA boss: Learn from Brexit and plan for Irish unity in any border poll

Interview, Irish News

12.03.19 Brian McAvoy

The GAA has "always been neutral" on Ireland's referendums,

On a border poll: "I think this one's slightly different given our ethos."

And one thing that Brexit has taught us, if you vote or have a vote for change, and that vote succeeds, it's in everyone's interests to have an idea of what it's going to look like on the other side

And we're paying the price because Brexit was never thought through – and we have been in chaos ever since.

I would like to know what would be on the other side, and I think a border poll would have a much greater chance of success if we knew exactly what was happening on the other side.

And when that time comes, and there is a border poll, the GAA will make its position very very clear.

Peter Maguire Medical Doctor

Leading Northern Ireland doctor quits 'toxic' NHS to work in Republic

Interview, Irish News

12.01.19 Peter Maguire

A consultant anaesthetist who left the NHS in the north to work in Monaghan over what he saw as an erosion of Irish identity and Brexit uncertainty.

“Healthcare in Ireland is a two-way street. This is really important and must continue.”

“A hard Brexit would mean controls would go up between the north and the Republic. That removal of free movement would be a complete affront to Irish nationalism. It also reduces our Europeanism and it is something we didn’t vote for.”

Paul Bew Academic

Leading historian says case must be made for NI to stay in UK

Interview, Irish Times

19.06.19 Paul Bew

A new, modern case for the union must be developed, based on the principle of consent.

The new British prime minister must make the case for the United Kingdom with a positive vision to counter the nationalist narrative, a prominent historian has suggested.

Lord Paul Bew, who teaches Irish history and politics at Queen’s University Belfast (QUB), said Theresa May’s successor must make the case for the union consistently and also highlight what he described as the “intellectual weakness” of the case for a united Ireland.

Mervyn Gibson Orange Order

Orange Order chief 'will accept united Ireland' if majority votes for it

Interview, Belfast Telegraph

10.07.19 Mervyn Gibson

If Unity secured via a border poll, he would accept the democratic result and was not “going to go to war over it”

Proud to be from “Northern Ireland” but felt he had an all-Ireland dimension

Commended Leo Varadkar for outreach work

Fiach Kelly Deputy Political Editor, Irish Times

Irish politics needs to wake up to the consequences of a no-deal Brexit

Irish Times, Opinion Piece

29.06.19 Fiach Kelly

Nationalists in Northern Ireland will not forget Varadkar’s December 2017 promise that they would never again be left behind by a Dublin government.

Earlier this year senior figures in Government privately suggested that conversations about the relationship between North and South would need to start once Brexit was settled.

Sometime next year we will have a general election here. If it happens against the chaos of no deal, and even if it does not, the constitutional settlement across the island is likely to feature in the election debate.

Others in Leinster House, and not just in Sinn Féin, speak of a white paper on a united Ireland – backed by the full machinery of the civil service – within the lifetime of the next government as agreed policy between all parties in the Dáil, with a unity referendum within a decade.

None of this will be seriously discussed before a potential no-deal Brexit for fear of agitating unionism. But it is these questions, and not just the economic costs of a disorderly Brexit, that could dominate the years ahead.

RTÉ/TG4/Red C Exit Poll Conducted during Local and European elections 24.05.19 RTÉ - TG4 - RED C

According to the exit poll, 65% of voters said they would be in favour of a united Ireland if a referendum was held tomorrow, while 19% said they wouldn’t be.

Once you factor out those who either said they did not know or refused to vote, the number of voters in favour of the proposal rises to 77%, and the number of those against rises to 23%.

Alex Kane Political commentator and former director of communications for the Ulster Unionist Party Alex Kane: Unionists need to be ready for eventuality of Border poll 31.05.19 Alex Kane

“At some point the very existence of Northern Ireland and “Ulster” unionism will be determined by a border poll. Unionism needs to be ready for that eventuality.

It needs to be prepared for and able to answer the most fundamental constitutional question of all: is continuing membership of the United Kingdom preferable to a new beginning in a united Ireland?”

Harold Good Methodist Minister, oversaw decommissioning

Methodist minister Harold Good urges Protestants to join actor James Nesbitt in looking at future of NI through a new lens

Opinion piece, Eamon Mallie (mallie.com)

08.06.19 Harold Good

Responding to James Nesbitt piece

Only when we can share such a conversation as a people who have confidence in ourselves and our own positions and traditions, as well as an understanding of each others, can we begin to explore political options without prejudice, fear or pre-conception. This is a big ‘ask’ but not beyond us, and as Nesbitt reminds us particularly important as we approach the anniversaries of 1920 and 1921.

The alternative is to drift on, ignoring the realities which inevitably will determine our future.

Let us move beyond the flawed assumption that to discuss that which is difficult and initially contrary to my personal and familial history is an unthinkable betrayal of my tradition!

Bobby McDonagh Former Irish Ambassador to Britain

Parity of esteem for Britishness essential in any united Ireland

Irish Times, Opinion Piece

16.06.19 Bobby McDonagh

We must have the courage to recognise that, if one day there is to be a united Ireland, the most basic requirement will be that it not only tolerates the British identity of unionists but that it also embraces that identity in friendship and respect.

We must have the courage to recognise that, if one day there is to be a united Ireland, the most basic requirement will be that it not only tolerates the British identity of unionists but that it also embraces that identity in friendship and respect.

Séamas O’Reilly Author

A progressive, united Ireland seems more likely than ever – thanks to the DUP

Guardian, Opinion Piece

11.07.19 Séamas O'Reilly

It remains to be seen if Foster and her pals will end up living in a pro-choice, gay-friendly united Ireland – a Sodom and Begorrah, lifted directly from their most fervid nightmares, one that they would have accidentally helped create.

Cealainn Hogan Journalist

A united Ireland now looks like an increasing possibility

New Statesman article

11.02.19 Cealainn Hogan

According to recent polls, 86 per cent of people surveyed in the Republic preferred a united Ireland to a hard border and 62 per cent of people in Northern Ireland believe that Brexit makes a united Ireland more likely. Reunification would mean Northern Ireland automatically remains in the EU.

The Good Friday Agreement recognised the constitutional will of the Irish nation to “unite all the people who share the territory of the island of Ireland, in all the diversity of their identities and traditions,” and that “a united Ireland shall be brought about only by peaceful means”, through consent “democratically expressed, in both jurisdictions in the island.”

A united Ireland was always “the solution that dare not speak its name.”

Tara Mills Journalist

Would some Unionists back a United Ireland?

BBC News in the north

01.08.19 Tara Mills

Short pieces from;

Jim Dornan - "We were brought up to believe that Great Britain was our only future, but now it seems maybe people in Britain don't feel that way as much any more."

Tim McKane (business) – "It (Brexit) made me feel that perhaps we're dispensable. In fact I discussed it with my family and thought, 'I don't know what flag I stand under any more? What does it even mean to be British now?'"

Roberta Gray (loyalist) – "Do people in the south even want us?"

Alison Blaney (community voluntary) – “…a border poll is very dangerous. Let's get over Brexit before we jump from the frying pan and into the fire."

Sam McBride (Newsletter) - "The fact that even some unionists are starting to think about this is significant, but I think it has been quite oversold in some quarters.”

Sean Bell Reporter

Analysis: How likely is an Irish border poll?

Commonspace article

31.07.19 Sean Bell

“In a perfect world, the five year timescale would allow the relevant parties sufficient time to inarguably demonstrate the existence of majority support for such a vote.

In the world we unfortunately live in, the person weighing this evidence will be the new Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Julian Smith, along with the prime minister he answers to, and it is unclear what precisely what would be necessary to convince them that the GFA threshold had been met. Opinion polls? Election results? Demonstrations on the streets?

Considering that the Tory government relies on the DUP, they would also need to be persuaded – and given that some of their ranks have not yet been convinced by climate change and evolution, that’s a big ask.

But if democracy is denied to the people of Northern Ireland, as it was so infamously to Catalonia, that position will no longer remain tenable for either party.”

Jonathan Gorvett Journalist

Will Brexit be the end of the United Kingdom?

Foreign Policy, Argument Piece

29.07.19 Jonathan Gorvett

Putting all these factors together, it is perhaps not surprising that the debate on Irish unity has recently gained momentum.

“Being removed from the EU against the will of the majority here in Northern Ireland has created a whole new dynamic,” Harvey said. “The Good Friday Agreement also allows for a future referendum”—on Irish unity—“and we need to start preparing for this now.”

An April survey showed that around 62 percent of voters in the south would vote to unite with the north. A March poll in Northern Ireland showed only 32 percent in favour, with 45 percent against. Yet the poll also showed some 23 percent undecided.

Finn McRedmond Writer

Support for a United Ireland is surging – and for the first time, it’s backed by moderates

The New Statesman, Opinion piece

02.08.19 Finn McRedmond

A new case for Irish unity has been ignited by Brexit, one grounded in economic logic, shorn of unpalatable historic reference, and championed by moderate Irish politicians.

The call for a united Ireland, then, is no longer the sole domain of Sinn Féin. It is still a distant reality – unionists still outnumber nationalists in the north. But, when that case is made by Varadkar and Coveney, moderates who don’t come from a republican tradition are more likely to listen. The prospect of a united Ireland is granted mainstream legitimacy.


Person/Entity Responsible Info Title/Nature of Intervention Date Link Note
Peter Robinson Former leader of the DUP

North should prepare for united Ireland possibility - ex-DUP leader

Speech at Magill Summer School

23.07.18 Peter Robinson

People should prepare for that possibility [United Ireland] and accept the result.

As soon as that decision is taken, every democrat will have to accept that decision.

Robinson explained that Unionists must prepare for a border poll:

I don't expect my own house to burn down but I still insure it

David McWilliams Economist

Why the idea of a United Ireland is back in play

Opinion Piece, Financial Times

30.11.18 David McWilliams

One of the most striking developments of the past three decades is how much richer the Republic of Ireland has become compared with the whole of the UK in general and Northern Ireland in particular. Commercially the union has been a calamity for Northern Ireland. Everyone has suffered financially, Catholic and Protestant, nationalist and unionist alike. Although rarely appreciated in the din of local politics and recrimination, as an economic experiment, Partition has been a disaster.

Prosperity, not Protestantism, will save the Union. Right now the biggest threat to this is the DUP and their Brexiter allies.

**Other McWilliams Pieces**

The contrast between the economic performances of the North and South is shocking. If we go back to 1920, 80% of the industrial output of the entire island of Ireland came from the three counties centred on Belfast. This was where all Irish industry was. It was industrial and innovative; northern entrepreneurs and inventors were at the forefront of industrial innovation. By 1911, Belfast was the biggest city in Ireland, with a population of close to 400,000, which was growing rapidly. It was by far the richest part of the island.

The Republic’s economy is now four times that of the North, even though the labour force is not even two-and-a-half times bigger.

In terms of income per head, the Republic is now almost twice as rich per person as the North. The average income per head in the Republic is €39,873, while it languishes at €23,700 up North.

Jamie Dornan Actor

Jamie Dornan 'just feels Irish - we are separate from the UK'

Interview with Eamon Mallie, reported by the Belfast Telegraph

05.02.18 Jamie Dornan

"I just feel Irish,

"A lot of that's down to so many different reasons, mostly geography, that we are an island separate from the UK, so how could you, why would you feel more connected to that other piece of land than you do to the piece of land that you are living on?”

He claimed he is kept awake at night by the impact Brexit will have on the north and says that all options should be on the table.

Jim Dornan Professor

Jamie Dornan's father Professor Jim says he'd vote for united Ireland if 'good deal' for unionists

Interview, Belfast Telegraph

18.05.18 Jim Dornan

“It is not so much that I am thinking the unthinkable. I think everything is on the table at the moment.”

On whether he thought a border poll would see a victory for Irish unity, he said: “Against the Union as we have at the moment. There is a lot of people nowadays, not just me, who are saying ‘you know what, if somebody offers me a better deal and somebody offers me a good deal, then I would go for it’.