New poll confirms Six County majority for unity
New poll confirms Six County majority for unity


A clear majority of those living in the north of Ireland now support Irish reunification, according to the results of a new opinion poll, while most people under the age of 50 say they are ready to vote for unity in a referendum.

In a LucidTalk poll in the Six Counties under British rule, support for nationalist parties has increased by 2% just in the past three months. The gains for the SDLP and Aontú have confirmed that, in a contest of political ideologies, nationalism now outpolls unionism, with 41% supporting parties which back a united Ireland, as against 40% for the unionist parties.

The poll also showed a surprisingly strong desire for unity among supporters of the cross-community Alliance Party, at over 70%. That has contributed to a headline figure of 52% of of voters in the Six Counties under British rule who now support reunification with the rest of Ireland – against just 44% who back a continuation of the existing union with England, Scotland and Wales.

But if a vote were held tomorrow, the poll indicates that lingering concerns over governance issues, as well as a fear of a return of British or loyalist violence, mean support for the Union would outpoll reunification, by 49% to 39%.

Ireland’s Future, a lobbying group which has promoted debate about Irish reunification, said it now expects a ‘border poll’ vote on Irish unity to be held by 2030.

Sinn Féin’s Six County Minister for the Economy, Conor Murphy, has urged the Dublin government to begin a “structured” dialogue around Irish unity in preparations for a unity referendum.

“There has been movement both in terms of support for the union, and in terms of either supporting the idea of a united Ireland or indeed potentially supporting a united Ireland over the last number of years,” he said.

“That dial has shifted significantly, and we haven’t even had a proper conversation yet in relation to what that would look like.

“For us the priority, is particularly for the government in Dublin to form a structured conversation, to analyse and examine all of the issues that may come in terms of constitutional change, so that when people do and I believe that they will come to make a decision on that in the not so distant future, that people are fully informed of what that involves.”

The poll comes as the British government tabled a motion at Westminster to unilaterally declare there is no basis in the Good Friday Agreement for joint authority with Dublin in the governance of the north of Ireland.

The measure is part of a deal to assure unionists that the Acts of Union, drafted in the late 18th century to formally annex the island of Ireland, remain intact following new trade regulations required by Brexit.

The ‘Safeguarding the Union’ command paper, which preceded the DUP’s return to Stormont, also pledges to repeal a section of the Brexit deal that places a legal duty on ministers to protect the all-island economy.

Speaking at Stormont, Mr Murphy said that the all-island economy should be encouraged. “I can’t understand for the life of me why they would want to legislate to restrict economic growth,” he said.

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