[Corrected] over half of southerners think restriction of Union flag in Belfast was wrong…

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Well, southerners may not have been impressed with the shenanigans of Loyalist protesters, but it is clear they’re not impressed with the move to take the ‘flag from the pole’ either. Here’s the latest Red C findings:

Over half of those surveyed, 57pc, felt Belfast city council was wrong to restrict the flying of the Union flag at Belfast city hall.

Update: From the official report, courtesy of JR below:

  • Over half of those that expressed an opinion (57%) suggest that they feel the Belfast City Council was wrong to restrict the flying of the Union flag at Belfast City Hall.
  • In total, just a third of Irish voters (35%) thought the council were right to restrict the flying of the Union flag, while 47% thought they were wrong to restrict it and 18% did not express a view.
  • Little variance is evident across demographics in terms of attitudes, however party support shows Sinn Féin supporters in highest agreement that it was the right decision but still at only 48%.

More on the other findings later…

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  • Henry94

    The context is the panic at the prospect of Wille Fraser and his motley crew bringing a protest to Dublin with the possibility of a repeat of the Love Ulster riots. It’s sad to see intimidation working so well on those who are not used to it. Northern nationalists have had to toughen up because they can’t just wish the problem away.

    Looks like the loyalists have stumbled on a good strategy. At least in the short term.

  • JR

    This is not the first inaccurate and misleading headline you have posted recently Mick.

    Here are the poll results.
    http://redcresearch.ie/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Paddy-Power-10th-Jan-Political-Poll-2013.pdf

  • Mick Fealty

    It must have heightened awareness, but how does that translate into putting blame on northern nationalists?

  • SK

    You are incorrect here Mick.

    “Over half of those that expressed an opinion (57%) suggest that they feel the Belfast City Council was
    wrong to restrict the flying of the Union flag at Belfast City Hall.”

  • MALCOLMX

    Given micks interview on RT and his statistics mix up, many thought he would be more careful in future. Looks like we were wrong.

  • sherdy

    Seems every strand of opinion was sought – except SF voters – wonder why?

  • Pint of Plain

    Take the headline down from the mast, Iri…?

  • Mick Fealty

    Argh!

  • Mick Fealty

    Done!!

    Sorry guys, it’s the way the indo copy was written up. Had to put dinner on the table. Coulda, shoulda woulda, don’t cut it, I know…

    Still just 48% support amongst SF supporters and more than half agin, is not a great result.

  • Henry94

    The poll was very badly put as it only allowed for the unionist position and what turned out to be the compromise position. Respondents were not given the option of supporting the original nationalist position of not flying the flag at all.

    If the there options had been put properly I have no doubt you would have had a clear majority for the compromise.

  • SK

    I still dont get the maths here.

    57% of people responded.

    Of the people who responded, 47% disapproved of the flag being restricted.

    How does that equate of half of the population?

  • MALCOLMX

    I thought it was 47% so under half not over?

  • SK

    How does that equate to half of the population*

  • Reader

    Henry: The context is the panic at the prospect of Wille Fraser and his motley crew bringing a protest to Dublin with the possibility of a repeat of the Love Ulster riots. It’s sad to see intimidation working so well on those who are not used to it.
    First I thought you were having a wee laugh. But no – you seem serious. Goodness knows how you think your fellow citizens would react to the prospect of a United Ireland.

  • SK

    “Goodness knows how you think your fellow citizens would react to the prospect of a United Ireland.”
    _________-

    Positively, if the most recent survey concerning the border is to believed.

    This Red C poll demonstrates that unionists would have nothing to fear from southerners if unity were to come about.

  • Republic of Connaught

    I don’t think it was wrong at all for a majority in Belfast council to make the decision they did. A pity a red c pollster never made parley with me. If in the event of a united Ireland a majority in Belfast city council decide they want to only fly the new All Ireland flag on designated days, I would say fair enough. No big deal.

    What you’re seeing in Belfast is merely a gang of working class Protestants who have been reared on naked sectarianism and a supremacist colonial psychology who can’t accept the changing dynamics of the NI state. I’m sure ordinary Protestants are afraid of these wild thugs because they know what they are, whatever flag of convenience they use.

    All you hear from working class loyalism is the poor mouth and tears of woe. Have they ever visted working class areas in Limerick or Dublin, let alone places like Bradford or Barnsley.

    The ‘poor’ Belfast loyalists think they’re special compared to the working class across Ireland or Britain, that’s their real problem. Throw money at them at they’ll stop their rioting. That’s what it’s really all about in these austere times – the milk has dried up from the English teet.

  • JR

    I agree with sk, this is much better for nationalism that southerners show support for unionists in this matter as a demonstration they have nothing to fear from a UI.

  • carnmoney.guy

    Cheers JR, great survey

    1. The increase in support for Fianna Fail – thought they had been put to the sword

    2. Nobody knows what they want from the new abortion act

    3. RTE coverage has been sympathetic towards the flag issue. The feel good factor from the Queens visit is still strong

  • forthman

    Surprised it wasn’t 100%, considering Tommie Gorman’s usual ‘offerings’ to the nation!

  • Dec

    Can Red C run a similar poll whereby Belfast ratepayers have their say on Dublin City Council?

  • Zig70

    The underlying sentiment is that to a large portion of mexicans, nordies are all backward blood thirsty crazies. They often don’t distinguish between the tribes and happy to have a border. Though the polls still say a majority would want a ui there would be a lot of reservation about the cost to policing and economy of a troublesome Antrim and north Down.

  • http://www.banuanlae.org/ Ulick

    20% of southerners think it was wrong to restrict the flag. Is this suppose to be news of some sort?

  • http://www.banuanlae.org/ Ulick

    “Still just 48% support amongst SF supporters and more than half agin, is not a great result.”

    Is that not 48% of those who expressed an opinion? Then there is an 11% margin of error based on the sample size of 83.

  • Mick Fealty

    Yeah. It is. And I accept the health warning.

    These are likely to be very light preferences about an issue about which a significant number of the population don’t care to express an opinion. Of those who did express a preference, a majority, let’s say, could not see the point in doing it?

  • toaster

    Belfast Councillors took a democratic decision. The opinions of others are irrelevant. This democratic stance was correct.

    And once it democratically decides to remove it altogether, it’ll be even better :)

  • between the bridges

    will SF vote for flying the union flag on designated days in/on the Oireachtas…

  • Count Eric Bisto von Granules

    Any chance MORI could carry out a poll on whether the British want NI to remain part of the union?

  • Cric

    My guess is that our southern friends are so comfortable with their own national identity that they are not sure what all the fuss is up north ‘we’re Irish, we’re comfortable, let them be British’ – with the only issue being that not everyone up north is actually British – and both northern communities have deep insecurities about their own national identities, to the point they both feel the need to engage in this cultural tug-of-war.

    The Belfast agreement was not a settlement, but an agreement to disagree – and as demographics continue to change we are going to see a lot more of this nonsense.

    At the minute the pomp of state is still lopsided towards one community – the state is very much more symbolically British than it is Irish. I can only guess that the Irish among us will continue to try change this to reflect their own tribal loyalties. Therefore surely the only possible long term solution is to actually come to some sort of cultural settlement on this. To fly both flags. To agree that Northern Ireland is at an official level both Irish and British and that both nationalities have equality in every aspect – and that a demographic shift to 51% Nationalist will not lead to Green post boxes and Eddy Carson’s Stormont statue getting a rope around it’s neck. Cultural equality outside of sectarian head counts.

    Sure we’ll have more protests, ‘Ulster is British and only British’ and all the jingoism, but the more astute Unionists among us will recognise that the surest way to protect the Union will be to make sure all those nationalists (small n) are very comfortable exactly where they are within a state which represents them.

  • Framer

    That 57% of southerners feel Belfast City Council was wrong to restrict the flying of the Union flag at Belfast City Hall is a colossal slap in the face for the Alliance Party triangulators.
    It should however enable them to review the issue given also the party is not a member of the Unionist Forum which has to deal with the aftermath of their decision.
    The poll result is quite heart warming and chimes with my assessment of the south in recent years – it is a country that wishes Northern Ireland, and particularly the Protestant population, well.
    No longer Hibernian but, dare I say it, Republican?
    Not that the frantic, nay panicky, posts above would allow it.

  • David Crookes

    “This Red C poll demonstrates that unionists would have nothing to fear from southerners if unity were to come about.”

    Can’t argue with that, SK. Being confident in itself, the RoI is able to look generously upon its neighbour. What I was regularly told in my childhood — “They want our industries” — sounds now as if it belongs to a different planet. As of course it really does.

    By the way, the present economic thing will pass.

  • David Crookes

    Bang on, Framer. The ultra-pure unionist response to the Queen’s visit was frantic, panicky, and boorish.

  • http://openunionism.wordpress.com/ st etienne

    The poll was very badly put…

    I agree with sk, this is much better for nationalism that southerners show support for unionists in this matter as a demonstration they have nothing to fear from a UI.

    And last but not least, the insightful view from Connaught…

    What you’re seeing in Belfast is merely a gang of working class Protestants who have been reared on naked sectarianism and a supremacist colonial psychology

    These three posts where the highlights for me.

  • http://openunionism.wordpress.com/ st etienne

    do you agree St Etienne?

  • http://openunionism.wordpress.com/ st etienne

    Why, now you mention it St Etienne, I do indeed. Marvellous.

  • latcheeco

    Perhaps, in the interest of fairness, Red C might have polled our 26 county siblings on two further questions:

    1. Now that they are a clear majority and their parents no longer have to tolerate it, should the nationalist children of Beal Feirste still have to grow up being made to feel as unwanted outsiders in their own city by unionists’ unique 24/7 365 fleg supremacism?

    2. Given what happened to Belfast nationalists since partition, should they set any store whatsoever by your judgements about them ?

  • Alias

    Northern Ireland’s Catholics enjoyed a far higher standard of living than their counterparts in Ireland, with the bulk of Ireland’s early industrial wealth being concentrated in what is now Northern Ireland – which is why its Catholic population supported the Irish Parliamentary Party and voted against independence. Partition was the best thing that ever happened to them, keeping their counterparts in Ireland from competing with them for jobs.

    It was their desire to get more for nothing from the British state that led to the troubles up there, with an apology long overdue from them for the damage that their sectarian murder campaign did to both the Irish economy and the Northern Irish economy.

    Most ‘Southerners’ are thoroughly sick of their constant MOPEry, and recognise that life for the Protestants wasn’t exactly a bed of roses for the last 40 years.

  • weidm7

    A better question would be to ask southerners do they know where the north is, or if it exists or do they still think ‘Ireland’ is just the ‘Republic of Ireland’.

  • DoppiaVu

    So first the Equalities Impact Assessment shows no support for removing the flag.

    Now it appears that southerners don’t seem that keen on the idea.

    Once again, joe public in the south shows himself to have more in common with the northern unionist than the northern republican.

    Ourselves Alone – indeed.

  • mollymooly

    The meaningfulness of the results is diluted by the fact that the question was unusually badly phrased:

    “Recently Belfast City Council restricted the flying of the Union flag over Belfast City Hall, by limiting the number of days it can be flown to 17 days per year. Do you think the council were..
    * WRONG to restrict, as Belfast is in the UK and the flag should be able to be flown there
    * RIGHT to restrict the flying of the union flag, as it will be flown on specific occasions”

  • BarneyT

    Perhaps they believe it was the wrong thing to do as a retrospective consideration? Perhaps most that were questioned were mindful of the reaction and would therefore wish to avoid that, hence their response?

    Its like any poll. Its depends on the question and when it is asked.

  • Mick Fealty

    Weidm,

    This is well worth sharing, I think: http://goo.gl/X7mtk

    It’s from a few years back and the samples are pretty small, but illustrative I think. 97% of respondents had been to the UK, and here’s the breakdown…

    Successor generation survey UK visits mentions

  • Iwerzon

    The middle-class politicians bang their sectarian drum and their working class foot-soldiers run to their beckon call. The removal of the flag was a democratic decision but when democracy doesn’t go their way the loyalist/unionists call foul play. Southerners in the Rep of Ireland can take some responsibility in the Northern problem since they left us high and dry in 1922 in essence causing the problem in the 1st place, settling for a 26 county compromise. The only solution is to fly both the Union flag and the Irish tri-colour over government buildings in the 6 counties as this will be a manifestation of mutual understanding and respect!

  • BarneyT

    Well any final solution will involve the whole island and all three governments…and I’m being generous to Stormont there :-) I think some of the comments about the ROI and Unionism coming to a solution is interesting. The West Brit phenomenon?

  • David Crookes

    BarneyT, it always shocks unionists-in-transition like me to discover that people in the RoI don’t regard NI’s nationalists and republicans as uniquely virtuous and altogether desirable.

  • Rory Carr

    Alias asserts that:

    “Most ‘Southerners’ are thoroughly sick of their constant MOPEry, and recognise that life for the Protestants wasn’t exactly a bed of roses for the last 40 years.”

    to which I can only respond that it seems that most ‘Northeners’ ( i.e. myself) believe that, in this case, ” ‘most Southerners’ ” (i.e. Alias) at least agrees with himself, even if there is no evidence whatsoever that anyone else does..

  • Cric

    “BarneyT, it always shocks unionists-in-transition like me to discover that people in the RoI don’t regard NI’s nationalists and republicans as uniquely virtuous and altogether desirable.”

    People from NI nationalist backgrounds don’t always see ourselves as uniquely virtuous or desirable – especially the flag waiving T.A.L. elements. The political maturity and self confidence of Irish people across the border may, however, be used as evidence that the border itself is the cause of northern tribalism – maybe our northern compatriots would be as mellow as the southerners on issues of nationality if they actually felt that they lived in their own country.

  • David Crookes

    Thanks a lot, Cric, and sorry if you thought I was having a go at the other sort. What you say is spot on.

    ‘Mellow’ is a great word. May it come to characterize us all.

  • IrelandNorth

    “Southerners” (sic) like those from Munster. Or southerners as everyone south of the commissioned boundary which doesn’t really delineate the island symetrically. How come some us are distinctly unprone to being canvassed by professional polesters in nearly half a century. And as a terminal sceptic, am I right in intuiting that opinion polls do not really reflect public opinions, but merely the opinions which the political establishment want it’s public TO have. Looks like the statistical industry is at it again.

  • Greenflag

    The harsh truth is that people from ROI other than perhaps some though not all SF members are not that fussed about whether the union jack is flown 365 days a year , 15 days or 0 days . They are more concerned about economic and social issues and how soon the country will be out of it’s current mainly self inflicted financial cul de sac . And the good news is that there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel for later this year in Ireland and Spain is on the mend . Once Merkel is re-elected as Germany’s i.e the EU’s Kanzlerin things will progress faster in the ‘financial reform ‘ lane .
    On the other side of the ocean President Obama’s appointment of new Treasury Secretary Lew sends a strong signal to Wall St that they will not have it all their own way for the next several years . Also the appointment of Chuck Hagel ( a moderate Republican -and a Vietnam vet -the species is not entirely extinct ) will help put a brake on the warmongering factions within the Republicans and the ‘Israel ‘ can do no wrong nutters . We may yet even see the the USA with it’s own foreign policy again instead of being seen as the lap dog of Netanyahoo Israeli warmongers . A full withdrawal from Afghanistan seems on the cards .
    The Iranians will be getting rid of their ‘embarassment ‘ of a leader this year also .

    The USA’s ‘warning’ to the UK about leaving the EU being a major error is another indication that Obama’s second term may be a little more radical than his first term . Just as well -it’s overdue .

    And the ‘flags ‘ . Just more non productive navel gazing as if it ever made a jot of difference to people’s lives .

  • latcheeco

    “as if it ever made a jot of difference to people’s lives”
    .
    Well, it did and it didn’t Greenflag, but you weren’t cursed enough to land on the wrong side of partition, and unless your people have been made to feel like unwelcome outsiders in their own city you won’t know what difference flying the union jack in their faces 365 days a year made.

  • ayeYerMa

    I wish David-”Unionist it transition”-Crookes would stop pretending that he isn’t from the Republic.

  • David Crookes

    Many thanks for your hilarious comment, ayeYerMa. Since elementary internet research is within the grasp of most people nowadays, it’s hard for a man who writes under his own name to ‘pretend’ very much.

    As Billy Simpson used to say in the Belfast Telegraph, you heff till leff.

  • Alias

    Well, David, I’ve been accused of the reverse: of being a northern Protestant camouflaged as a southern Catholic, usually for the purpose of disseminating black propaganda. Oddly enough, folks believe me when I tell them that Alias is the name on my birth certificate.

  • Neil

    Oddly enough, folks believe me when I tell them that Alias is the name on my birth certificate.

    Hope that wasn’t for me. I was joking when I asked if Alias was your real name, being as it was a point of ‘who do I believe, this anonymous internet guy here or the United Nations.’

  • David Crookes

    Thanks, Alias. ‘Black propaganda’! What are people scared of? If you or I say something false, they are at liberty to refute it by reasoned argument.

    In the republic of letters, you’re allowed to think for yourself, and even to have a new idea: but dwellers in a less genial commonwealth will accuse you of subversion and treachery.

    If your new idea begins to find acceptance, you should expect an attempt on your life. Nothing is more dangerous to a fear-ridden status quo than a new idea.

    You may have watched ‘Prof. Dr. Guenther Gruhn from the ECB’ addressing an audience in the RoI (if not, you can get it on YouTube). I was struck by the people who LISTENED — mature confident people, able to laugh at themselves. If only…..

  • Erasmus

    Southern reactions to events northern tend to be abridged, reflexive, and and simplistic.
    In this case it would go along the following lines:

    I see the north is starting up again (moans and groans).
    What’s it about this time?
    Something to do with a flag being taken down from a building.
    Then why didn’t they just leave the ******** thing up there?

  • Mick Fealty

    Great précis Erasmus. And most probably deadly accurate. It has the combined appeal of simplicity with appropriate amounts of wtf?

  • Erasmus

    Thanks for the plaudits, Mick. Incidentally how does one italicise in Slugger? If it’s possible could you go in and put ‘I see the north’ etc in italics.

  • Mick Fealty

    Usual html mark up works okay…

  • Johnny Boy

    It’s not really a surprising slice of opinion, I think most people can see that a peaceful, stable, and prosperous NI suits everyone, whether they would ultmately like to see a UI, or NI remain in the UK. The course SF\SDLP seem to want to persue can only deliver a UI in tatters, and if DUP\UUP continue resist every step towards normalisation that doesn’t fit with their “Evey day is the 12th of July” ideal, there is a painful road ahead; I could even see it tempting many economic unionists into voting for a UI in exasberation to at least start an end game. While people continue to elect representatives who are above all Ideologically driven, it’s had to see anything other than strife in the medium, and even long term.

    My wife and I actually discussed potential exit strategy for our family last Saturday; the outlook is gloomy at the moment.