2/5 of DUP delegates would share power with Sinn Fein

PA has an interesting poll of DUP delegates taken at the weekend. It makes for interesting (and probably important) reading. A survey of 100 delegates attending yesterday`s DUP annual conference in Belfast revealed 39% of those questioned believed that, in the right context, the party should share power with Sinn Fein and other parties. The largest single opinion group believed that if the IRA ended criminality and destroyed every weapon that the party should share power with Sinn Fein.

However, 37% felt that even if the IRA ended its criminality and destroyed every weapon, direct rule by British ministers in Northern Ireland would be preferable while 24% had no opinion.

As the party prepared for a new round of talks tomorrow organised by the British and Irish governments to revive devolution, the opinion poll for the Sunday Times showed DUP delegates remained highly sceptical about claims last September that the IRA had destroyed its stockpile of weapons.

The results showed 93% did not believe decommissioning had been completed while only 4% were of the opinion that it had.

At first glance it seems at odds with the current hardline of the leadership – ie Ian Paisley. But it is faintly reflective of the party’s positive game before the robbery of the Northern Bank just before Christmas 2004.

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty

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