And before II head off to Stormont, some interesting detail from the Irish Times on southern attitudes to we now call the constitutional issue. Stephen Collins:
Asked if they considered the people of Northern Ireland to be Irish, British, both or neither – 46 per cent said both, 30 per cent said Irish, 9 per cent said British, 4 per cent said neither and 10 per cent had no opinion.
Younger people are markedly more inclined to have no opinion on this issue but there are no big class variations.
There is a big regional variation with people living in Dublin and Munster much less inclined than the rest to say those from the North are solely Irish. By contrast a majority living in Connacht-Ulster take the view that the people of the North are solely Irish.
By contrast, there is still an appetite for unification, and for paying for it. Though, there’s some weirdnesses in the breakdown:
Again there has been a steep rise in the proportion with no opinion, which has doubled to 28 per cent since 1987. Among younger people aged between 18 and 34 the proportion with no opinion is higher again with 37 per cent having no view.
Interestingly, Fianna Fáil voters were strongest in the view that a united Ireland was something to be hoped for. And, strangely, Sinn Féin voters were not as enthusiastic as Fine Gael supporters, despite the fact that Sinn Féin is the only one actively campaigning for unity.
Given the large number with no opinion on the subject it is interesting to note that 69 per cent of people say they would still favour a united Ireland even if they had to pay more in taxation to support it. Just 20 per cent said they would not favour unity in those circumstances while 11 per cent had no opinion.
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