In the Republic Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael supporters more enthusiastic for UI than those of Sinn Fein

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.

  • mollymooly

    The breaking of unity-aspiration by party doesn’t distinguish core voters from floating voters. FF’s support is historically low: down to the diehards, who are quite dark green. SF’s support is historically high: boosted by the disaffected, who have a general sense of grievance rather than agreeing with any particular SF policy.

    I don’t like the “Irish, British, both or neither” options; “both” would seem to encompass both”some are Irish and others are British” and “all are both”, which are very different views.

  • BarneyT

    How was enthusiam measured. I would expect unification to be a default option for any SF supporter. Its a little like a UKIP supporter being relaxed about border control! 🙂

  • Tochais Síoraí

    As Molly says, the survey appears to have left out the key ‘some are Irish, some are British’ option. However it does seem to confirm that interest in NI and a UI has very
    little correlation with the level of SF support in the Republic.

    Re geography, for people in Munster NI is like Fr Dougal’s small cow, it’s very far away. As for Dubs it’s definitely a foreign place, same as everywhere else outside the M50.

  • I’m guessing the 4% see the Northern Irish, as, erm, Northern Irish.

    I’m okay with them not having a ‘combination of Irish and British’ option. Only someone from NI would consider that 🙂

  • “Asked if they considered the people of Northern Ireland to be Irish, British, both or neither”

    Just a few weeks ago, the Irish government’s tourism department portrayed the folks in Northern Ireland as 0% Irish so it’s nice to see that the Plain People are a bit more enlightened 🙂

    The ice has begun to thaw and a little bit of reality has begun to sink in. The wellie-tossers and the munchers of Tayto crisps still take precedence over those who are non-Catholic or who play sports other than Gaelic games.

    You’d think that folks in the Dublin establishment would know that the Giants Causeway was a World Heritage Site:

    You’d like to show him all that’s great about Ireland – our UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Newgrange and Skellig Michael; the stark stony beauty of the Burren; or the wonder of the Book of Kells, penned by those monks more than a thousand years ago

    Perhaps a bit more attention should have been paid to the make-up of the Diaspora and outsiders rather than to confining visitors to the 26-county ‘laager’ 😉

  • “before I head off to Stormont”

    and a bit too late to be refused admittance to the Committee for Justice:

    Closed from 11:00 AM (120 mins)

    Briefing by the Attorney General for Northern Ireland on the criminal law relating to abortion in Northern Ireland

    Mr John Larkin QC, Attorney General for Northern Ireland; Ms Maura McCallion, Attorney General for Northern Ireland; Mr Ian Wimpress, Attorney General for Northern Ireland

    Is it not time to expose more of such closed-doors nonsense? As democrats, we are entitled to be informed about what is said and done in our name. [/off topic]

  • Nordie Northsider

    Intriguing results indeed. Can the relatively large ‘No opinion’ response be partially explained by the large ‘non-national’ population, especially in Dublin?

    ‘Non-nationals’ (sorry, it’s better than ‘imigrants’ or ‘The New Irish’) might also influence the ‘Northern Ireland people are British’ response, given that they are less likely to have an historical or cultural view on the issue but simply judge on the basis of the current constitutional arrangements.

  • FuturePhysicist

    Sinn Féin Theas don’t want the North, because it ensures money they can’t administer heads Northwards, while they are campaigning sometimes for the greater needs in places in the Republic.

    Sinn Féin Thuaidh don’t want the South, because it ensures government money that they do administer from the North heads Southwards.

    Also, they both want a pre-conditional united Ireland, without the parts of the North or South they don’t like or don’t reflect the Sinn Féin “Ireland of Equals” rather than an “Ireland of Equals”.

    Rather than campaigning for a circular flow that could benefit everyone from the Kerry Gaeltacht to the Orange Halls of North Down they adopt a protectionist protest policy of UK out, EU/IMF out respectively, replace UK with ROI and they’re just like a lot of the political Unionists.

  • Neil

    Well that’s one regularly trotted out line debunked (‘they don’t want you down south’) now if only we could do something about that other falllback, the NILT survey. Other than point out who inaccurate it is elsewhere of course.

  • Dixie Elliott

    I very much doubt that many in the northern half of SF would really want a United Ireland these days….

    The Gravy Train, they are used to travelling 1st Class in, stops at the border.

    If the Brits went, they’re surely thinking, so does all that funding and the control of who gets or doesn’t get it.

    Who can create several jobs for themselves if the funding is no longer there? There are those among them thinking.

    Naw, “it pays to be British,” say they to themselves, while publicly, ” we’re working towards a United Ireland!! “

  • Neil


    sounds like wishful thinking there. The whole ‘they don’t want you’ argument is dead in the water, so it seems like your clutching at straws.

    Good job then that what SF (or any other party) wants is irrelevant. They don’t get to make the decision, we do through a democratic vote.

    What’s weird is the fact that Unionists, super confident of success in any referendum, seem utterly terrified that one might be held. Funny that Peter the Punt would be convinced of a 90% victory yet somehow they don’t want a referendum. And please don’t say it’s because of the poor taxpayer, that doesn’t seem to matter much when Loyalists go on the rampage (sorry, commit ‘civil disobedience) when the OO don’t get their way. If we can afford to march off hundreds of millions of pounds annually, we can afford a wee referendum for our tiny population.

    We could do it in 2015 at minimal cost, all we need is one more ballot on the day.

  • Old Mortality

    ‘We could do it in 2015 at minimal cost, all we need is one more ballot on the day.’

    What would be the point? There would be no concrete proposals to vote on so voters would merely be expressing either a “wouldn’t it be nice” or a “no, it wouldn’t be” aspiration.

  • Neil

    Well if the Scots can arrange proposals for complete independenxe by 2015 then it should be wee buns for us to come up with proposals in the same timeframe. Especially as our situation should be much more easily resolved than the Scots. The point being a referendum could be held in tandem with any election for minimal cost. Unionists will continue coming up with spurious reasons not to of course but it just smacks of fear. If Peter thought he’d win a landslide he’d do it. But he won’t and we all know why.

  • Dixie Elliott

    Says Neil…


    sounds like wishful thinking there. The whole ‘they don’t want you’ argument is dead in the water, so it seems like your clutching at straws.”

    Neil I would consider myself put in my place if I knew just exactly what place I was put in and what you were talking about in reference to what I posted above.

    Nowhere have I posted anything about ‘they don’t want you’ for my argument to be dead in any water. Maybe you could go back and point it out for me?

    In fact I clearly referred to “many in the northern half of SF”
    Just in case it’s not clear enough that means…SF in the North.

    Now what I’m saying – again – is…Many Shinners ( members of SF) in the North are too content with their British funded jobs to want to give it up for a United Ireland where I’m sure an Irish government is hardly likely to pump millions into the Sinn Fein party in order to fund their work force.

    Would you not agree that has nothing to do with the people of the South not wanting us Northerners?

  • Neil

    Apologies Dixie I took you for a Unionist trying to find another reason why a UI is never going to happen. Crossed wires…

  • Old Mortality

    Scotland is quite different. It would not involve the integration of two separate systems whereas how you vote might well be influenced by whether you’re willing to pay for private health insurance.
    A successful border poll from your point of view would simply be the trigger for lengthy negotiations followed by a further referendum on the final proposals on both sides of the border.

  • Dixie Elliott

    What if the Unionists say, as they likely would, that they will boycott any referendum on Unity?

    Will the Brits say, “to hell with you, a majority has voted in favour, its a democracy ‘n all that – we’re handing NI over to the South?”

    The thing is, certain people are living in the silly world of Gerry Adams. They believe anything he says.

    The other thing is, Gerry Adamsites – the whole ‘When a Majority agrees to a United Ireland’ thing was in the Sunningdale Agreement 1973 – Why did it take him and his ‘advisers’ all those years and so many deaths later to decide that was the best way forward?

  • BarneyT

    “integration of two separate systems” whoo hoo…lots of IT work!!!

    Or perhaps just another outsoucing opportunity.

  • FuturePhysicist

    No more difficult than unifying Germany. The logistics of maintaining the union for Britain and Northern Ireland would be far more difficult.

    And outsource IT???

    I.T. is perhaps the only industry that doesn’t get outsourced from Ireland!