A recent poll conducted in Northern Ireland found that a majority of residents surveyed support the idea of Northern Ireland remaining in the United Kingdom. However, this poll also revealed that most of those questioned expect the region to secede from the UK by 2046. The results of the poll became public knowledge on Tuesday.
The Poll’s Results
Lucid Talk, a Northern Irish pollster with links to the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), conducted the survey. It found that if a referendum on secession from the UK were to be held today, around 49% of voters in Northern Ireland would vote for the region to remain within the UK. Approximately 43% of voters would favour secession, while the remaining 8% were undecided on the matter.
The same poll showed that 51% of the voters surveyed expect Northern Ireland to separate itself from the UK within the next 25 years. On the other hand, 37% of respondents expect the region to remain a part of the UK by 2046.
This poll also questioned respondents about the Northern Ireland Protocol, a protocol to the UK’s Brexit Withdrawal Agreement which allowed the UK to leave the European Union. Among those polled, 48% said that this protocol should no longer be part of the agreement while 46% believe that it would be better for it to remain in place.
Respondents gave their answers online between Apr 5 and Apr 7. The poll had a margin of error of 2.5%.
The Topic of Secession in Northern Ireland
The debate in Northern Ireland about the region’s place in the UK has ties to religion. This is because most of the people who support remaining in the UK are Protestant. Most of those who favour secession and a subsequent union with the neighbouring Republic of Ireland are Catholic. A violent conflict of 30 years between the two sides was ended by the Good Friday Agreement of 1998. This agreement permits the British government to call a referendum on Northern Ireland’s secession if such a move is deemed suitable at any given time.
The religious divide in Northern Ireland with regard to secession influenced many respondents’ expectations regarding departure from the UK. In Northern Ireland, Catholics tend to have higher birth rates than do Protestants. Northern Irish Catholics tend to favour leaving the UK. Therefore, most expect the majority of people of voting age within 25 years to support secession.
Another reason for the increased possibility of Northern Irish secession and subsequent union with the Republic of Ireland is the rise in prominence of Sinn Féin. Sinn Féin is a political party which supports the union of Northern Ireland and the Republic. Sinn Féin has made Irish reunification a key topic in the politics of both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
21st April 2021 15:31
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