Monthly Archives: September 2014

Only 44% of people in the North of Ireland in favour of remaining in the UK

But there is no significant momentum towards voting for a united Ireland.

The Belfast Telegraph today begins publishing the results of our third annual opinion poll which delves into a wide range of issues facing the people of Northern Ireland today.

In the first of a series of results to be published throughout the week, the LucidTalk partnered poll looks at opinions on a border poll, Irish unity and feelings of national identity.

The results come just over a week after the people of Scotland went to the polls to reject independence in a referendum.

The answers to our poll show a fascinating insight into Northern Ireland feelings on national identity on the back of the Scottish referendum – and how we would vote if given a border poll.

Significantly, the survey found that most people who expressed an opinion want a border poll.

Yet Irish unity appears as far off as ever because an even larger majority say they would vote against removing the border, given the opportunity.

The pro-Union majority includes one in five Catholics (20.7%). Sinn Fein is currently calling for a border poll to be held. They are backed in this by 81% of Catholics and 24% of Protestants, giving a majority of 59% once don’t knows (DKs) are excluded.

This showed a strong appetite to discuss the constitutional issue but an even stronger inclination to remain in the UK.

On the question of national identity we emerged as a society of minorities with no group able to say it represents the majority view. The largest section of the population gave their identity as British (41.8%), followed by Irish (25.3%) and Northern Irish (13.1%). 18.1% had no opinion and a tiny 1.7% gave some other nationality.

Our LucidTalk opinion poll of 1,089 voting age people was carried out at the time of the Scottish independence referendum which was held on September 18. About half were interviewed before the referendum result was known.

People may have felt empowered by the debate in Scotland and wanted something similar here. Only 16% of people declined to give an opinion on whether there should be a referendum.

Yesterday, the First and Deputy First Minister announced a meeting with counterparts in Wales and Scotland to discuss the way in which the nations of the UK are governed. They will discuss how the Scottish referendum will impact on constitutional and policy reform across the UK.

“The Scottish referendum has provided a unique opportunity to examine the process of constitutional change and the impact on devolved institutions,” a joint Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness statement said.

“There is a need for a new conversation with all the devolved institutions around the table. Through collaboration we will be better placed to work in a manner which benefits all our people.”

Under the Good Friday Agreement the Secretary of State – currently Theresa Villiers – can call a unity poll if she thinks there is a likelihood that people will vote to change the status quo.

If the vote goes for Irish unity then the Government must facilitate it in cooperation with the Irish government.

Before unity actually takes place it must be backed by concurrent referenda held on the same day in both the Republic and Northern Ireland.

The people of Northern Ireland want a border poll referendum (left) - but there is still no significant appetite for a united Ireland (right). *Total excludes no opinion/no vote

In practice there would probably be a period of negotiation so that a package outlining the political and economic arrangements could be put to the electorate.

So far all opinion polls have shown a comfortable majority against unity. As in our previous polls we gave three choices so as to test both hard and soft support for unity.

The first option, for unity as soon as possible, got negligible support of 5.7% or 7.7% if the don’t knows are excluded from the calculation.

By comparison Sinn Fein, which is campaigning for a unity referendum, got 25% of the first preference vote and topped the poll in this year’s European election. It is clear that most of its supporters do not support unity as an immediate priority. Unity in 20 years, a more aspirational choice, got 32.5%.


“Bring it on — let’s show SF that the vast number of NI people want to be British.”

From a referendum-supporting Protestant

“I’m for the UK at the moment, but let’s have a debate and referendum about all relationships within these islands.”

From a referendum-supporting Catholic

“I want a referendum — I was in Scotland for the past two weeks and they’re great craic.”

A referendum-supporting respondent, 18-24 age group

“We have enough problems here without a referendum.”

An anti-referendum respondent, in the over 65 category

“Let’s test opinion — we want a united Ireland and there’s more support for it than people think.”

A referendum-supporting Catholic

“It should be a 32 county vote, not just Northern Ireland.”

A referendum-supporting Catholic.

“Both governments need to bring in a referendum on the whole constitutional position in Northern Ireland — but it

must be on an all-Ireland basis.”

A referendum-supporting Catholic.


“I want to stay in UK for the moment but may support a united Ireland in future if conditions are right.”

Catholic voter

“We’re British and are staying British”.

Protestant respondent

“I would vote no at the moment but may change my mind if I knew what type of united Ireland it would be.”

Protestant respondent

‘I may support a united |Ireland, but we need to know how that would work.”

Catholic voter.

“You ask the Scots in the whole of Scotland then why not ask the Irish in the whole of Ireland not just the six counties?

Catholic respondent who would vote in favour of a united Ireland in 20 years.

“The Brits should never have been here — they should leave now.”

Pro-united Ireland Catholic.

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Unifying Ireland Speech – Mark Daly in North of Ireland – 2014 July 5th.

Great honour to be here with the President of OgraFianna Fail.
In Kerry we talk about the weather a lot because we get so much of it, and sometimes the weather defies logic. My mother had us working on the farm and despite suggesting she call a halt to the work due to a ferocious rainfall she said we would continue and she described the rain as follows:
“Heavy but not wet.”

Only in Kerry could you have dry rain. But Kerry is not the only place that defies logic. During a conversation with Sean, a Republican from Tyrone, he said he would not vote in favour of a united Ireland citing the advantage of the status quo and the north staying in the United Kingdom.
Only in Tyrone could you have a Republican in favour of the United Kingdom.

I am in favour of a unifying Ireland,
I am in favour not because of what happened in the past,
I am in favour of a united Ireland because it has potential and will ensure a better future for all the people on this island.

I am a Fianna Fail member of the Foreign Affairs Committee and as a party we were asked to submit for the government, the White Paper on Foreign affairs.
I proposed the following as part of our submission “Fianna Fail believes it is imperative that there is active engagement with Britain as well as with our EU partners and the United States on working towards achieving the reunification of Ireland.”
The key position and core aim of the party is the achievement of a united Ireland.
“As a party we believe in the stable, peaceful and prosperous reunification of Ireland and its people.”
And remember it is people we are trying to unite not just land.
There are those who in the past have talk about the united Ireland as a numbers game of a simple religious head count. This is not the case anymore. This morning I want to touch on:
•The changing demographic
•Ipad and I-Ism
•The issues around unifying Ireland
When Carson and Craig were devising the northern State, they did a head count. That is the basis of the 6 counties, and it is the reason why Donegal, Monaghan and Cavan were left out. When Carson and Craig did a head count using the 1911 census:
Ulster: 9 counties – 675,000 Catholic, 838,000 Protestants and 69,000 Other, leaving only majority of 163,000.
‘Not enough’, said Carson and Craig, ‘lets leave out three counties’, they said.
6 counties – 430,000 Catholics, 768,000 Protestants and 52,000 Other. Majority of 337,889.
‘That will do’, they said, ‘good for 100 years’, they said, ‘we will be grand’ they said.
And they were right just a little over 100 years.
So let us do the crude number count as done my James Craig and Edward Carson when drawing up the North as of today
The figures for March 2011 show 817,385 Catholics ,875,717 Protestants and 117,761 other. In the 6 counties of North of Ireland there is a Protestant majority of 58,332. If Carson and Craig had held on to Cavan, Monaghan, Donegal what would their head count look.
1,070,026 Catholics, 888,521 Protestants, and 147,119 Other a catholic majority of 181,505. If that had happened, if they had tried to hold all 9 counties would Ulster still be part of the U.K.

•Belfast and Derry are now Catholic-majority cities.
•The 2011 census placed Protestant population at 53.1 percent and Catholic population at 43.8 percent.
•There is currently a Catholic majority in primary, secondary and third level.
•The Northern Ireland Department of Education figures for 2010/2011 year showed 163,693 Catholics and 120,415 Protestants in Northern primary and secondary schools.
•Queen’s University reports 8,710 Catholics and 6,740 Protestants.
•A majority of the population under 35 is Catholic.

When will there be a parity of number between the two communities in the north?
By some figures it will be late 2016.

So these are the raw numbers as Carson and Craig would look at them, but the numbers do not tell the full story.
It is appropriate to quote Prime Minister Disraeli, who came up with the most famous of all when it comes to statistics, “There are lies, dame lies and statistics.”
Maybe Mark Twain would be equally appropriate, “Facts are stubborn things, but statistics are pliable.”
There is the issue of other statistics, the statistic most favoured by politicians which are of course Opinion Polls. The opinion polls are telling us that many in the Catholic community are not in favour of a united Ireland. Why is this happening?
Guidi Marks, the head of the Birthright Foundation, had an interesting take on the age we are in,
•There is an argument that in the age that the seen the death of communism, the death of socialism, the death of nationals and the economic collapse has seen the death of capitalism……….. I-ism is the new creed, that the individual is now paramount.
•Therefore people will vote only based on their own economic interests. This is certainly an argument why so many in the Catholic community who would traditionally vote for a United Ireland would vote for the status quo.
Polling in Scotland on the issue of independence would support this argument, that we are in the age of I-ism, where newspapers tell us with screaming headlines that if they had to pay 400 pounds extra in tax, they would not vote for independence, “for the price of an Ipad, most Scotts would vote against freedom.”
Proof of individualism or I-ism is seen in a poll in the BelfastTelegraph from September showed that just 3.8 percent in favour of a united Ireland.
However Polling in Seanad showed 70% infavour of abolition of Seanad in April 2013. Getting rid of politician, how could the referendum be lost. But the referendum was lost, why? By virtue of the argument made by those who were in favour of retaining it and reforming it? The same reason many like of Sean from Tyrone,though Catholic and Republicans and others will currently not vote for a united Ireland is because the case has not been made for it and they would be worse off in many areas, no better in some, and only a little better off in a few areas.
This is what we who are in favour of a united Ireland are tasked with. We are tasked with making the case for a unified Ireland. But we are tasked with a much bigger and greater challenge, we must help creating , South of the border a country where Sean and all the Sean and maybe even the Ians would vote for a unified Ireland.
We need to start a discussion on the issues surrounding unifying Ireland.
An independent commission made up of experts on all the issue should be convened to do an analysis on the North remaining in the Kingdom and a similar honest assessment of it rejoining the republic.
The man who once was the richest man on Earth, Andrew Canegie said, “a poor man learns from his own mistakes, a rich man learns from others.”
We should ask our European colleagues, the Germans of what their experiences were, what they would do differently, if they had it all over again. Remember they had no time to plan, since the wall fell, there has been a United Germany. We have time.
The challenge in the south is greater than we realize. We need to create a society and a county where we can improve the lives of all the people living on this island.

We must talk about and work towards the Island not as it is today but how we want it to be in the future and we must strive to make a better country for all on this Island.

We must work towards ensure that in terms of education, employment, health, housing, those in the south and those in the north would be better off voting for change than the status quo.

Whether you believe in the United Kingdom or a United Ireland it is simple good government to plan for a United Ireland even If it may be a long way in the future.

Finally, John F Kennedy, when he was closing his address to the Dail and Senate in 1963 said, “I believe profoundly in the future and that this is an isle of destiny and that destiny will be glorious and that when our Hour has come we will have something to give to the world.”

Ladies and gentlemen, this island has given a lot to the world but the best days are ahead. By working together, I believe we can ensure a better future for all the people on this island.

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Govt Vote on Commercial Rates will Ruin Small Towns and Villages – Daly

FF seeks to annul Ministerial Order on Commercial Rates
Fianna Fáil Senator Mark Daly says a Government vote against a Fianna Fáil motion on commercial rates will decimate rural towns and villages.
Under proposed legislation, Fine Gael and Labour want to charge half commercial rates on properties that are vacant.
Senator Daly commented: “In the Seanad, Fianna Fáil Senators put forward a motion to annul a Ministerial Order which will effectively charge commercial rates on vacant properties. The motion was unfortunately not supported by Fine Gael and Labour Senators. This Ministerial Order will result in councils imposing commercial rates on vacant properties. Although the rate will be half that of occupied premises, this could decimate rural towns and villages.
“No Regulator Impact Assessment on this Ministerial Order has taken place, what I fear may happen is vacant commercial buildings in towns and villages will be knocked down. Owners who are currently unable to conduct business in the vacant properties or receive rent will be forced to demolish their premises as they will be unable to pay the commercial rates that will be imposed. The majority of County Councils in the country do not charge for properties which are vacant, a change to this may jeopardise any hopes of towns and villages have of recovering and enticing businesses to set-up in these urban centres.
“This move by the Government is another attack on rural Ireland, there have been numerous unfair policies implemented which adversely affect rural people. For instance, rural Post Offices have been closed, over 100 rural Garda stations were shut, rural bus routes have been curtailed and small schools have been forced to close. The change to the commercial rates system will be another nail in the coffin of rural Ireland.”

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