Former Secretary of State for NI Shaun Woodward says conditions may be already met to hold a border poll…

Speaking on this morning’s Nolan Show Shaun Woodward said that conditions may be already met to hold a border poll. Might Labour promise a border poll when they get back into power? On @BBCNolan today – Former Secretary of State for NI tells Nolan conditions may be already met to hold a border poll here 📻 @bbcradioulster 🎧 @BBCSounds 📞 03030805555 | 📲 81771 pic.twitter.com/Qqs8rMoBbj — Stephen Nolan (@StephenNolan) September 26, 2022 On a side note, Wikipedia tells me Shaun …

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Are border poll criteria an excuse for procrastination ?

Peter Kyle, shadow Secretary of State

This morning, on the BBC’s Sunday Politics, Shadow Secretary of State Peter Kyle made some comments during a brief interview with the BBC’s Darran Marshall on the question of the criteria to call a border poll (iplayer : interview begins at approx 18:45) which seems to have generated a frisson of excitement. The salient part of the interview is reproduced below, with my emphasis. DM : I want to talk to you about the constitutional position now. Do you think …

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Book Review: ‘Can Ireland Be One?’ by Malachi O’Doherty…

“A border poll on Irish unity has progressed from possible, to likely, to certain.” Words you might expect to have been said with some relish by a Sinn Féin politician, perhaps, but their author is actually Alex Kane in his praise for Malachi O’Doherty’s latest work. Conventional wisdom in this part of the world would now have you believe that the writing is on the wall – not just in respect of a Border Poll, but also Irish Unity as …

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A response to Andy Pollak talk on “The South is not ready for unification”…

At one point, after his talk, Andy was asked: “So has Partition been a success?” to which he replied with a horrified “No, it has been a disaster”. But that does not mean partition has not had major effects. Blogging at the European Tribune and on Slugger O’Toole has taught me that we might as well be on two different planets. There is almost no appreciation of N. Ireland politics in Ireland, never mind Europe, and vice versa, much N. …

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Calls for clarity on border poll criteria…

green grass near the gray road

From the Irish News: The public should be given clarity on the criteria for calling a poll on Irish unification, Michelle O’Neill has said. The Sinn Féin vice president said there was a need to fill in the “grey” area of the Good Friday Agreement on the circumstances for holding a referendum on constitutional change. Her comments come after Tánaiste Leo Varadkar also called for clarity on the mechanism for calling a poll. Under the terms of the 1998 Good …

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Demographic logic for a border poll is destined sink its own long term ambitions…

“The mountain is so formed that it is always wearisome when one begins the ascent, but becomes easier the higher one climbs.” – Dante, Divine Comedy, Purgatorio On Sunday I was part of a panel discussion at the Battle of Ideas entitled The Border Question: Can the Union Survive? It was lively, to say the least. The chair, Kevin Rooney, made sure there was plenty of time for audience questions. The venue, Church House, is integral to the grounds of Westminster …

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Two-thirds of voters in Northern Ireland believe there should be a border poll…

Lucid Talk have been busy little bees. Hot on the heels of their poll in yesterday’s Tele, they have another poll in today’s Observer. The subject this time is our old favourite – a border poll. From the article: Two-thirds of voters in Northern Ireland believe there should be a vote over its place in the UK, but only 37% want it to take place within the next five years, according to a new poll for the Observer. Some 31% …

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In the final report on unification referendums on the island of Ireland, the unionist case goes by default.

   First a critical  assessment of  the Report on Referendums within the island of Ireland by an old colleague with definitive cross border credentials, Andy Pollak,  A brilliantly reasoned but not balanced exploration of future Irish unity referendums….  If a majority opts for unification, then the transfer of sovereignty must occur, whether governing arrangements [for a new united Ireland] can be agreed consensually or not.” This is the report’s central contradiction (as it may be in the 1998 Agreement itself)…  This …

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If Edwin Poots tried to crash the Assembly it would open the door to a border poll

Let’s assume Edwin Poots is a shoo-in for the DUP leadership. Comfortable in his minor elder statesman role at Westminster, Jeffrey Donaldson hasn’t the stomach for a contest. He might be willing to accept  it on a plate but that’s not going to happen. With more than a hint of desperation, some of us have been foisting the Nixon goes to China model onto Poots, meaning that the hardliner in politics may be better placed to compromise than the liberal. …

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Lecture – Rory Montgomery: ‘The Good Friday Agreement and a United Ireland’

The former Irish ambassador to the EU, Rory Montgomery, delivered his inaugural lecture as honorary professor of practice at the QUB Mitchell Institute on Tuesday evening. His topic – The Good Friday Agreement and a United Ireland – had a contemporary feel as the civic conversation intensifies around whether to and how to hold border polls. The 45 minute lecture was followed by half an hour of questions from the audience moderated by Professor Christopher McCrudden.  While Belfast Agreement …

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Northern Ireland at 100: Unionism failing; Nationalism stuck; Moderates thriving…

One hundred years after Partition, Northern Ireland is still in existence. It would surely come as a big surprise to many who thronged the streets of Belfast on June 22nd 1921 – the date King George V opened the first NI Parliament in City Hall – that unionism is now a minority in Stormont. It would also surely come as a big surprise to many nationalists in 1972 that the state set up to guarantee unionist rule in north-east Ireland …

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Ten Ways Irish Unity Could Benefit the Republic of Ireland…

The topic of Irish unity has been propelled into the mainstream of political debate to an extent that would have been inconceivable even five years ago. And it’s not just the usual Republican voices engaged either. Most of Nationalism’s moderate mainstream, plus some elements within Unionism, are also pondering the question of what form Northern Ireland’s future could or should take in a world where Brexit has happened and demography is shifting. It still remains very early days in that …

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Unionism Playing Senior Hurling?

For many in the Nationalist community, the ‘United Ireland’ debate broadcast on RTE and hosted by Claire Byrne was highly significant as it represented the first such debate on mainstream Irish media. Following the debate, I was sent a short message from a Nationalist friend that went, “Unionism is now playing senior hurling and you’ve lost the first match”. My last article for Slugger outlining why I felt it was an apt time for Unionism to be confident and call …

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Brexit breakthrough on the protocol? Try this for size

If you’re  one of those souls who follow every twist and turn of Stormont politics, there’s one thing you shouldn’t overlook; that  sorting out the Brexit rows which are stoking division are largely  beyond local control. Another is what Newton reminded us recently, that  Stormont  boycott is now  a risky strategy. The Executive can stagger on for the best part of a year in the absence of one leading party – guess who? –  but with an election somewhere along …

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Irish Political leaders building cautious consensus on a United Ireland

It was quite refreshing to see a reasonable debate on a United Ireland on Claire Byrne Live on Monday. There were pivotal moments from the get-go with Mary Lou McDonald and Leo Varadkar seeming to build a cautious consensus together in regard to the Northern Ireland question and how to go about it. It certainly felt from the outside looking in, a true start to the conversation of seeking Irish unity in the South in the modern era. For many …

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Unionism needs to step out from the shadows on the Unity referendum question…

It’s difficult to avoid the reality that discussions about a referendum on the constitutional position of Northern Ireland are gaining momentum. For better or for worse it has become part of our daily lexicon in which every problem within Northern Ireland that arises is a result of partition which can easily be rectified if only the island was united. It also means that every mistake Unionism makes (and there are innumerable) make the demands for a referendum louder. The conversations …

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“To hell with the future and long live the past”. Allison Morris turns it around when contemplating a border poll. But has the EU Commission just changed the odds by uniting north and south against them ?

D The new Ulster University campus  under construction  In this year of different centenary  commemorations north and south (sorry,”markings”),  Allison Morris has written a terrifically interesting piece in  the Irish News . When it comes to  weighing the issues for a border poll, she raises the desire for a better life above the call of background, tradition and history, yes even the history of the Troubles. Without labouring the point, contrast this with the run of comment in the Newsletter …

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A border poll can be held at any time – redux

With border polls remaining a major topic of conversation, particularly following today’s Sunday Times/Lucid Talk reporting of a poll which found that a majority of voters in Northern Ireland wish a border poll to be held within the next five years, I still find that there remain widespread misconceptions around the Secretary of State’s powers to call a border poll. In particular, people still seem to think that the Secretary of State has no discretionary power to call a border …

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UK breakup. The vacuum where the Union case should be stands exposed

 Will the drum roll start for a border poll and  wreck the prospects for even slim collaboration for dealing with the massive and more immediate  challenges of Covid and Brexit –  and just governing ?   Or will it promote a virtuous competition  between the DUP and Sinn Fein over which of them will be the better collaborator in government, with the hope of  wooing the uncommitted to their existential cause? Will the minor parties get squeezed or flourish amid growing …

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Real world pressures are complicating neat arguments over unification

I begin with  more inexplicable partitionism from Dublin, as discussed by Newton who has a hawkeye for this subject “Genuine mystery surrounds the Irish Government’s lengthy refusal to share Covid passenger data with Northern Ireland. The Government will not explain it and nobody else can see what the issue might be. There is increasing urgency for a solution as Britain, Ireland and Northern Ireland introduce negative Covid test requirements for travellers, with varying sets of self-isolation periods that cannot be …

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