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The Border Poll - a historical overview


DeGaulle 2.0

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With calls for a border poll in the air, how did we get to this position?


Ireland was partitioned in 1920 when the 1920 Government of Ireland Act was passed by the British parliament. This effectively introduced double Home Rule with a parliament in Belfast for the 6 counties and a parliament in Dublin for the 26. Only the Northern Ireland Home Rule took effect - that of the South was superseded by events we are all aware of.

Link: Government of Ireland Act 1920 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


The Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1922 (section 11) gave the Northern Ireland Parliament one month to decide on whether to be part of the Irish Free State.

11. Until the expiration of one month from the passing of the Act of Parliament for the ratification of this instrument, the powers of the Parliament and the Government of the Irish Free State shall not be exercisable as respects Northern Ireland, and the provisions of the Government of Ireland Act 1920, shall, so far as they relate to Northern Ireland remain of full force and effect, and no election shall be held for the return of members to serve in the Parliament of the Irish Free State for constituencies in Northern Ireland, unless a resolution is passed by both Houses of the Parliament of Northern Ireland in favour of the holding of such elections before the end of the said month.

Interesting to note that the decision on partition was taken entirely within Ireland by Irish people - the double parliamentary votes are replicated almost exactly by the double referendums envisaged by the Good Friday Agreement of 1997.

The Dáil approved the Treaty by 64 votes to 57 on 7 January 1923 and the Northern Ireland parliament voted to opt out on the 7th December 1922.

Links:
Dáil Debates on the Treaty: Debate on the Treaty between Great Britain and Ireland, signed in London on the 6th December 1921: Sessions 14 December 1921 to 10 January 1922
Northern Ireland debate: The Stormont Papers - View Volumes
Text of Anglo Irish Treaty: Documents on Irish Foreign Policy Series: Anglo-Irish Treaty: Text of.


The 1949 Ireland Act, passed by the UK Parliament after the declaration of a Republic by the Irish government, included the following section, reaffirming that it was the Parliament of Northern Ireland that had the right to decide on Irish unity:-

s. 1(2) – Declared that all of Northern Ireland would continue as part of the United Kingdom, and would remain within the Commonwealth, unless the Parliament of Northern Ireland consented otherwise.

Link: Ireland Act 1949 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


on On 8th March 1973, a referendum was held in the 6 counties. The referendum was boycotted by nationalists and the result was a 99% vote in favour of Northern Ireland remaining within the UK on a 57% turnout. The Northern Ireland parliament was suspended on 30th March 1972 and Direct Rule from London introduced.

Northern Ireland sovereignty referendum, 1973 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


The 1973 Northern Ireland Constitution act (which became law on 18 July 1973) abolished the old Northern Ireland parliament. The guarantee that the Northern Ireland parliament could decide on Irish unity was replaced by the following guarantee:-

It is hereby declared that Northern Ireland remains part of Her Majesty's dominions and of the United Kingdom, and it is hereby affirmed that in no event will Northern Ireland or any part of it cease to be part of Her Majesty's dominions and of the United Kingdom without the consent of the majority of the people of Northern Ireland voting in a poll held for the purposes of this section in accordance with Schedule 1 to this Act.

Link: Northern Ireland Constitution Act 1973 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


The 1997 Good Friday agreement endorsed the use of the referendum as a means of deciding on whether Northern Ireland should leave the UK and unite with the Republic.

(i) recognise the legitimacy of whatever choice is freely exercised by a majority of the people of Northern Ireland with regard to its status, whether they prefer to continue to support the Union with Great Britain or a sovereign united Ireland;

The GFA also included a requirement that a referendum in the 6 counties be organised if it appeared likely that there would be a majority in favour of a united Ireland.

2. Subject to paragraph 3, the Secretary of State shall exercise the power under paragraph 1 if at any time it appears likely to him that a majority of those voting would express a wish that Northern Ireland should cease to be part of the United Kingdom and form part of a united Ireland.

Link: http://peacemaker.un.org/sites/peacemaker.un.org/files/IE GB_980410_Northern Ireland Agreement.pdf


The current calls for a Border poll are certainly unjustified under the Good Friday Agreement - these is quite clearly no likelihood of a majority vote for a united Ireland in the 6 counties at the moment. Possibly the two governments should clarify the conditions which would lead to a referendum. Perhaps the following conditions could be considered:
a) nationalist parties winning more vote or seats at an election for the Northern Ireland Assembly
b) a vote in favour of a referendum by a majority of MLAs at Stormont


It is interesting to speculate on how different things would be today if a referendum was not required and if Stormont still retained the power to vote for a united Ireland. In theory, the fact that the constitutional position of the 6 counties is to be determined by referendum should allow for the development of "normal" politics in the North - but there is not much sign of that happening.
 


Dublin 4

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The Hume McLaughlin High Watermark - 307K+ Votes for Nationalism: Euro Election '99

This has never been repeated since but if & when it is - Unionism is in big trub.

There are a lot more Nationalists now than there were in '99!

Lets Party like its 1999 :p

 

Schomberg

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Socratus O' Pericles

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On the other hand:
Information on the categories of “Religion” and “Religion Brought up in” showed that 45 per cent of the population were either Catholic or brought up as Catholic, while 48 per cent belonged to or were brought up in Protestant, Other Christian or Christian-related denominations.

This compares to a breakdown of 43.76 per cent Catholic, 53.13 per cent Protestant reported in the last census in 2001.
Religious gap in NI down to 3% - Irish News, World News & More | The Irish Times - Tue, Dec 11, 2012.

I realise it is all about votes in the end however before that its about zeitgeist, Create a mood for UI and the votes will follow. The first thing those wishing a UI will have to do is wait for the recession to end.
 

thegregster

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Unionism is losing votes. Nationalism is more stagnant. The Alliance party has hit both sides(hasnt reduced the nationalist vote as it has many new voters) and the death rate of 2:1 Protestant to Catholic has hit Unionism.
 

Dublin 4

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zeitgeist
& Weltgeist too Soc - if yer gonna go all gooey on me :p

The term spirit world as a metaphysical principle is first known as the central concept of the speculative philosophy of Hegel : For him, the whole historical reality, the totality , the process of the world spirit. As a result, the "ultimate goal" in world history realized, namely, the " reason in history " [1] . With this view he followed up by Schelling at first published in spirit world theory.
In Napoleon, for example, he saw it embodies an example. Hegel saw in Napoleon the " Soul of the World on Horseback ", later often changed the word from the" world spirit on horseback. "
Marx and Engels were more akin to cryptic to the determination of the Hegelian world spirit. In the German Ideology they apply the term materialistic and critical: The harassment of the world spirit or the " cunning of reason "to be ultimately a world market from. Of them associated early socialist Moses Hess , however, represented a kind of messianism to the effect that the French revolution , a new world age began.
Weltgeist
 

Cruimh

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On the other hand:


Religious gap in NI down to 3% - Irish News, World News & More | The Irish Times - Tue, Dec 11, 2012.

I realise it is all about votes in the end however before that its about zeitgeist, Create a mood for UI and the votes will follow. The first thing those wishing a UI will have to do is wait for the recession to end.
There is a lot more to it than the recession though - An awful lot would have to change in the ROI - Northern RCs know on which side their bread is buttered.
 

DeGaulle 2.0

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This again? Lol, your ignorance knows no bounds. :lol:

The only thing that matters is the vote share..........



:oops:
What you are showing is party votes - if Stormont still had the power to decide on a United Ireland then that would be critically important. But it doesn't.

The simple fact is that many more unionists will vote to remain in the UK than nationalists will vote to join in a united Ireland. This is just human nature - many people who are doing ok under the status quo will be resistant to change (if things were the opposite way around, and the 6 counties were part of a united Ireland and were voting on joining the UK, then it would be the other way around).
 

Cruimh

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Unionism is losing votes. Nationalism is more stagnant. The Alliance party has hit both sides and the death rate of 2:1 Protestant to Catholic has hit Unionism.
But makes little or no difference in the context of a border poll as the support for unification is so much lower among the nominally RC community than is the support for The UK amongst the nominally protestant community
 

thegregster

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What you are showing is party votes - if Stormont still had the power to decide on a United Ireland then that would be critically important. But it doesn't.

The simple fact is that many more unionists will vote to remain in the UK than nationalists will vote to join in a united Ireland. This is just human nature - many people who are doing ok under the status quo will be resistant to change (if things were the opposite way around, and the 6 counties were part of a united Ireland and were voting on joining the UK, then it would be the other way around).

Sad part is most PSF bots actually believe the sectarian head count is 100% certain to work.
 

Dublin 4

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Those are elections - referenda are different :)

The fact remains that virtually all from my side of the fence oppose Unification and only a minority from the other side of the fence support unification :D
There are certainly more Catholic Unionists than Protestant Nationalists- though the Old OBE style Catholic Unionists are dying off.

The Paul Quinn/Robert McCartney factor has boosted Catholic Unionism in working class areas.

The imbecility of Alasdair McDonnell & the Mary Travers debacle has boosted Catholic Unionism in Middle Class areas.

The embarrassing "even thicker IRA" mavericks aren't helping either...
 

thegregster

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But makes little or no difference in the context of a border poll as the support for unification is so much lower among the nominally RC community than is the support for The UK amongst the nominally protestant community
I agree for the foreseeable you are correct.

But both the Unionists and the nationalists who think its 100% set in stone( ie you position and the PSF bots position of the sectarian headcount) are silly to be so confident of their belief.

In 25 years plus things could be very different and its impossible to make such a long term prediction. By then the people of protestant population background could be less than 40%.
 

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