Majority want a nation again
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Author: IA-PL newsroom
Subject: Majority want a nation once again
Sent : Sunday, April 2, 2006 4:56 AM
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April 1, 2006 10:53 PM
Majority Want A Nation Once Again
02 April 2006 By Pat Leahy
The great majority of Irish people are nationalists to a
greater or lesser de! gree, favouring a united Ireland in
either the short or long-term, according to the results of
the latest Sunday Business Post/Red C opinion poll.
However, most of these do not believe that achieving a
united Ireland is as important as other tasks facing the
Almost 80 per cent of Irish people would like to see a
united Ireland. Almost a quarter of voters - 22 per cent -
believe that ‘‘delivering a united Ireland should be the
government’s first priority’’.
More than half of voters, 55 per cent, say they would like
to see a united Ireland, but ‘‘other things should have
Ten per cent of voters say no efforts should be made to
bring about a united Ireland, whereas 13 per cent say they
have no interest one way or the other.
The survey, carried out among more than 1,000 voters
between March 20-22 in conjunction with the tracking poll
of political support, shows that these proportions are
broadly reflected in attitudes among Irish people to the
1916 Rising, the 90th anniversary of which will be
Four out of five voters say the Rising was a ‘‘positive
event in Irish history’’; 71 per cent believe Ireland
‘‘owes a debt to the leaders of the 1916 Rising’’, although
just half of voters believe that the government’s plans for
a military parade are appropriate. One fifth of voters say
they ‘‘couldn’t care less’’ about the Rising.
Taken together, the figures show a large reservoir of
nationalist feeling among the great mass of the Irish
people, although it is striking that by far the largest
group (55 per cent),while in favour of a united Ireland,
believes the government should have other priorities.
However, the group that believes that a united Ireland
should be the government’s first priority is also
relatively large, at 22 per cent.
Clearly, this encompasses much more! than just Sinn Fein
supporters, who make up about 10 per cent of the
Attitudes towards a united Ireland are remarkably
consistent across the various age brackets, and show that
younger people tend to be at least as ‘green’ as their
For example, 22 per cent of those aged 18-34 believe that
delivering a united Ireland should be the government’s
first priority - exactly the same proportion as in the
For those aged over 65, the proportion is only slightly
higher, at 26 per cent.
Of those in the largest group (55 per cent) who say they
would like to see a united Ireland but ‘‘other things
should have priority’’, the proportions are again broadly
similar across all age groups.
The proportions are also largely consistent across all
social groups, with some slight variation among the wealthy
ABC1 section of the population and farmers, who are
slightly (but only slight! ly) less ‘green’ than the
population at large.
Geographically, attitudes to a united Ireland are also
broadly consistent, with one exception.
Fewer people in Dublin believe a united Ireland should be
the government’s first priority - 15 per cent against
almost a quarter in the rest of the country.
Consequently, more people in Dublin - 61 per cent - do want
to see a united Ireland but not as the government’s first
priority, as opposed to the rest of the country where the
proportions in this bracket are smaller.
Overall, the figures show the enduring strength of the
Irish people’s attachment to the ideal of Irish unity -
even if most of them are in no hurry to achieve it in
The great mass of people are in the ‘soft green’ middle
ground, with those who are either not interested or
actively hostile to the idea in almost exactly the same
proportion as those who are committed to the idea as the
The findings are interesting but of limited relevance given that the Anglo-Irish agreement accepts that a majority in the six counties of the north must agree to unification. I'm not surprised that the people of the south are in "no hurry to achieve it in practice".The prospect of around a million protestants,some of whom are staunchly anti-Irish,becoming their fellow countrymen can't be a prospect they would relish.
"Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men."
- Martin Luther King Jr.
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