What do the results of the Northern Ireland independence poll show?
What are the reasons for independence supporters in Northern Ireland to hold a referendum to separate from the UK?
What do the political factions in Northern Ireland think about independence from the UK?
The Northern Ireland independence poll shows that Irish people support independence. The stunning victory of the separatist Sinn Fein Party, the former political wing of the Irish Republican Army (IRA), in the local assembly elections in Northern Ireland and the pressure of the separatist parties in Scotland to hold a referendum on the independence of this region has become a serious threat to the unity of the UK and a new problem for the government of Boris Johnson. The Northern Ireland independence poll also shows an increasing tendency to separate from the UK.
Sinn Fein Victory in the Elections
Over the past years, the results of the Northern Ireland independence poll have always shown a desire for independence and separation from the UK. The Sinn Fein Party succeeded in winning 27 seats in the elections, surpassing the Democratic Unionist Party of Northern Ireland and ending the rule of this pro-UK party. The Democratic Unionist Party won 25 seats in the parliamentary elections and fell to second place in this region. This is actually the first time that the nationalist Sinn Fein Party has won a majority of seats in the Northern Ireland Assembly. The Democratic Unionist Party of Northern Ireland has had the most seats in the local assembly of Northern Ireland since 1921.
Political Crisis in Northern Ireland
On 16 January 2017, the coalition government of Northern Ireland collapsed following the crisis and political impasse after the resignation of Martin McGuinness, a well-known member of the Sinn Fein Party, from the position of Deputy Chief Minister. The collapse, which led to a snap parliamentary election in Northern Ireland, came after Sinn Fein announced it would nominate anyone to replace Martin McGuinness. The resignation of McGuinness, former commander of the Irish Republican Army (the military arm of Sinn Fein), as deputy to Arlene Foster, former prime minister of Northern Ireland and former leader of the United Democratic Party, caused the collapse of the coalition government of Northern Ireland after 10 years, creating a political crisis.
Decisive Sinn Fein Victory at the Elections
Now Michelle O’Neill, the leader of Sinn Fein, considers the election victory a decisive moment for politics and the people of Northern Ireland, calling for the immediate formation of the local government. But the unionist democratic leader insists that the role of Northern Ireland’s protocol in the Brexit deal must be clarified before local government can be formed – the issue that has become the cause of disputes between London and the EU after the UK exit from the EU. Northern Ireland has a special status within the framework of the Brexit agreement, which is politically in the British territory, but economically subject to EU laws for five years from the time of signing the agreement. Northern Ireland’s local government is supposed to make a decision about this at the end of this period. Michelle O’Neill has accused the London government of delays in easing the requirements for the formation of the local government in Northern Ireland and says that the people of Northern Ireland should not be the playthings of the differences between the UK government and the EU.
Political Dichotomies Within Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland, located in the north of the island of Ireland, is currently part of the UK along with England, Scotland and Wales. This region has its own parliament in ‘Stormont’ in the city of Belfast. The formation of this assembly and the coalition government of Northern Ireland is the outcome of the “Good Friday Agreement”. The Northern Ireland crisis began in 1968 and continued until 1998 when the Labour Government led by Tony Blair signed the peace agreement. During these three decades of fighting, more than 3,600 people were killed and about 50,000 people were injured. However, despite the end of the armed conflicts, the political atmosphere of Northern Ireland is still divided between the republicans and supporters of the UK central government known as unionists, further complicating issues in this region.
Northern Ireland Subject to EU Economic Rules
Northern Ireland is still economically subject to the laws of the EU and is in a good position to declare independence from the UK if the separatist trend takes over. From this point of view, it is obvious that the UK Government will show little desire to form a local government in this region. The tendency for the separation of Northern Ireland from the UK has increased in recent months among the citizens of this region. In this regard, Gerry Adams, politician and former leader of the Sinn Fein Party, expressed hope that a referendum on separation from the UK will be possible in three years. In this report, it is also said that, currently, the results of the Northern Ireland independence poll indicate that 42% of the people of Northern Ireland want to join the Republic of Ireland, and nearly 10% have not yet reached a clear decision.
Brexit the Cause of Disagreement Between NI and the UK Government
The increasing desire for separation between Northern Ireland and the UK has accelerated, especially after Brexit. Unlike British citizens, the residents of Northern Ireland wanted to remain in the EU, and after the British exit from the EU, the Irish now want to join Southern Ireland to return to the EU.
One hundred years and a day ago, on 3 May 1921, Ireland was divided into the two northern and southern parts by implementing a law approved by the UK Parliament; the law that intended to guarantee British sovereignty over both parts, but history determined the fate of Ireland and this law differently. The 26 Catholic counties formed the southern part of what is now known as the Republic of Ireland, and six predominantly Protestant counties remained in the UK. Northern Ireland has persistently wanted to hold a referendum on independence from the UK over the past two years, but the London authorities have strongly opposed this request.