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Public attitudes to referendums on Irish unification in Northern Ireland: evidence from an online consultation

Renwick, Alan; Dobrianska, Nadia; Kelly, Conor J; Kincaid, Charlotte; (2022) Public attitudes to referendums on Irish unification in Northern Ireland: evidence from an online consultation. Irish Political Studies pp. 1-25. 10.1080/07907184.2022.2152797. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Debate on Irish unification has increased in recent years, yet public attitudes on the processes that might lead to it are underexplored. This article examines the results of an online public consultation carried out in Northern Ireland in the summer of 2020 on how any future referendums on the unification question would best be conducted. It shows that hopes and fears on this question exist across society in Northern Ireland. It also reveals that public views are yet to crystallise on many of the design features of a referendum. There are some exceptions to this: there is a widespread feeling that the Brexit referendum process should not be replicated; and there are signs of divergent views emerging between communities on the franchise, referendum threshold, and use of citizens’ assemblies. Nevertheless, we conclude that the lack of hardened views on most questions of process points to an opportunity for policymakers and impartial observers to foster agreement on how a referendum process should be conducted.

Type: Article
Title: Public attitudes to referendums on Irish unification in Northern Ireland: evidence from an online consultation
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1080/07907184.2022.2152797
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1080/07907184.2022.2152797
Language: English
Additional information: © 2022 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).
Keywords: Northern Ireland, direct democracy, Brexit, Belfast/Good Friday Agreement
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Political Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10161669
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