Can we begin border poll referendum process in south?

Can we begin border poll referendum process in south?

“Recognising that the Border Poll is essentially two referendums, under one process, what’s stopping us campaigning for support for the 26 county poll first?”


The most likely mechanism for any future Irish Unity referendum will be a Border Poll, that’s as honest a thing as you can say. One referendum concept that in reality is two separate referendums, both north and south, that veto each other. Before we can fight an actual Border Poll, in the occupied six counties, the British establishment has created hurdles to make the process difficult and confusing. Perfidious Albion strikes again, as if it was ever going to be easy?

The Border Poll criteria to be met was coined as the “triple-lock”, a unionist slogan created in 1998 to sell peace to Ulster loyalism. To convince loyalism, and indeed many Irish Republicans, that Irish unity is unachievable and generations away in the future, that the British have the final say, that we have to tick three boxes before we can have a chance at ending partition.

The GFA strategy has worked well for the British, copperfasting partition and their control in the North, and by extension the South, for over two decades. But fast-paced shifting demographics and Brexit has put the GFA to the test, its put up or shut up time for the 1998 agreement. Every piece of the original document has been reneged upon or rewritten, will the Border Poll mechanism be the same? We will find out soon enough.

The “triple-lock” is, 1) evidence of a majority aspiration for Irish Unity 2) British Secretary of State has to agree to a poll 3) Westminster has to rubber stamp a poll. We have no illusions that maneuvering these “triple lock” hurdles will mean anything other than collective strategic thinking from within the Irish unity community.

Honest hard work in convincing people to act in their own class interests against an infinitely resourced foe, against a mainstream and social media propaganda onslaught telling people to not dare get above their station, you can’t afford to be Irish in Ireland

Recognising that the Border Poll is essentially two referendums, under one process, what’s stopping us campaigning for support for the 26 county poll first?

Realistically we are not going to see a Border Poll in the North until after the 2022 Stromont assembly elections, where the Irish unity community will attempt to seize a majority to trigger the Northern element of the Border Poll.

Use our time wisely; All opinion polls in the 26 counties indicate overwhelming support for Irish unity. Holding the Southern part of the Border Poll would only be a matter of having the political will to do so.

During any potential run up to a 26 county portion of the Border Poll we could engage in a proper national debate on what a new and united Ireland will look like, we could end up with an actual agreed vision of a new and united Ireland. One that puts its people before profits.

For our part Republican Socialists are engaging with the concept of a Border Poll as an evolution of the contemporary national liberation struggle.

We see evidence from around Europe that building peaceful progressive anti-colonial sentiment on the streets can create an unstoppable momentum for change, it’s our duty to ensure socialism is at the centre of that change. That during the Border Poll process basic working class demands on Housing, Education, Health and workers control must be at the centre of any debate.

Michael McLaughlin, Yes For Unity National Organiser

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