8 million is still majority Protestant

8 million is still majority Protestant

Northern Ireland vote jolts already disunited Kingdom

BELFAST (Reuters) A nationalist surge at elections in Northern Ireland and a Scottish demand for a second independence referendum have raised doubts over whether the United Kingdom can hold together after it leaves the European Union.

A woman walks past a mural in Lendrick Street, a loyalist area canada goose coats in Belfast, Northern Ireland March 10, 2016. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne

Last year referendum on EU membership saw England and Wales vote to leave while Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to remain, straining the ties that bind the UK together.

Scottish leader Nicola Sturgeon dealt a blow to British Prime Minister Theresa May on Monday by demanding a new vote on independence in late 2018 or early 2019, making her move much sooner than expected.

But while the Scottish issue had been well flagged since the Brexit vote, a snap provincial assembly election in Northern Ireland produced a genuine shock: for the first time since the partition Canada Goose Online of Ireland in 1921, unionists lost their majority.

Nationalist party Sinn Fein, backed by 2018 canada goose outlet many of Northern Ireland Catholics, narrowed the gap canada goose outlet store locations with the Democratic Unionist Party, whose support base is among pro British Protestants, to just one seat.

This has revived the slow burning question of whether Northern Ireland will stay in the United Kingdom over the long term or become part of the Republic of Ireland. This could be achieved by a referendum, often referred to as a border poll.

border poll might be 10 years away and it might still be lost, but clearly this election has shown a different canadian goose jacket dynamic in Northern Ireland politics, said Peter canada goose clearance sale Shirlow, Director of Irish Studies at the University canada goose store of Liverpool.

opens the door for a different scenario.

Nationalist leader Gerry Adams, who is 68 and still hopes to see a Canada Goose online united Ireland in his lifetime, told Reuters Sinn Fein had sensed new interest in Irish unity from voters.

But May, whose canada goose deals party is officially called Conservative and Unionist, has stated Canada Goose Outlet a deep personal commitment to keeping the 300 year old UK together and is determined not to go down in history as the prime minister who allowed it to fall apart.

Opinion polls in the past have shown only limited support for Irish unity, including among Catholics. That is partly because of canada goose replica high awareness of the province dependence on public sector jobs, welfare benefits and other flows of UK cash.

CHANGES EVERYTHING Senia Paseta, a professor of modern Canada Goose Jackets Irish history at the University of Oxford, said the economic context was a key part of the picture south of the border as well.

don think reunification is likely in the short to medium term, not least because the Irish Republic is rightly wary of taking on Northern Ireland, she said.

But while Irish unity may not be on the cards anytime soon, the balance of opinion could change over time under the combined impact of Brexit and of demographic shifts that could favour Irish Canada Goose Parka nationalism.

In Belfast mainly Catholic Ardoyne area, canada goose coats on sale a frequent flashpoint of communal tensions, no one was getting carried away just yet.

really hope what happened will make a border poll more likely, the sooner the better. But there are more of them than us still, so it would need some Protestants to vote for unity, said resident Sean Doherty.

Northern Ireland population of 1.8 million is still majority Protestant, although demographic trends point to Catholics becoming the majority within a generation as they are in the Republic, which has a population of 4.8 million.

The northern province suffered Canada Goose Coats On Sale three decades of sectarian violence, known as cheap Canada Goose the Troubles, which cost 3,600 lives until the Good Friday peace agreement was signed in 1998.

Since then, Northern Ireland had mostly faded into the background of British politics, until the collapse in January of a provincial government that shared power between the DUP and Sinn Fein. Sinn Fein used to be the political wing of the Irish Republican Army, though it has long been committed to constitutional canada goose outlet toronto factory politics and the IRA has laid down its arms.

Renewed momentum towards a united Ireland and an independent Scotland is the last thing May needs as she begins the mammoth task of negotiating the terms of the UK exit from the EU and of its future trading relationship with the bloc.

Brexit is particularly disruptive for Northern Ireland because its border with the Republic is the UK only land border with the EU, raising the prospect of tougher border controls when the UK leaves the European single market.

this issue, as on so many others, Brexit changes everything, wrote political columnist Noel Whelan in the Irish Times last week.

nationalists have cause now to fear being marooned economically and politically behind a hard border officialcanadagoosesoutlet and living in a polity where greater sovereignty over their lives is restored to British institutions.

WILL NEVER HAPPEN May has said she wants the border to remain open, but Canada Goose Outlet has given no details as to how this can buy canada goose jacket cheap be achieved post Brexit.

border, hard of soft, Canada Goose sale will be accepted by the people of Ireland. What British armoured cars and tanks and guns couldn do in Ireland, 27 member states will not be able to do, said Martina Anderson, a Sinn Fein member of the buy canada goose jacket European Parliament, speaking in the chamber this week.

But on the other side of Northern Ireland political divide, opposition to Irish unity remains strong.

united canada goose clearance Ireland, no way, it will never happen, said Trevor Herron, a pensioner in Belfast staunchly unionist Woodvale Road area.

don have the same benefits system down south. You have to pay to go to canada goose the doctor, pay for prescriptions. The politicians can play politics as much as they want but canada goose black friday sale when it comes to money, economics, they (Catholics in Northern Ireland) know they are better off up here.

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