Ireland Beyond Brexit: readers respond

Britain’s vote to leave the European Union sparked a debate about the future position of Northern Ireland in the United Kingdom. We asked for your views, here are some of the responses.

MP Tom Elliott was a member of the Ulster Defence Regiment during the Troubles. He takes us back to the areas he used to patrol, telling us what life was like back then. Video: Enda O'Dowd

 

Luke Corkery, Dublin: "Unity with the Republic of Ireland would disrupt the peace"

Which political party are you most likely to align with? Fine Gael

How did you vote? Couldn’t vote

Northern Ireland voted by 56% to remain within the European Union. Do you think this result brings Ireland a step closer to unity? No. The people of Northern Ireland only marginally voted to Remain. I believe the Border Poll should be held in the future, but I would rather Northern Ireland remained under a devolved government within the UK. Unity with the Republic of Ireland would disrupt the peace both countries have worked hard to build.

In the wake of the result, should a “Border poll” be held to decide the matter? In the future. The majority of people in Northern Ireland today are Unionist, regardless of how they voted.

Does the referendum result suggest that Northern Ireland sees its future more as part of Europe than part of the UK? No it doesn’t. Northern Ireland’s vote to remain was just over half the population. This means they would rather stay in the EU. However the UUP’s supporters voted to remain, so they are not all in favour of leaving the UK.

Has your own view on this changed in the past two years. If so, how? No, it hasn’t. Northern Ireland should remain in the UK.

Do you believe the Brexit result and aftermath will have an immediate impact on your daily life or financial situation? I don’t know. The future is uncertain for Ireland, but I trust our government to bring us through it.

John, Dublin formerly London: "Levels of Euroscepticism are far higher in NI"

Which political party are you most likely to align with? Labour

How did you vote? Couldn’t vote

Northern Ireland voted by 56% to remain within the European Union. Do you think this result brings Ireland a step closer to unity? No. The cost of Northern Ireland is only capable of being borne by a country the scale of the UK who pumps €11bn into each year, add to that the cost of doubling dole payments and higher pensions and it is almost a third of total Irish tax revenues to be found from elsewhere.

In the wake of the result, should a “Border poll” be held to decide the matter? In the future. If Northern Ireland gets itself to the level Ireland is at in terms of employment levels and earnings levels then it may be a runner, once the Unionist community are on board.

Does the referendum result suggest that Northern Ireland sees its future more as part of Europe than part of the UK? No, the levels of Euroscepticism are far higher in Northern Ireland than here.

Has your own view on this changed in the past two years. If so, how? No

Do you believe the Brexit result and aftermath will have an immediate impact on your daily life or financial situation? Yes. The opportunity to use London as a bolt hole when Irish politicians crash the economy again looks to be far less open.

Conor Duffy, Dublin: "The referendum result mostly showed a desire for stability"

Which political party are you most likely to align with? Social Democrats

How did you vote? Couldn’t vote

Northern Ireland voted by 56% to remain within the European Union. Do you think this result brings Ireland a step closer to unity? Yes. In the sense that Irish unity is unlikely, the result makes it less unlikely. Whether or not Scotland remains within the UK will be a major factor in determining whether Northern Ireland is likely to try to stay in the EU via unification with Ireland.

In the wake of the result, should a “Border poll” be held to decide the matter? In the future. A border poll shouldn’t be held until the implications of Britain leaving the EU, and what kind of arrangement Britain will seek with the EU, are clear. The leave vote could be ignored, it could result in a ‘hard’ Brexit or a Norway or Switzerland-style arrangement where Britain is still closely associated with the EU and it’s institutions. It would be unfair and opportunistic (of either side) to hold a vote before voters have a better idea of what Brexit means.

Does the referendum result suggest that Northern Ireland sees its future more as part of Europe than part of the UK? I think the referendum result mostly showed a desire for stability and to not ‘rock the boat’ regarding the border with Ireland, the peace process etc. I think the majority of people in Northern Ireland would still rather the UK to the EU, if they had to choose one over the other. Certainly most of the 44% who voted leave would pick the UK, so only a minority of those who voted Remain are needed to favour the UK for this to be the case. The referendum results reflects the desire of many voters to have both, if possible, and shouldn’t be interpreted otherwise.

Has your own view on this changed in the past two years. If so, how? I’ve never been in favour of a united Ireland and that hasn’t changed over the last two years. I’m no more enthusiastic of the prospect if Britain isn’t in the EU anymore. That being said, the people in Northern Ireland ought to have a say in how they’re governed, and so if there’s a desire for a border poll they should have one when the nature of Brexit has been better established. Equally, however, voters in Ireland should get a vote on whether we want to incorporate Northern Ireland or not, which is what the Good Friday Agreement has established.

Do you believe the Brexit result and aftermath will have an immediate impact on your daily life or financial situation? Yes. Britain has always been the EU nation who’s interests have most closely aligned with Ireland. They’re also our largest trading partner within the EU. It is definitely going to impact the Irish economy somehow, and in many ways already has among business reliant on UK exports and imports. Whether it’ll be a net positive or negative remains to be seen, it’s not certain either way.

Craig, Cork: "A border poll should not be held until the UK fully leaves"

Which political party are you most likely to align with? Sinn Féin

How did you vote? Couldn’t vote

Northern Ireland voted by 56% to remain within the European Union. Do you think this result brings Ireland a step closer to unity? Yes. NI will now be brought out of Europe against the wishes of the majority of the people, like Scotland, also it calls onto question the viability of the state of NI, can/will the UK pay to keep an unviable state afloat? Issues like loss of jobs, loss of subsidies payments etc from the EU

In the wake of the result, should a “Border poll” be held to decide the matter? In the future. A border poll should not be held until the UK fully leaves the EU, giving the people of NI a clear choice on the matter, holding a border poll prior to the UK leaving the EU leaves many uncertainties, better to hold a poll when the UK’s position in relation to Europe and the EU has been decided and agreed upon

Does the referendum result suggest that Northern Ireland sees its future more as part of Europe than part of the UK? Not entirely, rather it means the people of NI supported the position of the UK within the EU rather than seeing themselves more as European than as part of the UK. The result also likely shows the people of NI had better idea of the potential impacts upon themselves and on the state of NI

Has your own view on this changed in the past two years. If so, how? No

Do you believe the Brexit result and aftermath will have an immediate impact on your daily life or financial situation? I don’t know. The direct impact upon myself will likely depend a lot upon the Irish Government’s reponse to brexit rather than as a direct result of brexit itself.

Michael O’Donnell, Dublin: When they go, Close the Border!

Which political party are you most likely to align with? Fianna Fáil

How did you vote? Couldn’t vote

Northern Ireland voted by 56% to remain within the European Union. Do you think this result brings Ireland a step closer to unity? No. Majority in NI will ALWAYS choose Britain over Ireland.

In the wake of the result, should a “Border poll” be held to decide the matter? I’m not sure. Republic subsidises NI statelet! Our future lies in EU. NI “Nationalists” have had numerous chances to be Irish but preferred staying in UK! Secondly, Border poll has potential destabilising effect on still unstable NI peace.

NI “Unionists” have long used Border for own advantage eg no conscription in NI during World War 2. Finally the population of NI can now no longer have it both ways.

Does the referendum result suggest that Northern Ireland sees its future more as part of Europe than part of the UK? No! NI wanted to continue “Best of Both”, but have clearly chosen over many decades to prefer UK. They have made their bed - let them lie there!

Has your own view on this changed in the past two years. If so, how? Maybe over a little longer than 2 years. The Rory McIlroy “Who will he Represent?” opened my eyes to Real feelings of huge majority of NI population. Let us Irish respect their wish to be British & when they go, Close the Border!

Do you believe the Brexit result and aftermath will have an immediate impact on your daily life or financial situation? Yes. I believe that the ROI Government will be better off without constant attempts to win hearts & minds of NI population. Additionally, with UK outside of EU, ROI will gain more Foreign Direct investment! So Brexit (including NI!) will improve my financial situation!

Robert, Kildare: Ireland cannot afford to support Northern Ireland

Which political party are you most likely to align with? Fine Gael

How did you vote? Couldn’t vote

Northern Ireland voted by 56% to remain within the European Union. Do you think this result brings Ireland a step closer to unity? No. The support in Northern Ireland for remaining is, in my opinion, directly attributable to the financial support from the EU to Northern Ireland to assist the peace process.

In the wake of the result, should a “Border poll” be held to decide the matter? In the future. The Republic of Ireland cannot afford to support Northern Ireland to the same extent the UK does. Northern Ireland would have to become self sufficient first.

Does the referendum result suggest that Northern Ireland sees its future more as part of Europe than part of the UK? Stupid question, The person who wrote it should be ashamed of themselves. 57% of those that voted saw the benefits of ‘the UK remaining in the EU’. Northern Ireland was not asked to vote on membership of the EU. The Referendum was flawed, Westminster gave no consideration to the possibility of regions voting overwhelmingly to remain and the overall majority voting to leave.

Has your own view on this changed in the past two years. If so, how? No, it hasn’t changed.

Do you believe the Brexit result and aftermath will have an immediate impact on your daily life or financial situation? Yes. The UK’s decision to severe trading tie’s with the EU has got to have an impact on the EU countries that have large quantities of exports/imports to the UK. The full extent of the effect will not be known until Article 50 is invoked and UK ‘requests’, as part of their trade negotiations are disclosed. How the EU and the UK will treat import duties on goods and services, has yet to be mentioned.

Barry, Belfast: "The UK will not adopt the additional EU payments made to NI post Brexit"

Which political party are you most likely to align with? Alliance or SDLP

How did you vote? Remain

Northern Ireland voted by 56% to remain within the European Union. Do you think this result brings Ireland a step closer to unity? Yes, but only if the negotiations go badly for the UK or particularly badly for Northern Ireland which, sadly, I believe is the more likely scenario as the UK government will not adopt the additional EU payments made to NI post Brexit.

In the wake of the result, should a “Border poll” be held to decide the matter? In the future. Again, pending the outcome of Brexit negotiations a clearer picture should emerge as to how good/bad it will be for NI. If it’s negative I think interested parties (Irish Government), nationalist parties & moderate unionists should quietly build a case for closer cooperation in Ireland.

Does the referendum result suggest that Northern Ireland sees its future more as part of Europe than part of the UK? Not necessarily. Some unionists voted to remain in the EU but given an ultimatum would choose the UK over the EU. For nationalists it’s simpler, EU future is the better option & a more likely stepping stone to reunification.

Has your own view on this changed in the past two years. If so, how? No, I firmly see (& saw) the future of NI in the EU but this is obviously now under threat.

Do you believe the Brexit result and aftermath will have an immediate impact on your daily life or financial situation? I don’t know. It’s just too early to say before we know the outcomes. This could be months of not years away.

Darragh, Dublin: "The EU’s collapse is inevitable"

Which political party are you most likely to align with? None

How did you vote? Couldn’t vote

Northern Ireland voted by 56% to remain within the European Union. Do you think this result brings Ireland a step closer to unity? No, I don’t think Brexit will have much effect at all on Irish Unity. I believe that any tension resulting from Ireland being in the EU and NI not being in the EU will be temporary as I believe that Ireland will not remain in the EU much longer itself. The EU is doomed to collapse; Euroscepticism is rising throughout Europe and Brexit will encourage more and more countries to abandon the sinking ship.

In the wake of the result, should a “Border poll” be held to decide the matter? I fail to see the need for any such action. Ireland has more important things to consider than unity with the North. As I said earlier, the EU’s collapse is something that I view as inevitable; there is not much sense in concentrating on this issue when the political landscape will be so different soon.

Does the referendum result suggest that Northern Ireland sees its future more as part of Europe than part of the UK? I can’t imagine that the citizens of Northern Ireland are so disloyal to the United Kingdom that they would think anything of the sort. They are under various naive delusions about the EU and their support for the EU is simply a fear of the unknown. That is all. The United Kingdom is still of primary importance to them. Northern Ireland is not Scotland.

Has your own view on this changed in the past two years. If so, how? I have become much more anti-EU. The grotesque nature of the EU becomes more obvious every week. They barely even bother to hide their goal of making the EU a federal state anymore. The primacy of EU law over national law, the discarding of national borders, the EU army, the constant introduction of Europe-wide common policies; it’s all just atrocious.

Do you believe the Brexit result and aftermath will have an immediate impact on your daily life or financial situation? No. Britain and Ireland have a mutually beneficial trading arrangement. Britain does not want to lose it. Ireland does not want to lose it. Britain will succeed outside of the EU and I see no reason why Ireland would suffer any significant loss as a result.

Ross, Dublin: "Our prosperity is directly connected to the UK’s economy"

Which political party are you most likely to align with? Fine Gael

How did you vote? Couldn’t vote

Northern Ireland voted by 56% to remain within the European Union. Do you think this result brings Ireland a step closer to unity? No. The EU has nothing to do with the concept of the nation state. It is the antithesis of that.

In the wake of the result, should a “Border poll” be held to decide the matter? Never

Does the referendum result suggest that Northern Ireland sees its future more as part of Europe than part of the UK? I think the majority of people in the North recognised that as bad as brexit is for the UK it will be worse for Ireland and they are therefore doubly hit

Has your own view on this changed in the past two years. If so, how? No

Do you believe the Brexit result and aftermath will have an immediate impact on your daily life or financial situation? Yes. Our largest trading partner never mind the countless connection s across all spheres will for the first time since de Valera’s ruinous economic wars not be connected to us. Like it or not our prosperity is directly connected to the UK’s economy

Colm Ryan, Cork: "I can’t see unity happening in my lifetime"

Which political party are you most likely to align with? Labour

How did you vote? Couldn’t vote

Northern Ireland voted by 56% to remain within the European Union. Do you think this result brings Ireland a step closer to unity? No. I can’t see Irish unity happening during my lifetime. A lot still needs to happen to normalise relationships between North and South. Brexit could conceivably draw us both further apart.

In the wake of the result, should a “Border poll” be held to decide the matter? In the future. The reality of Northern Ireland is that it is still strongly divided between two cultures. We need a long period of readjustment and assimilation before we are able to discuss this, and not have the prospect of renewed hostilities dangling over our heads. Reconciliation is possible, but it will take time.

Does the referendum result suggest that Northern Ireland sees its future more as part of Europe than part of the UK? There is little point in talking about Northern Ireland as a single entity. There are two distinct traditions with different views in both camps. There is a pragmatism on both sides, but nevertheless, a large group sees itself as absolutely pro-British and would enthusiastically support Brexit. It will be a huge challenge to bring them onto a pro-European side. There is one caveat, however, and this would be Scottish Independence. An independent Scotland would spell the death knell of traditional Unionism in the context of Brexit. We have to wait to see how this will play out.

Has your own view on this changed in the past two years. If so, how? No. I was not surprised that Northern Ireland voted in favour, given the large farming community and its strong trading ties to the south. Nevertheless, Donaghadee is still a million miles away from Dungiven on this issue.

Do you believe the Brexit result and aftermath will have an immediate impact on your daily life or financial situation? Immediate impact, no; long term impact, I do not know. We are intimately linked to Britain and to the fortunes of Britain, come what may. Irrespective of how the EU wants to deal with the UK post-Brexit, the reality of relations between these two islands is unlikely to change very much.

Robbie, Belfast: "It’s a question of when, not if"

Which political party are you most likely to align with? SDLP and Green party

How did you vote? Remain

Northern Ireland voted by 56% to remain within the European Union. Do you think this result brings Ireland a step closer to unity? Yes. The soft unionist section of the North has woken to the idea of a united Ireland, particularly the younger generation. The appetite for a discussion on the matter has appeared.

In the wake of the result, should a “Border poll” be held to decide the matter? In the future. There will be a border poll, so it’s a question of when, not if. However the discussion both in the political and social spheres has not happened to any real extent yet. Parties from the south standing in Northern elections and participating in discourse around the idea is an essential step.

Does the referendum result suggest that Northern Ireland sees its future more as part of Europe than part of the UK? Not really, it woke a sense of European identity for sure but I don’t think this is reflected in a mass shift from believing the north should remain part of the UK to a united Ireland / Europe. There’s only been around a 5 per cent uplift in support for a UI in most surveys.

Do you believe the Brexit result and aftermath will have an immediate impact on your daily life or financial situation? Yes. Brexit hasn’t taken place yet and already there’s been a financial impact in terms of exchange rates and general market uncertainty. The full effects if brexit won’t appear until it happens.

Eddie, Belfast: "The Irish passport shows pragmatism by unionists"

Which political party are you most likely to align with? Greens

How did you vote? Leave

Northern Ireland voted by 56% to remain within the European Union. Do you think this result brings Ireland a step closer to unity? Yes. A step in a very long journey. Only possible sort of unification maintains NI but provides rights to and input into Dáil by nationalists who are more interested in making the likes of DUP less powerful. They are loyal to Irishness but ignored by ROI. This is the unity, unity with fellow Irish, that they want. Not run by Dublin.

In the wake of the result, should a “Border poll” be held to decide the matter? In the future. Not now. It will be defeated. See above. There has to be an advantage, there is none. The Irish passport shows pragmatism by unionists but that’s all. Treat nationalists favourably with clear benefits to being Irish then things may change.

Does the referendum result suggest that Northern Ireland sees its future more as part of Europe than part of the UK? No, it’s mostly UK first, block grant funds 90 per cent of NI and everything here is about funding.

Has your own view on this changed in the past two years. If so, how? I envisage an Ulster regional unity rather than all Ireland. It’s recognised as a geographical area, this could be used somehow as a way of getting funding for NI, which is number one priority for NI people.

Do you believe the Brexit result and aftermath will have an immediate impact on your daily life or financial situation? Yes. I’m launching a drink, I stopped looking at UK manufacturers and will make it in Donegal for “Made in Ireland” brand as well as EU sales. It may be made under licence in England later. There is no advantage in making if in NI.

Anonymous, Dublin: "Free movement has been accepted as the norm"

Which political party are you most likely to align with? Fine Gael

How did you vote? Couldn’t vote

Northern Ireland voted by 56% to remain within the European Union. Do you think this result brings Ireland a step closer to unity? No. I think most people in N. Ireland have no desire to join the Republic and I do not think Brexit changes that. What they want is a “special” relationship with the Republic

In the wake of the result, should a “Border poll” be held to decide the matter? Now. I believe Brexit will have very serious consequences for people living near the border. Free movement has now been accepted as the norm. If this changes that will be very serious and people living there need to let the decision makers know how they see things and what they want.

Does the referendum result suggest that Northern Ireland sees its future more as part of Europe than part of the UK? Its difficult to really know. I think they want both - to be part of the UK and Europe. I think it will take time for the full impact of Brexit to be known and it is only then that people can decide - UK or Europe. People talk as if Brexit has already happened. It has not happened and so we do not yet know the full impact.

Has your own view on this changed in the past two years. If so, how? No. My view has always been that the UK should remain in Europe. I believe the decision to leave was shortsighted and just plain wrong. We have had relative peace in Europe for the past 60 years and people appear to have forgotten that we had two world wars in the first half of the 20th Century. There is more at stake here that money and unfortunately people have forgotten that. I just hope the price is not high in terms of peace.

Do you believe the Brexit result and aftermath will have an immediate impact on your daily life or financial situation? Yes. So far nothing has changed. Its too soon to know if that will continue.

Andrew, London: "As a result of the vote I am planning to leave the UK"

Which political party are you most likely to align with? Liberal Democrats

How did you vote? Remain

Northern Ireland voted by 56% to remain within the European Union. Do you think this result brings Ireland a step closer to unity? Yes. I think what the unionist parties in the North want to preserve is the link with Scotland. I think the SNP will win the next referendum on Scottish independence. I think eventually Scotland will be admitted to the EU. And I think at that point, members of unionist parties in the North may conclude that their communities have a stronger voice in Europe than in the English parliament.

In the wake of the result, should a “Border poll” be held to decide the matter? In the future. I think the question should not be asked until more of the facts are known. What settlement will Britain reach with the EU? Will Westminster match EU funding levels? Will Scotland remain in the UK? What reforms will the EU make to its institutions as a result of Brexit?

Does the referendum result suggest that Northern Ireland sees its future more as part of Europe than part of the UK? I think the referendum result reflects the divide across the whole of the UK. Although the result was for remain, it was still quite close. I think what is likely to bring about a united Ireland is the aftermath of the vote.

Has your own view on this changed in the past two years. If so, how? I have always thought that eventually there would be a united Ireland. I did not expect it to happen in my lifetime. But I also didn’t expect Cameron to win an election and hold the referendum. As soon as he announced it I expected the result would be for leave and that the profound effect of that decision on Northern Ireland could hasten reunification.

Do you believe the Brexit result and aftermath will have an immediate impact on your daily life or financial situation? Yes. As a result of the vote I am planning to leave the UK. I have no ancestry with which to claim another EU passport, therefore I will be talking to my employer to see if I can take my job with me.

Robert Field, Canada: "Look at the mess Europe is in"

Which political party are you most likely to align with? NA

How did you vote? Leave

Northern Ireland voted by 56% to remain within the European Union. Do you think this result brings Ireland a step closer to unity? No we don’t think unity is a good idea, we are not European but consider ourselves to be British. Just look at the mess Europe is in, it is never a good idea to give up on being a sovereign country.We believe in two distinct countries as we are better off being part of Great Britain. (ps - we are working in Canada at the minute)

In the wake of the result, should a “Border poll” be held to decide the matter? In the future. If Northern Ireland wants to be its own country then there is no problem with having a border established, the one between Canada and USA works good and then you have control over what regulations you want enforced.

Does the referendum result suggest that Northern Ireland sees its future more as part of Europe than part of the UK? No we have talked to friends who believe the right decision was made and they are happy to go along with it even though some of them voted remain.

Has your own view on this changed in the past two years. If so, how? Not really

Do you believe the Brexit result and aftermath will have an immediate impact on your daily life or financial situation? No. Actually it is good the pound is lower because we will see exports increase as it makes our goods less expensive to buy.

Irishman exiled by corruption, London: "We have laid off staff already"

Which political party are you most likely to align with? Conservatives

How did you vote? Leave

Northern Ireland voted by 56% to remain within the European Union. Do you think this result brings Ireland a step closer to unity? No. This was a vote for the UK as a whole. Splitting the result into smaller groups is nonsensical as all are part of the Union and abide by the union rules. People with Eire passports in the North will still have those passports and can travel freely just as I can from London.

In the wake of the result, should a “Border poll” be held to decide the matter? Never. Northern Irish people are British. Irish citizens gave up articles 2 and 3 in a democratic vote years ago. A result I disagree with but stand by as part of democracy. The republic needs to ensure that its citizens in the UK are looked after in the next few years just as the Polish government is looking after its citizens in the UK post brexit.

Does the referendum result suggest that Northern Ireland sees its future more as part of Europe than part of the UK? They democratically voted as part of the UK. The result states they are to leave. Northern Irish people from the loyalist backgrounds are on experience ( in London) a very proud people with rich UK links. This will not and should not change.

Has your own view on this changed in the past two years. If so, how? No. The EU is not democratic. It appears to use subsidies as a bondage tool in every debate. Reference the current debate with Hungary. Decisions are made by unelected officials which benefit the all elites including political and media. The working classes have been left behind hence Brexit. It was the only time the people had a voice and could push back against the elites. Brexit was not a surprise for working class people who have since been vilified in elite mainstream media.

Do you believe the Brexit result and aftermath will have an immediate impact on your daily life or financial situation? Yes. I am an Irish citizen working in construction in London. My firm has already seen a drop in foreign demand for residential units and we have laid off staff already. It is likely to get worse over the ne t few months. I voted leave and knew I may lose my job doing so. I voted with my heart for ordinary people.

Riocárd Ó hOddail: "We need EU funds to function"

Which political party are you most likely to align with? Greens

How did you vote? Remain

Northern Ireland voted by 56% to remain within the European Union. Do you think this result brings Ireland a step closer to unity? Yes. I think a lot of people are naturally concerned by this situation, particularly those who cross the border to work, study or access services. Within the Protestant community, there has been a recent move to embrace our Irishness. Perhaps that’s because it was denied from us or carefully swept under the rug. Our lives are connected to those in the South and those in Scotland. We’re all connect to one another and I think that’s why more and more people are warming up to new possibilities on the political front. The question is: what shape will a United Ireland take on?

In the wake of the result, should a “Border poll” be held to decide the matter? Now. It is not fair how the North of Ireland, Scotland and Gibraltar voted against a Brexit - yet they have to accept England’s decision. People’s livelihoods are at stake, so a border poll seems perfectly legitimate - especially when business and the social fabric of our society is concerned. Scotland will soon have another bid for independence, so we should also check how people feel about this unequal union with England.

Does the referendum result suggest that Northern Ireland sees its future more as part of Europe than part of the UK? Part of Europe. We need EU funds to function and we trade a lot with Europe. Without Europe. We’d have absolutely nothing. Nobody would willingly embrace poverty in exchange for the illusion of a ‘better Britain’.

Has your own view on this changed in the past two years. If so, how? I am slightly more outspoken with my views on a fairer, more interconnected Ireland. Before I didn’t feel it was safe to voice my opinion.

Do you believe the Brexit result and aftermath will have an immediate impact on your daily life or financial situation? Yes. I started my own business in August and I’m already feeling the impact. There’s no political advice from above, so I’m having to do my own investigations to make sure I can make ends meet. Otherwise, my future will be in jeopardy.

Sheila Gutknecht, Germany:  "I think the ties to the UK are much weaker than they used to be"

Which political party are you most likely to align with?  Alliance (but as I live in Germany, I don't vote in N.I.

How did you vote? Couldn't vote

Northern Ireland voted by 56% to remain within the European Union. Do you think this result brings Ireland a step closer to unity? Yes. I feel that, as 56% of the population of N.I. wished to remain in the EU, this majority should be respected. The cross border developments of the past years are very encouraging and the old rifts of the past between the two parts of Ireland are disappearing.

In the wake of the result, should a “Border poll” be held to decide the matter? In the future. I think people should be given the opportunity to choose.

Does the referendum result suggest that Northern Ireland sees its future more as part of Europe than part of the UK?   Yes, I think the ties to the UK are much weaker than they used to be. For the future of N.I. and especially for young folk, it would be much better to stay in the EU - businesses would profit from the connections.

Has your own view on this changed in the past two years. If so, how?  I used to think, in the interests of peace, that N.I. would be better - off within the UK, but on many visits home to N.I. I increasingly see young people envisioning their future within Ireland.

Do you believe the Brexit result and aftermath will have an immediate impact on your daily life or financial situation? Yes, I receive a small pension from N.I., as I worked there, and, due to the low pound, this has shrunk considerably

Mary, Waterford: "I am not in favour of a United Ireland"

Which political party are you most likely to align with?  Labour

How did you vote? Couldn't vote

Northern Ireland voted by 56% to remain within the European Union. Do you think this result brings Ireland a step closer to unity? No. The brexit vote is a completely different issue to a united Ireland.

In the wake of the result, should a “Border poll” be held to decide the matter? Never. I am not in favour of a United Ireland, it would cost us too much, there is a large section of Northern Ireland which are not interested in a United ireland who would only cause trouble and the years of trouble there have left it a dysfunctional place.. We have enough of our own troubles down here.

Does the referendum result suggest that Northern Ireland sees its future more as part of Europe than part of the UK?  No I think they still see themselves as part of the U.K. London voted to remain in and they see themselves as part of Europe and also the UK.

Barney, US: "there are only two choices for Ireland"

Which political party are you most likely to align with?  Democrat

How did you vote? Couldn't vote

Northern Ireland voted by 56% to remain within the European Union. Do you think this result brings Ireland a step closer to unity? Yes and No. Already there is backtracking on a "hard" or "soft" exit. But there is no doubt that in the end it will be a "hard" exit. Therefore there are only two choices for Ireland as a whole: 1. Reunification of Ireland or 2. Ireland (Republic) rejoining the UK. You can't have it both ways.

In the wake of the result, should a “Border poll” be held to decide the matter? In the future. How can you ask for a poll when people don't know what the consequences will be. Hello!, just like the Brexit poll. These questions need to be addressed: Will the British (English really) taxpayer want to continue to subsidise NI at the current rate? Will it want to continue to subsidize NI if Scotland leaves the UK?  Does the Republic want to foot the bill to subsidize NI in the event of reunification? A small minority of hardline loyalists will not want to reunite no matter what - would they be repatriated to "the mainland" or Ireland be repartitioned to accommodate them?

Does the referendum result suggest that Northern Ireland sees its future more as part of Europe than part of the UK?  NI always goes where they money is - to whoever is willing to subsidize them in the style to which they (Catholics and Protestants) have become accustomed. But the hardline loyalists will pull everyone down with them as their only objective is to retain the tie with the UK, no matter what, even if it's not in their own self interest. Nowhere is the British monarch mentioned and how any changes there (very likely when the current queen dies) would affect NI.

Has your own view on this changed in the past two years. If so, how?  Partition hasn't worked. As well as the thousands of lives lost it has, since 1920, cost millions of pounds and done huge damage to the economy of the whole island. The taxpayer in both the Republic, and I am sure the rest of Britain, are tired of subsidizing NI. It's time to give reunification a chance and appropriate as 2019 approaches. But reunification may not be as Dev wanted. It may be a Federal system and will the south be willing to pay the price of the endless bickering and bigotry that any die-hard loyalist is probably guaranteed to bring to the table? A "bonus" may be for the Catholic church to have an ally with NI fundamentalists!!! Keep the 8th, repeal Marriage Equality!! Yeah! NI needs to show what it can bring to the table or else it's very possible that the Republic may well say "we don't want you". I met an industrialist recently in Germany who said that NI has the lowest productivity rate in Europe and is the worse place to do business. This he said without blushing as Frankfort airport went into meltdown due to a strike!

Do you believe the Brexit result and aftermath will have an immediate impact on your daily life or financial situation? Yes. If the Conservative Party in Britain continues in its right-wing direction this in turn may embolden the extremists of the Republican party in the US to do the same and that would impact me.

Jean Martin, Derry: "There is still too much discord, north and south of the border"

Which political party are you most likely to align with?  Sinn Fein

How did you vote? Remain

Northern Ireland voted by 56% to remain within the European Union. Do you think this result brings Ireland a step closer to unity? Yes. A small step but for now not a particularly significant one. There is still too much discord, north and south of the border, with regards to unification. I do think that going forward, if a hard border is a reality, that that could change. A united Ireland will only happen when it is financially benifical to both sides north and south and it pains me to say it.

In the wake of the result, should a “Border poll” be held to decide the matter? In the future. A border poll now will only reflect long standing divides.

Does the referendum result suggest that Northern Ireland sees its future more as part of Europe than part of the UK?  It is significant that all of the parties in the north, with the exception of the DUP, backed remain in the referendum. If this were to continue we would see a strong leaning towards Europe. Having said that the UUP is looking a bit unstable with regards to that recently.

Do you believe the Brexit result and aftermath will have an immediate impact on your daily life or financial situation? Yes. When the result of the referendum was announced one of the first columns I read was Fintian O'Tool’s where he stated and I believe correctly that with the UK leaving Europe the North would become "a distant nuisance".  I lived in the north pre the arrival of the Civil Rights Movement so I know what that feels like.

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