What the Belfast Agreement says about a Border poll

The choice the pact poses is binary: remain in the union or join a sovereign united Ireland?

Thomas Byrne said ‘if Robin Swann feels the need to introduce restrictions on the North that’s a matter for them’. File photograph: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

Thomas Byrne said ‘if Robin Swann feels the need to introduce restrictions on the North that’s a matter for them’. File photograph: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

The Belfast Agreement – including the linked changes to the Irish Constitution and the UK Northern Ireland Act, 1998 – is a central point of reference in the developing discussion of a united Ireland.

It provides that the people of Ireland have a right to self-determination, but only on the basis of the concurrent consent of majorities both North and South. A referendum must be held in Northern Ireland if the Secretary of State believes that a majority in favour of unity is likely.

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