Public attitudes to different possible models of a United Ireland: evidence from a citizens’ assembly in Northern Ireland

John Garry*, Brendan O'Leary, John Coakley, Jamie Pow, Lisa Whitten

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

We empirically identify the considered views of the Northern Ireland public on the relative merits of two possible models of a united Ireland: an integrated united Ireland in which Northern Ireland is absorbed into an all-island polity, and a united Ireland in which Northern Ireland continues to exist as a devolved entity. We use data from a specially designed one-day citizens’ assembly. We report analyses based on quantitative examination of pre- and post-deliberation surveys and qualitative analysis of the transcripts of participants’ deliberation. We find that, after learning about the different two models, citizens’ support for the devolved model declined, particularly among Protestant participants. We elaborate the implications of our findings for any referendum on the constitutional future of Northern Ireland.
Original languageEnglish
JournalIrish Political Studies
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 25 Sep 2020

Keywords

  • citizens' assembly
  • models of Irish unity
  • referendum
  • Northern Ireland
  • deliberation

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