United Ireland news: Hardening Nationalist support makes border poll more likely | Politics | News Trending News & More

Brexit debacle ‘was a multitude’ says Mary Lou McDonald

Ray Bassett stated north of the border, the recognition of the nationalist occasion is likely to end in Michelle O’Neill changing into Northern Ireland’s First Minister after May’s Assembly elections. He additional believes present Taoiseach Micheal Martin will step down as Fianna Fail chief earlier than the subsequent election – and is likely to get replaced by any individual with more hardline views with reference to Irish unity.

Mr Bassett, Ireland’s former ambassador to Canada, Jamaica and the Bahamas, was commenting on a Sunday Independent/Ireland Thinks poll, revealed on Sunday.

The survey, with a pattern measurement of 1,369, indicated that, as soon as “don’t knows” have been excluded, Sinn Fein, led by Mary Lou McDonald, was on 33 p.c.

Fine Gael, led by former Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, lagged behind on 23 p.c, with Fianna Fail on 19 p.c.

Boris Johnson Mary Lou McDonald

Boris Johnson and Sinn Fein chief Mary Lou McDonald (Image: GETTY)

Michelle O'Neill

Michelle O’Neill, pictured with Mr Johnson, could possibly be First Minister this yr, stated Mr Bassett (Image: GETTY)

Nevertheless, the poll additionally discovered the present three-way coalition between Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and the Greens (most well-liked by 38 p.c of these requested) to be more well-liked than one led by Sinn Fein (34 p.c).

The Good Friday Agreement, signed in 1998, consists of provision for a border poll in Northern Ireland, with the Northern Ireland secretary dedicated to calling one if there’s a majority in favour of unification – which there at the moment isn’t.

Mr Bassett, who advocates Ireland following the UK’s instance with a so-called Irexit, informed Express.co.uk: “Should Sinn Fein become the predominant party in either Belfast or Dublin, or even more so with both administrations, then the issue of a border poll will become a more active matter.

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Michelle O'Neill Mary Lou McDonald

Michelle O’Neill and Mary Lou McDonald (Image: GETTY)

“It is clear from a large number of polls over the last 18 months that Sinn Fein is the most supported party, at the moment, in both the Republic and in Northern Ireland.”

Ms O’Neill is at the moment Northern Ireland’s deputy First Minister and, because the occasion’s vice-president, can be Ms McDonald’s second in command.

Referring to Sinn Fein’s prospects, Mr Bassett stated: “The implications of their rise are more immediate in Northern Ireland where the Assembly elections are due in May of this year and Sinn Fein is very much in pole position to emerge as the leading party.

Micheal Martin

Micheal Martin (Image: Micheal Martin, Ireland’s Taoiseach)

Leo Varadkar

Leo Varadkar, Mr Martin’s predecessor (Image: GETTY)

“That would automatically mean that Sinn Fein would provide the North’s next First Minister, provided of course that the political institutions in Belfast were still operating.”

In the Republic, there may be not scheduled to be a normal election for an additional three years, with all three coalition companions “very hesitant” about an early poll, Mr Bassett identified.

He added: “It is calculated that they will hold on as long as possible.

“Therefore, the Sinn Fein lead in the polls probably does not have immediate implications.


The island of Ireland is currently partitioned, with the north being part of the UK (Image: GETTY)

“Even if the good polling figures hold up for Sinn Fein and they emerge as the leading party after the next general election in the Republic, it is not inevitable that the party will head up the next Government.

“They may find difficulty in securing the numbers necessary to form a stable Government.

“Under a proportional representation system, it is nearly impossible for one party to secure an overall majority.”

Without an apparent coalition accomplice, Sinn Fein would likely be compelled to depend on what Mr Bassett referred to as “a rag bag of left wing independents”, which he described as “a formula for instability”.

Ray Bassett

Ray Bassett is Ireland’s former ambassador to Canada, Jamaica and the Bahamas (Image: Yale)

As such, he pinpointed Fianna Fail as key to their hopes.

Mr Bassett defined: “I presume they are hoping for a change in leadership in Fianna Fail, whose party membership, though not its current leadership, would be sympathetic to Sinn Fein.

“Taoiseach Michael Martin is atypical of his party’s traditions and has taken a very soft line on the issue of national reunification.

“Any new leader of Fianna Fail would be much more nationalist minded. Martin is expected to step down before the next election.”

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