Making social science accessible

20 Feb 2019

Devolution and the Union

The future of our shared island: a paper on the logistical and legal questions surrounding referendums on Irish unity

The debate on Irish Unity has intensified. Brexit is only one part of this, as more people question the merits of the existing constitutional arrangements. The focus is now shifting to constitutional conversations about how the island is shared in the future, and the timeframe for what is often referred to as a “border poll”.

The difficulty remains that there are several unanswered questions about the process, as many interventions understandably concentrate on the merits of this option. We believe that the debate around the referendums must be normalised as momentum builds towards setting out a precise timeframe. In this paper our intention is to examine logistical and legal questions that have thus far been neglected.

This paper is therefore drafted with two principal considerations in mind:

  1. How can referendums on Irish unity be achieved?
  2. How can they be won?
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