Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 December 2014

Skewed questions in survey on Irish unity

I AM writing in response to the article by Duncan Morrow on the Northern Ireland Life and Times Survey (Comment, June 10).

This survey does not adequately explore any options associated with Irish unity. It only explores the 'long-term future of Northern Ireland' and, through this very wording, is tipped towards sustaining the status quo.

It simply asks whether respondents think that adding the north to the current administration in the south is likely to happen.

This, to me and many others, is not an exploration of Irish unity, but a limited approach. The question also interprets support for current arrangements as support for the maintenance of Union.

Yet our current political administration is based on an agreement which contains the provision for a border poll and creates the space for Irish unity.

To extrapolate support for the present political institutions in the north into some type of endorsement for the Union with Britain is misleading.

Even using the very limited parameters on which this survey is based, with its questions skewed towards identifying support for the Union, the fact that support has dropped by 11% since the last survey in 2010 and that only 42% of young people have indicated that the north will remain as part of Britain in the long-term, indicates that opinion is shifting.

The question is whether we would like the opportunity to vote on Irish unity in a border poll.

MICHAEL GOODMAN

Newtownabbey, Co Antrim

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