Belfast Telegraph

Little appetite on streets of Maiden City for unity referendum

By Donna Deeney

It may be among the places where the border question and Brexit fallout will impact most, but the debate over Irish unity appears to be of little interest for people in Londonderry.

The city has a strong affinity with Donegal, a few miles across the border, and many of its people can trace their family roots to what is now the Irish Republic.

But yesterday relatively few wanted to voice their opinion on comments by Sinn Fein president Mary Lou McDonald on whether it is the right time for a border poll.

Ms McDonald said a referendum on Irish unity should not be held while uncertainty around Brexit remains, but later appeared to backtrack by saying that "the chaos of the Tory Brexit" will not delay a referendum on Irish unity.

Danny Houston thinks now is not the time for a border poll. But if there is one, he doesn't think people would vote for a united Ireland.

He said: "When Brexit is over and we see what damage has been done, that's the time for a border poll.

"Whatever Mary Lou McDonald or any politician says, I don't listen because I am fed up listening to them

"The fact that they are all sitting up in Stormont and doing nothing while I have worked my whole life has made me switch off the TV the minute politics is mentioned.

"We will see what happens with a border poll, but the people here are so entrenched

"I don't see there being a poll anytime soon, and if there was I think people would vote to stay in the UK.

"I am saying that as a nationalist and an Irishman. I would vote to remove the border but I think there are too many middle class people too comfortable with the benefits they get."

Gavin Hutchinson also thinks the timing is not right.

He said: "I agree that now wouldn't be a good time for a border poll because everything is so unclear about Brexit.

"It would be chaos on top of chaos. People voted for Brexit but they were ill-informed and actually, here, we didn't vote for it but we will be the people affected by it the most."

He added: "If it's just a poll for the sake of a poll, that's going to drag up the same old rubbish as before, then what's the point?"

At the age of 71, Kathleen Edwards has never voted in any election or referendum, and has no intention of voting in a border poll if and when one is held.

She explained: "I never listen to the news, I don't follow politics and if there was a border poll I wouldn't vote because it doesn't bother me if we stay in the United Kingdom or if we are part of the Irish Republic. I have never voted in my life, I don't believe in it because not one politician does anything for you.

"They are all getting their big wages at the minute and what are the people of Northern Ireland getting? Damn all."

One man who felt very strongly that there should be no border poll is Jackie Hiscox.

He said: "She is calling for a border poll then she isn't and now she is again.

"But I don't think there should be one at all."

Margaret Wilkie lives in Ballybofey, over the border.

She said: "Mary Lou McDonald will say and do anything she thinks will work best for her and she is saying one thing then she is saying the opposite.

"But, to be honest, among the people I am from there's no talk about a border poll and far less interest in it."

Belfast Telegraph

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