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Sinn Fein surge will NOT contribute to the break up of the UK – poll

SINN FEIN’S remarkable surge in Saturday’s Irish general election has put the issue of a united Ireland firmly back on the agenda, but readers have said they are not worried that it could lead to the break-up of the UK.

Out of a total of 3,970 votes, just 889 voted that they feared Sinn Fein’s surge would contribute to the break-up of the United Kingdom. But, many more voters took the opposite view and thought that Mary Lou McDonald’s would not contribute to the break-up of the United Kingdom, this was the opinion of 2,999 voters. Just 82 voters said they didn’t know.

In percentage terms this works out as 76 percent of readers voting that they were not worried about the break-up of the UK after Sinn Fein’s latest success in the Irish general election.

Sinn Fein, the left-wing republican party, won 24.5 percent of the vote, with Fianna Fail winning 22 percent and Fine Gael 21 percent.

The last Irish election saw no single party win a majority and it took 70 days for a government to be formed.

None of the three main parties will win the 80 seats needed to form their own governme

This means that a coalition government of some form will have to be negotiated.

The landmark Good Friday Agreement, which was signed in 1997, includes provision for a border poll.

Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Julian Smith is required to call one “if at any time it appears likely to him that a majority of those voting would express a wish that Northern Ireland should cease to be part of the United Kingdom and form part of a united Ireland”.

If he opts to do so, votes would need to be held in the North and the South, with majorities required in both for Irish unification to take place.

Speaking after the polls closed yesterday, Mrs McDonald said: “We want to talk to anyone who is interested in delivering a programme for government.

“That is about getting to grips with the housing crisis and solving it, getting to grips with the crisis in health and giving families and workers a break and giving a new lease of life to government.

“A government that people relate to, that is in tune with the realities of people’s day-to-day lives, not one that is aloof and adrift from the experiences of citizens.

“This campaign has been about change and giving Sinn Fein a chance to demonstrate what it feels like when it is led by or has a party of the people in it, that has been the theme of our discussions and conversations.

“This vote for Sinn Fein is for Sinn Fein to be in government, for Sinn Fein to make a difference, for Sinn Fein to be tested, for Sinn Fein to deliver.”

Mrs McDonald is likely to take a harder line on trade negotiations with the UK than Mr Varadkar’s party did previously, and should they be offered a seat at the table, talks with Britain are likely to become more difficult.

Sinn Fein is committed to a policy whereby Northern Ireland is designated special status within the EU, with the whole of the island of Ireland to remain within the EU together.

The party was also hugely critical of Mr Varadkar in the wake of the Brexit deal struck between the UK and the EU, arguing he had made far too many concessions to Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Current projections suggest Sinn Fein will take 37 seats in the 160-seat Dail, or Parliament, meaning they will be hard to ignore when negotiations over the formation of the next Government get under way, with Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin, unlike Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, refusing to rule out a possible deal.

He later cautioned observers not to “jump the gun” in interpreting his remarks as a signal an alliance with the party was in the offing.

Mr Varadkar’s last government, a minority Fine Gael-led administration including a number of independent TDs, was kept in power as a result of a confidence and supply deal with Fianna Fail.

Fine Gael and Fianna Fail have swapped power in each election since Ireland’s civil war in the 1920s.

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