Ireland: Brits Out now Say One in Seven



As the Police Service of Northern Ireland prepares to launch a `major security operation’ against `dissident’ republicans it has been revealed that support for the actions of those republicans still committed to armed struggle is much higher than previously thought.

New research by an established authority on Irish affairs, Professor Jonathan Tonge, has revealed that over one in seven nationalists (14%) have expressed sympathy for the reasons behind dissident violence.

The figure is at odds with the position often propounded by senior British politicians and British security forces that support for the dissidents is

Professor Tonge is reported in Irish newspapers today saying:

“One of the mantras of the peace process is that ‘dissident’ republicans have no support … Yet the assumption that dissidents have no support has been precisely that – an assumption, untroubled by actual evidence either way.”

He said respondents were asked:

“Do you have sympathy for the reasons why some republican groups (such as the Real IRA and Continuity IRA) continue to use violence?”

In answer:

“Some 8.2 per cent of the 1,002 respondents said they did have sympathy. This figure translates into 14.2 per cent of those respondents identifying themselves as nationalists.”

However, Professor Tonge added: “This doesn’t mean there is unequivocal support. It’s important to put in that caveat.”

Republican Sinn Fein, which continues to campaign for an end to British rule in Ireland, commenting on the new research said:

“Overall the survey does nothing more than bear out the lesson of Irish history. Despite the active opposition and condemnation of resistance to British rule from the political establishments in Leinster House, Stormont, Westminster, Washington and Brussels as well as most of the media there remains a section of the Irish people who refuse to be either purchased or intimidated into accepting the partition or British occupation of their country.”

Professor Tonge’s research was carried out across all 18 Northern Ireland constituencies following the Westminster election in May, by Market Research Northern Ireland and supported by the Economic and Social Research Council.
J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information
Celtic League


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