Category: Archive

Census results: a blow to republican strategy?

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

Republican spokesmen were confidently predicting that the results would show that the Catholic (read nationalist) population would draw within a few percentage points of the Protestant (read Unionist) population. It would thus bring the prospect of a united Ireland by 2016, as predicted by Gerry Adams in a speech in New York almost three years ago, within the realms of possibility.
However, the results show that the Protestants stand at more than 53 percent of the population, with the Catholics hovering just below 44 percent. This represents an increase since 1991 of 2 percent in the number of Catholics, and a decline of 5 percent in the number of Protestants. While it confirms a continuing trend toward a larger Catholic population in the state, most experts do not believe that it provides the basis for a large enough shift in numbers to allow for a pro-United Ireland majority to emerge in Northern Ireland anytime soon. Others dispute this, and the number crunching is sure to go on for weeks and months as Unionists and nationalist strive to interpret the statistics in ways favorable to their respective positions. However, what is certain is that the results have delivered a serious blow to the Provisional republicans

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