A United Ireland is the idea of a sovereign state covering all of the thirty-two traditional counties of Ireland. The island of Ireland includes the territory of two independent sovereign states: the Republic of Ireland, which covers 26 counties of the island, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, which covers 6 counties. The phrase "26+6=1" often refers to the desire to unify the 26 counties of the Republic of Ireland with the 6 counties of Northern Ireland into a single state.
A united Ireland, fully independent of the United Kingdom, is supported by Irish republicans and Irish nationalists. Conversely, unionists and loyalists oppose this and support Northern Ireland remaining part of the United Kingdom. In the 2009 Northern Ireland Life and Times survey, 21% of those asked supported a united Ireland. In the Republic of Ireland, a united Ireland was favoured by around 80% of people in 2006. In Great Britain surveys show about 40% support a united Ireland.
Several different models for reunification have been suggested including federalism and confederalism, as well as a unitary state. Article 15.2 of the Constitution of Ireland (enacted in 1937) provides for the possibility of devolution within the Irish state, originally intended to absorb the old Stormont institutions of Northern Ireland. In 1999 Articles 2 and 3 of the constitution were amended to abandon the territorial claim on the North.
The partition of Ireland in 1921 stemmed from demographic, economic, religious and political factors. In demographic terms, the six counties of Northern Ireland contain a unionist and mostly Protestant majority that favours continued union with Britain. The twenty-six counties of the Republic contain a very large Roman Catholic majority that rejected British rule and became independent in 1922. In political terms, the British government was reluctant in the 1920s to withdraw its jurisdiction from the whole of the island for strategic reasons; its policy since 1921 has been to agree to Irish unity by voluntary consent.
While Irish governments, particularly under Éamon de Valera, pursued the goal of a united Ireland throughout the 20th century, the prospect of a united Ireland assumed particular importance following the outbreak of the Troubles in Northern Ireland in the late 1960s. All major political parties in Britain and in both parts of Ireland now accept the principle that a united Ireland can be achieved only with the consent of the majority of the people of Northern Ireland. All major political parties in the south favour a united Ireland, as do the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) and Sinn Féin in Northern Ireland.
A united Ireland is opposed by the unionist parties and loyalist paramilitary groups in Northern Ireland. The UK Government is committed under the Northern Ireland Act 1998 to following the wishes of the majority of the Northern Ireland population.
Other articles related to "united ireland, united, ireland":
... Left-wing and liberal groups have traditionally been more open to a united Ireland ... there has been strong support for a united Ireland within the left of the Labour Party, and in the 1980s it became official policy to support a united Ireland by ... Party has traditionally taken a strongly unionist line in relation to the United Kingdom as a whole by opposing nationalism in Scotland and Wales as well as Northern Ireland ...
... Northern Ireland Life and Times Survey 2006 Religion Affiliation 2003 Protestant Unionist 69% Nationalist 0% Neither 30% Don't know 0% Catholic ... In terms of religion, 52% of Northern Ireland Catholics now support remaining part of the United Kingdom via devolved government or direct rule, usually while ... The number of Catholics supporting a United Ireland has now dropped to 33% amongst the Catholic population, according to the same poll ...
... "firm will" of the Irish nation to create a united Irish people, though not, explicitly, a united country ... It stresses, however, that a united Ireland should respect the distinct cultural identity of Unionists and that it should only come about with the separate "democratically expressed ... that their rights would be ignored in a united Ireland, should that happen ...
Famous quotes containing the words ireland and/or united:
“There is no topic ... more soporific and generally boring than the topic of Ireland as Ireland, as a nation.”
—Ezra Pound (18851972)
“... it is probable that in a fit of generosity the men of the United States would have enfranchised its women en masse; and the government now staggering under the ballots of ignorant, irresponsible men, must have gone down under the additional burden of the votes which would have been thrown upon it, by millions of ignorant, irresponsible women.”
—Jane Grey Swisshelm (18151884)