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Publication Detail
Working Group on Unification Referendums on the Island of Ireland: Interim Report
The Belfast/Good Friday Agreement of 1998 provides for the possibility of future referendums on the question of whether Northern Ireland should remain in the United Kingdom or become part of a united Ireland. It sets out some of the principles that such votes would need to follow, but it leaves many aspects of the process unclear or unspecified. How would the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland decide whether to call a referendum? Would a vote also be needed in the Republic of Ireland? Would referendums north and south need to be simultaneous? Would they best take place before or after detailed proposals for the form of a united Ireland had been worked out? Who should be able to vote? What should the question on the ballot paper be? How would the referendum campaigns be conducted? This interim report explores possible answers to these and other questions, and sets out the provisional conclusions of the Working Group on Unification Referendums on the Island of Ireland. The Working Group has no collective view on whether such referendums should take place or what the outcome should be if a vote is called. The Group does not see referendums on this subject as imminent. But they could happen in the future. And thinking through in advance what that would involve is vitally important.
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