That 92% in Creggan and Crossmaglen

There must have been more than one wry smile at the news that an Irish unity referendum has been held in the electoral wards of Creggan Upper Co Louth and Crossmaglen Co Armagh. And another when the results were announced: 92% of people voted for a united Ireland.  Had the referendum been held in the Shankill or East Belfast, it’s a safe bet a different result would have emerged.
But Sinn Féin tends not to do things for no reason. By holding this referendum, it’s sending a message to its supporters: we haven’t forgotten our core issue, national unity. It’s also showing that the idea of a united Ireland doesn’t have to remain at the level of theory, it can have a real-world existence, if only in two carefully-selected wards. 
Of course, Sinn Féin have been calling for a referendum on national unity for some time now. Arlene Foster has warned them to be careful what they wish for, they might get it. In other words, there’s no way a referendum on Irish unity would produce a majority in favour.  She believes the Shinners are simply posturing.
I think she’s wrong, for two reasons. One,  saying ‘I don’t want a united Ireland’ to someone with a Belfast Telegraph clip board is one thing; voting in the privacy of a polling booth could in many cases be a different matter. There’s also the fact that, even if it were to be defeated, a referendum would force politicians and people to examine what they mean by Irish unity and what they mean by union with Britain. What are the pluses, what the minuses in each case? So far, it’s been mainly flag-waving and sloganizing. A referendum, I’d hope, would get people to think about the position they support on the constitutional question and why they hold that position. Socrates believed that an unexamined life is not worth living. Equally, an unexamined unionist or republican position is not worth holding. 

      6 Responses to That 92% in Creggan and Crossmaglen

      1. Anonymous May 28, 2013 at 12:09 pm #

        So 92% in favour of an United Ireland in Crossmaglen.What a surprise ?!Pope still Catholic and all that! As you point out, these wards are no doubt carefully selected by the Sinn Fein hierarchy.Presumably the next location will be somewhere in West Belfast .What degree of independence attached to this voting exercise ?Were there disinterested monitors from outside? I would agree that there needs to be a serious look taken at the realities and practical economics of Irish unity.As you rightly point out,flag waving and sloganizing will take us nowhere.

        • Eddie Finnegan May 28, 2013 at 4:42 pm #

          Anonymous, you ask: “Were there disinterested monitors from outside?” Well of course. In Cross and Upper Creggan we don’t overlook such poll accessories as international observers.Didn’t Conor Murphy make the tortuous journey over from Camlough to run a half-marathon, in between climbing Camlough Mountain and Sliabh Gullion? Not international, you cry? He’s just back from settling the Turkish-Kurdish Question in Diyarbakir. And before that Hugo Chavez on his Cuban deathbed had called on the bould Conor to oversee his final prehumous victory in Caracas.
          I must say I’m deeply disappointed at the abysmally low 92+% Yes Vote. Who were the 7+% scoundrels who dared to whisper ‘NO’? Probably from South of the Border around Shelagh, Anavackey and Hackballscross. The YES men and women have themselves to blame. What did they think they were doing by ignoring us here in the Diaspora? Our London based Culloville & Glassdrumonaghy Diaspora alone would have made that result at least 103%. Whatever happened to ‘Vote early – Vote often’ around Cross?

      2. Anonymous May 28, 2013 at 5:03 pm #

        This was a community ran campaign not a Sinn Fein campaign, however Sinn Fein of course supported it, the campaign had a debate between representatives of Political parties and others which included SF, FG, UUP, independent journalist, economist and 300+ locals showed up. Proof that it’s not a SF ran campaign, SIPTU (a union ran by the Labour party) helped the campaign and made sure it was done right, the campaign also had an international observer Alfred Bosch from Catalonia, they also had independent invigilators! It was a democratic fair community campaign! And 93% is a fantastic result!

        • Séamus May 29, 2013 at 2:27 pm #

          This ‘community ran campaign’ is chaired by Emma McArdle, who until very recently was Sinn Féin’s PRO for the Newry & Mourne area.

          In what way exactly did SIPTU help with this poll? Aside from the involvement of Michael Halpenny, a former union official who’s been a regular speaker at Sinn Féin events for well over a decade.

      3. Anonymous May 28, 2013 at 7:07 pm #

        “This was a community run campaign ,not a Sinn Fein campaign “. I wonder who implanted the idea into the community !Perhaps it was the Alliance party!! Perhaps the fuel laundering folk were the deviants who dared say no.In an United Ireland, would their profits not dry up?!

      4. Eddie Finnegan May 28, 2013 at 9:12 pm #

        So, Anonymous2, if you’re so in favour of what is open, democratic, fair and community, why are you masquerading as ‘Anonymous’? But clearly you’re not Anonymous for the same reasons as Anonymous1 above is Anonymous, are you? And 92/93% is a paltry result in my book.