Thursday, March 09, 2006
# Posted 1:04 PM by Patrick Belton
I think you're being a bit harsh on CNN here. Sinn Fein are clearly the largest nationalist party in Northern Ireland adn nobody that I know of here disputes this - even SDLP heads know that they would look ridiculous doing so. THe last Wesminster and Council elections last May would appear to have more authority than the opinion poll you cite - particularly if you want to get semantic on the word 'represent'. Sinn Fein got almost a quarter of the entire vote in NI, while the SDLP stuttered at around 17.5%. To get 25 %, given that the Catholic electorate can't be in excess of 45% , means that Sinn Fein and CNN have a right to make such claims.
It's a good point, anon. I suppose it's also partly that 'IRA-linked party that represents most of Northern Ireland's Catholics' transfers some majoritarian legitimacy on the IRA, too. The closest i can come to finding public opinion data touching on support for the IRA in NI is Hayes and McAllister's conference paper from 2003, which would have 58 per cent of Catholics expressing 'no sympathy', compared to 34.6 expressing 'a little' and 7.4 'a lot.' You can quibble with question wording in that study, but the picture that comes out is a lot less Catholic support for the IRA than the CNN phrase might have led you to believe.Post a Comment