Alliance Party General Secretary, Stephen Farry, has slammed suggestions of holding a ‘border poll’ on the same day as the Assembly Election as crazy.
Dr Farry said:
“The idea of holding a ‘border poll’ on the same day as the Assembly Election is crazy.”
“Even in the best of times, a ‘border poll’ would be incredibly dangerous and divisive. No other issue polarises the electorate of Northern Ireland more. On no other issue is there less common ground.”
“The ethos of the Agreement is a win-win for all sections of the community. The outcome of a ‘border poll’ is winner takes all. They are little more than sectarian headcounts.”
“A ‘border poll’ should only be called when there is clear evidence of a desire for change in Northern Ireland’s constitutional status. At present, there is no evidence of this. Therefore, there is no objective basis or necessity for the Secretary of State calling such a poll on May 2003, or at any other time in the immediate future.”
“Surely, we should be trying to encourage constructive, consensual politics in the Assembly, and discussion on bread and butter issues? The timing of any poll to coincide with the Assembly Election would result in all discussion of other issues being crowded out of the political debate, and as a result, more political polarisation with even less political stability.”
“In his quest to assist the perceived short-term interests of the Ulster Unionist Party, David Trimble needs to be very careful to avoid unleashing forces which could cause great damage to community relations and ultimately the Agreement itself.”