Opinion Piece in News Letter by Chris Lyttle – A border poll is reckless at this time

The recent census results show that it is not the desire of the majority of Northern Ireland for a change to the constitutional position within the UK. Even the Irish Government has said that the conditions have not been reached for a border poll to be called. It would be a predictable outcome at unnecessary expense.

Unionist politicians recently misrepresented a shared future flag policy decision at Belfast City Hall and have expressed concern that Nationalist support for this position was less than sincere. Sinn Fein and the SDLP have work to do to prove their commitment to a policy that is a bridge to long term stability on the issue of identity which at times has the ability to destabilise hard earned peace for us all.

A border poll; however, has the prospect to further heighten tension and division in our community at a time when the real discussion we should be having is how we build a shared future; how we deal with the past, how we educate our children, how we live and work together.

A border poll would do nothing to heal divisions or build bridges. It would further risk the resectarianising of our society. If we were to hold such a vote in this current atmosphere we would only be retreating back to the politics of them and us.

Whether or not we have a border poll, the biggest challenge for our generation is how we build a shared society and united community.

We need responsible leadership from all parties that creates a politics in Northern Ireland that provokes inspiration rather the politics of fear.

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