Academic asks for Galway to take survey on unionist attitudes in the Republic

The commemorations of, and interest in, the centenary of the 1916 Rising have shown how the Irish public remain both proud of, and fascinated by, this key event in the struggle for independence.

However, as in any former colony, some sympathy for the former imperial master, an interest in continued links with the United Kingdom, and an identity more British than Irish, persisted - outside of Northern Irish unionism - within a section of the population after the creation of the Free State in 1921 and the declaration of the Republic in 1949, and remains to this day, and often takes on the form of calls for Ireland to rejoin the Commonwealth.

There was a Unionist petition in 1934 with more than 7,368 signatures in East Donegal in support of joining Northern Ireland. There was also a Unionist society at Trinity College, with the founding chair, who ran it from 1996-1999, from Athenry, Galway.

Just why and how, and reasons for, some people retaining a Unionist outlook in an independent Ireland, is now the subject of academic research being carried out by Yorkshireman Samuel Beckton, an International Peace Studies student at Trinity College Dublin.

Mr Beckton is currently working on a dissertation, An Investigation of the Evolution of the Unionist Identity and Ideology in the Republic of Ireland since 1922, and as part of this he has created a survey to collect information on attitudes to Unionism, and he is asking Galway people to take part.

"The paper discusses that Unionism in the Republic of Ireland is not extinct, but has evolved to emerge the existence of different ideologies," says Mr Beckton. "Firstly, Cultural Unionism, those that believe there is a social union between the peoples of Britain and Ireland, British Isles, being somewhat fond of British culture; secondly, partitionism, believing Northern Ireland should remain a separate state from the Republic; and lastly, neo-Unionism, that Ireland, should re-join the UK."

To research attitudes towards all these questions, Mr Beckton has created a survey and he is hoping Galway people will be interested in taking part. The survey can be accessed through

The survey questions were "slightly based on the opinion poll questions of the Scottish Referendum in 2014". The survey is open to anyone living in the the Republic of Ireland, aged 18 or over. "All who respond would be anonymous and their efforts gratefully appreciated," said Mr Beckton. Those who wish to contact Mr Beckton about his research can do so via [email protected].



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