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Sinn Fein wants referendum plan as Catholics outnumber Protestants in Northern Ireland for the first time

Sinn Fein wants referendum plan as Catholics outnumber Protestants in Northern Ireland for the first time

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Shin Fen called for preparations for Referendum for the reunification of Ireland A census showed that Catholics outnumbered Protestants in Northern Ireland for the first time in the country’s history.

During Partition in 1921, Northern Ireland’s borders were demarcated to ensure a Protestant majority. Unionists are traditionally Protestants, while nationalists are historically predominantly Catholic.


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However, in the census taken last year, a total of 45.7 percent of the 1.9 million identified as Catholic, compared to 43.5 percent of Protestants.

There has also been a decrease in the number of people in Northern Ireland who saw themselves as British and an increase in those who identify as Irish compared to the last census in 2011.

The 2011 census recorded that 48 percent of the population is Protestant or raised Protestant, and 45 percent is Catholic.

Sinn Fein’s Michelle O’Neill, the first minister-designate for Northern Ireland, said the change was “historic”.

“The Irish government should establish a citizens’ council to plan for the possibility of a referendum on unity,” said John Finucane, a Sinn Fein MP. He described the transformation as “irreversible”.

Philip Brett, a DUP member in the Legislative Assembly, told BBC Radio Ulster: “I don’t come from a traditional Protestant background but my support for the union is not in question.

What worries me the most is an attempt by some to try to use the enumeration […] as a kind of mini-referendum on the status of Northern Ireland within the United Kingdom.”