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Dublin: 1°C Sunday 28 November 2021

How important was a 'No' vote in the Scottish referendum to Northern Irish unionists?

Cultural and historical ties to Scotland meant that yesterday’s ‘No’ vote came as good news for our neighbours to the north.

Image: AP/Press Association Images

OUT OF THE different groups living on the Island of Ireland there is one that looked towards Thursday night’s referendum on Scottish independence with greater interest than the rest.

For unionists a ‘Yes’ vote could have meant a deconstruction of the union they have worked vehemently to keep in place.

Speaking yesterday about the vote, leader of the Democratic Unionist Party Peter Robinson, said:

This was a decision to be taken by the people of Scotland and they participated in overwhelming numbers. There is a sense of relief throughout the UK at the decision and I welcome the fact that Scotland has voted to remain within the United Kingdom.

Now that the people of Scotland have returned a ‘No’ vote northern unionists can breath easy again.

In a statement issued after the result yesterday the Orange Order’s Grand Master Edward Stevenson said:

There can be no doubt that the Union we cherish has been altered by the referendum campaign; and so there is an onus on those in Government to take notice of the concerns and issues raised, and work for the benefit of Scotland and the entire UK going forward.

For the unionist population of Northern Ireland there now seems to be a sense of relief at what had become a unexpectedly close contest.

While the Orange Order were excluded from the ‘Better Together’ campaign and faced criticism for events held in the run up to the referendum, the group do hold strong cultural and historical links with Scotland.

Speaking about the issue Belfast DUP councillor Brian Kingston said:

I’m delighted with the outcome of the referendum. The people of Scotland have chosen by a margin of 10% to stay within the United Kingdom. From a Northern Ireland perspective we value our connection with Scotland particularly dearly given the strong historic and personal links between Ulster and Scotland.

Read: Police investigating ‘hate crime’ after loyalist flags and banners damaged

Also: “Ulster will never see the like of him again” – Stormont pays tribute to Ian Paisley

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