Are 75% of non-voters in Northern Ireland pro-Union?

CLAIM: Three-quarters of non-voters in Northern Ireland are pro-Union.

CONCLUSION: ACCURATE. The claim that three-quarters of non-voters in Northern Ireland are pro-Union is based on evidence from a research survey commissioned on behalf of the University of Liverpool. It found that 76.9% of respondents who did not vote in the 2009 General election and who stated a constitutional preference chose “to remain part of the UK”. 

UPDATE: This article was updated on 16 November 2021. A section that compared the percentage of non-voters identified across four different organisations’ polls was removed. We made this simplification after further discussions with polling organisations. This clarification did not affect FactCheckNI’s original conclusion about the claim. Continue reading Are 75% of non-voters in Northern Ireland pro-Union?

Does Northern Ireland spend least per pupil?

CLAIM: Northern Ireland spends less on each school pupil’s education than any other part of the UK.

CONCLUSION: ACCURATE. Spending on schools per head of population in Northern Ireland is similar to England, Scotland, and Wales. However, Northern Ireland’s comparatively large school age population means that spending per pupil is lower than elsewhere in the UK. Continue reading Does Northern Ireland spend least per pupil?

Is the Court of Justice of the EU the supreme court for all Protocol issues?

CLAIM: The Court of Justice of the European Union is the supreme court for all Northern Ireland Protocol issues.

CONCLUSION: INACCURATE WITH CONSIDERATION. The Court of Justice of the European Union is the ultimate arbiter on certain Articles of the Protocol, and has an indirect role in interpreting EU laws as part of the agreed arbitration process.  Continue reading Is the Court of Justice of the EU the supreme court for all Protocol issues?

Are ‘extra months’ on pre-Brexit UK passports no longer valid?

CLAIM: Additional months of validity on UK passports issued before the UK left the EU are no longer valid.

CONCLUSION: ACCURATE WITH CONSIDERATION. British passports used to visit the European Union or the Schengen Area following the end of the Brexit transition period must be less than 10 years old on the day the traveller leaves. However, this rule only applies for travel to the European Union or the Schengen Area; the rules for travel to the rest of the world are unchanged, and the new rules do not apply for travel to Ireland. Continue reading Are ‘extra months’ on pre-Brexit UK passports no longer valid?

Does the Northern Ireland protocol require certain aspects of EU law to apply in Northern Ireland and can this only happen if they are incorporated into Northern Ireland law?

CLAIM: The Northern Ireland Protocol requires certain aspects of EU law to apply in Northern Ireland but this can only happen if they are incorporated into Northern Ireland law.

CONCLUSION: INACCURATE WITH CONSIDERATION. Certain aspects of EU law do still apply in Northern Ireland as a result of the Protocol, but these do not have to be incorporated into Northern Ireland law to have effect. Section 7A of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 makes those EU laws applicable in Northern Ireland. Any future legislative changes that may be necessary to implement the Protocol, or related EU laws, could be made at Westminster if Stormont refused to act. Incorporation into Northern Ireland law is therefore not a requirement.  Continue reading Does the Northern Ireland protocol require certain aspects of EU law to apply in Northern Ireland and can this only happen if they are incorporated into Northern Ireland law?

COVID-19 vaccinations: fertility and pregnancy

The issue of how COVID-19 vaccines may impact fertility and/or pregnancy continues to be live. Health Minister Robin Swann told the Stormont health committee on 14 January 2021, that an anti-vaccination group targeted young female healthcare staff outside vaccination centres, saying COVID-19 vaccination would affect their fertility. He added that this message was “quite negative, quite wrong, potentially quite damaging”. This was also reported in the local media.

These particular anti-vaccination campaigners are not alone in this view. Theories are being spread across social media, particularly about the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, about how a protein on the surface of the SARS-CoV-2 virus (the virus which causes COVID-19), called a “spike protein” works. 

This is where it gets a little complicated.  Continue reading COVID-19 vaccinations: fertility and pregnancy