The publication of polling data about changing levels of party support in Northern Ireland has led to speculation about which parties might be in a position to nominate one of their MLAs to be First or deputy First Minister after future elections. In particular, there has been conjecture that an enlarged Alliance Party team could potentially nominate the deputy First Minister if their results surpassed those of the DUP or Sinn Féin.
Fact checkers don’t predict future events. This article explores the process currently in place that decides who leads Northern Ireland’s devolved government so you can understand how the process would be followed after the next election. Continue reading The process of nominating the First and deputy First Ministers
What is the electoral register?
The Electoral Commission describes the electoral register as “a record of the names and addresses of people eligible to vote in elections and referendums”.
The register provides the list of those who are eligible to vote. People not included on the register cannot take part in elections and referendums. The register is also used for other public purposes, such as conducting boundary reviews and selecting people to undertake jury service, as well as for consumer credit rating calculations and marketing. Continue reading The electoral register and the 10-year canvass
CLAIM: The next electoral canvass in Northern Ireland must be completed before 2023, ten years after the 2013 canvass.
CONCLUSION: INACCURATE WITH CONSIDERATION. Legislation lists the years in which a canvass must be completed. It is specific that a canvass is due in 2021, with the subsequent one in 2030 and then every following ten years unless the Act is amended. An ad hoc canvass in intervening years does not reset the need for these end of decade canvasses. Continue reading Must the next electoral canvass be done by 2023?
UPDATE: A previous version of this article applied a survey from Ashcroft Polls from May/June 2018. This updated version uses a more recent Ashcroft Poll from September 2019. The result is a change of conclusion from “Inaccurate” to “Accurate”.
CLAIM: There is 51% support for a united Ireland.
CONCLUSION: ACCURATE. Although the Sinn Fein manifesto didn’t declare the exclusion of “don’t knows”, this revises a 45/46/9 split to a rounded 49/51 split between staying in the UK and leaving the UK and joining the Republic of Ireland.
Continue reading Is there 51% support for Ireland unity?
CLAIM: Over 95% of people living in south Belfast own their own home.
CONCLUSION: INACCURATE. The 2011 Census shows that the Belfast South constituency recorded 56.1% of homes being owned outright or owned with a mortgage or loan. Continue reading Do over 95% of south Belfast residents own their own home?
CLAIM: Ninety per cent of those who died during the Troubles were killed by paramilitaries.
CONCLUSION: ACCURATE WITH CONSIDERATION. Statistics about killings during the Troubles suggest that 87% of killings were perpetrated by paramilitary groupings, with the figure falling to 85% if evidence to date about collusion is taken into account. However, classifications of responsibility will continue to change as further evidence comes to light. Continue reading Were 90% of those who died during “the Troubles” killed by paramilitaries?