NUI Galway Students’ Union (NUIGSU) has voted to support the reunification of Ireland and will now call on the Irish government to hold a referendum on the issue.
The motion was proposed by Sinn Féin at the National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG), stating: “NUI Galway Students’ Union supports the reunification of the island of Ireland and calls on the state to hold a national referendum on the question of such reunification.” Students were asked to give a “Yes” or “No” response to the motion.
The referendum, which was held in conjunction with NUIGSU’s annual student elections, saw 3,231 students out of a total population of approximately 17,000 vote on the issue, with the “Yes” response receiving 74% of the total votes.
Sinn Féin’s D’Arcy/Mellows Cumann at NUIG had received the 500 signatures necessary to hold a referendum on a unity stance. They cited possible increased difficulties for Northern Irish students following the Brexit vote as a reason for the referendum, claiming that students from the North studying in the Republic may face an increase in fees and could encounter difficulties when travelling.
In a press release, NUIG Sinn Féin commented: ”This is just the beginning. The message is clear, we’re stronger united which is why NUI Galway students have endorsed the call for a United Ireland.”
A motion was passed to hold a preferendum on the same subject by Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) on February 14. The vote will be held on March 14 and 15.
In 2014, a similar referendum, also proposed by Sinn Féin, was not passed by Queen’s University Belfast. University College Dublin Students’ Union (UCDSU) will vote on the issue on March 7 and 8, where the student body will be asked: Should UCDSU have a pro-unity stance on a united Ireland?
TCDSU President Kieran McNulty has declined to comment on the result.