Louisa Barry is a native of Waterford, Ireland. Having completed her Masters in International Peace Studies in Trinity College Dublin, Louisa received her Postgraduate Diploma in Conflict and Dispute Resolution Studies (TCD). She is at the final stage of accreditation with the Mediators’ Institute of Ireland (MII). Louisa has contributed to an EU-funded project on disability inclusion, volunteering and humanitarian aid in CBM Ireland. In 2020 she was awarded a PhD scholarship in Peace Studies, named in honour of President Bill Clinton and in collaboration with the University of Massachusetts (UMass) and Ulster University. Supervision and guidance are provided by two faculty members, Professor John Doyle and Dr Erika Biagini.
The period since the 1998 Good Friday Agreement has seen an increase in the proportion of individuals who choose not to self-identify strongly, or at all, as Irish / Nationalist or British / Unionist. The recent electoral successes of the centrist Alliance party has drawn particular attention to those who identify as neither Unionist nor Nationalist. However, this is an internally diverse group in terms of political preferences and it is one that is strongly in support of EU membership. Traditionally, it has been assumed that their voting intentions in a potential border poll would be significantly in favour of continuing UK membership. However, the fall-out from Brexit and the new interconnections between Irish unity and EU membership has seen both more internal division and greater fluidity in this group’s voting intentions. Many have changed their opinions, or are unsure of how they would vote in a border poll. The debate on a potential future referendum on a United Ireland will see campaigners working to attract this floating vote in the political centre-ground. Yet, this group has been far less researched, than either the nationalist or unionist political blocs. This research aims to understand the attitudes and opinions of this under-researched group towards the prospect of a united Ireland and to create a greater understanding of the particular lenses through which they will approach the impending referenda.