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Poll suggests attitudes towards Irish language act more entrenched after collapse of talks

Attitudes amongst voters towards an Irish language act appear to have become even more entrenched after the collapse of talks to restore devolution. Picture by Hugh Russell
John Monaghan

ATTITUDES towards an Irish language act became more entrenched after the collapse of talks to restore power-sharing, according to an opinion poll.

The tracker survey of more than 2,000 voters was carried out last month by Lucid Talk in the wake of the Valentine's Day breakdown of negotiations.

Amongst DUP voters, support for the party's policy of opposing an Irish language act rose from 67 per cent in September to 79 per cent.

There was a similar rise amongst voters of Sinn Féin, the SDLP and People Before Profit in their backing of the legislation - from 68 per cent to 76 per cent over the same period.

Asked how they would vote if there was another assembly election, 33.6 per cent said they would support the DUP, while 32.4 per cent would vote Sinn Féin.

That largely replicates the trend of last March's election, when Sinn Féin emerged with just one MLA fewer than the DUP.

However, the survey showed a fall of 1.9 per cent in support for the DUP since September, while Sinn Féin's popularity rose by 1.2 per cent.

Support for the UUP also increased by 0.7 per cent, while the SDLP and Alliance fell by 0.8 and 0.6 per cent respectively. The TUV was up 1 per cent.

There is a big generational gap, according to the poll, with Sinn Féin polling almost 10 per cent higher than the DUP amongst the 18 to 44 age group.

Bill White from Lucid Talk told U105: "There are a number of comments (in the responses) which show a small section of DUP supporters were a bit unnerved about the way they handled the recent talks."

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