Live news feed: The latest on the Scottish independence referendum
Today Scotland is voting on independence. The issue has just about divided the population in the latest polls, averaging 51% no, 49% yes.
Citizens of Ireland and other EU countries are eligible to vote in the election, provided they are resident in Scotland.
What is the view of the Irish community in Scotland?
For the most part, they’re leaning towards yes.
Glasgow Irish, a Facebook page for the Irish in Scotland with a following of nearly 7,000, has been staunchly supporting the “yes” campaign for weeks, painting the issue as Irish in addition to Scottish.
“I very, very much hope it will be a yes vote, but it’s difficult to say,” Edin Downey told IrishCentral from Glasgow. “The polls are tight and 20% of people are still saying ‘I don’t know,’ who we can suppose are either scared or ashamed to say no.
“That’s what happened in the Quebec referendum for independence – when it came to it, the unsure people basically got a bit scared, and ended up picking no.”
Downey, 41, works as a development officer for Conradgh Na Gaelige, the Gaelic League’s Glasgow chapter. He moved to Scotland ten years ago from Lucan, Co. Dublin.
“On the flip side,” he said, “one million extra people have just registered to vote for the first time, and now 97% of the electorate is registered. You’d imagine they’re not all of a sudden enthused to vote in order to vote for the status quo.”
Despite the surge in voter registries, some remain ambivalent.
“I kind of hope Scotland do get it, but I haven't really been following it to be honest,” said Elliot Higgins, supervisor of an Irish pub in Edinburgh. “I [won't] vote myself.”
Others are feeling unsure about the likelihood of a “yes” vote.
Jimmy Crowe, 28, is the general manager of Malone’s Irish Bar in Edinburgh. Originally from Co. Galway, he moved to Edinburgh in search of work.
“I think it will be a no vote, but I prefer if they voted yes,” Jimmy Crowe, general manager of Malone’s Irish Bar in Edinburgh, told IrishCentral. Originally from Co. Galway, Crowe moved to Edinburgh in search of work.
“I just think they should have their own independence from the UK – I’d prefer to live in a full republic rather than being fundamentally ruled by Britain.”
But Downey, the Gaelic League development officer in Glasgow, remained optimistic based on how far the “yes” campaign had spread in such a short time and what he described as the uncertainty a “no” majority vote would entail.
“A year ago it didn’t seem likely that there would be a ‘yes’ vote,” he said. “There’s undoubtedly an amount of uncertainty that would come with a yes vote, but what I find staggering is the mass amount of uncertainty that would come with a no vote.
“In two years time, the UK could try to leave the EU - talk about uncertainty.”
In terms of how a “yes” vote would affect Ireland, Downey saw few negative implications.
“Though Scotland may become a competitor for Ireland in terms of tourism and the like, I think there’ll be plenty of opportunities as well for Ireland and Scotland to form close ties,” he said.
“The impact on Northern Ireland will be very interesting to see. If Scotland leaves the union, then Northern Ireland won’t have anyone near staying strong with cultural ties. In terms of identity that may be a bit of a blow for them.”
Are you Irish and living in Scotland? Let us know your views in the comment section, below.