1. This Agreement provides for a democratically elected assembly in Northern Ireland, which, in its composition, is inclusive, is able to exercise executive and legislative powers and is subject to guarantees of protection of the rights and interests of all parts of the Community. Political parties in Northern Ireland, which endorsed the agreement, were also invited to consider the creation of an independent advisory forum, with members of civil society with social, cultural, economic and other expertise, and appointed by both administrations. In 2002, a framework for the North-South Consultation Forum was agreed, and in 2006 the Northern Ireland Executive agreed to support its establishment. In 2019, a poll by Ipsos Mori and King`s College London asked the British people (England, Scotland and Wales): “If there were a referendum on its future in Northern Ireland, would you personally prefer that Northern Ireland stay in the UK or leave the UK to join the Republic of Ireland?” The responses showed that 36% of them wanted Northern Ireland to remain in the UK, 19% wanted it to join the Republic, while 36% did not oppose it and 9% did not know it.  Support for Northern Ireland`s place in the UK was also found to be highest among those who wanted to vote for the Conservatives, at 49%, compared to 35% for Labour voters and 31% for Liberal Democrat voters.  Sinn Féin supports a border survey; In February 2019, party leader Mary Lou McDonald said there would be “a democratic necessity” to hold a referendum on reunification in the event of a no-deal. The other major nationalist party, the SDLP, has warned against holding a vote before plans for a united Ireland are available. 19 The question of the Irish border after the referendum must be regarded as an integral part of that phenomenon and not as a whole new issue.
The difficulty of finding an amicable solution to the Irish border problem is just another consequence of the sectarian polarisation that has been entrenched in Northern Irish politics since 1998. Although there was a 56% Community majority in Northern Ireland in favour of remaining and although after the referendum the two sides frankly agreed on the need to keep the border open, notably for economic and trade reasons26, it proved absolutely impossible to transform this fragile consensus into a long-term united-party and Community front on the border issue. The main obstacle to this front was the persistent divergence over the constitutional position of the border between the two sides of the sectarian divide. After the Brexit referendum, Sinn Fein, followed by the SDLP, quickly called for a Border poll to reunite Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. On the Unionist side, the DUP and the UUP have reiterated aloud their demand to remain in the Irish Sea an integral and undifferentiated part of the United Kingdom without borders. . . .