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60% SUPPORT TRIMBLE INOUR SURVEY; Majority back return to Stormont with Sinn Fein.

FIRST Minister David Trimble was given a massive boost today by a Mirror poll showing that 60 per cent of unionists support him.

Our exclusive survey was carried out over the last 72 hours.

We asked 502 people across Northern Ireland: "Do you support David Trimble returning to government with Sinn Fein on the basis of the IRA's pledge on its weapons dumps?"

The respondents, who described themselves as unionists, answered:

Yes: 60% No: 40%

That is, 301 backed Mr Trimble's return to government, while 201 opposed it.

While doubts were expressed about returning to government with republicans without the IRA's arms being handed in, our poll found that the issues of peace and stability were more important for unionists in Northern Ireland.

However, the survey shows an 11 per cent drop in support for David Trimble since his last crisis.

A Mirror poll last November showed he had 71 per cent of unionists backing his his bid to establish a power-sharing executive.

Writing in today's Mirror (see left), Mr Trimble says: "Today's Daily Mirror poll further confirms what we have known for some time, that the majority of Ulster Unionists in Northern Ireland want to see a resounding "Yes" vote this Saturday."

Here is a selection of comments from those surveyed.

Mr L, Ballymena: "We have to destroy the weapons on both sides.""

Mr. N, Ballymoney: "You don't like Sinn Fein, but what can you do? What's the alternative?"

Mr S, Lisburn: "Sinn Fein haven't given enough, they need to give more before Trimble goes back into government with them."

Mrs H, Bangor: "Trusting the IRA is the only way forward. I'm not very entirely happy about it, but what alternative is there?"

Mr T, Ballymoney: "We've had 30 years of instability and now it's time for a change. I think David Trimble has great courage in doing this."

Mr S, Newtownards: "For peace, you would do anything."

Ms E, Cookstown: "You can't trust the IRA."

Mr R, Portstewart: "He is doing what is right for the country, it's the only way forward."

Mrs C, Bangor: "I wouldn't support David Trimble if he was dying."

Mrs W, Lurgan: "I would rather that the IRA's weapons were destroyed."

Mrs A, Larne: "Yes. He is doing the right thing."

Mr M, Belfast: "No. I would rather something more concrete from the IRA. Their promises mean nothing."

Mr N, Warrenpoint: "There's just no other alternative."

Ms W, Campsie: "I don't trust the IRA, but it's the only way forward."

Mrs S, Ballymoney: "No. We have given them everything they want. They just seem to be wringing the cloth dry and David Trimble just seems to be going along with them."

Mr B, Lisburn: "There's no alternative for peace."

Mr J, Londonderry: "No. It's time guns were taken out of government for good."

Mr W, Belfast: "We were promised decommissioning on the 22nd of May and that hasn't happened. I voted yes the last time and I regretted it later on."

Ms. K, Ballymoney: "No. All weapons should be handed in on both sides."

Mrs M, Belfast: "No. I just think the guns should be handed in before anything else."

Ms R, Londonderry: "I just don't believe the IRA. Without giving up their arms you can't take them seriously. They just keep putting it off."

Mr B, Londonderry: "I support David Trimble so long as the IRA pledge is right and they are put under obligation to carry it out."

Ms G, Belfast: "I've been disillusioned in the past but I'm keeping my fingers crossed. I hope the Ulster Unionists can carry the process forward."

Mr L, Holywood:"I back Trimble because he is using his head as opposed to other politicians who are using only their hearts. We have to move forward because no one else has any alternative that is going to work."

Mr McG, Lurgan: "I reluctantly support Trimble because I think he's doing a good job, and I cannot see anyone else able to lead the Ulster Unionists for the foreseeable future."

Mr S, Newtownabbey: "What we have seen throughout this process is one appeasement after another and with each one another piece of our British nationality goes with it."

Mrs L, Larne: "I agree with Trimble. You have to for the sake of the children. We have to give them a stable world to come into."

Mrs G, Belfast: "I trust David Trimble. I always have and I always will - he's a straight politician."

Mrs P, Cookstown: "Voting 'yes' is the only way forward. We don't want another 30 years like we have just had."

Mr A, Gilford: "I support Trimble reluctantly. I'm not very positive but there is no other way."

Mr W, Limavady: "There is no alternative other than backing David Trimble. He has been faced with a series of difficult decisions but this one is enormously difficult and it's a pivotal moment. We have to remember the bigger picture as everything hangs on this. It will be a close vote as so much trust has been undermined in recent months."

Mr T, Coleraine: "It's time this country was sorted out and he's the only man making any attempt. Sooner or later we are going to have to show some trust, otherwise it will never be over."

Mr G, Campsie: "I would have backed him in the past but Trimble has given in too much. He has not got enough from the agreement and there is no guarantee that they will decommission."

Mr B, Ballynahinch: "I would never support Trimble on anything."

Ms D, Newtownabbey: "There should be arms up front. The IRA don't seem to be giving up much at all."

Mrs E, Belfast: "He's a good leader and a good man, we have to vote with him."

Mr H, Jordanstown: "It's just common sense really. David Trimble is doing the right thing, it's as simple as that."

Mr M, Antrim: "The UUP have to give it a go and see what happens."

Mr P, Portrush: "No, the UUP should not return to government on the strength of the IRA statement. We are giving them too mach leeway."

Ms E, Ballymena: "I would probably agree with Trimble but I'm not happy about it. I don't think they will give up weapons. There should be compromises on both sides but we are going to be made to move and move and move again on the major issues."

Mr G, Newtownards: "We need peace so we have to give it a go rather than just drift on doing nothing."

Mr K, Ballymoney: "We don't seem to be getting anything but spin. There are so many issues that they're asking us to compromise on. I pray for peace for everyone but what price are we going to have to pay?"

Ms N, Campsie: "There is no alternative. We can pull out as he says if it doesn't work. Nobody is offering an alternative solution. We've been sold down the river so many times we may as well go ahead."

Mr P, Londonderry: "I will back him all the way. If he is willing to do it I'm willing to go along."

Mr A, Larne: "I don't like Trimble dealing with Sinn Fein. He's just being too trusting and I don't believe the IRA's statement on weapons."

Ms T, Castledawson: "I don't think he should go into talks with Sinn Fein because they represent the IRA."

Mr L, Bangor: "The situation is not any different to when the Assembly was dissolved in February. At that time he said 'There must be guns before government' but there are still no guns."

Ms M, Portstewart: "I've supported Trimble all the way so far but I'll need some convincing before I back him this time. It's asking too much."

Mr W, Belfast: "I don't think trusting the IRA will work and it's not worth gambling on."

Our telephone poll of 502 people was carried out between 2pm on Monday and 4pm yesterday.
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Copyright 2000 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:May 26, 2000
Next Article:Poll shows voters are behind me; FIRST MINISTER DAVID TRIMBLE WRITES FOR THE Mirror.

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