Early indications from the EU Referendum count in Belfast should that about a quarter of nationalists in the city have voted to leave the EU, a senior source in the Remain camp has said.
In what would be a surprisingly big vote for Brexit by Irish nationalism, the source said that in tallies conducted by Remain volunteers during the first hour of the verification process around 75 per cent of votes from nationalist areas were backing Remain.
The Remain camp could be hit with a second problem in Northern Ireland’s capital, with anecdotal evidence of lower turnouts in some nationalist areas – particularly in parts of Sinn Fein’s West Belfast stronghold.
Tallies from one West Belfast box showed 80 per cent of voters supporting Remain.
A box from Dundonald, in the overwhelmingly unionist suburbs of East Belfast, was almost perfectly divided between both camps.
A box from the working class loyalist stronghold of Donegall Pass showed 50 per cent voting for Leave.
The same source said that based on the first hour’s tallies he believed that unionism had voted less than two to one in favour of Leave.
A Millward Brown poll in Northern Ireland which was published last week suggested that 21 per cent of nationalists would support Leave – around double the figure at the start of the campaign.
Both nationalist parties – the SDLP and Sinn Fein – have campaigned for a Remain vote, as has the Irish Government.