In Northern Ireland unionists were hugely relieved by the Scottish rejection of independence, while republicans were disappointed that Scotland would not be leaving the Union. The best-case scenario for Irish republicans had been that a Yes vote would transform the politics of Northern Ireland by giving impetus to nationalist sentiment and delivering a crushing psychological blow to unionist morale. The nightmare vision of Unionists, by contrast, was that a Yes victory would undermine Northern Ireland’s relationship with Britain, creating major instability and giving a great boost to republicanism.
The relief was instantly evident in the comments of Protestant figures, with Ulster unionist party leader Mike Nesbitt describing the result as “a victory for common sense.” The No vote is not regarded as a game-changer for Belfast, although there will clearly be repercussions for the devolution settlement which has been in place there for some years. All parties will be concerned to protect the region’s subsidy from London which is currently running at an annual £10bn. All of them hope Westminster will agree to a reduction in Northern Ireland’s corporation tax which they believe would encourage inward investment.