As respect for people from Northern Ireland in the Republic is under debate, many feel they have to justify their whole existence.
A Sunday Times column this weekend claimed the vote of no-confidence in Garda Commissioner Drew Harris would not have happened if Mr Harris was not from Northern Ireland.
Higher Education Minister Simon Harris said he does not think the Republic is a “cold house” for people from Northern Ireland – but people can educate themselves better about Northern issues.
Derry native Gerry told Lunchtime Live that he moved to Dublin, his identity has never been questioned more.
“You arrive down here with one identity and people then tell you, not in every regard, that you’re not Irish and they’re more Irish than you,” he said.
“It comes back to just having to justify your own existence.
“People don’t believe that you are able to hold an Irish passport or have the ability to speak Irish because being from the North is so alien to them.”
Gerry said there is a “vacuum of education” in the Republic of Ireland as not enough people are informed about the Troubles.
Bernie, who moved from Tyrone to Cambridge in the UK, said Irish people stick together in England.
“When you come to England whether you're from the north, south, east west, you’re just Irish,” she said.
Within Ireland, however, Bernie thinks people’s accents are harshly judged by people unfamiliar with them.
“People don’t like accents – North Dublin, South Dublin, whether you’re from the west of Ireland or Kerry, you’re judging them to pieces,” she said.
“Wait until Patrick Kielty slips up, then we’ll see a bit of bias.”
'Do you have sterling in Donegal?'
Donegal native John said living on a border county gives him a unique perspective into what people in the Republic think of Northern Ireland.
“Growing up, I always remember one of my first experiences going south was going to college and mixing with people from all over the island,” he said.
“You'd have questions like, ‘Do you have sterling in Donegal? Did you do the Leaving Cert?’.”
He said the further south you go, the more you find people with strong opinions about Northern Ireland but had never actually been there.
“Some of them have never been to the six counties, let alone the nine counties of Ulster,” he said.
Gerry thinks attitudes towards Northern Ireland is improving steadily, though.
“COVID did a lot to the country but one thing it did was force a lot of people to have ‘staycations’ and a lot of young people in their 20s and 30s would have ventured north for the first time,” he said.
“The amount of people in the south that I've met who ventured north during COVID and had their eyes open to how wonderful Nothern Ireland actually is was so refreshing.”
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