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Alamy
THE MORNING LEAD

Majority of country believes Ireland should remain in the EU, polling finds

Most people believe voting for EU elections is important and would support more countries joining the bloc, according to the research.

THE MAJORITY OF people in a new survey believe that Ireland should remain a member of the European Union, though only half of the sample polled think the EU is “moving in the right direction”.

European Movement Ireland has released the results of polling conducted by Amárach Research in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland on what people think about the EU and Ireland’s relationship to it, as well as a number of other political issues.

Support for Ireland’s status as a member state remains high in both the Republic and the North at 84% and 76% respectively and most people believe it is important to vote in the European Parliament elections.

CEO of European Movement Ireland Noelle O Connell said that “at a pivotal time for Europe, Ireland’s continuing high support for EU membership, is welcome”.

“However, this year’s less favourable findings on a number of key issues are of concern and serve as a timely reminder of the continual need for public engagement, dialogue and communication on EU affairs,” she said.

“Equally, this also highlights the importance of the EU listening to voters’ concerns.”

Should Ireland remain EU member European Movement Ireland European Movement Ireland

EU performance

Respondents were given a list of policy areas and asked to identify where they feel the EU’s performance is the strongest and where they feel it is the weakest.

Trade was by far considered the EU’s strongest area, selected by 46% in the Republic of Ireland and 55% in Northern Ireland.

“Don’t know” was the second most-selected option (18% and 13%), followd by environment (10% and 12%), digital regulation (8% and 9%) and defence and security (5% and 4%).

Asked where they thought the EU’s performance is the weakest, 46% of respondents in the Republic of Ireland and 44% of those in Northern Ireland said migration.

13% and 20% said defence and security; 13% and 11% didn’t know; 9% in each said environment; and 8% and 6% said tax. 6% and 7% said agriculture.

Nearly half of people in both jurisdictions said they are not satisfied with the EU’s response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with around one-third saying they were satisfied and the remainder unsure.

There was even less approval for the EU’s response to the “Israel-Gaza conflict”; 64% in the Republic of Ireland and 72% in Northern Ireland reported being unsatisfied. Just 19% and 14% respectively were satisfied.

57% of people in both the Republic and the North support more countries joining the EU.

“The EU’s performance on trade and business continues to score highly amongst respondents,” O Connell said in a statement accompanying the polling figures.

“However, on some of the major geopolitical crises of our time, such as war in Ukraine, migration, and the Israel- Gaza conflict, our research highlights the challenges the EU faces in uniting Europe on its response to these issues into the future.”

Ireland Security EU European Movement Ireland European Movement Ireland

Northern Ireland

The poll asked whether respondents believe there will be a united Ireland in the EU in the next ten years.

In the Republic of Ireland:

  • 25% said yes
  • 55% said no
  • 20% didn’t know

In Northern Ireland:

  • 47% said yes
  • 43% said no
  • 10% didn’t know

Northern Ireland participants were asked if they think Northern Ireland has a good relationship with the EU. 53% said yes, 38% said no, and 9% didn’t know.

***

This work is co-funded by Journal Media and a grant programme from the European Parliament. Any opinions or conclusions expressed in this work are the author’s own. The European Parliament has no involvement in nor responsibility for the editorial content published by the project. For more information, see here.

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