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Ceann Comhaire Seán Ó Fearghaíl and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen PA

Strong support north and south of border for Ireland remaining in EU, poll finds

Just one in four people in Ireland think there will be a united Ireland within 10 years, a drop of seven percentage points on last year.

SUPPORT FOR IRELAND remaining in the EU is at 88% in the Republic and 79% in Northern Ireland, according to an opinion poll.

When asked to choose who they feel closest to, 65% of people in Ireland said they feel closest to Europe, followed by none of the above at 18%, and Great Britain at 12%.

In Northern Ireland, 60% said they feel closest to Europe, 30% said Great Britain, and 9% said none of the above.

A nationally representative sample of 1,200 people living north and south of the border were asked to fill out an online questionnaire between 2 and 5 June.

The data was collected by Lucid Talk and Amarach Research and analysed by VoxCo on behalf of the European Movement Ireland.

It found that in Northern Ireland, 71% of people who said they voted leave in the Brexit referendum indicated that they support Ireland remaining a member of the EU.

A majority (66%) of people in Northern Ireland said that the region is doing worse since Brexit, which compares to 51% in Ireland who believe the same.

Some 64% of respondents who said they voted leave in the 2016 Brexit referendum believe Northern Ireland is doing worse.

The poll indicates that just one in four people in Ireland think there will be a united Ireland within 10 years, a drop of seven percentage points on last year, and compares with 45% in Northern Ireland.

Three quarters of people in Northern Ireland and 51% in Ireland believe that Northern Ireland should be represented in the European Parliament, the survey found.

Noelle O’Connell, CEO of European Movement Ireland, said it was the 10th year of producing the EU issues poll and the first time that Northern Ireland was included.

“Since Brexit, the relationship between people in Northern Ireland and the European Union has been uncertain and we think it’s important to measure public sentiment towards the major issues affecting the relationship between the European Union and this island.

“What’s surprising is the large jump of people in Ireland (ROI) in one year – up from 43% to 58% – who don’t believe there will be a united Ireland in the next 10 years.

“This is particularly noteworthy as the responses on this issue remained relatively constant over three years, with about one third of people in Ireland saying they believed there would be a united Ireland in the EU.”

The poll result also found that just over half (58%) of respondents in both Ireland and Northern Ireland believe the EU is moving in the right direction.

O’Connell said there was a “significant” increase in the number of people in Ireland who were unsure if the EU is moving in the right direction, up from 18% to 27% in a year.

“More encouragingly, 70% of people in Ireland say they could not be convinced that Ireland would be better off outside of the EU,” she added.

“There is also a clear demand for the EU to be more active in policy areas important to Irish people. Almost one in three in Ireland (ROI) would like to see an increased role for the EU in healthcare (32%) and housing (28%), though housing is seen as a higher priority for younger people.

“Some 43% of people aged 18-24 and 49% aged 25–34 in Ireland (ROI) said they would like to see more of a role for the EU in housing. This is unsurprising given the current housing crisis.”

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