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Wednesday 29 November 2023 Dublin: 2°C
Ireland's call

Would you like to see a United Ireland? People north and south had their say tonight

A Prime Special tonight looked at the issue of Irish Unity.

PastedImage-40918 RTÉ Player Miriam O'Callaghan on tonight's Prime Time. RTÉ Player

TWO-THIRDS OF people from the Republic of Ireland would like to see a United Ireland in their lifetime, but it’s a different story north of the border.

The results are part of a joint RTÉ-BBC TV production screened this evening that show very similar viewpoints between people in Northern Ireland and the Republic on many issues, except Irish unity.

Compared to 66% in the Republic, 30% of people in Northern Ireland said they wanted a United Ireland in their lifetime. Among those surveyed in Northern Ireland from a Catholic background, 57% answered Yes and 29% answered Don’t know.

In the Republic, the overall support for a reunited Ireland dropped to 31% “if it meant paying more tax”.

01_3 RTÉ Prime Time RTÉ Prime Time

People both north and south of the border were less likely to favour reunification in the short to medium term, but it was still the most favoured single option among people in the Republic.

The other three together though, represented a larger proportion favouring Northern Ireland remaining in the United Kingdom in the short to medium term.

01_1 RTÉ Prime Time RTÉ Prime Time

Social issues

The Behaviour and Attitudes survey, conducted by face-to-face interviews with over 2,000 people, also looked at a number of social issues.

On abortion, results on both sides of the border were strikingly similar. It found that 22% of respondents in the Republic and 23% in Northern Ireland said abortion should be available in all circumstances.

On the question of whether abortion should be available in some circumstances, 64% in the Republic supported this with a figure of 56% in Northern Ireland.

02_4 RTÉ Prime Time RTÉ Prime Time

This week same-sex marriage was again blocked in Northern Ireland, making it the only part of Ireland and Britain where it is outlawed, but tonight’s survey suggests that people in Northern Ireland support the concept.

The DUP MLA Arlene Foster was grilled on this issue by BBC presenter Stephen Nolan, who asked her several times whether she would attend the (hypothetical) same-sex marriage of one of her children.

Despite his efforts, Foster refused to answer in the affirmative or negative.

02_1 RTÉ Prime Time RTÉ Prime Time

Tonight’s joint production by RTÉ’s Prime Time and the BBC Nolan Show was conducted as part of RTÉ’s 1916 commemorations.

Those surveyed were asked about 1916 and found that almost three quarters of those surveyed in the Republic believe that the 1916 Leaders played a very or fairly positive role in our history compared to only 25% in Northern Ireland.

Read: Don’t listen to lazy economic arguments against Irish unity. They couldn’t be further from the truth >

Poll: Would you like to see a united Ireland? >

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