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A group of horse riders cross the border from Ireland into Northern Ireland at Carrickcarnan, Co Louth.
A group of horse riders cross the border from Ireland into Northern Ireland at Carrickcarnan, Co Louth.
Image: PA

People on both sides of the border ‘not prepared to foot united Ireland bill’ - poll

The poll also found that a majority in Ireland and a plurality in the North want a referendum on a united Ireland to be held.
May 1st 2021, 10:40 AM 34,874 126

PEOPLE ON BOTH sides of the border are not prepared to foot the bill for a united Ireland, with most in Northern Ireland also fearing it would hit them in the pocket, a poll has suggested.

A clear majority in Northern Ireland and in the Republic responded that they would not accept higher taxes to fund reunification, according to the poll by the Belfast Telegraph/Irish Independent in conjunction with Kantar.

It found only one in eight people in Ireland would be prepared to fully subsidise Northern Ireland – with a third opposed outright to any form of subsidy.

In Northern Ireland, just one in six responded that they would not be worse off financially in a united Ireland.

In a sign that health is a key issue, almost two-thirds of Northern Ireland people would be uncomfortable transferring to Ireland’s health system (though, as The Good Information Project on a Shared Island found, the political will here is for Ireland to adopt a healthcare system similar to that in the North).

It comes as Northern Ireland marks its centenary and at a time of significant constitutional uncertainty, with nationalists stepping up calls for a border poll.

Majority want a border-poll vote

On the issue of whether a border poll should be held, a plurality in the North want the vote: 44% in Northern Ireland want a border poll, 39% opposed and 17% are unsure.

In Ireland, 65% also want the vote to be held, with 19% against and 17% unsure.

Among those who favour a border poll in Northern Ireland, almost three quarters (72%) want to see it held by 2026 – of this, 28% want it now; with a further 44% calling for it within five years. In the Republic, 19% of those wanting a referendum want it held now and another 50% say it should come within five years.

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In Northern Ireland opinion was split, with 35% in favour. In the Republic, views are more clear-cut: 67% want a united Ireland, with just one in six (16%) against. 

The poll was commissioned in conjunction with the Sunday Life, Irish Independent and Sunday Independent.

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