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

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.

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.

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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