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exclusive Poll: Two thirds say united Ireland vote risks return to violence

Public North and south say vote on Border should have two-thirds majority


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Two-thirds of people North and south fear the prospect of a united Ireland could risk peace and lead to a return to violence in Northern Ireland, according to a Sunday Independent/Kantar opinion poll.

The island-wide poll also finds cross-Border rejection that only a 50pc plus 1 majority is needed to carry a referendum on a united Ireland.

Asked what size majority would be sufficient to for a Border poll result to be accepted by both sides of the community, people in the Republic (81pc) and the North (74pc) believe either a two-thirds or 70pc majority would be needed.

The landmark online poll of 2,250 people north and south was taken to coincide with the centenary of the creation of Northern Ireland this weekend. The margin of error is between 2.5/3.6pc.

While there is strong support for the aspiration of a united Ireland (67pc) and Border poll (65pc) in the Republic, there is far less enthusiasm in the North at 36pc and 44pc respectively.

However, only a minority believe a united Ireland will happen in their lifetime, and a significant majority in the south (62pc) and the North (68pc) are fearful of a return to violence at the prospect of a united Ireland.

While 57pc in the south and 58pc in the North believe Brexit makes a united Ireland more likely, the poll finds

no urgency for a referendum. Among those who support a Border poll, the preferred date North and south is within five years, with sizeable support for within 10 years.

One of the most significant findings relates to the question of how such a referendum should be decided: only around a third in the Republic (38pc) and the North (31pc) believe the Good Friday Agreement requirement of 50pc plus 1 enough to decide the outcome. The poll finds people believe the requirement needs to be raised much higher for a referendum result to be accepted.

In the Republic, 36pc said a two-third majority, and 45pc an almost three-quarters majority; and in the North, 38pc said a two-thirds and 36pc said a 70pc-plus majority would be needed.

The poll finds further consensus on the issue of Covid-19: 76pc in the south and 61pc in the North believe an all-Ireland strategy on the pandemic would have been better, with less than 40pc of unionists/loyalists and Protestants in the North disagreeing.

In relation to a finding that a majority in the North (64pc) and south (54pc) oppose higher taxes to fund a united Ireland, the economist Colm McCarthy writes today that the Universal Social Charge might have to be doubled, or the basic income tax rate increased from 20pc to 28pc, to fund a united Ireland.

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