Thursday 18 April 2019

Majority would now back a united Ireland - with support highest in the Border region, says poll

  

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John Downing

John Downing

More than six out of 10 people in the Republic would vote in favour of a united Ireland in a referendum arising out of the current Brexit crux, a new survey shows.

The opinion poll finds that 62pc of people favour a united Ireland, with 28pc against and 10pc saying they would not vote in such a referendum.

Once abstentions are factored in, the ratio in favour of ending partition in Ireland rises to 2:1.

Support for a united Ireland is spread fairly evenly, with 60pc saying "yes" in Dublin, the rest of Leinster and Munster. But that figure rises to 70pc in Connacht-Ulster, which also spans the Border counties.

Support is also evenly spread between men and women. Younger people, in the 18-24 age group, are most in favour with 77pc.

The backing slightly tails off in the older age groups. People over-65 are least enthusiastic about reunification, but even here support is more than 50pc.

Research was conducted online with a sample of more than 1,000 people chosen from all age groups, social class and regions. The survey was commissioned by the firm Lottoland, which offers bets on lotteries in more than 30 different countries. The fieldwork, by Empathy Research, was done between March 25 and April 1. The margin of error is put at plus or minus 3.1pc.

Only one in 10 people surveyed said they would not vote in such a poll. The question was framed in terms of unity in the aftermath of Brexit. The prospect of a united Ireland has been mentioned from time to time since the UK voted to leave the EU on June 23, 2016. The overall vote was 52pc in favour of Leave against 48pc for Remain.

But the vote in Northern Ireland favoured staying with the EU by 56pc to 44pc. The Democratic Unionist Party was the only one to back Leave in that referendum. Sinn Féin has called for a "Border poll" on reunification as provided for in the 1998 Good Friday Agreement. But the Irish Government has rejected this as adding another problem to an already complex situation. UK Prime Minister Theresa May has warned a no-deal Brexit could mean Irish unity.

Irish Independent

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