Brexit business becoming quite serious as the latest poll has the “leave” faction winning by seven points.iStock

A survey commissioned by European Movement Ireland shows that 86 percent of people in the Republic of Ireland believe that the United Kingdom should stay in the European Union. On June 23, 2016 British voters will decide whether the UK will leave the EU in what the British media refers to as the "Brexit" referendum.

The results of the survey, carried out by Red C poll, show that while 86 percent of Irish people think the UK should remain in the EU, this rises to 92 percent among young people. The same poll also indicates that 81 percent of people in the Irish Republic believe the country should remain in the EU regardless of the United Kingdom’s position.

Of the Irish adults polled, 87 percent believe that the Republic of Ireland has benefited from being a member of the EU. These figures represent a sligh rise in pro-EU sentiment as compared with 2013, when 83 percent believed Ireland had benefited from EU membership, and 2015, when that figure was 84 percent.

The recent survey found the Connacht-Ulster region, which borders Northern Ireland, is the largest supporter of the EU membership at 96 percent.

Photo:  European Movement Ireland.

Photo: European Movement Ireland.

European Movement Ireland Executive Director Noelle O’Connell welcomed the high levels of support for the EU saying, “There is unprecedented support for Ireland’s EU membership, at 90 percent, since we began tracking sentiment in 2013. Perhaps the forthcoming UK referendum on its EU membership has focused minds here in Ireland? It is very noteworthy that in the last two years, a growing number of Irish people believe that even if our nearest neighbors leave, that Ireland should remain in the EU, notwithstanding that we both joined on the same day in 1973.

“The results also indicate that young Irish people in particular overwhelmingly believe that Ireland has benefited from EU membership, with 91 percent agreeing with this statement in the poll.”

The highlights of the results are as follows:

- 90 percent of Irish people want Ireland to remain in the EU; for young people this is 94 percent, up from 85 percent in 2015. Support for EU membership is highest in Connacht-Ulster at 96 percent

- 87 percent of people believe Ireland has, on balance, benefited from membership of the EU. This increases to 91 percent for those aged 24 and under and was again highest in Connacht Ulster at 91 percent

- 81 percent want Ireland to remain in the EU, even if the UK leaves; this rose to 84 percent in Dublin

- 86 percent of Irish people think the UK should remain in the EU, rising to 92 percent for young people

- When asked if they are aware that the EU will abolish mobile ‘phone roaming charges by June 15, 2017, 92 percent are aware, with the lowest levels of awareness among young people, at 82 percent and farmers at 79 percent. Those living in Munster are most aware of this at 94 percent.

The poll was conducted among a representative sample of over 1,015 people aged 18 and over from across the country. The full results are available from the European Movement’s site here.

This weekend Taoiseach (Ireland’s Prime Minister) Enda Kenny asked the Irish in Britain to vote to remain in the EU. Speaking in London he commented on the fact that customs controls would have to be established at the border between the Republic and Northern Ireland if Britain left the EU.

Kenny urged the Irish in the UK, who make up a “substantial” part of the electorate, to use their vote. The campaign group Irish 4 Europe estimates that there are half a million first generation Irish people living in Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales). This figure rises to the millions when second and third generation Irish are considered.

Speaking in London, the Taoiseach said, “We would say, with particular reference to the Irish people living in Britain, this is a really important decision. Its outcome would affect people in the North, it would affect Ireland itself and obviously will have an impact upon the European Union for many years to come.”

He said that in the event of the UK leaving the EU there would have to be “significant, complex and difficult negotiations.”

Kenny continued, “Ireland in Europe would still stand by Britain being a member of the Union and of its importance, but I have no idea what other European countries, how they would look at Britain whether they decide to leave, given the fact that we’ve come a long way since the 1970s.

“So whether there would be border controls or custom controls, these things are a possibility, but obviously they would require some very serious negotiations and my preference for the Irish electorate who have a significant part in this referendum is to vote to stay, for Britain to stay as a strong and central member of the European Union for the future.”

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