A cross-border survey, carried out for RTE and the BBC, found that just 36% of people in the Republic of Ireland would like to see a United Ireland, in the “short-medium term.”
The results of the survey of 2,000 people north and south of the border were discussed on “Ireland’s Call – A Prime Time Special” and BBC Northern Ireland’s “Nolan Live," on Nov 4. Those surveyed were questioned on social, economic, and constitutional issues.
This was the first of the RTE’s, Ireland’s national broadcaster, 1916 Easter Rising centenary commemoration programs and celebrations.
Among the most interesting findings was that just 13 percent of Northern Irish people want to see a united Ireland now. The figure for the same question for people in the Republic was 36 percent.
When asked if they would support a united Ireland in their lifetime their answers changed slightly. In the Northern Ireland that figure more than doubled to 30 percent. In the Republic the figure jumped to 66 percent.
The majority of Catholics in Northern Ireland expressed support for the North leaving Britain and just over half (52%) said they wanted to see a United Ireland during their lifetime. However, only 25% would like to see it in the short to medium term.
Minister of State for the Diaspora, Jimmy Deenihan, was asked on air if the Republic could cope with taking on the financial responsibility of Northern Ireland. Deenihan bluntly replied “No, really.”
The respondents were also asked if their support for a United Ireland would be affected if it resulted in tax changes. In the Republic 31% said they would be in favor if it meant paying more tax, fewer than half of those who said they would like to see a United Ireland in their lifetime.
Those surveyed were also quizzed on social matters. In the Republic, 83% said they would be very or fairly comfortable with a member of their family marrying someone with different color skin. In Northern Ireland 86% agreed.
With relation to the question of abortion both sides of the border were similar with 22% of respondents in the Republic and 23% in Northern Ireland saying abortion should be available in all circumstances.
RTE reported “64% of those surveyed in the Republic and 56% in Northern Ireland said it should be available in some circumstances and 14% in the Republic and 20% in Northern Ireland said abortion should never be available.”
As a whole, people on the island have a positive outlook on life. In the Republic 88% of those survey felt very or fairly satisfied with their life as a whole.
Full results can be found on RTE’s website here.