Support for a united Ireland is at an all time low, according to a survey by two universities in Northern Ireland.
The poll by Queens University and the University of Ulster found that only 33 per cent of Catholics now want a united Ireland, with only 15 per cent of the population overall seeking it.
More than half of the Catholics surveyed stated they were happy to stay in the UK, while 90 per cent of Protestants agreed. The survey was taken between October and December in 2010. Over 1,200 people were surveyed.
In 2005 the numbers of Catholics wanting to stay in the UK was at 25 per cent. The power sharing government which has seen Northern nationalists in equal government with unionists has obviously had a strong impact.
In addition, the Republic of Ireland economy has undergone a devastating recession since the last poll, making it far less attractive to Northern nationalists.
Despite the high numbers in favor of the status quo, only one per cent of Catholics stated they would vote for a unionist party.
Only 1% of Protestants stated they would favour a united Ireland. However, 82% said they would accept it if it came after a democratic vote.
East Belfast DUP MLA Robin Newton told the Belfast Telegraph, “For many years, political nationalism has relied upon what is politely termed ‘demographic change’ to deliver their goal of a united Ireland. It is clear that a figure of 73% of people favouring the United Kingdom must include people who are not from a Protestant community background.”
A clear sign that the peace process is working was given by the fact that 62% of people surveyed stated that community relations had improved over the past five years and 52% stated they would continue to improve over the next five years. Only 5% said they would get worse.