A poll has revealed Northern Irish voters back staying in the EU’s single market and customs union.
Commissioned by the European Parliament’s European United Left/Nordic Green Left, which Sinn Féin forms part of, the results gathered by LucidTalk suggests that 58% of Northern Ireland support the province staying in the single market and customs union or having some kind of special status after Brexit in order to avoid a hard border with the Republic.
Backing for the measure is high among the Catholic community, with 98% in favor, and those who define themselves as neither Protestant or Catholic, with 87% also in favor.
Protestants on the other hand remain firmly against special status, with 84% against.
Some of the detail from that poll pic.twitter.com/E6tNw8LPnY— JPCampbellBiz (@JP_Biz) December 7, 2017
In the event that Britain leaves the European Union and reverts to trading on World Trade Organization terms (which would mean tariffs on various goods and border checks between north and south) support for Irish unity shoots up to 48%.
When the same pollster asked in October how people would vote in an Irish unity referendum if Brexit benefited Northern Ireland support remaining part of the United Kingdom soared to 63% to 27%, suggesting people view on the province’s future will depend on what is agreed in Brussels over the next year.
In the 2016 referendum 56% of Northern Irish voters opted for the United Kingdom to remain an EU member. However, as so often in Northern Ireland, the result was split down community lines with nationalists overwhelmingly backing continued membership and unionists mostly voting to leave.
Take IrishCentral's poll:
In the constituency of Foyle - which covers the city of Derry - the result was 78% in favor of remaining; whilst in the North Antrim just an hour’s drive away 62% of votes were against EU membership.
In the Republic, another survey released this week found that 49% of voters back Irish unity with 29% opposed. 22% were unsure.
The pollster asked the same question last year for RTÉ Claire Byrne Live and support has shifted since: in December 2016 46% thought it was "time to have a united Ireland" whilst 32% were against.
However in March another poll for RTÉ found that when voters were asked how they would vote if unity meant an annual cost to the Irish taxpayer of $10 billion a year then support for a 32 country drops to 33% in favor, with 33% against and 34% undecided.