A new poll has found that, in the wake of Britain’s Brexit vote, 65 percent of people in the Republic of Ireland would vote for a united Ireland.
Pollster Red C revealed an 8 percent increase in the number of people who would vote in favor compared to a survey conducted six years ago which showed support at 57 percent, reports IrishNews.com.
Last month, the UK voted to leave the European Union, although the majority of voters in both Northern Ireland and Scotland wanted to remain. The result has led to a renewed debate about a referendum on the Irish border.
Remain campaigners, such as Sinn Féin Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, have pushed for the the wishes of Northern Ireland and Scotland to be respected. But Leave backers, including DUP leader and First Minister Arlene Foster, insist the result of the EU referendum is a UK-wide decision.
Since the vote, both Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin have brought up the possibility of supporting a united Ireland. However, Kenny has since backed away from his earlier talk of a referendum.
"Across this island there is now a greater hunger for cooperation between north and south and with continental Europe, and for many people their relationship with the UK is fundamentally altered by this result," said the SDLP's Claire Hanna.
"There is an intense job of work for nationalism now to make a case for Irish unity that appeals to heads and hearts and that doesn't play on fears."
Said Sinn Féin's Conor Murphy: "Partition was disastrous for Ireland north and south. As Irish republicans, we want to build a new and better Ireland, in Europe and encompassing all sections of our people.”
"We now have an opportunity to redefine relationships across the island and with the EU. We want to see a wide-ranging debate, involving all sections of the community, about what that new Ireland would look like and how it can be achieved."
Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire has moved to rule out the possibility of a referendum on a united Ireland, saying he does not believe that the conditions required to call a border poll have been met.
The latest Red C poll, which was carried out for bookmaker Paddy Power, was conducted between July 25 and 27 with a sample of 1,000 voters.
Support for a united Ireland was equal at 65 percent among both women and men. All age groups showed a majority in favor, especially among those aged 55 to 64, of which 70 percent were likely to vote for reunification.
A higher percentage (69 percent) of people in less well-off social group s said they would vote for a united Ireland compared to those in better-off groups (59 percent). Fifty-six percent of Dublin voters said they would vote for a united Ireland, while 68 percent to 69 percent of those living outside the capital said they would.
Sinn Fein (79 percent) and Fianna Fail (71 percent) voters were most likely to support a united Ireland, while Fine Gael (58 percent) voters were least likely.