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DUP's Jeffrey Donaldson says poll shows 'low' support for United Ireland in Republic

'It debunks the idea that a united Ireland is inevitable'
DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson (Liam McBurney/PA)

DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson (Liam McBurney/PA)

DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson has said a new poll suggesting 60% of voters in the Republic would vote for a united Ireland immediately shows “remarkably low” support.

Southern voters’ enthusiasm drops further if it means paying higher taxes to fund it, the survey indicates.

Sir Jeffrey said it “debunks” the idea that a united Ireland is inevitable.

The findings emerge in a survey conducted by the Red C polling agency, and published in today’s Business Post.

It canvassed attitudes to the constitutional question in the Republic, interviewing a random sample of 1,001 adults aged 18 and over online between November 19 and November 25.

The poll found 60% in the Republic would vote in favour of a united Ireland if a border poll was held immediately - broadly in line with previous surveys. One in four (25%) disagree, and 15% are unsure.

There is stronger support among younger people - 67% of 18-34 year-olds are in favour of a united Ireland, compared to 52% of those aged over 55.

The poll also found 62% of people in the Republic believe a border poll will happen within 10 years, with 23% disagreeing and 15% unsure.

The Good Friday Agreement states the Secretary of State should call a border poll if they see a majority in favour of a united Ireland.

Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has called for a referendum on a united Ireland to be held in 2028 to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the agreement.

However, support for a united Ireland falls if it comes at a cost to the public, the Red C poll suggests. It shows support dropping to 41% for a united Ireland if it meant paying higher taxes. Some 43% disagree with paying higher taxes while 16% were unsure.

People were asked would they be willing to change the current Irish flag to accommodate a new flag for a united Ireland - but there is strong opposition. Just 27% of people agree with this, while 59% are opposed, and 14% unsure.

And there is opposition to changing the Republic’s national anthem, Amhran na bhFiann (The Soldier's Song) in a united Ireland. Just 35% of people in the South are willing to change to a new anthem, with most (52%) opposed.

There is also reluctance for guaranteed unionist cabinet positions in a united Ireland government. Under half (39%) would support it, while 37% are opposed and 24% are unsure.

Just 45% of people in the Republic would be willing to support the continuation of the Stormont Assembly alongside the Dail in Dublin in a united Ireland. Another 32% disagree while 23% are unsure.

Responding, Sir Jeffrey said on Twitter: “60% support for united Ireland remarkably low for Republic. Drops to just 41% if people have to pay higher taxes which of course they will to fund public services, pensions and replace the NHS in NI.

“Debunks the idea that a united Ireland is inevitable. Let’s make Northern Ireland work.”

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