People in the Republic of Ireland overwhelmingly want Irish unity, a poll suggests, but they also don’t want to pay for it.
The Red C Poll for The Sunday Business Post found that 60% of voters would back Irish unity if there was a referendum tomorrow, with only 25% against. Once ‘Don’t knows’ are excluded, that translates to a landslide win for unity with 71% in favour and 25% against.
A majority of voters also believe that a referendum is likely within the next decade and that the Irish Government should start planning for it.
However, voters are more divided on what the new state should look like and how it should be paid for.
Northern Ireland typically receives the highest level of public spending per head of any part of the United Kingdom; in 2019 it was £11,590 (€13,661) per person - against a UK average of £9,584 (€11,296) per person.
When asked if they would support Irish unity if it meant personally paying more taxes, 41% of people said they would, while 43% disagreed.
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 & replace the NHS in NI. Debunks idea that a united Ireland is inevitable. Let’s make Northern Ireland work pic.twitter.com/DUueZmLk7k
— Jeffrey Donaldson MP (@J_Donaldson_MP) November 28, 2021
There was, however, support for the continuation of a power-sharing Assembly in Northern Ireland with 45% in favour and 32% against.
A slim majority also support power-sharing in Dublin, with 39% backing guaranteed seats for unionists in a Dublin Government with 37% against.
However, voters are opposed to changing the symbols of the state; 27% would be willing to swap the tricolour for a new flag, with 59% against.
52% would be against changing Amhrán na bhFiann for a new anthem, with only 35% in favour.
Voters are even more opposed to Ireland rejoining the Commonwealth of Nations; 58% were against the idea and only 23% were supportive.
The poll also found that Sinn Féin continue to enjoy a commanding lead over Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil in voter intentions.
33% of people would give the party their first preference if there was an election tomorrow, while 22% would support Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil would receive 15% of the vote.
The Greens and Social Democrats were tied on 5%, while Labour received 4%. Independents and smaller parties polled 16%.
Main image: An Irish Tricolour flies in Dublin, Ireland. Picture by: Jens Kalaene/DPA/PA Images