Northern Ireland news

No united Ireland in near future, survey finds

More than 2,000 people across Ireland took part in a joint RTÉ/BBC survey

A MINORITY of people on both sides of the border believe there should be a united Ireland in the near future, according to a survey.

The poll, jointly commissioned by BBC Northern Ireland’s Nolan Live and RTÉ’s Prime Time programmes, asked more than 2,000 people across the island on constitutional options for the north.

Respondents were also quizzed about their attitude to abortion, mixed marriages and travel between north and south - with more than a quarter of people in the Republic admitting they had never crossed the border.

Only 13 per cent of those questioned in the north said they wanted a united Ireland in the "short to medium term", compared to 36 per cent in the Republic.

Around two-thirds in the north and 44 per cent in the Republic opted for either a devolved government or direct rule.

However, a large proportion of people did say they would like to see Irish unity in their lifetime.

Two-thirds of respondents in the Republic and just under a third in the north want to see the border go in the long term.

But the survey found that support for a united Ireland would drop significantly if it meant paying more tax.

In the north, only 11 per cent of people want Ireland to be unified if it costs more, compared with 31 per cent in the Republic.

The survey found attitudes to abortion were similar on both sides of the border.

Just under a quarter of people in the north and Republic believe abortion should always be available.

Around two-thirds in the Republic and 56 per cent of people in the north believe terminations should be allowed in some circumstances.

Around 14 per cent in the Republic and a fifth of people north of the border said abortion should never be allowed.

Respondents in the Republic felt slightly more uncomfortable with mixed marriages.

One in 10 people surveyed in the south said they would be "very or fairly uncomfortable" if a family member married someone of a different religion. Only six per cent of people in Northern Ireland felt the same.

The survey also revealed that northerners were much more likely to travel south than vice versa.

More than a quarter of people surveyed in the Republic said they had never crossed the border.

Fewer than one in 10 people from the north said they had never ventured south.

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