Northern Ireland

Slight fall in support for EU but majority across Ireland still backs bloc membership

Survey on EU membership shows growing disenchantment

EU flags fly at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels
Some 9% in the Republic oppose EU membership and 15% in the north

A majority of people across Ireland back continued membership of the EU, though the latest survey shows a slight drop in support.

More than two-thirds of people in both the Republic (84%) and Northern Ireland (76%) advocate continued membership of the bloc, however, support for EU membership has declined by four percentage points in the south and three points in the north, compared to last year’s survey.

Some 9% in the Republic oppose EU membership and 15% in the north.

The poll, carried out on behalf of European Movement Ireland by Amárach Research, also reveals creeping disenchantment with Brussels.

European Movement Ireland CEO Noelle O'Connell

On the question of whether the EU is moving in the right direction, the proportion agreeing in both jurisdictions has fallen by nine points year-on-year to 49%.

In both the south (46%) and the north (55%) those surveyed believe the EU’s performance is strongest on trade.

When asked where the bloc is weakest, respondents in both jurisdictions highlighted migration – 46% in the Republic and 44% in the north.

Almost two-thirds of respondents north of the border (72%) said they were dissatisfied with the EU’s response to the Israel-Gaza conflict, compared to 64% in the south.

European Movement Ireland CEO Noelle O’Connell said continuing support for EU membership was welcome.

“However, this year’s less favourable findings on a number of key issues are of concern and serve as a timely reminder of the continual need for public engagement, dialogue and communication on EU affairs,” she said.

“Equally, this also highlights the importance of the EU listening to voters’ concerns.”

Commenting on the EU’s performance across key areas of the bloc’s responsibility, Ms O’Connell said; “The EU’s performance on trade and business continues to score highly amongst respondents.

“However, on some of the major geopolitical crises of our time, such as war in Ukraine, Migration, and the Israel- Gaza conflict, our research highlights the challenges the EU faces in uniting Europe on its response to these issues into the future.”