Northern Ireland news

Backing for Irish unity outstrips support for union but many undecided – poll

John Finucane welcomed the opinion poll results. Picture by Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

MORE people would vote for a united Ireland than to maintain the north's union with Britain, according to the findings of a new opinion poll.

Notably though, neither those advocating Irish unity nor maintaining the status quo had anything close to a majority - with almost a third of people seemingly undecided.

The research carried out by Lucid Talk found that the National Health Service would be an important factor in the way people voted in a border poll.

However, the survey found that regardless of the NHS, 35 per cent of people would vote for Irish unity, while 34 per cent would vote to remain in the UK.

The proportion of those supporting Irish unity is higher among younger voters, with 43 per cent of 18-24 year-olds saying that they would vote to leave the UK regardless of the NHS, compared to 34 per cent who said the same about remaining in the union.

Read More: Nationalists welcome call by Peter Robinson for unionism to be ready for border poll

Nevertheless, more than a quarter (26 per cent) said that the NHS would make them more likely to want to maintain the union, with support increasing among older people, and Alliance and Green voters.

More than half of Alliance supporters (54 per cent) and 52 per cent of Greens said the healthcare system would make them more likely to vote to stay in the UK.

Fewer than one in 10 Sinn Fein voters said the NHS would make them more likely to vote for the union, compared to 28 per cent of SDLP voters.

The poll found that 84 per cent of Sinn Féin and 56 per cent of SDLP voters would vote for a united Ireland, and 75 per cent of DUP and 55 per cent of Ulster Unionist voters would vote to remain in the UK, regardless of the health service.

Sinn Féin MP John Finucane welcomed the poll results.

“It is abundantly clear that the people of this island want to flourish in a new, progressive and united Ireland," he said.

“They are not interested in refighting the battles of old and are increasingly turning their backs on a chaotic Breixt agenda being pursued by a reckless British government who has thrown their social, economic and educational opportunities under the bus."

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