Northern Ireland news

Majority support for united Ireland in the Republic but resistance to tax hikes and changes to anthem and flag

Only 27 per cent of people in the south would be comfortable with losing the Irish tricolour. Picture by Niall Carson/PA Wire

SIX out of 10 people in the Republic would vote for a united Ireland if a referendum were held today, according to a new opinion poll.

But the Red C research published in yesterday's Business Post shows a significant majority of people would be unwilling to pay more taxes, change the flag or the national anthem to achieve reunification.

The survey found that while 60 per cent of respondents would like to see the 32 counties united, only 40 per cent would willingly pay more taxes to make it happen.

People in the south are also resistant to dropping Amhrán na bhFiann as the national anthem, with only with only 35 per cent willing to consider changing it, while just 27 per cent of respondents saying they'd be comfortable with losing the Irish tricolour.

Support for retaining the Stormont assembly in the event of reunification is greater than opposition, though the idea didn't secure an overall majority among respondents.

Of those surveyed, 45per cent were in favour compared to 32 per cent opposing it.

Just 23 per cent of those polled said they'd be happy for a united Ireland to rejoin the British commonwealth.

DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said 60 per cent support for a united Ireland in the south was "remarkably low".

"Drops to just 41 per cent if people have to pay higher taxes which of course they will to fund public services, pensions an replace the NHS in NI," he tweeted.

"Debunks idea that a united Ireland is inevitable. Let's make Northern Ireland work."

Elsewhere, the poll showed that Sinn Féin has maintained its position as the Republic's most popular party, with 33 per cent of first-preference votes.

Support for Fine Gael dropped three percentage points to 22 per cent, while Fianna Fáil enjoyed a corresponding increase to 15 per cent.

Leo Varadkar's party has not come out top in the Red C since June, when it was a point ahead of Sinn Féin on 30 per cent.

The Social Democrats are down one point to 5 per cent, the Green Party up one to 5 per cent, Labour down one to 4 per cent, People Before Profit down one to 2 per cent and Aontú unchanged at per cent.

Independents and others are at 12 per cent.

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Northern Ireland news