Northern Ireland news

United Ireland 'more likely' following Brexit, respondents claim in survey

Professor Katy Hayward of Queen's University Belfast, who co-authored a new joint report by QUB and Ulster University, titled 'Political attitudes in NI after Brexit and under the Protocol'.
Paul Ainsworth

SUPPORT for a united Ireland is continuing to grow since Brexit made it more likely, a new report by the north's universities has revealed.

The Queen's University and Ulster University report - Political attitudes in NI after Brexit and under the Protocol - analyses the results of a new NI Life & Times Survey - and found that those in the north identifying as nationalist rose from 19 per cent in 2020 to 26 per cent the following year.

Of those surveyed, 63 per cent said they believe Irish unification was more likely following Brexit - a rise of five per cent from 2020.

A belief that the best long-term policy for the north is to remain in the UK fell from 54 per cent in the previous year to 48 percent, while those believing Irish unity was the best long-term policy rose from 26 percent to 30 percent.

Thirty-four per cent of those surveyed said they would vote in favour of a united Ireland tomorrow.

The report also found that the number of people who thought the Northern Ireland Protocol was 'on balance a good thing' more than doubled from 15 percent in 2020 to 33 percent.

Meanwhile, against the backdrop of the British government legislating to end Troubles prosecutions, only 29 per cent said they supported such a move.

Co-author of the report, Queen's Professor Katy Hayward, said: "If the NI Assembly election of May 5 was a defining moment, it only compounded the political flux that has troubled Northern Ireland since the Brexit referendum. The NI Life and Times Survey offers a unique insight into how the local population is responding to the realisation that things won’t and can’t be the same again.

"The differing expectations and concerns reflected in this data will no doubt prove testing for our democratic institutions as well as for our politicians in the months and years to come."

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