New poll reveals rise in support for Irish unification in Northern Ireland

Traffic crossing the border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland in the village of B

Traffic crossing the border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland in the village of Bridgend, Co Donegal. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA. - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

A new poll has showed that more people living in Northern Ireland support Irish unification than do not.

The poll, published by Lord Ashcroft, found that if a border poll was held 45% would vote to stay in the UK compared to 46% who would choose to leave to become a part of the Republic of Ireland.

When excluding the don't knows in this polling 49% would support staying a part of the UK with 51% supporting Irish unification.

"This is in fact a statistical tie, and well within the margin of error," said Lord Ashcroft.

"Such a result might also reflect the uncertainty and anxiety surrounding Brexit, the Irish border and its potential effect on life in the province, which could recede when the outcome is settled," he said.

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"Be that as it may, the result underlines what could be at stake in the quest for a workable Brexit solution on the island of Ireland."

A majority of those questioned (59%) believed that Northern Ireland would vote in a referendum to remain part of the UK.

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But if it was a poll taken in 10 years' time the results found 54% would vote in favour of unification, with just three in 10 believing voters would choose to remain in the UK.

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