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EU Referendum: Concern growing over restoration of border controls

By Yvette Shapiro

Published 20/06/2016

People are becoming increasingly concerned about the restoration of border controls if Britain leaves the European Union.

The Ipsos MORI poll shows that almost a third of voters believe the appearance of checkpoints on the road to Dublin, or at our ports and airports, is the likely result of a Brexit.

Thirty percent were concerned about this - up from 22% in April.

The Prime Minister, the Chancellor and the Taoiseach have all warned that border controls will have to be implemented if the UK leaves the EU, but this has been denied by leading campaigners on the Leave side, including the Secretary of State Theresa Villiers.

There was a decline in concern about the prospect of restrictions on cross-border trade: down from 22% in March to 19% in the latest poll.

And fewer people were worried about possible difficulties for those who cross the border, in either direction, for work.

The loss of the economic benefits of EU membership in the event of a Brexit is still the biggest concern for Remain voters, but less so than in March when 44% stated this as a major issue.

Less access to EU funding for local projects is also a worry for Remain supporters, as is less freedom of movement for citizens if the UK is outside the European Union.

The loss of farming subsidies continues to be a concern, despite assurances from Leave campaigners that farmers would still receive support from the UK and devolved administrations if EU money is no longer forthcoming.

For those supporting the Leave campaign, the big prize delivered by a Brexit would be the removal of "overbearing" regulations and red tape.

Nearly a third of people believe this is the main reason that the UK would be stronger out of the EU - the same result as previous polls.

The cost of Britain's membership - a source of bitter dispute between the Leave and Remain camps throughout the campaign - also features strongly in the poll.

Almost a third of Leave supporters say the removal of this cost will be a key benefit. And the prospect of fewer migrants as the result of border controls is important to the Leave camp - 29% cited this as a benefit.

People were also asked about which politicians were most likely to inform their decision on how to vote in the EU Referendum. Pro-Brexit DUP leader and First Minister Arlene Foster continues to be the key influencer in Northern Ireland, but her opinion carries a little less weight than it did in March: down from 18% to 14%.

Pro-Remain Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness has also declined in influence, down from 14% to 9%.

Nationally, former London Mayor Boris Johnston is the main political voice for 11% of voters here, while Ukip leader Nigel Farage seems to have gained a local audience: he didn't register with respondents to the poll in March, but is now the key influencer for 6% of voters.

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