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'80% of Ulster accountants want us to stay in Europe'

By Rachel Martin

Four out of five Northern Ireland chartered accountants believe that the UK should remain part of the European Union, a survey has revealed.

According to the poll, conducted by Coyne Research on behalf of Chartered Accountants Ireland, just 18% support the idea of leaving the EU.

The study showed support for the Remain campaign was even higher among members in Great Britain, where 86% would vote to stay. In the Republic, 97% said that they would vote to remain in the EU.

This compared with 88% of chartered accountants elsewhere saying they were pro-EU.

More than 2,500 chartered accountants took part in the survey, of which 12% were based in Northern Ireland, 70% in the Republic and 18% elsewhere.

The main reason cited by those backing the stay camp was a belief that the EU was stronger with the UK as a member.

Meanwhile, the potential effects on the Irish economy was a major factor for those surveyed in the Republic.

The key reasons cited by those backing a Brexit were that the UK would be stronger outside the EU, general Euroscepticism and greater control over economic migration.

Speaking in Barcelona, Liam Lynch, Chartered Accountants Ireland deputy president said: "Some 77% of our members hold senior positions at the centre of business, industry and the public sector.

"Therefore this study is a broad-based and reliable insight into what senior business leaders, are thinking about the upcoming EU referendum."

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