Belfast Telegraph

49% of Republic of Ireland voters back united Ireland

A new poll has found just under half of the Republic's voters want a united Ireland.

The results revealed on RTE's Claire Byrne Live on Monday night showed 49% in favour, 29% against, and 22% of respondents saying they 'Don't Know'.

The research was carried out on behalf of Claire Byrne Live by Amarach Research and surveyed 1,000 people.

Respondents were also quizzed about their views on the impact Brexit was having on Anglo-Irish relations.

Asked if they felt the Brexit process was negatively affecting Ireland's relationship with Britain, 68% said they felt it was, 19% said they thought it wasn't, with 13% responding 'Don't Know'.

A majority of respondents (57%) said they feared a return to violence if customs checks are reintroduced at the border following Brexit.

The new poll comes after a day of fraught negotiations in which a deal between the UK and the EU on the future of the Irish border was scuppered by fierce resistance from the DUP.

It had been thought the UK and EU had been close to agreeing on "regulatory alignment" between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland to avoid a potential hard border.

It is anticipated Prime Minister Theresa May will spend Tuesday in negotiations with DUP MPs in London in an effort to salvage the deal, before flying to Brussels later this week.

Previous polls in the Republic on the possibility of a united Ireland have returned mixed results.

A Sunday Business Post / Red C poll in October last year found 65% of respondents saying they would like to see Irish unity as a by-product of Brexit.

Last December, when Claire Byrne Live asked respondents if they thought it was "time to have a united Ireland", 46% answered yes, 32% answered no, with 22% responding 'Don't Know'.

In March, a poll of 1,200 adults in Ireland carried out on behalf of RTE's This Week programme asked respondents if they would back a united Ireland if it came with a pricetag of €9bn (£7.95bn) a year.

Results found 33.1% saying they would vote in favour, 32.5% said they would vote against, while 34.4% said they were undecided.

In October, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar told BBC's Spotlight programme there would need to be a bigger majority than 50% plus one in a poll to bring about a united Ireland, saying "I really think we should focus on making the agreement that we have work".

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