home News Majority of Irish people think the UK should remain in the EU

Majority of Irish people think the UK should remain in the EU

A poll carried out by Red C on behalf of the European Movement Ireland has found that 4 out of 5 respondents believed that the United Kingdom should remain a member of the European Union. The same poll found the 81% of respondents believed that Ireland should remain a member of the EU regardless of the result of the British Referendum next month.

The poll of 1,015 people was carried out between 9 and 11 May 2016 and found that:

  • 90% of Irish people want Ireland to remain in the EU; for young people this is 94%, up from 85% in 2015. Support for EU membership is highest in Connacht Ulster at 96%;
  • 87% of people believe Ireland has, on balance, benefited from membership of the EU.  This increases to 91% for those aged 24 years and under and was again at its highest in Connacht & Ulster at 91%;
  • 81% want Ireland to remain in the EU, even if the UK leaves the Union; This rose to 84% in Dublin;
  • 86% of Irish people think the UK should remain in the EU, rising to 92% for young people;
  • When asked if they are aware that the EU will abolish mobile ‘phone roaming charges by 15 June 2017, 92% are aware, with the lowest levels of awareness among young people, at 82% and Farmers at 79%. Those living in Munster are most aware of this at 94%.

This Poll follows a similar poll last year carried out on behalf of the European Movement Ireland on a variety of EU issues. See here for full poll report (pdf)

Commenting on the poll results today, EM Ireland Executive Director, Noelle O Connell, welcomed the high levels of support for the EU,

“There is unprecedented support for Ireland’s EU membership, at 90 per cent, since we began tracking sentiment in 2013.  Perhaps the forthcoming UK referendum on its EU membership has focussed minds here in Ireland?  It is very noteworthy that in the last two years, a growing number of Irish people believe that even if our nearest neighbours leave, that Ireland should remain in the EU, notwithstanding that we both joined on the same day in 1973.  The results also indicate that young Irish people in particular overwhelmingly believe that Ireland has benefited from EU membership, with 91% agreeing with this statement in the poll.”

When asked if the UK should remain in the EU, which was a new question in this year’s poll, Ms O Connell observed,

“86% of Irish people believe that our nearest neighbour should stay in the EU, which speaks for itself. This is not surprising given the historical and other ties our two islands share.”

As the referendum nears, and the risk posed to Ireland by an UK exit from the EU, or “Brexit”, more interventions from Irish Politicians and business figures are expected in the debate to encoruage turnout out among the Irish in Britain.

An Taoiseach Enda Kenny has promised not to “lecture” the Bitish people during the campaign and has said his focus will be on the Irish People in Britain. A campaign involving ministers will be developed. At a recent conference in Dublin on Brexit, Kenny stated

“I will also be asking a number of ministers to visit Britain during this time to reach out to Irish citizens living there; to engage with friends of Ireland and the wider business community who have an interest in British-Irish economic cooperation,”

Opinion polls in the UK are showing a slim lead for the Remain campaign. A poll for The Observer, published last Sunday & carried out by Opinium, of 2,008 respondents showed the Remain side with a 4% lead. The poll found Remain on 44%, with leave on 40% and 14% undecided.

The referendum will take place on Thursday 23rd of June. The closing date to register to vote in the referendum is June 7th. The question on the ballot paper will be as follows:

Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?

with the responses to be marked with a single (X):

Remain a member of the European Union

Leave the European Union



Stephen Spillane

30 year old Cork feen who should have left UCC years ago, but still writing for the Express. Has written for a number of websites including Spirituality Ireland and ESC Ireland. Interests include Politics, Religion and other things that shouldn't be spoken about in polite company.