Most Irish voters are in favour of a United Ireland but not if means paying more tax.
That was one of the main findings of a poll carried out by Behaviour and Attitudes and published in the Sunday Times newspaper. It found that two out of three voters (67%) would vote for a united Ireland if it had no tax implications. However, if it meant higher tax bills then the number favour fell to only one in three (32%).
Support for unification was higher among men than women. Munster was the most enthusiastic region with 79% in favour, and Sinn Féin supporters were the most enthusiastic of the political parties producing a yes vote of 84%. However, that figure fell to 40% if it meant paying more tax.
The survey authors didn’t give any explanation as to why unification would lead to an increase in tax and there’s nothing to suggest that it would make any significant difference. However, the figures illustrate that finance ranks higher in people’s minds at the moment than the long held ambition of Irish unity.
The issue has come to prominence because of the UK’s referendum vote to leave the European Union, of which Ireland is a prominent member. While the UK as a whole voted to leave, Northern Ireland voted to remain, prompting Sinn Fein politicians and others to suggest that the six counties of the north may be better off reuniting with the Republic and remaining in the EU.
However, there are no official moves on either side of the border to pursue reunification at the moment. That may change once the terms of the UK’s exit from Europe become clearer.
Written by Michael Kehoe @michaelcalling