Strong Support in North-West for Ireland’s EU Membership

Results from a European Movement Ireland/Red C poll show strong support in the counties of Connacht and Ulster for Ireland’s EU membership. The region also recorded the highest levels of awareness of Ireland’s current role as President of the Council of the EU at 79%.

According to the Red C poll commissioned by independent, not-for-profit organisation, European Movement Ireland (EM Ireland), 86 per cent of North-West respondents believe Ireland should remain part of the EU, with 83 per cent of North-West adults believing that Ireland has, on balance, benefitted from membership of the EU. These results indicate a favourable attitude in the North-West towards the EU, with both figures either slightly above or the same as the national averages of 85 and 83 per cent respectively.

As the UK ponders its relationship with the EU, the EM Ireland/Red C poll indicates that a majority of the Irish population believe that Ireland should remain part of the EU, regardless of the UK’s position. Almost two-thirds (64 per cent) of those polled in Connacht and Ulster held the view that Ireland should remain in the EU even if the UK leaves the Union.

Furthermore, despite on-going economic hardship in Ireland, just 1 in 4 North-West adults (25 per cent) believe Ireland should leave the Euro currency, a figure that is exactly the same as the national average of 25 per cent.

EM Ireland/Red C Poll Results

Results from the poll carried out between the 7th and 9th January 2013 show that:

86% of Connacht/Ulster people (85% nationally) want Ireland to remain in the EU

83% of people in Connacht/Ulster (83% nationwide) believe Ireland has, on balance, benefitted from membership of the EU

72% in Connacht/Ulster (73% across all provinces) want Ireland to remain within the Euro currency

64% in Connacht/Ulster (66% nationwide) want Ireland to remain in the EU, even if the UK leaves the Union

79% of adults in Connacht/Ulster are aware that Ireland is holding the Presidency of the EU (76% nationwide)

Over half (54%) of all adults in Connacht/Ulster claim that they think of themselves as both Irish and European, while 40% see themselves as Irish only

Awareness of Ireland’s current role as President of the Council of the EU was highest in the Connacht/Ulster region at 79%.

European Movement Ireland commissioned Red C to carry out this poll at the start of the Irish Presidency in order to ascertain Irish people’s views on a variety of different topics related to Irish-EU relations. The poll was conducted among a representative sample of over 1,000 people aged 18 and over from across the country.

The poll held good news for the Irish Presidency, with a high level of awareness among respondents that Ireland currently holds the rotating Presidency of the Council of the EU – with 76 per cent of those polled aware of Ireland’s current role. Interestingly, awareness is strongest amongst men and those in older age groups, with the Connacht/Ulster region ranking highest.

However, within this statistic; a contrasting indicator showed that just over half (52 per cent) of the 18-24 year old demographic were aware that Ireland currently holds the Presidency.

EM Ireland Reaction

Commenting on the poll results today, EM Ireland Executive Director, Noelle O Connell, said: “It is heartening to see the strong support in the North-West for Ireland’s membership of the EU, with 86% of respondents in Connacht and Ulster indicating their belief that Ireland should remain a part of the EU. Although the situation in the UK is a concern, it is encouraging to see that Irish people are in favour of remaining part of the EU regardless of the actions of our nearest neighbours. The results also seem to indicate that, despite the presence of the troika in Ireland, the debate over bondholders and the economic downturn, there is wide-spread acknowledgement of the benefits for Ireland that lie in membership of the EU, with 83% of those polled in the North-West feeling that Ireland has benefitted from being part of the EU.”

Ms O Connell expressed surprise at the unprecedented high levels of awareness of the Presidency and support for Europe: “Even to the most ardent Europhile, these figures are a welcome surprise. It is encouraging that the Irish people still see this country’s future linked to the EU. Nonetheless, as this poll shows, engagement with young people continues to remain a challenge.”

She called on the Irish Government to deliver tangible results over the coming six months: “The Government has clearly succeeded in getting the people’s attention regarding the Presidency. The challenge now is for the Government to clearly deliver on their ‘Stability, Jobs and Growth’ agenda with tangible results.”


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