85% of Irish people back EU membership – survey

A total of 85% of people in Ireland believe that Ireland should remain in the EU, according to a recent survey.

The latest Eurobarometer public opinion survey conducted across the EU in September has found that 85% in Ireland, if asked, would vote to remain in the EU, with just 7% saying they would vote to leave and 8% don’t know.

In contrast, 53% of UK respondents would vote to remain in the EU while 35% would vote to leave and 12% don’t know.

Commenting on the study Mairead McGuinness, MEP and first Vice-President of the European Parliament, said it confirms the “high level of support” there is in Ireland for membership of the EU.

Even though we’re now net contributors to the EU budget, clearly Irish people see the value of trade, economic and social protection that comes from close cooperation with our EU partners.

“That is particularly relevant is a globalised world that is rapidly changing.”

However, that is not to say that Irish people do not have concerns, McGuinness noted.

“These concerns relate to the direction in which the EU is going, with up to half of respondents expressing such sentiments. Perhaps this is understandable given the level of upheaval and the difficulty in finding solutions to big issues like migration.”

The survey also showed 48% of respondents want the EU to play a more important role, while 27% said they would prefer a lesser role.

Meanwhile, 62% across member states consider their country’s membership of the EU to be a good thing and 68% see their country as having benefited from membership.

The MEP said the findings would appear to indicate that, while UK public representatives are deeply divided on Brexit, “UK citizens may be moving in a more positive direction in their attitudes to the EU since the Brexit vote”.

She said everyone on this side of the Irish sea would wish Prime Minister Theresa May well in her quest for unity among her government colleagues at this difficult stage in the Brexit talks “and that they live up to the commitment already entered into on the backstop”.