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Press Release: Two-thirds of Irish People Would Choose to Stay in the EU Even if the UK Leaves


EM Ireland/Red C poll results challenge Government to maximise Presidency opportunity

Dublin, 18 January 2013:  With British Prime Minister, David Cameron, due to deliver a highly-anticipated speech regarding the UK’s future in the EU, a European Movement Ireland/Red C poll suggests that a majority of the Irish population believe that Ireland should remain as part of the EU, regardless of the UK’s position.

According to the Red C poll commissioned by independent, not-for profit organisation, European Movement Ireland (EM Ireland), 85 per cent of respondents believe Ireland should remain part of the EU, with 83 per cent of Irish adults believing that Ireland has, on balance, benefitted from membership of the EU.

Two-thirds (66 per cent) of those polled 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, only 1 in 4 Irish adults believe Ireland should leave the Euro currency.

EM Ireland/Red C Poll Results

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

  • 85% of Irish people want Ireland to remain in the EU
  • 83% of people believe Ireland has, on balance,  benefitted from membership of the EU
  • 73% want Ireland to remain within the Euro currency
  • 66% want Ireland to remain in the EU, even if the UK leaves the Union
  • 82% of men and 71% of women are aware that Ireland is holding the Presidency of the EU
  • Almost half (45%) of all adults in Ireland claim that they think of themselves as both Irish and European while 47 % see themselves as Irish only
  • 38% of 35-44 year olds think Ireland should leave the EU if the UK does – a higher average than the general result of 29%
  • Awareness of Ireland’s current role as President of the Council of the EU was highest in the Connacht/Ulster region at 79%

Download the EM Ireland-Red C Presidency Poll Report with detailed findings and regional, gender and age profile breakdowns by following this link.

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: “The situation in the UK is a concern from an Irish perspective.  However, it is heartening to see that Irish people are in favour of remaining part of the EU regardless of the actions of our nearest neighbours in the UK.  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 85% of those polled wanting Ireland to remain in 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.”



Notes for Editors

Please see full EM Ireland/Red C polling report attached with detailed findings and regional, gender and age profile breakdowns.

Available for comment

EM Ireland’s Executive Director, Noelle O’Connell is available for interview and comment.

Contact EM Ireland Communications Manager, Jenny Flynn, on 01 662 5815, 085 111 5836 or email jenny@europeanmovement.ie or EM Ireland Education, Projects and Policy Manager, Neale Richmond, on 01 662 5815, 086 781 4514 or neale@europeanmovement.ie.

About European Movement Ireland

Founded in 1954, European Movement Ireland is a not-for-profit, voluntary, membership organisation working to make the connection between Irish people and the European Union.  Through education programmes and advocacy work, European Movement campaigns for every Irish person to get involved with the European Union and, by doing so, help shape it through reasoned, robust and informed debate.

Irish Presidency of the EU

The Irish Presidency of the Council of the EU coincides with the European Year of Citizens 2013.  2013 also marks the 40th anniversary of Ireland’s accession to the EU.  EM Ireland are running a broad range of projects, events and activities throughout the year.  Full details are available from http://www.europeanmovement.ie/irelands-eu-presidency/.

As part of EM Ireland’s work to engage young people with the Irish Presidency, a team of 25 young citizen journalists have been recruited who, for the duration of the Presidency, will report on official Presidency events and bring a fresh young perspective to coverage of European affairs.  Further information on the Youth Media and the Irish Presidency (YMIP) Programme is available at http://www.europeanmovement.ie/ymip/.


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