And the survey says…

Here’s one for the number-crunchers out there. The Irish Times reports today on the Economic and Social Research Institute’s latest study. On the perennial question the report says –

In the North, 65 per cent of Catholics want a united Ireland. But 21.1 per cent believe it should remain in the UK, with 11.2 per cent favouring an independent Northern Ireland.

The study itself doesn’t appear to be online yet.. although the ESRI site has it listed for publication today. (We’ll be looking to see the actual wording of the question.)

In the meantime here are the relevant figures from the Irish Times’ Religious Affairs correspondent, Patsy McGarry –

More Catholics in the South favour an independent Northern Ireland than do Protestants in the South. Where Catholics are concerned, the figure is almost a third, at 32.5 per cent, while for southern Protestants it is less than a quarter, at 23.3 per cent.

Among southern Catholics, 54.9 per cent favour a united Ireland, while 9.1 per cent believe the North should remain in the UK. Among Protestants in the South 41.9 per cent favour a united Ireland, with 23.3 per cent believing the North should remain in the UK.

In the North, 65 per cent of Catholics want a united Ireland. But 21.1 per cent believe it should remain in the UK, with 11.2 per cent favouring an independent Northern Ireland.

Among northern Protestants an overwhelming 87.7 per cent believe Northern Ireland should remain in the UK, with 5.1 per cent favouring an independent Northern Ireland. Only 3.8 per cent favour a united Ireland.

The Irish Times report, goes on to say –

This[an “increasingly widespread acceptance of an Irish identity among the Protestant population in the Republic”] “has been accompanied by a growing sense of distance from northern Protestants and a rejection by southern Protestants of their portrayal by their northern co-religionists as an oppressed minority”. By the mid-1990s Protestants in the South were said to have far more in common with their Catholic fellow citizens than with their northern co-religionists.

A European Values Survey 1999-2000 found that 99 per cent of southern Catholics were “very/quite proud” to be citizens of the Republic while such figures for Protestants in the Republic was 93 per cent. Figures for the “very proud” among all citizens of the Republic have soared since the arrival of the Celtic Tiger, rising from 55 per cent in 1994 to 71 per cent in 2003.