New poll finds majority in favour of Irish unity within 20 years

Over half those polled in the north of Ireland have said they would or may support a united Ireland within the next 20 years.

Support for reunification was strongest among young respondents to the LucidTalk/ Belfast Telegraph/ Sunday Times poll, with 57% of 18-24 year olds surveyed saying they would vote for a united Ireland if a Referendum was held today.

Over 3,380 people aged 18 and over were surveyed for the study.

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Overall, 41% of adults surveyed said they would vote for reunification now or in the future, with a further 10% saying they would or may vote for it over the next 15-20 years.

circa 1950: The customs stop (between the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland) on the road from Belfast to Dublin. (Photo by Three Lions/Getty Images)

A total of 48% said they would vote to remain part of the United Kingdom. However among those aged 18-24, just 35% said they would prefer to remain in the UK.

One in two unionists who took part stood firm behind the DUP and others over the NI Protocol saying they should not return to business as normal at Stormont until the Protocol is dealt with / removed.

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Sinn Féin MP John Finucane said the publication demonstrated growing support for Irish unity.

The North Belfast MP said: “Yet another poll shows growing support for Irish unity across the island, particularly among young people.

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Cars cross the controless border between Northern Ireland and Ireland, in Derry in Northern Ireland, on June 25, 2016. The result of Britain's June 23 referendum vote to leave the European Union (EU) has pitted parents against children, cities against rural areas, north against south and university graduates against those with fewer qualifications. London, Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to remain in the EU but Wales and large swathes of England, particularly former industrial hubs in the north with many disaffected workers, backed a Brexit. / AFP / PAUL FAITH (Photo credit should read PAUL FAITH/AFP via Getty Images)

“The reality is that conversation on the constitutional future of our island is to the fore of political discourse like never before. Planning and preparation must start now.

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“The Irish government should lead those preparations by immediately establishing a Citizens’ Assembly on Irish unity to help shape the new Ireland,” Mr Finucane added.