Brexit polls show worries for Irish/British relations and fears of violence

A poll has found that most people feel Brexit is adversely affecting Ireland's relationship with the UK.

The survey by Amarách Research for RTÉ's Claire Byrne Live programme tonight also shows most people fear a return of the border between the Republic and the North will mean a resurgence of violence.

Pollsters surveyed more than 1,000 adults today as the EU and UK announced that there was no agreement on a deal that would progress Brexit to the next phase of talks.

A third question also found that almost half, 49%, of people want a united Ireland whereas 29% are against it.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar told a press conference at Government Buildings today: "We do not want a border in the Irish Sea, any more than we want a border between Newry and Dundalk or Letterkenny and Derry."

However, today's poll found that 57% of people fear a return to violence if customs checkpoints returned to the border after Brexit. 30% of those surveyed felt there would be no violence.

The Taoiseach has had to endure scathing criticism from elements in the UK over his handling of Brexit, and this may have prompted 68% of respondents to feel that the process is damaging Irish/British relations. Only 19% believed the process has not affected them.

The most obvious rift so far has appeared between Ireland and the DUP, with their party leader Arlene Foster saying they will not accept "any form of regulatory divergence which separates Northern Ireland economically or politically from the rest of the UK".

She said today: "The Republic of Ireland claim to be guarantors of the Belfast Agreement but they are clearly seeking to unilaterally change the Belfast Agreement without our input or consent."

It comes as the Government said it will "hold firm" on its bid to prevent a hard border, with Health Minister Simon Harris saying: "We want to make sure their is no regulatory divergence and we want to make sure we can keep as close a relationship both trading and in many other ways wth Britain and Northern Ireland."

Mr Varadkar today said in his press conference, after hearing of the failure of the UK to reach an agreement with the EU over a Brexit deal: "The most difficult issue we faced was to obtain a cast-iron agreement and a written guarantee that there will not be a hard border on this island after Brexit.

"This is not a new issue. Nor has it been given greater prominence in recent weeks, as some people have suggested.

"It has been to the absolute forefront of Ireland’s concerns since before the referendum. I want to offer reassurance that there is no hidden agenda here."

The questions asked of more than 1,000 adults in Ireland today:

Q1 Do you feel that the Brexit process is negatively affecting our relationship with Britain?

Yes 68%

No 19%

Don't Know 13%

Q2 Do you fear a return to violence if customs checkpoints return to the border with Northern Ireland after Brexit?

Yes 57%

No 30%

Don't know 13%

Q3 Do you want a united Ireland?

Yes 49%

No 29%

Don't know 22%

KEYWORDS: Brexit, Ireland, UK, Border


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