More than three quarters of Irish people believe the energy crisis is harming the EU economy while nearly 60% of people say member states should be allowed to delay meeting their EU climate change targets in order to tackle the energy crisis.
The findings are part of today’s Red C/European Movement Ireland opinion poll, which reflects the growing impact of the war in Ukraine on Irish attitudes to Europe, defence spending and enlargement.
The survey, entitled Ireland and the EU, was carried out over two periods in March and August this year, using a representative sample of 1,001 people over the age of 18 across the country.
The polls covered attitudes to EU enlargement, energy, security and defence, the Northern Ireland Protocol and the question of Irish unity.
Some 58% of people agreed that member states should be allowed to delay meeting EU environmental targets in order to deal with the current energy crisis, with 28% opposed.
Of those surveyed, 86% of people believe the cost-of-living crisis is harming the EU economy while 7% disagree.
Irish people appear strongly in favour of EU enlargement. Some 65% of people say Ukraine should join the EU, with 18% opposed.
According to 62% of those polled, the EU should continue to allow more countries to join as member states, compared to 20% who disagree.
Around half the Irish public (50%) believe Ireland should increase its defence spending because of the security situation in Europe, while 34% are opposed.
On the Northern Ireland Protocol, 57% say they support it, while 8% said they opposed the Protocol (35% of those surveyed said they did not know).
Asked if there would be a united Ireland in the EU in ten years, a majority of those who expressed a view – 43% – said no, while 31% of those surveyed agreed there would be a united Ireland.
Some 72% of people say the euro has been good for Ireland, compared to 18% who disagree, while 56% of voters support the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) compared to 34% who believe it has not been good for Ireland.
On the impact of the war in Ukraine on Irish attitudes, Noelle O’Connell, CEO of European Movement Ireland (EMI) said: “Interestingly, in our May Red C poll, when we asked if Ireland should be part of increased EU defence and security co-operation, 59% agreed – up 5% from the year before.
“While in some European countries, like Finland and Sweden, there has been a transformation of national debate and policy change around defence and security due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, in Ireland public opinion remains mixed.”
On the Northern Ireland Protocol findings, Ms O’Connell said: “What’s surprising is that more than a third of people polled say they don’t know whether they agree or not with the Northern Ireland Protocol.
“This may indicate that there may be a knowledge deficit amongst the population. Perhaps more work needs to be done to explain what exactly the Protocol entails and what the potential real-life implications may be for people in the Republic.”
On the question of a united Ireland – with 31% agreeing such a change would come about in the next ten years, as opposed to 43% who disagree – Ms O’Connell said: “Of any question we have asked in our polling data, the responses we receive on this issue remain constant with very little margin of error, which is noteworthy in itself.”