According to the majority of the inhabitants of the island of Ireland, Northern Ireland will separate from the United Kingdom and unite with the Republic of Ireland within 25 years.
Marking the coming centenary of the Irish island’s political split, the BBC’s Public Service British Information Service has commissioned a comprehensive survey in both Northern Ireland and Ireland with polling firm LucidTalk.
According to results presented on Wednesday, a majority on both sides of the border says the unification of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland is not expected in ten years: 55 per cent in Northern Ireland and 59 per cent in Ireland deemed this unlikely.
However, when asked what they think the situation will be 25 years from now, 51 per cent of Northern Irish people surveyed and 54 per cent of Irish people believe Northern Ireland will leave the UK and reunite with the Republic of Ireland by then.
The 1998 Good Friday Agreement, officially known as the Belfast Agreement, which launched the Northern Ireland conflict resolution process, provides for a simultaneous referendum in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland on the reunification of the island of Ireland if the British and Irish governments have significant social support on both sides of the border.
However, the British governments that have been in power since then consistently maintain that a referendum is unjustified on the basis of the distribution of public opinion.
Tensions have risen significantly since the June 2016 referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union. In the referendum, a slim majority of 51.9 per cent of the UK’s total population left, but in Northern Ireland, 55.8 per cent of voters voted for more EU membership.