North Catholics happy with status quo: poll

A majority of Catholics in Northern Ireland prefer a future as part of the United Kingdom while about a third see unity with the Republic as the preferred option, this according to a poll, the Northern Ireland Life and Times survey.

The survey, which was last conducted in 1998, found that 33 percent of Catholics favor a united Ireland, 52 percent prefer to stay in the United Kingdom, and 46 percent are happy with the current devolved government.

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The vast majority of Protestants, not surprisingly, want to remain part of the UK. Four percent of Protestants favor union with the South.

According to the Irish Times, the survey was carried out between October and December last year with a representative group of 1,205 adults questioned.

Overall, the survey found just 16 percent across-the-board support for unity. This finding was questioned by Sinn Féin Assembly member Barry McElduff

"The Life and Times survey needs to ask why it arrives at a figure of only 16 percent of people within the North wanting a united Ireland when, with Sinn Féin's clear position of uniting this country, the party received over 26 per cent of the vote in the latest election," McElduff said.

"Sinn Féin is not alone in believing that uniting Ireland is desirable. The vast majority of citizens on this island, republicans and nationalist, support the goal of a united Ireland. Given this position it is very hard to view these figures as credible," he said.