Public support for Irish membership of EU remains high, poll finds

Nearly four in five say EU membership has had positive impact on their lives

Support for Irish membership of the European Union remains as strong as ever, 50 years after the referendum to join the European Economic Community (EEC) was passed.

Support for continued membership has risen from 84 per cent to 88 per cent in the last year, according to a new poll.

The poll, conducted by Red C Research on behalf of the pro-EU European Movement organisation, also found that 79 per cent of people agreed that EU membership has had a positive impact on their lives.

On May 10th, 1972, the electorate in the Republic approved membership of the EEC by 82 per cent to 18 per cent.


Ireland remains one of the most enthusiastic countries about EU membership. Support for EU membership peaked at 93 per cent in 2019 and fell back to 84 per cent in 2020 and 2021 before rising again in 2022.

Support for EU membership is strongest in Dublin (92 per cent) followed by Munster (89 per cent), the rest of Leinster (88 per cent) and Connacht/Ulster (78 per cent).

Similarly, the proportion of those who believe the EU had a positive impact on their lives is strongest in Dublin (83 per cent) and weakest in Connacht/Ulster (74 per cent).

A majority of the Irish public continue to support Ireland being part of an increased EU defence and security co-operation arrangement. The percentage in favour of such an arrangement has risen from 49 per cent in 2020, to 54 per cent last year, to 59 per cent this year.

The 5 per cent rise in approval for a collective EU defence may be down to the invasion of Ukraine, according to Noelle O'Connell of the European Movement Ireland.

However, she added: “The data shows that opinion on this subject remains quite uncertain.”

Ms O’Connell said it was “encouraging” that support for EU membership remained so high.

“This broad support may be reflected in the fact that a similarly large majority of people agreed the EU has impacted their own lives in a positive way,” she said.

“Irish citizens are consistently among the most positive about EU membership when compared with other member states.

“However, things can change rapidly. As we reflect on 50 years of EU membership, we also must continue to work to maintain this strong level of support in Ireland in the years to come.”

The poll was carried out by Red C between March 18th and 23rd. Another poll will take place in the autumn.

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy is a news reporter with The Irish Times