Two-thirds of people in the Republic say they have no friends in Northern Ireland, more than 80 per cent say they have no relations there and more than half have not travelled across the Border in the past five years, according to new research.
Northerners are more likely to have connections with the South than vice versa, but still more than half of the people in Northern Ireland say they have no friends in the Republic and two-thirds say they have no relations there.
A quarter of people in Northern Ireland say they have not travelled South in the past five years and more than a third have not taken an overnight trip.
The research was carried out for The Irish Times and ARINS as part of the North and South series, which last year examined political allegiances, attitudes to Irish unity and relationships between the two parts of the island.
ARINS – Analysing and Researching Ireland North and South – is a joint academic project of the Royal Irish Academy and the University of Notre Dame in the US, and the North and South series is a collaboration between it and The Irish Times.
The research consisted of two major opinion polls, carried out simultaneously in both jurisdictions by Ipsos, among more than 1,000 voters in each. The margin in error is estimated at plus or minus 3 per cent. In addition, a series of focus groups was also conducted among voters who are undecided on the constitutional question at locations in Northern Ireland and the Republic.
The results show the extent to which partition has become a fact on the ground, with a separation between the two societies on a personal level that is stark.
Seven out of 10 (70 per cent) of the respondents in the South have either not been to the North or been only once in the past five years. Only a minority of southerners have friends or relations north of the Border.
The relations are asymmetric – northerners are more likely to have friends and relations and to have travelled to the South than vice versa. Nearly two-thirds of northerners (65 per cent) said they had taken “several” or “lots” of day trips to the South, whereas only 29 per cent of southerners have taken several or lots of day trips to the North.
Similarly, nearly a quarter (23 per cent) of people in Northern Ireland have “several” or “lots” of friends in the South, while just 13 per cent of southerners were able to say the same about the North.
The North and South series began in December, continues today and will conclude next week. A full archive of all articles in the series is available here North and South - The Irish Times