Creasy – People in Northern Ireland have “a legitimate fear” about Brexit damaging peace

A new report shows that more voters in Northern Ireland want to remain in the European Union than at the time of the 2016 referendum, that many fear Brexit will lead to disturbances or worse, and that Protestants and Catholics are both opposed to a hard Brexit with the UK outside the Single Market and Customs Union.

The research was carried out by Queen’s University Belfast and is published today (Monday). The researchers say key findings include:

  • There is substantial and intense opposition in Northern Ireland to possible North-South border checks between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and also to possible East-West border checks between Northern Ireland and Great Britain
  • There are strong expectations that protests against either North-South or East-West border checks would quickly deteriorate into violence.
  • The proportion of people in Northern Ireland wanting to stay in the EU has risen since 2016 as more people have become aware of the possible costs of leaving the EU.


Commenting, Stella Creasy MP, leading supporter of the People’s Vote campaign, said:

“This is further evidence of opposition to any kind of hard Brexit, leading to the borders of the past.

“Voters in Northern Ireland have a legitimate fear that a hard border will lead to civil unrest and threaten the long-term stability of the peace process.

“With the Government, with the support of the DUP, determined to press ahead with leaving the Customs Union and Single Market, the demand is growing for a People’s Vote on the final Brexit deal.” 



Notes to editors

The report (under strict embargo) can be read here:,820734,en.pdf

UK in a Changing Europe, who commissioned the report can be contacted via Ben Miller, UK in a Changing Europe communications manager at or phone 020 7848 7174.

Professor Gary O’Leary at QUB, who was principal investigator on this report, can be contacted at