A new opinion poll suggests that a majority of Irish voters believes the Government should go ahead with a referendum on the EU Constitution.

The tns/MRBI poll for The Irish Times found that 45% of voters backed this plan, while 34% said a referendum should not go ahead, and 21% did not know.

However, among decided voters, a majority would vote against such a referendum if it were held.

Only 30% said they would vote in favour of the constitution, 35% would vote against and 35% did not know how they would vote.

The poll also found that less than one in ten voters, or 9%, felt they had a good understanding of what the constitution was about.

28% said they understood some but not all of the issues; 36% were vaguely aware of the issues; 24% admitted they did not understand the constitution at all; and 3% had no opinion.