From 1954…

There are some great old articles to be found on the Atlantic Monthly site. In 1954, John V Kelleher in discussing partition suggested that:

“The history of the problem is nearly irrelevant to its solution. Three present factors count: religious differences, the failure of either state to create within its own borders a vigorously healthy society, and the bald fact that the division between North and South aggravates with every passing year.”

“Anti-Partitionist propaganda never admits any of these factors. It describes Partition as a horrible injustice perpetrated upon the suffering people of Ireland by a foreign tyranny and maintained solely by the force of British arms and the corruption of British subsidies. According to this picture the Northerners are true Irishmen at heart, who would revert to Irish loyalty upon the instant if the Occupation were lifted. Plainly, then, the unyielding fight must be carried on between Dublin and London for the liberation of Belfast.”

“There is, however, no discernible evidence that the majority in the North, in practice the 66 per cent of the population who are not Roman Catholics, are at all disposed to think of the republic now existing in the Twenty-six-County area as Ireland. Nor, apparently, does any recombination of the two states so far proposed by any Southern politician strike them as a desirable object for their loyalties. They don’t seem very thrilled at the prospect of being rescued by Dublin.”

Nearly fifty years on, and it looks like the South is moving quickly and at times uncomfortably (especially with net in-migration for the first time in many years), towards a pluralist society, and the North is shifting towards it even more slowly and uncomfortably.