Interesting thoughts from Martin Mansergh on what it might take to effect a democratically determined unification of Ireland:
This is largely written in reply to an article by Frank Millar a few weeks ago suggesting that such an outcome depended upon consent within both communities. Danny Morrison was one of the first to challenge this premise.
Speaking about the attitudes of the minority Catholic community Mansergh says:
“They have almost all accepted, however reluctantly, that, if there is to be peace now and peaceful change perhaps in the future, the question has to be decided by a majority of the people of the North in the first instance, as has been the formal constitutional principle in one form or another going back to 1920, from which unionists until now have been the beneficiary. The Ulster Unionist Party and loyalist parties also accepted that in 1998, and it was endorsed by a substantial majority of the people of the North.”
On the mechanics of the process he points out:
“In reality, a border poll, resulting in a majority for a united Ireland, an event that is not a realistic prospect at present, could only be a first step in a much longer and more intensive process. Detailed negotiation would be required that would provide the essential guarantees needed on all sides to provide a workable, stable and harmonious unity.”
“The real poll would be one held North and South that ratified concurrently (or rejected) a negotiated agreement, leading to the enactment of consequential parallel legislation in the Westminster and Dublin parliaments. Consent is sufficient to put a united Ireland on the table. Parallel consent North and South (and parliamentary legislation) is required to bring it into being.”