Irish Unity: is anybody seriously buying it?

Suzanne Breen with several practical reasons why a united Ireland mightbe beyond the pockets never mind the political ambitions of the average Northern Irish Catholic.

  • George

    Thirty years ago unionists were complaining that we had nothing down south, now we’ve too much and it’s too expensive. There’s no pleasing some people.

    Same old unionist prejudice of “there’s nothing free in the free state” also runs through the article.

    “The Dail has little to recommend it.”

    That is an incredibly arrogant statement to make about Ireland’s legislature.

    How about presiding over the fastest growing developed economy in the world with, according to the OECD, Ireland set to maintain this position until 2020?

    Isn’t it also strange that this desperate Irish Republic lives in peace and has the loyalty of 99% of its citizens while 43% of the Northern Ireland voting electorate vote for parties who want Northern Ireland to join said Republic.

    We must be doing something right. Either that or Northern Ireland and its British rulers are doing something awfully wrong.

  • Dec

    Suzanne seems a bit confused here. Much of the article complains about the cost of living in Dublin (as opposed to the bargain-hunter utopia of London) whilst admitting that it is not the case in the rest of Ireland. Who said we all have to move to Dublin in the event of a UI?

  • IJP

    George is basically right. The article has nothing to recommend it.

  • Oilbhéar Chromaill

    So the argument against a United Ireland has been reduced by Suzanne Breen in her narrow ‘me feiner’ article to the price of a cup of coffee.
    Gee, I thought there was more to it than that. Just goes to show the huge intellectual gap that Sinn Fein and the SDLP need to bridge in order to realise their vision.
    On her claim that stores in the republic put up their prices by 33%, where’s the evidence? Or is it just another urban myth recycled as ‘journalism’?

  • Oilbhéar Chromaill

    So the argument against a United Ireland has been reduced by Suzanne Breen in her narrow ‘me feiner’ article to the price of a cup of coffee.
    Gee, I thought there was more to it than that. Just goes to show the huge intellectual gap that Sinn Fein and the SDLP need to bridge in order to realise their vision.
    On her claim that stores in the republic put up their prices by 33%, where’s the evidence? Or is it just another urban myth recycled as ‘journalism’?

  • smcgiff

    Looks like the ROI will be helping to bring civilisation to NI! 😉

    http://www.rte.ie/business/2005/0324/bordgais.html

  • Allrightthinkingpeople

    This is hilarious. Suzanne travels down to the Big Shmoke and is all begorrahed and bejaysused by the bad wages at The Village Magazine and her inability to but a Georgian pad in the city centre. Boo hoo!
    Dublin is booming economically and leaves “northern efficiency” in the shade. The fact is, that boom would extend itself considerably if we were to acheive a successful and diplomatic agreement on all of this. Why can’t northern representatives take their place in both Westminister and the Dáil. Why can’t we have parity of esteem, and send those lingering (17,000) soldiers home?

  • Allrightthinkingpeople

    This is hilarious. Suzanne travels down to the Big Shmoke and is all begorrahed and bejaysused by the bad wages at The Village Magazine and her inability to buy a Georgian pad in the city centre. Boo hoo!
    Dublin is booming economically and leaves “northern efficiency” in the shade. The fact is, that boom would extend itself considerably if we were to acheive a successful and diplomatic agreement on all of this. Why can’t northern representatives take their place in both Westminister and the Dáil. Why can’t we have parity of esteem, and send those lingering (17,000) soldiers home?

  • beano

    “Isn’t it also strange that this desperate Irish Republic lives in peace and has the loyalty of 99% of its citizens while 43% of the Northern Ireland voting electorate vote for parties who want Northern Ireland to join said Republic.”

    But any united Ireland would have circa 20% of its population voting for parties who want to rejoin the United Kingdom, or as a second choice, break away as an independent nation.

  • maca

    Beano
    “But any united Ireland would have circa 20% of its population voting for parties who want to rejoin the United Kingdom, or as a second choice, break away as an independent nation.”

    Probably not Beano. For a UI to happen in the first place it means the bulk of NI’ers would have voted for it. The very pissed off would have left the country so you might only get a small percenatge of people who want to rejoin the UK. IMHO.

  • IJP

    ARTP

    One of the main difficulties with the current situation is the failure of Nationalists to apply the highest standards of mutual respect called for in the Agreement. An example:

    Why can’t we have parity of esteem, and send those lingering (17,000) soldiers home?

    Because they are at home. UK forces on UK territory. That’s what we voted for. You can’t just pocket the bits you like and ignore the bits you don’t like, it’s a full package, albeit one obviously now in need of reform.

    Beano

    Post-UI voting for parties who wished to rejoin (re-form?) the UK would be pointless, because it wouldn’t be an option (requiring as it would the support of the people of GB, who would not grant it).

    A campaign for secession would, however, be almost inevitable.

    Maca

    You would still have a minority as Beano suggests, perhaps under 20% but still considerable (15%) and a majority in some areas. Too many Nationalists seem to think that post-UI they would simply go away, or suddenly see sense and join the ‘Irish Nation’. Therein lies another fundamental fault in Irish Nationalism. At least the SDLP made some attempt at coping with it.

  • Allrightthinkingpeople

    IJP,

    It is indicative of unionism’s recalcitrant clinging to the “security industry” that you miss utter bizarreness of your contentment with the most mititarised zone in Western Europe completely.

    It is insane tp have such a huge, visible army patrolling streets and, at the very least, besmirching the environment in the North. You fail to realise, for instance, how weird tourists feel looking at monstrous towers of military might on top of Armagh’s rolling hills and your comfort with this situation bespeaks of unionism’s alienation from most of the Western world.

    We don’t need this deployment of soliders. Moreover, 40-odd per cent of the Northern population view them as invaders. Why, for heaven’s sake, do you want this situiation? Just for old times’ sake? For jingoistic sentimentality? To feel curiously safe with men with guns breathing down your neck. If there is to be a successful “normalisation” proces then normality must surely be part of that. Irish Army troops would be equally at home up there from the point of view of many down here, but why the hell would anyone want soliders crawling all over the place?

  • Belfast Gonzo

    inability to but a Georgian pad in the city centre.

    You obviously didn’t read about her recent settlement with the Irish Times!

    why the hell would anyone want soliders crawling all over the place?

    Where? I haven’t seen soldiers on the streets in ages.

  • Mark

    “We don’t need this deployment of soliders.”

    What insights into the workings and plans of terrorist organisations do you have that make you think they’re no longer a threat?

    ” Moreover, 40-odd per cent of the Northern population view them as invaders.”

    Do you have facts to back this up? If I can engage in my own bit of whataboutery, 60-odd per cent of Northern Ireland’s population view them as their nation’s army, and they have every right to be here.

  • maca

    IJP
    “You would still have a minority as Beano suggests, perhaps under 20% but still considerable (15%) and a majority in some areas.”

    Surely if a UI was to come about it would mean a very significant percentage of the protestant population would be behind it. I really doubt there would be anything close to 15% against.

    “Too many Nationalists seem to think that post-UI they would simply go away, or suddenly see sense and join the ‘Irish Nation’. Therein lies another fundamental fault in Irish Nationalism.”

    Don’t just lump me with nationalists Ian. I don’t expect anyone to just disappear it’s just that I expect that if a UI will come about it will only happen if most people are behind it, not 50+1% catholics.

  • IJP

    ATE

    Try reading what I write instead of putting words in my mouth based on your own prejudice of who I am and where I’m from.

    Of course there is a case for not having such a high military presence in NI.

    However, that is NOT ‘sending soldiers home’, but rather re-deploying them to elsewhere in the State.

    40%+ don’t like it, well there are lots of things about contemporary NI that the 60%- don’t like either. It’s called compromise. That was the deal. You go with the whole deal, or you oppose it, but you can’t just bag the bits you like and ignore the bits you don’t like.

    And if people are serious about fewer than 17,000 soldiers in NI, then they’d better stop supporting apologists for terrorist groups whose continuing existence is the reason for such high numbers of soldiers. It’s quite simple really.

    Maca

    I didn’t lump you in with Nationalists. Indeed, I was assuming from the fact I’ve never seen you claim to be a Nationalist that it was quite clear I wasn’t referring to you.

    Surely if a UI was to come about it would mean a very significant percentage of the protestant population would be behind it.

    Again we are in agreement. My point is that I know of very few Nationalists who are serious about persuading a majority of Protestants as well as a majority in both jurisdictions. The vast majority has the ‘50%+1’ mentality, but that is not a recipe for stability any more than majority rule based on ‘50%+1’ the other way around was or would be.

  • maca

    IJP
    “I didn’t lump you in with Nationalists.”

    I had a shite day at work Ian, you’ll have to excuse my over-sensitivity 😉

    “My point is that I know of very few Nationalists who are serious about persuading a majority of Protestants as well as a majority in both jurisdictions”

    ok, and my point was that if a UI did come about it means nationalists would have been successful in persuading the majourity of protestants to vote in favour of a UI. (that’s not going to happen of course)

  • Roger W. Christ XVII

    Ireland is an impressive economic powerhouse. It got through the 2001-2003 recession virtually unscathed and is already bouncing back bigger and better than ever. The economy is proving itself resilient.

    Northern Ireland’s economy is not so resilient. A huge percentage of it’s GDP comes from the public sector. The biggest employers are supermarkets and shopping centres. Unlike in the republic the tax system discriminates against local entrepreneurship in favour of faceless here today, gone tomorrow international corporations. And on top of that you’ve got the huge deadweight of all the moron politicians and paramilitaries queueing up to take their ample “skim” off the top of the entire economy.

    I’m in favour of the union nominally speaking but I’m pretty convinced these days that the economic case for the union simply no longer exists, a point which was demonstrably untrue 15 years ago. It all comes down to politics and culture now.

  • IJP

    Maca

    But my point was technically you don’t need a majority of Protestants, just a sufficient minority to get you to 50%+1 on the Northern population. My follow-up point is that Nationalists believe either: a) they need just a few Protestants (i.e. even now 100% of Catholics plus 10% of Protestants would probably just about do it); or b) they just need to wait until they hold a majority.

    Neither is a clever way of bringing about stability and prosperity in our region – and that is the task we should all be taking on.

    In short, Irish Nationalist thinking in this regard (quite aside from the fact the figures don’t add up in their favour and aren’t ever likely to) is total nonsense and they need to realize it, fast. And that means either: a) accepting the reality of partition and working for fairness, stability and prosperity; and/or b) coming up with a plan for an all-island state which Protestants would positively support in preference to the current arrangement.

    And you know what plan that takes us back to, don’t you Maca… but you asked me not to repeat it, so I won’t…

  • IJP

    Roger

    Entirely true. There is no sign of the Celtic Tiger becoming a Celtic Kitten, no matter what envious/arrogant Northerners might like to think!

    The fact is that we will not deliver the just-aforementioned stability and prosperity if we don’t generate some self-confidence, and we won’t do that until we get rid of the dependency culture. We need a proper market economy that makes our region near-enough self-sufficient (together with real democracy rather than sectarian slanging matches and real rule-of-law rather than handouts to paramilitary ‘community groups’). There is a very coherent case for saying that Dublin sovereignty state brings this about faster. The only problem is that the Northern Nationalist parties are so busy pretending to be left-wing, they refuse to make this case!

    It all comes down to politics and culture now.

    … and morals, perhaps, as introduced wisely, I thought, on another thread.

  • maca

    IJP
    Oh yes of course, you’re obviously right there. But as you have pointed out 50+1% will not lead to stability so in reality there has to be a majourity of protestants willing to go for it.

    I’ll put it this way, I will not vote for a UI unless I know most protestants are onboard. Any threat of violence will scare the bejaysus out of us Southerners so without protestant support and a real feeling of “we can do this together” a UI is an impossibility, even if nationalists achieve their magic number.

    I think we’re on the same page here anyway.

    I’ll always want a UI, even with NI remaining in the UK (make sense?).

    “And you know what plan that takes us back to, don’t you Maca… but you asked me not to repeat it, so I won’t…”

    Oh go on, have your fun! 😉

  • IJP

    Oh go on, have your fun!

    You should see my plan for a fully federal UK… based on Australia, you know… 🙂

  • smcgiff

    ‘I had a shite day at work Ian, you’ll have to excuse my over-sensitivity ;)’

    This aforementioned shite day wouldn’t have anything to do with productivity per chance! Oh, ya, like I can talk! 😉

    Roger,

    I think you hit the nail on the head with your 12:13 post.

    IJP,

    ‘… and morals, perhaps, as introduced wisely, I thought, on another thread.’

    Far too cryptic for me, you’ll have to elaborate.

  • maca

    Smcgiff
    “This aforementioned shite day wouldn’t have anything to do with productivity per chance!”

    Customers! Feckers!

  • vespasian

    Roger W. Christ XVII

    Do you have any facts that support your economic theory, I would like to see them as I cannot find anythink that allows a realsitic comparison based on the removal of most EU grants in future as Eastern Europe joins up.

  • smcgiff

    Vespasian,

    It was my understanding that the ROI has been a Net Contributor to the EU coffers for some time (how long I’m not sure).

    The below website was the first to back up my understanding and I’ve pasted the link below. Not sure of the credibility of this website though, but on first glance it looks unbiased.

    The continued success of the ROI’s economy has long since been decoupled from the EU’s grant assistance.

    http://encyclopedia.laborlawtalk.com/Economy_of_Ireland

  • smcgiff

    This is an interesting website, if I may say so myself.

    ‘There was an economic collapse around 2500BC, possibly because too much time was being spent building grandiose tombs, and the population declined from its peak of around 100,000.’

    Classic!

    We were’nt going to let the Egyptians have it all their own way!

  • maca

    Séamus, i’m not sure of we actually are a net contributer yet, I thought we were due to start this year or next … but I could be way off.

  • Ringo

    I’ll put it this way, I will not vote for a UI unless I know most protestants are onboard. Any threat of violence will scare the bejaysus out of us Southerners so without protestant support and a real feeling of “we can do this together” a UI is an impossibility, even if nationalists achieve their magic number.

    Well put Maca. It seems to me that most nationalists see a UI as a uniting of northern nationalists and the republic. This is worse than usless on its own. A United Ireland is one where the northern Protestants broadly share the same desires as the rest of the population.

    The logical conclusion to be drawn from this is that the first step involves a uniting of the people of NI.

    A secondary conclusion would be that the troubles, whatever republican rhetoric might say to the contrary, have pushed the possibility of a united NI further into the furure, and by extension the possibility of a UI, by divided the two main communities in the north.

    Loyalist violence proved effective at preventing a UI but weakened the Union while republican violence also did the exact same thing – weakening the Union by putting pressure on London and lessening the likelihood of a UI by dividing the population of NI to an even greater extent than before.

    smcgiff-

    I think we’re net contributors for a year or so now.

  • Roger W. Christ XVII

    vespasian, go down to Dublin and look at the huge road, rail and other major infrastructural projects being undertaken and tell me you think the country is still the backward agrarian economy of 30 years ago.

  • Ringo

    vespasian –

    While not in anyway belittling the contribution the EU funds did make, it is only in recent years that we’ve managed to make any in-roads (wacka-wacka) into our infrastructure problems. The money put in via EU structural funds in the past is buttons in comparision to the money that is being spent from government revenue at the moment.

  • maca

    “we’ve managed to make any in-roads (wacka-wacka) “

    Oh Ringo, why? why?