North and South polls apart..?

A Sunday Independent poll has found that support for a united Ireland in the Republic is not perhaps as overwhelming as first thought. “For 45 per cent of respondents a united Ireland held no interest. Many described the concept as out of date and that the Republic’s focus should be on a European rather than a narrow nationalistic level. Others said that pursuing a 32-county republic would be regressive not progressive” the paper reports..

  • Overhere

    This is hardly news from the “Independent” stable

  • 9countyprovience

    I believe that the statistics in this poll would reflect the wider view of the community in the South at this time. Most of us are looking at the political and economic costs of such a venture.
    I don’t think this poll is reflective of peoples attitudes on the matter if a UI was actually on the cards though. If there were proper integration policies laid out, and the majority of the population of NI (90-95% of total population) were in favour, the poll would be far more in favour of a UI. [As long as it doesn’t hit us too hard in the pocket 😉 ]

  • smcgiff

    No mention of what the poll consisted of. Numbers polled, how it was conducted, Geographical spread etc.

    But, I do believe there is a subconscious amongst the population in the Republic that the last time we were unified with the ‘Prods’ things weren’t all that clever for Catholics. Ironically, it’s a not too dissimilar to the less subconcious fear amongst Protestants that there would be a Protestant pogrom if there was a UI.

    Both are un-rational fears to my mind, but they’re there none the less.

  • Henry94

    I can’t think of any elected politican in the south who would come out against a united Ireland. Cruise O’Brien was the last I remember and he lost his seat.

    I think if there was any real opposition to the idea then you would have people expressing that politically.

    I don’t believe any poll from the Sindo can be taken as accurate (no more than their news stories)but it would be nice to see some credible polling on the subject.

    It is interesting that despite the loyalist rioting and their own bias there was still a clear majority for unity. Of course they wrote the story as if there wasn’t.

  • bootman

    the poll also suggests that Irish people dont like drinking at all

  • Oilbhéar Chromaill

    No mention of what the poll consisted of. Numbers polled, how it was conducted, Geographical spread etc.

    I don’t know but one supposition is that it was an All Ireland poll carried out among thousands of respondents with painstaking attention to its provenance. Another is that it was carried among the friends and family of the Sunday Independent staff.

  • DaithiO

    Newsletter or Independent, the agenda is the same.

    Opinion polls are nothing more than straw polls on a windy day, at the best of times, but when those that commission them are so vestedly interested, in my opinion, they are worthless !

  • slug

    Has anyone noticed how the term “Northern Ireland” has been gaining in use in southern media? 10 years ago they mainly used the term “North”. Now, when driving through Dublin recently listening to the radio, or listening to RTE, the term NI seems to be the main one.

  • martin

    I remember back in 1995 in an economics class we did a study on the economic fallout of Irish unity–the conclusion was that it would cost every taxpayer in the 32 counties an extra 10 sterling per week that might be about 20 in these times—I dont see why paying that extra amount should be a gripe for southern voters since they make no complaints about their TV licences beeing hiked up by an amount that often costs more than the actual tv–not to mention hikes on bin/water charges–I should also add that in 1995 those costs would have included the extra security costs present in those days–if there was a united Ireland there would be cutbacks on security especially along the border–so the amount taxed might even be less than 10 per week.

  • slug

    I wonder if its partly due to the cultural heterogenization of the south?

  • smcgiff

    Slug,

    I’ve no doubt that within a short period of time the net gain of a fully functioning UI – New Ireland 😉 would mean no extra tax requirement, but a more prosperous Ireland for everyone of its citizens.

  • Hank Scorpio

    But by how much would unemployment/housing benefit in NI be cut?

    Or would such benefits be raised?

    What would happen to the (over the past 30 years, disproportionally high) public spending in NI’s working class Catholic communities?

    How much would unification save the British taxpayer?

  • middle-class taig

    An independent poll poo-poos the prospect of a United Ireland. Ach sure that’s the whole thing ruined. Where can I get me a sash?

    As a matter of interest, wouldn’t “Northern Ireland” be entitled to a 2% share of the UK’s reserves? “We”‘ve been a net contributor to the Union for most of its existence.

  • smcgiff

    Hank (I’m guessing American! ;-> )

    ‘But by how much would unemployment/housing benefit in NI be cut?’

    Sorry for my ignorance, but is there much unemployment in NI?

    I’ve always gone on the assumption that the jobs in the public sector could be swapped for jobs in the private sector, but if there are unemployed and willing (we’ve enough unemployed and unwilling), then they would certainly be accommodated in an economy that sees the North as vital rather than just a poor region.

    ‘What would happen to the (over the past 30 years, disproportionally high) public spending in NI’s working class Catholic communities?’

    I’m going to sound like a politician here, but working class areas should be looked at on merit at any particular time, not based on past funding. Whatever area is in need now should be funded. I’m sure you’d agree with that.

    ‘How much would unification save the British taxpayer?’

    Enough for them to be glad the Irish are looking after themselves at last. However, they wouldn’t get completely off the hook. They’ve been in Ireland for nigh on 8 centuries and have had an enormous effect/benefit, depending on your POV, and would need to have an input, both at a political and monetary level for some time to come.

  • Ling

    Growing up in the Republic, Northern Ireland was allways a walled off somewhat scary sounding place out of which came endless news reports of beating, bombings, stabbings etc etc…

    While we were allways taught geography and history on an all Ireland basis, getting the concept that the country was the whole island nicely lodged in our heads, I don’t the actual idea of a united Ireland really sits all that well with most people under 30. We’ve got our little 26 country country, it’s doing quite well, why would we want to take down the walls between us and that dark place up north?

    The idea of the island Ireland feels right, we’ve been well indoctrinated into that idea, but the practicalities involved scare us. I think.

  • Fraggle

    Has anyone noticed how the term “Northern Ireland” has been gaining in use in southern media? “

    No, but i have noticed several instances recently of the phrase “in the North or in the UK” on RTE programmes.

  • eranu

    “Has anyone noticed how the term “Northern Ireland” has been gaining in use in southern media? 10 years ago they mainly used the term “North”. Now, when driving through Dublin recently listening to the radio, or listening to RTE, the term NI seems to be the main one.”

    yeah id agree with that. i listen to the radio every day driving round dublin and NI is usually the term used. ‘the north’ is still used in a more casual conversation though. i think there is more recognition of the northern ireland identity and state these days down south, thats is, something separate to the southern ireland one. although they tend to put a ‘d’ in there sometimes – “nordern ireland” 😉

    as fraggle says, they dont sometimes associate NI as part of the UK. but i think this tends to be more in talking about the 2 land masses. eg talking about ‘flying over to the UK’.

    as for the disinterest in irish unity. many people in the south remember being potless during the 70s and 80s. now they have a descent economy they dont want to risk damaging it with an expensive take over of NI. they are also happy in their own prosperity and dont feel the need to aquire the northern 6 counties to propel them up the economic ladder. infact i would doubt that many people in the south think in this territorial way anymore, now they are doing well themselves.

    if your driving through dublin at 5.30pm on fridays, tune into newstalk 106 for their american guest michael graham. he tells it like it is !! if your driving through dublin at 5.30pm on fridays you will have plenty of time on your hands for listening to the radio anyway 🙂

  • hensons

    a sunday independent poll consists of a few of their “writers” over a few pints coming up with figures, hardly worth even typing this for.

  • DK

    The potential adverse economic impact on the 26 county residents is a factor, but one that could possibly be softened over a generation or so by contributions from the UK, Europe US etc.

    The real issue, in my view, is the potential social impact of having direct responsibility for managing the beligerent protestant underclass plus the politically astute “Most Oppressed People Ever” in the Northern nationalist areas.

    I have asked it before, without a satisfactory explanation. Why would anyone in the South really want to take it on?

  • darthrumsfeld

    So we’ve been a net contributor to the UK eh mct? I’m no economist, but I’d love to see those figures.

    You know folks just because something is in the Independent doesn’t mean it’s untrue. Funny how the same begrudgers all seem entranced by the copy emanating from “Daily ‘Raland”.

    And yes it’s only a poll, but whenever I’m in the south I hear exactly the same point expressed. Interestingly much of the dislike of NI is directed at northern nationalists whingeing ( on the principle that you can’t expect any better from the Unionists).

    And you may never get a politician saying he couldn’t give a rat’s arse for a United Ireland, but then you’re as likely to get one say he finds the All-Ireland final boring. Which reminds me-Up Kerry!( see- a Unionist with a cross border vision!)

  • maca

    It would be nice to see the questions & actual results.
    There’s a big difference between “45 per cent of the Irish electorate would not vote for a united Ireland” and “45 per cent of respondents a united Ireland held no interest”. 45% may not be interested in a UI now (for the sake of the argument we’ll believe the poll results) but if a UI looked likely and a poll were held you might get over 75% (my own guess, and depends on costs etc) voting in favour.

  • pacart

    Never mind winning over Unionists in the North, the Shinners seem to be doing a remarkable job in putting off nationalists in the south. Has there ever been a bunch so unaware of how the rest of the world perceives them? i.e.,whinging, sanctimonious, brass-necked lying thugs with their paw permanently out.

  • middle-class taig

    pacart

    52% of people in the south think they should be in government.

    I think much of the “opposition” currently rearing its head in the south re Unity is actually opposition to SF. As a poll approached, it would be like Germany – bitching and moaning beforehad, then the opposition would disappear like snow off a ditch. Hands of history, and all that guff.

    And frankly, boys and girls, you ALL know that to be true! It is a measure, however, of unionist unease that they’re looking to the tinkers to save them. We need to do something about that sense of unease. Suggestions?

  • Dandyman

    Most of the threads on slugger (especially in the last week) seem to be reactionary, to things/events that have already happened or articles which have been printed expressing one view point or another. And of course every incident that occurs in NI is blown up (excuse the pun) out of all proportion and seized on by a hysterical media.

    At least the arguments put forward on Slugger are usually rational and calm-voiced enough. But the real tragedy for NI in my view is that if a genuine peace took hold, everybody really could have it BOTH ways. If there were REAL peace, and people could come and go where and when they liked without fear of violence or death, NI could have a strong union by consent if so wished, but we (i.e. everyone on the Island) would also have a de facto UI, in that people from the south would have no difficulty criss-crossing the border (and of course vice-versa) for weekends, holidays, shopping trips, day-trips, and an understanding that in the future, if it did come down to an electoral choice between the UK union/United Ireland, it would make very little real difference which way people decided to vote, as their lifestyles would remain as good as they chose to make them..

    Think about it, is there ANY REAL difference between ROI and UK these days, apart from the obvious badges/symbols of sovereignty like currency, flags etc. (I’m a fairly regular visitor to the UK of late and I notice very little difference).

    As a southerner with a broadly nationalist outlook, I honestly care very little about these things, the real tragedy for everyone North & South is the thought that there are no-go areas anywhere on this Island…and to be honest, in an era when relations between Ireland and the UK have been steadily improving over the last 15-20 years, are better now than they have ever been, and will only get stronger and stronger into the future, the ‘sitchee-ayshinn’ in NI now seems more pointless than it ever did.

    Until the day when there are no more ‘no-go’ areas, or any areas where any person on this Island would feel unwelcome/unsafe to visit because of the history of the North, then no-one in Ireland is truly free.

  • DK

    Still waiting for an answer!

  • GavBelfast

    I suspect you will be waiting a long time, DK, for a sensible answer to your reasonable query.

    In the meantime, well-said Dandyman, I really enjoyed reading what you said there.

  • George

    DK,
    “I have asked it before, without a satisfactory explanation. Why would anyone in the South really want to take it on?”

    I could and often do ask why would anyone in Norhthern Ireland really want to remain in the union when that is the type of society it engenders?

    But back to your question.

    Maybe because we are totally fed up with this partitionist sword of damocles hanging over our head, with the regular loyalist comments of civil war and potential bombs in our towns and cities, and know that this is a problem that won’t go away and needs to be tackled some time.

    Maybe we know deep down that a unified Irish state would be the best way forward for the people of this island.

    Maybe we are afraid the British will make another total hames of a future situation and drag us all down into the mire again. Experience has also shown that benovelent British rule isn’t going to turn the place around so that leaves just us.

    Maybe we get no pleasure seeing Northern Ireland, sixty miles from Dublin, produce the most deprived, terrorist-ridden areas in Western Europe.

    Maybe we don’t enjoy seeing a border slice through whole communities or see one quarter of the island handed over to the gunman.

    Southerners would probably live to regret it but you have to try.

    They don’t want to take it on but many feel they might have to for the greater good.

    I suppose that’s what you call “taking responsibility”, something that is often in short supply on when it comes to NI.

    If the people of the south thought digging a 12-foot ditch around the border would bring peace and prosperity to NI, I’d wager they’d do that instead.

    I think most southerners feel like Dandyman, they just want a peaceful solution for all but aren’t so naive as to think that this solution won’t involve them in any way.

    They will do what they can, including unification but they would also work partition.

  • DK

    George,

    “Maybe because we are totally fed up with this partitionist sword of damocles hanging over our head, with the regular loyalist comments of civil war and potential bombs in our towns and cities, and know that this is a problem that won’t go away and needs to be tackled some time.”

    Loyalists threaten mayhem if moves are made to force them into a UI. Your solution is to force them into a UI with the potential to turn the threat into reality. This is one of the main attractions that a UI holds for the people of the 26 counties?

    “Maybe we know deep down that a unified Irish state would be the best way forward for the people of this island.”

    What does this mean? I am asking someone to explain how this is good for the people in the 26 counties. Your explanation: “we know it is”.

    “Maybe we are afraid the British will make another total hames of a future situation and drag us all down into the mire again. Experience has also shown that benovelent British rule isn’t going to turn the place around so that leaves just us”.

    Aren’t you at all afraid that the politicians in the South may make a total ham of it with the resulting mess being on your plate? The Brits aren’t there to blame anymore. On what basis do you assume that you can deal with a beligerent loyalist community?

    “Maybe we get no pleasure seeing Northern Ireland, sixty miles from Dublin, produce the most deprived, terrorist-ridden areas in Western Europe”.

    More reason to stay well clear of it, I would have thought. Again, why do you think that a UI will lead to peace and harmony? Why do you think that the lives of the southern people will benefit?

    “Maybe we don’t enjoy seeing a border slice through whole communities or see one quarter of the island handed over to the gunman”.

    There are a great many borders in the North, defining fifedoms ruled by gunmen and gangsters. Another attraction for the Southerners!

    “Southerners would probably live to regret it but you have to try”.

    You don’t have to try. You should make balanced decisions based on some sort of analysis of risk.

    “They don’t want to take it on but many feel they might have to for the greater good”.

    Again the analysis thing. You have failed to provide any logical analysis pointing to an outcome in favour of “the greater good”.

    “I suppose that’s what you call “taking responsibility”, something that is often in short supply on when it comes to NI”.

    Why do the people in the South feel responsible? Responsible for what? Do you see it as some sort of penance that must be paid?

    “If the people of the south thought digging a 12-foot ditch around the border would bring peace and prosperity to NI, I’d wager they’d do that instead”.

    It wouldn’t, so don’t bother. A UI is just as unlikely to deliver that dream. In fact it may make things worse and will certainly impact the South. The ditch may be a better option.

    “I think most southerners feel like Dandyman, they just want a peaceful solution for all but aren’t so naive as to think that this solution won’t involve them in any way”.

    Again no logic to why you think this is the correct solution.

    I really appreciate the fact that you have taken the time to reply. Your the first.

    However,your explanations lead me to the conclusion that Southerners, who support a UI, haven’t thought this through, don’t understand what they may be getting into and are basing their opinions on a national mythology of the “UI Holy Grail”, engendered over generations.

    One your question:

    “why would anyone in Norhthern Ireland really want to remain in the union when that is the type of society it engenders?”

    Because a large number of them are poisoned by irrational hatreds and their own myths. The very thing that could destroy the South if unleased there.

    Anyone else want to give it a go?

  • George

    DK,
    my major problem with how you are looking at all this is that you seem to believe southerners have dreams about unification – they don’t. You are far from the mark. Southerners will deal with the reality.

    Many southerners would like to believe they can cordon off NI and forget it but even they know they can’t. Ireland isn’t big enough.

    “This is one of the main attractions that a UI holds for the people of the 26 counties?”

    It is not a case of forcing loyalists or of a UI being attractive, it’s a case of having to deliver a UI if a majority in NI so vote.

    Unlikely but not beyond the realms of possibility. We don’t look at Northern Ireland as a potential dream but as a potential nightmare.

    However, we are realistic enough to know that one day we may very well have to address this nightmare, situated 60 miles from our capital city.

    “I am asking someone to explain how this is good for the people in the 26 counties.”

    My explanation is not that we know it is good but that we know it may become a necessity. Not a dream but a horrible reality. Sometimes countries do things because they have to not because they want to.

    “Aren’t you at all afraid that the politicians in the South may make a total ham of it with the resulting mess being on your plate? The Brits aren’t there to blame anymore. On what basis do you assume that you can deal with a beligerent loyalist community?”

    True southern polticians could make a mess. I don’t know on what basis this new state would deal with loyalists but deal with them it would – out of necesity. Do you think the south sticking its head in the sand will stop all these problems happening either way?

    Also, rightly or wrongly, most southerners don’t blame the British.

    “More reason to stay well clear of it, I would have thought. Again, why do you think that a UI will lead to peace and harmony? Why do you think that the lives of the southern people will benefit?”

    It’s not a question of benefit or staying away, it’s a question of reality. The people of the south know this can explode any time. Forgetting loyalists for a second, do you see a stable island if a majority vote for unification in NI and the south ignores them? That’s a recipe for civil war on its own. 3,000 died in the first 11 months of the last southern one.

    The south’s policy is pretty much that if a majority in NI vote, then we will grasp the nettle. Not if a majority in NI vote our dreams are realised.

    Decades of analysis have reached this conclusion. You will look long and hard for a southerner dreaming about the good unification will do.

    As for southerners feeling responsible, there’s more truth to that than you’d imagine. Have you ever seen a southerner squirm under a coherent northern nationalist onslaught about partition? I have.

    Or put another way, it is easy to make the Irish people feel responsible for the welfare of the Irish people.

    And northerners are pretty good at telling other people they are responsible for their problems.

  • Ringo

    However,your explanations lead me to the conclusion that Southerners, who support a UI, haven’t thought this through, don’t understand what they may be getting into and are basing their opinions on a national mythology of the “UI Holy Grail”, engendered over generations.

    When you’re born here you usually inherit a belief in God and a UI. Some have a think about it and reaffirm their beliefs. Others think and end up coming to a different conclusion. And another group don’t bother thinking for themselves and go with the flow. Sacred cows have been slain at a ferocious rate in the Republic in the past 20 years, and the unquestioning acceptance of the primacy of a UI is another on the way out.

    What is stunning, is that even without a single political party or organisation sticking its head above the parapet and voicing even the mildest opposition to the idea of a UI – around 50% of the population already are against the idea according to polls. It is safe to say that these people (should include myself I suppose) were not born with this opinion, but they have developed it themselves – very different from the way most political opinions are formed through public debate.

    In my opinion there is an interesting situation where in the short to medium term a UI is unlikely due to resistance in the north, and assuming community relations don’t improve radically, in the medium to long term I think there will be problems getting support in the Republic. Whether there is a window of opportunity in the medium term for it to squeeze through remains to be seem.

  • DK

    George,

    I think we are actually on the same page. You have confirmed to me that Southerners do not see a UI as a great bonus to their lives. In fact they do realise that it carries great dangers for them.

    You do however suggest that if a majority in NI vote for it, then the Southerners will just have to accept it. I don’t agree with this analysis. Certainly they have no legal responsibility. They may feel some moral obligation, which I think is misplaced.

    I think Ringo is correct in pointing out that the UI sacred cow is up for slaughter by the South’s younger generation. Personally I think the PIRA campaign and the Loyalist violence bears a larger responsibility for this.

    Obviously the Loyalists would see this as a success. The RM shouldn’t.

  • Dandyman

    DK,

    We’re all waiting for answers, mate.

    It if were possible to figure out ‘the answer’ to the situation in NI, I reckon it would’ve been figured out a couple of decades (if not centuries) ago, and we wouldn’t even be on this site.

  • Dandyman

    DK,

    We’re all waiting for answers, mate.

    It if were possible to figure out ‘the answer’ to the situation in NI, I reckon it would’ve been figured out a couple of decades (if not centuries) ago, and we wouldn’t even be on this site.

  • George

    DK,
    while I understand where Ringo is coming from and I believe there is a lot of truth in what he writes I don’t envisage that a time will come when a majority in Northern Ireland want unification but a majority in the Irish Republic veto it.

    Even if such a situation would fit the “illogical” part of the English language definition of the word Irish.

    True the the younger Irish generation want to build a hyper-modern, hyper-competitive, hyper-successful 26-county Ireland and unification is way down or even missing from their list.

    But if we move towards a time when their world view is the dominant Irish view well then you will have more and more young Northern Protestants considering joining this Ireland project, the necessary one in six to trigger the 50% + 1, so to speak.

    The very people Ringo sees as the blockers will become the drivers for the new state.

    The only way I see this total detachment from unification coming true is if in the long term, as Ringo says, there is no movement in Northern Irish ideas, policies or economics.

    In other words, if northern Protestants continue to look at the Republic as some kind of wretched, inferior nation.

    If in 30 years’ time, we have 40% unification parties, 50+% unionist, a terminally depressed NI economy and the same degree of internal strife and hatred then maybe permanent partitionism could become more entrenched.

    However, I believe things will keep changing in the next 30 years, north and south, so this isn’t going to happen.

  • DK

    George,

    you may be right. In a logical world you should be. However, I don’t think the unionist position is driven by a dismissive view of the south as backward. It may have been at one time. The modern unionist position is more driven by a need to hold out against the enemy. The enemy is the Republican Movement. Any movement toward them is a seen as a betrayal that dishonours the memory of their victims.

    British identity, respect for cultures, freedom of religion etc etc, are all things that could be accomodated in a UI, and a logical world.

    This is about winning and losing as a tribe.

    Many times on various threads I have suggested that there may be opportunities over years to break down the tribal barriers and move to the logical world. Persuasion and genuine respect and understanding would be a reasonable tactic. Ironically, the actions of the RM serve to build up the tribal barriers. Where’s their logic?

  • Ringo

    George –

    on the whole I agree. Your view of the future relations between the communities in the north in a few decades time is more optimistic than mine.

  • George

    DK,
    2005 RM and Unionism are both illogical because the very entity that created them – Northern Ireland – is illogical.

    Here’s my logic even though I don’t see it happening:

    The only way for unionism to win its war against the Republican Movement is to join battle with the millions of people in the Irish Republic in creating a new Ireland with people who have similar fears of SF to their own.

    SF gets 5 out of 166 seats in the Irish parliament and 40% of the electorate in the latest Lansdowne poll said they never want to see SF in power, regardless of any IRA measures.

    That is a big constituency for unionists. How or when they will get in touch with each other is beyond me. It may well be the younger generation in 2020 or further but I hope they eventually will.

    Too many unionists still equate finding true peace with Ireland, Irishness, the Irish Republic etc. with losing to the Republican movement. Why? Because we are considered as (at best a passive) part of the enemy movement.

    The Republican Movement still looks at defeating the British and unionist power in NI as the war they have to win without thinking of the consequences. It also looks at us as a passive
    enemy.

    A republican war failed to bring a united Ireland about because the democratic will wasn’t there but equally there won’t be a successful unionist war to prevent one if the democratic will is there.

    What does this mean for unionism? It means ensuring all bases are covered and that, whatever else happens, the SF world view doesn’t come to pass.

    How to achieve this?

    Rather than considering any closer links with the Irish Republic as being a backward step for them in their war with SF they should look at it as a way of finding new allies in the final push to erradicate narrow-minded nationalism on this island.

    Unionists should be travelling to Dublin on a weekly basis looking to build north-south bridges. That would be leadership.

    To do this they have to erradicate narrow-minded unionism, the belief that there is no place for Protestants on this island or worse, that only Britain can guarantee the welfare of Protestants on this island.

    Once unionists accept the bona fides of the Irish Republic and its people, the rest will fall into place.

    And the rest doesn’t necessarily mean a UI.

    The Republic has accepted the bona fides of the British people and the rest is slowly falling into place, not necessarily a UI but there has been great progress between Ireland and Britain.

  • George

    Ringo,
    that’s my optimistic view. My pessimistic one is probably more negative than yours because I don’t think the Irish Republic can wash its hands of NI, even if it wanted to.

  • Brian Boru

    The poll showed 55% in favour, which for some reason is not the headline in the Independent – for some reason hmmm…I am a Southerner and I will vote for a United Ireland in a future Southern referendum no matter what and nothing will change my mind. I admit my position is motivated by emotion and by a wish to reunite those on the island of the Irish identity. I believe that, given time, the then former Unionist community would get used to it and realise it isn’t a time-machine back to 1641 🙂 the 17th and 18th centuries were sectarian to a much greater extent than nowadays, and of course the Catholic population can also claim to have suffered back then – to a much greater extent might I had with the Penal Laws affecting Catholics more than Presbyterians and then you have Cromwell killing 1 in 3 of us and taking our land to pay his soldiers. I believe though in letting bygones be bygones.

    Letting bygones be bygones does not seem to be what Orange marches are about though, since by celebrating specifically Protestant victories over Catholics and banning members from marrying Catholics, they seem determined to keep Protestants and Catholics locked in a “them and us” mentality. Then again, there are many Orangemen in Donegal and Catholics and Protestants get on ok there, with a poll of Donegal Protestants stating that 96% of them have social contact with Catholics. There are around 12,000 Protestants in Donegal. Hopefully this would be a good omen but who knows.

  • barnshee

    George
    I have said it before people like you are the real threat to partition stop being so damned reasonable

  • George

    George

    Now we just need our fictional sensible forward thinking unionist party to come into existence. Aside from that little niggle that’s some good thinking you’ve been doing! The current lines most of the NI parties are going along are going where they’ve allways gone, quickly nowhere. Fresh thinking needed, like what you have above.

  • Dave

    Having read all the posts on this threat where a UI doesn’t matter and others don’t give a flying XXXK then it won’t matter if the people of Northen Ireland go for Independence will it?

    It seems of the face of it, this would be the best option and isn’t that what I have been saying, thank you!

  • maca

    Brian
    “I admit my position is motivated by emotion and by a wish to reunite those on the island of the Irish identity”

    My position is also motivated by emotion and by a wish to unite those on the island of all identities irrespective of what happens to the border. This is the UI people should be aiming for.

  • Brian Boru

    Dave, suppose NI became independent but then one day a Nationalist majority emerges within that independent NI and a majority in NI decide in a referendum to re-unite with the South. What then? If you believe in democracy you should accept it. If you live in the 17th century with an Aparteid White South African mentality however, you would disagree.

  • Brian Boru

    Just heard NI referred to as “The North” again on RTE news. See we still call it that, despite what some say.

  • DK

    George

    I fully endorse your line of thought. I hope that sometime soon we will see a new leadership emerging from the protestant community with similar vision and the ability to slowly engage with the rest of the community to build toward a viable critical mass to make real progress.

    Brian Boru

    I agree with the impact of the OO on the “us and them” mentality. It must be said however that the Catholic Church has in the past been equally involved in engendering that mentality with the historical rule on the faith of children from a mixed marriage. I might also add that the insistence on children being educated separatly almost guarantees an apartheid situation where both communities are of a significant size.

    Incidentally my fathers family are from Donegal and previously members of the OO. Of course they have social contact with catholics. It would be hard not to given the dispersed and small protestant population. I can however confirm that during the “troubles” it was very much a case of “keep your opinions to yourself and don’t invite attention”.

    There may actually be better examples of social contact between both communities within NI. Personally university in Belfast was the opportunity for me. Since then, over half of my close friends would be from the nationalist community. Prior to uni, none. Again the schools thing.

  • Brian Boru

    DK you are entitled to your opinion but a recent poll in NI found 29% in NI didn’t have any friends outside of their religion, compared to 6% of Protestants in Donegal. Donegal is especially relevant because 10% of the population there (12,000-14,000) is Protestant and they tend to be concentrated in the east of the county rather than dispersed unlike Protestants outside of the border area. I think Catholics and Protestants in the South get on very well nowadays. A hell of a lot better than in the North that’s for sure. I see this as a possible model for intercommunal relations in a UI. I feel that part of the reason for the harmony in the South is that the descendents of the former Unionists and indeed originally the former Unionists themselves came to the conclusion that Dublin rule wasn’t so bad after all and certainly not the hellhole the Orange Order would have had them believe. No wonder many Northern Protestants are terrified of what a UI would be like with the Orange Order telling them it would be another 1641 and other alarmist brainwashing.

  • DK

    Brian Boru

    “Donegal is especially relevant because 10% of the population there (12,000-14,000) is Protestant and they tend to be concentrated in the east of the county rather than dispersed unlike Protestants outside of the border area”.

    Maybe in relation to the rest of the 26 counties, Donegal has a less dispersed Protestant community. However, in relation to the set up in the North, Donegal Protestants are very dispersed within the overall community. A good thing and something that you would expect in a normal society.

    The point is that in the North we have an ever increasing situation of Catonisation, especially within working class communities. A situation that I believe is encouraged by SF and their counterparts on the loyalist side. Add the aparteid schooling situation and you end up with minimal social contact.

    Those like myself who have been lucky enough to break out of this situation through University or some other avenue, can and do build up very healthy relationships. We can freely sit down and debate political issues, have diametrically different views and maintain the relationship. All very normal. The difference that I see with my relatives in Donegal is that whilst they have good relationships in a general community sense, there are certain subjects which are avoided in discussion. Under no circumstances during the IRA campaign would they openly denigrate republicanism when socialising with their neighbours. The policy was to avoid the subject.