Indifference is the block to unification?

I was on the Big Bite programme on RTE this afternoon as part of a panel discussing what a united Ireland might look like. In the event, it’s clear that there is no agreed vision on the subject. John from the ESRI believes that the Republic could take Northern Ireland, but it would cost the Republic 30% of its GDP to keep the subvention at it’s current high levels. That would require political will of the most immense degree, and the cost would far outweigh that of unification of Germany. It was noted by several speakers that there is little appetite in Northern Ireland to make the cuts necessary.Celia Keavney, Fianna Fail TD for North Donegal underlined the importance in strategic terms for her county in cross border use of health facilities, citing the routine re-direction of emergency patients from Letterkenny, to Altnagelvin. Her view prioritised the need for devolution to facilitate local strategic planning, over the long term political objective of unification.

Chris, an academic working on a book on Ulster Unionism suggested that the elephant in the room was the million or so Unionists in Northern Ireland who had no interest in political unification and that this would be enough to stymie any attempt to prosecute political unification. Indeed this indifference of the south to the north and vice versa seems to be the biggest hinderence in moving the nationalist project further forward.

A survey conducted in the Republic two years ago suggested that younger people in the Republic had richer family and commerical ties to Britain than with people in Northern Ireland – whilst fifty per cent had visited the latter whilst eighty four per cent of those questioned had been to London.

  • Betty Boo

    Brian,
    the financial aspect of the German unification has nothing to do with aspiration of the people involved. But it did cost money, as you would aspect. And the East German economy was not as dilapidated as they make you believe.
    I am not telling you or anyone else, how to go about your unification. You have been longer apart but at the same time, contacts remained much closer. So the situation is different. It will be still a unification at the end of the day.
    Having one already behind me and in living Cecilia Keaveney’s constituency I couldn’t help but follow this tread.

  • John East Belfast

    Paddy Reilly

    “since the essence of Unionism is opposing reunification”

    Totally wrong.

    The essence of Unionism is being Pro British and anti Irish Separatism.

    If you dont understand that then any strategies among nationalism and republicanism to create an united and separate independent Irish State by changing the minds of unionists will be off on the wrong track.

    In addition I get fed up being patronised that my Britishness is some kind of delusion that I need to get over. It is every bit as real as your Independent Irishness and deserves equal recognition and respect.

  • Realist

    “by the time reunification happens in perhaps 50 years time”

    10 years, 20 years, 30 years, 40 years, 50 years….blah, blah, blah.

    Upon what facts are these wildly varient guesstimates based?

    The only fact is this.

    There cannot be a truly “united” Ireland (of Equals) unless and until unionism is persuaded of it’s merits.

    To believe otherwise is fantasy. Anything else is a recipe for a nightmare of epic proportions for all who live on this island.

  • slug

    John

    “In addition I get fed up being patronised that my Britishness is some kind of delusion that I need to get over. It is every bit as real as your Independent Irishness and deserves equal recognition and respect.”

    They consistently underestimate the unionist position and the genuine nature of the attachment.

    “10 years, 20 years, 30 years, 40 years, 50 years….blah, blah, blah.

    Upon what facts are these wildly varient guesstimates based? ”

    Good question.

    I have a theory that the usual estimate is about 15/25 years away. That is short enough to keep people from being demoralised and long enough that it sounds possible and that everyone will have forgotten about it when the time comes.

    Hence 2016 was popular about 5 years ago but recently less so. Gerry Adams, who talked of 2015, changed tune in September to “in his lifetime”. Being about 60, his lifetime is about another 25 years. So its the new 2016.

    It also has the advantage that when it turns out to be wrong, he will not be around to explain why it didn’t happen!

  • PaddyReilly

    John East Belfast

    < >

    You would think this from the etymology of the word, but it doesn’t seem to work that way. Who are are all these UDI fanciers? It seems to me that they vote Unionist as well. What word do you use to describe them?

    < >

    But if I do understand it, there will be no strategies for making them happy in such an entity, since it is the reverse of what they want.

    < >

    Sorry. But to tell the truth my independent Irishness is a bit shakey these days: I live in the South of England and travel on a British Passport. And pray for our sovereign lady the Queen when in Church. And drink her health in the Inns of Court. So you might as well have written every bit as delusional.

    I think we are talking about two different things. For me, British means of and domiciled in the Island of Britain. For you it means an Ulster Protestant who wants to use his proclaimed (but by no means unconditional) allegiance as a tool to ensure hegemony over Ulster Catholics. I think.

    But if your Britishness is non-political, and is solely confined to collecting monarchistic gewgaws, and putting the Queen’s portrait on the wall, then where is the problem? There are scores of people in England who dress up as Red Indians or Confederate soldiers. Each man to his own. I don’t think a United Ireland would have any problem with that. You could always register with the British Embassy and be invited to functions.

  • John East Belfast

    Paddy Reilly

    “Who are are all these UDI fanciers?”

    exactly – who are they ? – apart from David Vance ocassionally flying that kite on here I dont know any – and I know a lot of unionists. Therefore it is totally irrelevant and once again shows how little you understand the unionist mindset.

    “But if I do understand it, there will be no strategies for making them happy in such an entity, since it is the reverse of what they want”

    I was only trying to be helpful. ie if nationalism portrays that its ‘enemy’ is people who hate them because they are Irish or Catholic then their approach towards them will reflect that. However if they really knew what made unionists tick then they might find how to win over the hearts and minds of a enough to get a United Ireland sooner rather than never. It isnt rocket science.

    “British…For you it means an Ulster Protestant who wants to use his proclaimed (but by no means unconditional) allegiance as a tool to ensure hegemony over Ulster Catholics. I think.”

    Well you think wrong and infact it is the worst definition of Unionism I could imagine and only highlights what I said in my previous paragraph.

    Your last paragraph further highlights your ignorance of and desire to patronise unionists.

    Paddy I think your problem is you need to meet a few – infact you are not some southerner living in England who has never been north are you ? I say that because most northern nationalists have a better understanding of the unionist mindset than you are portraying here ?