That bump in the border road…

I’m old enough to recall the bump in the road between Derry and Donegal as left the smooth well kept surfaces of Northern Ireland for the bumpy ride of the Republic. How times have changed.

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  • CS Parnell

    Loose chippings!

  • I love the border crossing at Aughnacloy. As you enter the South, the road widens and gets straighter. As you enter the North, the road gets narrow and windy. In the last few years, we’ve seen bypasses of every town in the South between Letterkenny and Dublin, and very little movement on the roads in the North. The Northern roads used to be the highlight of a trip to Dublin, but that has long changed!

    (Sorry for party political broadcast!)

  • qubol

    Roads are possibly one of the best visual indicators of how far ahead economically the south has moved. Even when we do develop roads the standard of our roads still falls well below what’s happening down the road. For example – why isn’t the the road from Belfast to Dublin a motorway in the northern side? Compare the toome bypass bridge to the boyne bridge or the overpass bridges on the M1 from dublin are 10 times cooler than the stale lumps of concrete that sit over the motorways here. I wonder if anyone has any figures on spending per head of population on road infrastructure for the last 10 years in the north and south respectively?

  • The bump and the state of the roads in Northern Ireland is the fault of SinnFein/IRA and their refusal to decomission their illegal bank accounts and bring to an end their criminal empire. 😉

  • John

    An ‘intelligent’ reasoning there Jimmy!!!!!

    The real reason is the reduction of funding from Great Britain in line with the actual income of ‘our wee country’.

  • Rory

    Thank you, Jimmy Porter, for explaining that to me.I had no idea that was the cause. I wonder to what we can attribute the worsening state of the road infrastructure in mainland Britain. The Kray brothers are deceased and Al Queeda has not yet developed a strong base. I fancy putting the LibDems in the frame meself, but that’s just because I never liked them. What do you think?

  • I’d say its all the marching….

    Perhaps instead of tax breaks the OO should be paying road/boot tax.

    Seriously, it shows the complete lack of inward investment, and lack of ambition internally, in creating an infrastructure worthy of a Western ‘country’. Whoever is in charge of the place this week is not thinking long term, just about keeping the place afloat.

  • I dunno – could the Free State’s roads just, just have anything to do with all those decades where – the UK make a nett contribution to the wretched EU of approx. £1 billion quid per year, and the RoI leeched, er, pretty much that amount out of Brussels? Personally, I will know that the lost 26 have surrendered all their sense of romance if they ever fix up the road from, roughly, Rosapenna towards Glenveagh. Now there’s driving. Ah for the days of Donegal when you drove past people in eg Fanad, and they waved at you.

    Karl Rove = Roddy Doyle, but with happy memories.

  • Fraggle

    Karl, NI leeches much more than that every year and has nothing much to show for it.

  • Shure, but that UK taxpayers pissing away their cash in a bit of the UK – UK taxpayers, via our subscription to the EU (and the RoI’s great sucking sound in reverse), in essence bank rolled the (now distinctly foreign and separate) Free State’s emergence into the late C20th. That’s a bit rich, as it were.

    Not that I don’t give credit to Charlie Haughey though. If a 2nd world state wants to enjoy an economic climacteric, have a crook (or quasi-fascistic military dictator) as head of government. Always works – Chile, South Korea, post-war Italy up to about 19992, etc, and I assure you, etc.

  • Ringo

    Ah for the days of Donegal when you drove past people in eg Fanad, and they waved at you.

    Did you ever happen to notice how it only occured when you were heading home?

  • PHIL

    Qubol,

    I don’t know about spending on roads, but £2275 more is spent on every person in Northern Ireland than on the people of England. If it is not being spent on your roads, what is it being used for?

  • seabhac siulach

    “I dunno – could the Free State’s roads just, just have anything to do with all those decades where – the UK make a nett contribution to the wretched EU of approx. £1 billion quid per year, and the RoI leeched, er, pretty much that amount out of Brussels?”

    Ah, envy is a terrible thing…

    If EU funds were responsible for the improvement in the roads, why is it that this improvement has only taken place since the advent of the Celtic Tiger (~1997), when EU funds have supposedly been flooding in since 1973?? Bit hard to explain, eh?

    Wasn’t there a report recently, anyway, that showed that the 26 county state has in real terms been a net contributor to the EU all these years when all those billions in fishing rights are taken into account? (For some reason, this is always overlooked as if fish have no value…)
    That is, the amount of fish (billions of pounds worth) taken from Irish waters by fellow EU states (gratis!) over the 33 years of membership more than makes up for the paltry billions or so transferred over each year…

  • Occasional Commentator

    Where exactly is the above picture? It’s not the N13/A6 from Derry to Bridgend and on to Letterkenny (actually bypassing the centre of Derry over the Foyle Bridge).
    Is it a bit further south at the B139/R237 that joins the N13 at Newtoncunningham?
    Or a wee bit further south again at the A40/B236 through Carrigans and on to St. Johnstown?

    edited link – moderator

  • Indeed I did, but that rather begs the question, which direction was I heading?

  • Er, No, SS – if there’s a substantial infrastructure shortfall (as there was between the lost 26 and eg the 1st world in economic terms), creating convergence was always a task that was going to take decades, and, bazillions of pounds of other people’s money.

  • kensei

    “Shure, but that UK taxpayers pissing away their cash in a bit of the UK – UK taxpayers, via our subscription to the EU (and the RoI’s great sucking sound in reverse), in essence bank rolled the (now distinctly foreign and separate) Free State’s emergence into the late C20th. That’s a bit rich, as it were.”

    Nonsense. The rest of the EU didn’t contribute to the countries that recieved a net benefit for the good of their health. They did it because it opened up more markets and increased trade, and they knew in the long term those states would begin to contribute. Which they are doing. With a bit of luck, exactly the same treatment will work in the new ascension countries, and we’ll be even better off. And if you must, in some bizarre fashion, link the amount the UK paid out directly to Ireland, think of it as compensation for the Famine and all those people we’ve given you since.

    The fact is 1 billion a year is peanuts anyway. The Republic took the money and used it to build a real economy. We probably got more than that many times over, and have pissed it up against the wall. If ever there was an argument for running your own affairs, the economic difference between the ROI and here, Scotland and Wales is it.

  • seabhac siulach

    Mr R

    “Er, No, SS – if there’s a substantial infrastructure shortfall (as there was between the lost 26 and eg the 1st world in economic terms), creating convergence was always a task that was going to take decades, and, bazillions of pounds of other people’s money.”

    At the time of the Maastricht treaty (1992) the 26 county state was awarded 6 billion Irish pounds (8 billion ECUs) over the period of that particular EU budget for structural reforms…,i.e., a seven year period, from 1993-1999. This averages as approx. 1 billion ECUs (no euros) a year for those years…
    (see http://www.europarl.eu.int/comparl/budg/interinstitutional_agreement/dt/521335en.doc)
    As we have subsequently seen (to our cost!) that individual infrastructural projects can have price tags of hundreds of millions of euros each, e.g, the LUAS in Dublin (cost 750 million), whose construction started towards the end of the 1993-1999 period, and major road projects each costing multiples of hundreds of million euro, it is clear that EU money has not
    contributed much (percentage-wise) to major infrastructural spending annually. Even in the early-mid-1990s, 1 billion euro a year would only have funded (at maximum) minimal road maintenance and some new bypasses being built…as indeed was the case. Major road construction (motorways, bridges, etc.) only took place when new money became available from increased taxes in the post-1997 period…and most of it, indeed, has occurred in the period of the 5 year National Development Plan (NDP) starting in 2000.
    In fact, to argue otherwise, is nonsense and is a begrudging attitude to the real success of the 26 counties in paying for and delivering new infrastructure…

    “Mr R understands basic economics, unlike Marxists”

    Hmmmmm……

  • Elvis Parker

    Anyone for toll roads?
    We can all whinge about the state or the roads up north but many of those big shiny roads are PFI paid for by tolls – ie Boyne birdge M way and the marvellous Dundalk By pass.
    If we put tolls on the M1 and M2 a few miles out from Belfast we could raise some money for improvements?

  • Please, more 26land patriots – come out and show yourselves. Don’t leave it to this pair alone to make the valiant case that, ‘a huge bung of [British] wonga, decade after decade, make FA difference to the Irish economy’. It’s great fun watching them having a go, and I’d deeply enjoy reading others trying out their versions of the same routine.

    The Free State – brought to you by British taxpapers’ dosh since forever.

  • George

    Forget the road, could someone get out there and decommission that (most likely free) plastic bag before it blows over to our side…

    Karl,
    NI got three times as much EU money per capita than the Republic, which for some unexplainable reason was given another 14 billion this year as part of France’s great victory over Tony “not an inch/centimetre” Blair.

    No wonder Bertie tipped toed home before anyone noticed. You go there promising to contribute and instead they hand you a cheque for 14 billion and tell you to shutup. It could only happen in Europe.

  • JohnKingII

    Praise be to the fagins of the 32 county potato republic. I to remember their crap roads till they spent everyone else’s money. Now all they have to do is learn to drive on them safely.

  • merrie

    Eire is the only country I have driven in which has a “Slow” sign painted on the tarmac, then a little bit further down the road there is a “Slower” sign…

  • Ringo

    kensei,

    The fact is 1 billion a year is peanuts anyway

    No, the fact is that £1bn per year is not remotely factual. It is a gross exaggeration of the total of all EU funding and ridiculous in the context of a discussion about the funding for roads.

    Karl

    creating convergence was always a task that was going to take decades, and, bazillions of pounds of other people’s money.

    Little problem with your argument. Because the road infrastructure isn’t remotely up to ‘1st world standard’ and the EU is a recipient of Irish funding nowadays.

    There isn’t 500m of motorway outside of Leinster. None of the cities are connected by a road that is even 50% dual carriageway. And as for the secondary and local roads, they are the same as they ever were – just with a nice shiney surface (often applied around my area by NI reg-ed contractors).

    So who is going to pay for this ‘convergence’ that hasn’t yet occured despite what you claim, now that the EU isn’t? Are you sure it will require bazillions of someone elses money?

    Well,the government reckon that about €35bn will be needed for transport in the next ten years for the transport 21 plan – the bulk of it going on roads. And they, (or we the tax payer and motorist) are funding the lot of it.

    Anyone with regular experience of travelling by road around the Republic over the past 25 years will know that the capital expenditure up to 5 years ago was buttons in comparision to what has been spent since and what is in the pipeline.

  • I declare today’s awful weather also the fault of SinnFein/IRA.

  • To be fair, Reg asked for it to rain, because that would ‘advance the cause of a dry Ulster free from rain’. Or something along those lines. Every now and then I lose track.

  • kensei

    “Please, more 26land patriots – come out and show yourselves. Don’t leave it to this pair alone to make the valiant case that, ‘a huge bung of [British] wonga, decade after decade, make FA difference to the Irish economy’. It’s great fun watching them having a go, and I’d deeply enjoy reading others trying out their versions of the same routine.

    The Free State – brought to you by British taxpapers’ dosh since forever. ”

    Point to where I said it didn’t make a difference please?

    What I did say was

    1. It was European money, not British money, and needs to be seen in the wider context of the EU. The money Britain has put in is dwarfed by the increased trade with the EU that has resulted since they joined. Not to mention the increased prosperity of the likes of Ireland and Spain result in even further potential for trade.

    I would invite you to leave and see the damage to your economy, but unfortunately as the Brits are still rinning the place it would ruin my job too.

    2. We have recieved more than the ROI, yet they have undoubtedly done a better job at building an economy. That is directly down to controlling their own destiny, and not any amount of money that was given.

    3. 1 billion a year is small fry anyway. And apparently, factually inaccurate.

    Perhaps if you tried learning form the Southern experience rather than sniping, we might make some strides.

  • John

    The problem with our “wee country” in the north is the realisation that Great Britain doesn’t want us but are lumbered with us, for now. The water charges,increase in rates, education cuts, health cuts and the national companies charging us more for poorer services than the Great Britons. Lower wages than the rest of UK. The list goes on and on. They’re giving us the two finger gesture but we’re too blind to see it.

  • eranu

    the new southern M1 is definately great for the dublin <> belfast run and the M50 extension makes getting from dublin to the SE coast possible in less than 3 days 🙂 but the tolls have to be considered too, and EU money was used to build them. perhaps the assembly could get a few EU road schemes going in NI?? once they’ve finished the more important work of bitching at each other that is…
    by the way, why has the N11 got traffic lights every 100 yards??? ridiculous stop start driving for a dual carrageway.
    credit were credits due, the new southern roads reflect the strong economy and prosperous state of todays ROI. but lets not get carried away too much, its only a few years ago that the southern side of the dublin belfast journey was a drive along winding country roads. and we’re talking about a few new motorways in a network of bumpy country roads.
    to nit pick a bit – the road standards arent the same, theres no safety barrier in the centre or along the sides of the southern M1 only a wafer thin hedge to stop the on coming 75mph traffic. actually its more like 85-90 mph traffic 🙂 i also find it really annoying when there are new stretches of country road that are single lane but are wide enough for 2 lanes to be painted. why is this???

  • Ringo

    Never mind the road surfaces – check out the blue plastic bag littering the roadside on the (barely) northern side. Definitive proof that the plastic bag tax works.

  • Crataegus

    I have numerous gripes about the Roads Service in NI.

    Firstly the money being wasted making the roads around Belfast narrower with all those crazy patterns in the road. Looks like 60s pop art. Secondly the time it takes to carry out some of the improvements beggars belief. There was a time when there seemed to be heavy machinery permanently parked around the M1 in or near Dunmurry. This stuff costs serious money per hour. I would like some of these costs to be audited. Thirdly why do we need 5 car parking spaces per dwelling for large houses? Does anyone know any family with 5 cars? Fourthly the Roads Service seems to control the Planning Service. It should be the other way round.

    Finally I am not so sure that I want to see many major road schemes in the North, yes there are a few bottle necks that need resolved but given the population the Road network generally is fine. There are other spending priorities.

    With regards the roads in the south, massive improvement but no one would deny it was needed. In some areas like Clare the minor roads still leave a lot to be desired. However have any of you enthusiasts looked at some of the construction details on the new motorways, no edgings that sort of thing? Big maintenance bill in the years ahead, but credit where credit is due it has been a massive improvement. . Equally impressive is the improvements to public transport in Dublin; wish Translink would show some real vision.

  • Don’t get me started on why plastic carrier bags are FAR more ‘environmentally friendly’ than all the mooted alternatives – from the resources used to make them, through the competing processes of manufacture, all the way to the most important factor, the bulk of finished good that needs to be transported [HINT: plastic bags take up v little space, and even a fraction of the storage volume plastic bags offer would require a vastly larger stock of non-plastic bags to be made, moved and stored], plastic bags are tops! They are also far, far cheaper. And wasting £££ does FA for the environment, as believe it or not, money is a store of value ie if you waste somethign of value.

  • John

    If you took the ROI trade out of the NI economy we would crash. I would estimate that a third of my business comes from the south and keeps me profitable. I would suggest that this is probably true for all in the north.

  • dantheman

    The republic will soon have motorway standard roads (2011) from dublin to cork, limerick, galway, kells waterford, gorey and south armagh. by 2015 galway-limerick and galway-tuam. did i mention cork to limerick and gorey to rosslare? also a 24km bypass of waterford and the longest bridge in ireland is part of the new ross bypass. sligo to bundoran is also mentioned. dublin to ashbourne opens tomorrow. also the cork northern ring road as well. Please check it out

    http://www.nra.ie/News/DownloadableDocumentation/file,2065,en.pdf

    The north has put an extra land of traffic between junctions 2 AND 3 of the M1 and taken 10 years to build a byoass of omagh. And guess what, the south HAS been a net contributor to the EU for some time.

    Also unionists bigots take note. The GDP per capita in the 26 counties is OVER TWICE that of the north’s!! Look at the roan numbering in the north, what a joke. The M2 runs on to the M22 without warning, because the M2 was originally built to go to coleraine because derry was too papist.

    Enjoy your new Ballynure bypass lads. The south laughs in your face.

  • dantheman

    “If you took the ROI trade out of the NI economy we would crash. I would estimate that a third of my business comes from the south and keeps me profitable. I would suggest that this is probably true for all in the north.”

    John, about a third and growing of trade is with theh south so your guess is spot on.

    Time to upgrade some more border roads eg sligo enniskillen, enniskillen cavan (we have the belturbet bypass but a enniskillen S and W bypasses are required), armagh monaghan and enniskillen ballyshannon. Two of these are actually considered part of the N3 by the south.

    For fermanagh only 0,5% of planned road schemed by the Roads Service are in thie county. Pathetic. This shows the underinvestment west of the bann by the stormont debacle, remember too that under the new super council plans unionists will control less that 7% is the island. One day the penny will drop.

  • Fraggle

    Eranu, those little hedges cover steel tension cables which are supposed to be safer than the metal crash barriers used on NI motorways.

  • “Me mighty green hulk … you make me angry … me go smash now”.

    But more please, I’m creasing up here – ‘those billions of pounds the UK paid into the EU, and those billions of pounds the RoI mooched out: NO connection! And they had NO effect whatsoever! A COINCIDENCE! AND an IRRELEVANT one!!!’ Hee, hee.

  • seabhac siulach

    “Please, more 26land patriots – come out and show yourselves. Don’t leave it to this pair alone to make the valiant case that, ‘a huge bung of [British] wonga, decade after decade, make FA difference to the Irish economy’. It’s great fun watching them having a go, and I’d deeply enjoy reading others trying out their versions of the same routine.

    The Free State – brought to you by British taxpapers’ dosh since forever. ”

    Not mentioning the Brit rebate then…
    If you were arguing that the Germans/French/Italians had helped the 26 county economy then there would be some (some mind) logic to your argument…but to paint a picture that jolly old John Bull, all on his own!, was keeping the head of the free state above the water all these years is laughable…especially when it has not even been paying its fair share to the EU budget now for years…

    As someone who remembers the free state between the years of accession to the EEC (1973) and the period the Celtic Tiger arrived, can I tell you that EU money did make FA difference as the economy was mired in constant recession during that period…and, no, I do not remember the great roads, or road construction, from that period somehow paid for by EU (or should that be Brit) money. It did not happen. The roads were shit and they largely stayed shit until the NDP of 2000-2005 pumped 70 billion euros into the 26 county economy and infrastructure. An amount far outstripping the paltry billion or so arriving annually from Brussels…

    At maximum in 1991, by the way, internal EU funds amounted to only some 6% of Irish GDP, dropping to 1% and less for most of the 1990s…so where did all the money for infrastructure come from? The British govt?
    And this from someone from the 6 counties (I assume) where more than 60% of the GDP comes from central govt. spending…AND where funding for roads in the next budgetting period has been cut back to only take into account everyday maintenance tasks (and then at an insufficient level). Where is this great British munificence now, and, ask yourself, for how much longer the present insufficient funding is even going to last…

  • eranu

    Crataegus – in dublin the LUAS is good at off peak times. its always packed in the mornings, and it takes ages to get into and out of town with all the stops. but it does get in relatively on schedule. maybe with a few more lines it would carry enough passengers to reduce the road traffic. definately a good alternative to the roads though. the bus system is pretty slow also (verging on disasterous), mainly due to traffic problems making timetables further into the city a work of fiction.. it can take around 1 – 1.5 hours to get into town from the extreme suburbs depending on traffic, on a bad day. i think even with shorter distances in belfast, translink probably get people into town quicker.
    translinks metro system is a step in the right direction. but as far as i know you still can only go from the suburbs straight into the city centre. theres no junctions where lines cross around the city that you can change and get on another line, like a real metro. ie stations..
    they could also set up a few dedicated bus corridors running that new futuristic bus from wright bus that was on the news a while ago. that would pretty much be a tram system at a fraction of the cost.

  • dantheman

    people who supported the most subsidised part of europe will probably point the finger south to take the spotlight of themselves.
    where does britain have more in common with, the south or the north? its funny how many english go to dublin but never to belfast. hmm, isnt belfast supposed to part of the same country?? hands across the water and all that?

    unionism is a shambles. a deludes shambles. Good lord. Who would want them?

  • kensei

    “But more please, I’m creasing up here – ‘those billions of pounds the UK paid into the EU, and those billions of pounds the RoI mooched out: NO connection!”

    Perhaps you are confused. There is indeed a connection. You’ll find a similar connection in the taxation and benefits system. Only right wing nuts claim some direct connection and assert to the disadvantaged that they are taking their money in some literal sense, and ignore the overall picture and the benefits to society. Wait a sec – Rove …? Ah.

    “And they had NO effect whatsoever!”

    Course it had an effect. Nothing like what good policy had though.

    “A COINCIDENCE! AND an IRRELEVANT one!!!”

    In the grand scheme, yes. The money is nothing set against good economic policy and stewardship.

    You used to be entertaining, Rove. If you are going to be inane and repeat yourself, at least make it funny.

  • eranu

    fraggle – didnt know that about the cables, must have been going too fast to see them 🙂 motorways are apparently the safest roads, so hopefully they wont be tested…

  • Nationalists do make me laugh. They should put on a show.

    In other news – I never do quite get this point about, ‘oh, look, the South is richer than it used to be, because, er, [see my very first point above about the benefits of putting a crook in charge], it started following economic policies people like you, o Rove, have always been wise enough to subscribe to, but we, o poor, downtrod folk that we nationalists are, have always habitually denounced hitherto’. The point seems to be, ‘oh look, the South is richer than it used to be’, but, uh, as per the issue that everything, anyone ever posts about on Slugger revolves around, so what? A poorer south wasn’t, for nationalists, any sort of argument for renouncing ‘independence’ and separation, and every bit as much, the same is true in reverse – for Unionists the pleasant, entirely agreeable fact of a richer South makes us not one whit more inclined to stop being Unionists.

    But here’s the thing, and the reason why nationalists so often try to creep out the line, ‘but look, hasn’t the South a grand, fine economy nowadays?’ – they think it’ll make a difference to the Unionist way of thinking because nationalists – leastways so many of them here on Slugger – are implacably self-righteous. The specific aspect their self-righteousness takes in this instance is that, Nationalists believe themselves to be Nationalists for high and holy reasons we need not go into here, whereas Nationalists believe Unionists to be Unionists solely because they’re in it for the money, the dorty, sordid, hunnish chimps that they are. Ergo, if the Free State is richer, nationalists pout and scratch their heads and wonder, ‘why haven’t Unionists packed in their silliness and given up?’

    Karl Rove: I came to explain, I stayed to laugh.

  • George

    Karl,
    we all know unionists are “defending for ourselves and our children our cherished position of equal citizenship in the United Kingdom and in using all means which may be found necessary to defeat the present conspiracy to set up a Home Rule Parliament in Ireland”.

    Nothing to laugh at there…..

  • Sadly not, as no doubt you too weep every time you reach for your copy of Crisis and Decline: the fate of the Southern Unionists, and turn its tear-stained pages? That said, in terms of defeating Home Rule, either throughout the island, or merely on one part of it, I think Edwardian Unionist tactics were logical enough. The problem was Lloyd george the following decade – truly a dynamic force.

  • Crataegus

    Eranu

    I thought the commitment to the LAUS and DART commendable. By comparison we don’t even adequately use the train lines that are there, won’t connect up the airports etc etc etc. Plain backward.

  • Ringo

    Karl Rove: I came to explain, I stayed to laugh.

    Karl Rove: Wandered into his own arsehole. And stayed to laugh.

    MmmUUhaaa ha ha….

  • What is with Irish Nationalism’s rectal obsession? Could someone write a paper please?

  • George

    Karl,
    actually when I want to read about epic fantasy battles of good against evil, I reach for Tolkein.

    But that’s not to say I don’t always appreciate the shedding of crocidile tears from my lost Ulster unionist “allies”. Sure don’t don’t I often shed a few for you in return.

    After all, you were always there when we needed you most. I can honestly say with hand on dirty grey heart that the proud unionist people of Kingstown will certainly never forget your great sacrifice for us.

    If you’ll excuse me now, I’ve got my elocution classes to fine tune the neutral accent.

    This, that, these and those, that’s the way the th goes…

  • seabhac siulach

    Mr. Rove:

    ‘The specific aspect their self-righteousness takes in this…’ , blah, blah

    Spot of the pot calling the kettle black there…I mean, if one bothers to read even a few line of your post…

    “Karl Rove: I came to explain, I stayed to laugh.”

    Sort of describes my feeling after reading that tedious validation of yours
    …which, by the way, does not even touch on anything related to the state of the roads, i.e., the previous topic of the thread. I see that you are not much for statistics then, especially those that destroy your fantasy that the 26 counties has somehow been living off Brit money all these years…
    Or that their nice roads now are due to anything other than good governance…
    (and you have the cheek to berate others for spinning a line or of making ‘hidden’ political points with everything they write…you obviously do not do irony either then…)

    What is all this nonsense of yours about comparing North to South, and how Unionists should see the folly of their ways re the union of Ireland…
    The issue at hand was the roads, that is the only issue I, at least, was commenting on. It would be nice if you could do the same.
    Your response to this topic; some laughable comments (tabloid-style, not backed by any evidence) that the 26 counties success is dependent on some grudging money from Britain to the EU (as if only the Brits, not counting the rebate!, were the only contributors)…
    And instead of defending this pathetic posture with any statistics or facts whatsoever, you fall back now on an old defensive routine…accusing others of one thing or the other not related to the issue at hand. So, tell me, is the strengh of the economy down south worrying for you? Do you see it as another threat? Is that it? Should we not now even compare the situations north and south in case it might be seen as another reason for unionists to take fright, to feel they are being coerced by the big bad nationalists…? Pathetic. No one asks on these posts that you give up your attachment to the neighbouring island (in some Pauline conversion!), merely that you debate the point at hand, namely the fact that now the roads in the South are improving much more than those in the North…and take from that what you will…
    You obviously take it as a threat…which is a bit sad. But, it explains the begrudging attitude…

    This defensive posture, attitude and inability to argue cogently the facts of the matter in hand here, and to instead fall back on myths about EU ‘hand-outs’ to the 26 counties says a lot about you and your background. I would recommend staying away from the tabloids (i.e., the Newsletter amongst others!!) and, say, stick with the Economist in future…who, amongst others, present statistics (that word again!) showing the lack of dependence of the 26 economy on EU handouts…
    In short, coming out with defensive crap when the argument is lost, is the stuff of schoolkids…an age which I suspect you may not be much older than yourself, if the level of ‘debate’ is anything to go by…

    And before any of this playing the man not the ball crap, this post has been a reply to a general ad hominem post…to which I reply in kind…

  • May I just say that this is one of the funniest threads ever argued on Slugger.

  • I know, I’ve got it – since all the British money laundered to the Free State via Brussels made no difference whatsoever, the South should give it back! And since – o happy day – the Free State now has pots of lolly to play with (thanks to following excellent Rovian-Pinochet economic policies), they’ll hardly notice. Hoorah, treble rebates all round!

  • Alan Law

    The funding of the roads in the south has been achieved through PPP / PFI schemes. This allows a quick fix to a problem but one which the taxpayers will continue to carry the burden of for years to come.

    In Northern Ireland the government has also jumped into bed with the privateers, for example, the car park in the RVH, cost £2million but the private company are leasing it to the RVH for 500,000 per year for 10 years (Total £5 million). Not bad business eh?

    Many of the new roads in the south have tolls an additional tax to the motorist, funding the lease through taxation and use by toll its daylight robbery.

  • Sean

    merrie we usually dont listen thats why that sign is posted twice.

    I blame dubs for the bad roads up along the border line, they need to spread the wealth further North.

  • kensei

    “The specific aspect their self-righteousness takes in this instance is that, Nationalists believe themselves to be Nationalists for high and holy reasons we need not go into here, whereas Nationalists believe Unionists to be Unionists solely because they’re in it for the money, the dorty, sordid, hunnish chimps that they are.”

    Man, such generalising. While I fully accept there are Unionists out there who will never be convinced ever, and I fully respect that, there are plenty of “Unionists” and “Nationalists” who SIMPLY DON’T GIVE A SHIT and want to know what benefit a United Ireland would be to them. The economic argument is perfectly valid, especially in a package of other things and particularly as the swing needed for constitutional change gets smaller.

    But we are back to Unionists catch-22 for Nationalists. “You need to try and convince us, it’s the only way, 50%+1 will never happen”, followed by “Stop trying to convince us, youself righteous dicks”.

    And you are still confused. Britain doesn’t give any money to the Republic. It gives it to the EU. If you can’t master this simple point people will start thinking your in the UUP.

    Oh…..

  • Irish roads are a mixed bag. ROI and NI main highways are a wash although I haven’t yet found the NI cousin of the pothole on the Cork road from Dublin that knocked my car out of gear.

    NRA has done the best job in bypassing all those wee hamlets that had the tractor double parked in front of the pub whenever Coronation Street was on. That makes travel sooooo much easier. You’ve done a hellofa job Tommy.

    The worst roads in the Republic are in the towns and that because they are constantly being torn up to provide utilities to the unceasing building going on around them. I have not yet found a density of construction in NI that replicates this mainly because the level of building activity is so much less.

    For the little Englanders who are pissed that the Republic got such a freebe from the EU, consider this: The North American railroads were built largely with British investment money which the Yankees later took them for, hook, line and sinker.

    California just passed the UK as the fifth largest economy in the world. Thanks a lot fellas.

    Let the begrudgery continue.

  • Harry

    The British army no longer feel so urgent about the need to move heavy armoured convoys quickly around northern ireland and so wide, excellent roads are no longer such a priority.

  • George

    Karl,
    “since all the British money laundered to the Free State via Brussels made no difference whatsoever, the South should give it back!”

    1. The majority of the EU money to Ireland (over 50%) went on the farmers not the roads.

    2. We tried this year but they gave us another 14 billion and Chirac took it off weakling Tony Blair instead. It takes a real effort to become a net contributor you know.

  • dantheman

    “The British army no longer feel so urgent about the need to move heavy armoured convoys quickly around northern ireland and so wide, excellent roads are no longer such a priority.”

    Thats why the south built the pan-nationalist highway ( or the M1 to some people). To get those tanks into the north wehn the day of beckoning comes.

  • JohnKingII

    It would help if the Irish Defence Forces actually had tanks. As for the day of reckoning it will surely be another famous Irish military victory ie Boyne, Aughrim, Vinegar Hill, GPO.

  • CS Parnell

    Let’s be honest. Most raods in the South are still shite. There are quite a lot of good ones now, but thousands of desperate ones. In the North the roads are generally of decent, if not brilliant, quality.

    As for the tanks… can they use that shitehole of Dundalk for some target practice before they liberate us. They’ll need aircover too, mind, so they could also use that place for a few practice drops.

  • Crataegus

    Jimmy

    They are dam impressive at the rain dance, pity we can’t export them to Niger where their talents may be more appreciated.

  • “It would help if the Irish Defence Forces actually had tanks.”

    Rommel ya ain’t, kid.

    1. Find tank country in Ireland. That’s plains or rolling hills where that 3 km gun is effective. The enemy doesn’t play to your strengths.

    2. Equip you tank with a bog friendly snorkel, yer gonna need it.

    That’s why they bought the Piranahas.

  • James MacLochlainn

    Karl Rove,
    I think you owe Unionists an apology.
    “dorty, sordid, hunnish chimps”.
    Is that not worse than a Nazzi.
    James.

  • JohnKIngII

    Let’s play to the Irish strength’s wait until your off duty out of uniform and use a mercury tilt switch or even better shoot you in front of your wife and kids that way you’ll grow with a strong belief in the Irish bit of your identity.

  • john h

    This thread started by Fianna Fail politico. A few things to clarify for aforesaid politician. I am Northerner living in Letterkenny for last 10 years. I travel every day to Strabane – the road is a disgrace. Too narrow and very dangerous. I travel through Oldtown every day (Mayor Blake knows the place. So little need for him to get so superior over northern roads. Generally they are still better.

  • Mark Murray

    Here are some facts about the economies of the Republic and Northern Ireland.

    1. To the end of 2003 Ireland received over €17 billion in Structural & Cohesion Funds support since joining the E.U. in 1973.
    source: http://www.csfinfo.com/htm/nonsectional/faqs_9.htm

    2. Ireland has received €36,130,000,000 (over €36 billion) more from the EU than it paid to the EU up to the end of 2004.

    source: http://www.finfacts.com/irelandbusinessnews/publish/article_10002079.shtml

    3. The amounts Ireland received from the EU from 1973 up to 2004 were equal to an average of 3.27% of GDP/GNI in each year.

    4. In 2005 the UK government spent £5,000,000,000 (over €7.2 bilion) more in Northern Ireland than it got in revenue from Northern Ireland.

    5. Northern Ireland’s economic performance is currently poor compared to the Republic’s performance. An article in the March 2006 issue of Management Today (Northern Ireland: where is the bright new future? http://www.clickmt.com/public/news/index.cfm?fuseaction=fulldetails&newsUID=223b3e41-f636-4202-a92d-ad7144caa18b) gives some interesting figures for comparison.

    If the ROI had received no economic assitance from the EU since joining, the impact on its economy and infrastructure would have been fairly small. The main economic benefit of EU membership has been access to markets, leading to massively increased inward investment by foreign multinationals. The ROI has also enjoyed the benefits of low Eurozone interest rates (although at the cost of higher inflation) since the European Central Bank took over responsibility for monetary policy.