Random musing on a ‘united Ireland’

There is currently, always was and always will be discussion in Slugger on a ‘United Ireland.’

Impossible? Inevitable? Imminent or beyond the horizon?
Personally, I doubt if I will ever live long enough to see a united Ireland. I simply do not buy the demographic argument.

Northern Ireland has been engineered to guarantee a unionist majority. I do not blame Gerry Adams or Mark Durkan for partition. There are more unionists than nationalists in Northern Ireland. That’s what it is for.

I do not feel ashamed to say that. That is not to say that I do not believe that it should be vigorously worked for and built towards, I do. I simply feel it could well take 60 years. So be it.

It is pretty pointless just wishing really hard for it.

Some argue that if the dream of a united Ireland was stamped out then the dissidents would fade away. I doubt that.

In addition, I feel that the long term tactic for unionism is reparation. The DUP revel in nationalist angst – it is used to illustrate their ‘successes’, they have never made a case as to why a ‘Catholic’ should chose the union (to my knowledge). Hardly a tactic designed to secure the union and a massive distinction between them and the modern British state and nation in Britain, where pluralism is the name of the game.

My reading of their tactics is in the event of a pro-united Ireland vote is that they will simply demand repartition. Get rid of a few heavy concentrations of nationalist and they simply carry on.

Unfortunately, my own native sod, whilst mountainous and mostly nationalist would not benefit from re-partition, having a natural resource vital to the state.

Some argue that if Catholic schools were banned (or at least not publicly funded) then the Irish culture and socio-political culture which maintains nationalism in the north would fade away and a new Northern Irish people would emerge.

Perhaps, but aggressive assimilation policies have been practised for hundreds of years, they have succeeded in some respects and failed in others.

Some Catholics point out quite rightly, that the battle for equality in the north is hampered by the fact that nationalists demand a united Ireland – leading to a situation where even the smallest equality issue is resisted furiously by unionists.

Quite, but hardly a basis to give up ones right of self-determination?

I know that many in the south feel that their country ends outside Dundalk and that their countrymen consist of residents of the twenty-six counties only. Many hold this up as evidence that the south would not vote in favour of a united Ireland. Not convinced of that but clearly a important factor.

If there was a referendum passed in the north but rejected in the south wouldn’t that simply lead to two independent Ireland? An Irish Republic and a Republic of Ireland? That could be fun.

Naturally, I do fundamentally disagree with ‘26 County patriots’ of course. Although I do have sympathy with the argument that the ‘Republic’ is an independent Irish state. A united Ireland would not (made a mistake, sorry) be undesirable in my view if it led ultimately back into the UK.

Perhaps the priority of Irish nationalists should be to defend the independent Ireland first, united Ireland second?

Of course I am a Gaelic nationalist (perhaps culturalist is a better term, I do not actually wish to unite the highlands of Scotland and the Isle of Man) who feels that the defence of our culture must take priority over political factors. If I had to chose between my language and culture and an independent state I would chose my language and culture. Not many would agree with me on that one!

Freelance journalist, working mostly in Irish.

Have my own independent news website – antuairisceoir.com – which is in constant need of material.

I am the former editor of the newspaper Gaelscéal, www.gaelsceal.ie