O’Leary: united Ireland depends on three key stakeholder groups…

As Pete noted the first of Sinn Fein’s fora for a united Ireland took place in Manhattan today. We were lucky enough to have one of our readers and commenters there. He comments under the name USA. Gerry Adams spoke about the need for a “huge outreach to our Unionist brothers and sisters” and about “nation building”. Also there was Senator John Schumer who apparently arrived late and left early. Brian Keenan, the author, not the IRA man, who was of a mind that political union would be the last piece in the puzzle, that the inhabitants must first be united “ intellectually, emotionally and imaginitively”. And Terry O’Sullivan spoke about the influence of American Labor movement in the Obama campaign. Over to ‘USA’:From commenter ‘USA’:

Dr Brendan O’Leary spoke at the Unite Ireland forum held in Manhattan on June 14th 2009. He focused on three main points all of which dealt with practical realities.

Firstly he addressed the fact that some northern Catholics will not vote for a united Ireland in a border poll / referendum. O’Leary referred to this group as “cultural Catholics” and believes that without them a united Ireland cannot happen. He argued that their support is a prerequisite to re-unification.

Secondly he referred to the influx of immigrants and how they will affect voting patterns. He jokingly speculated that the final say in any referendum may fall to Polish Catholics with British passports. However, as the only game in town is now a purely political game, then Dr. O’Leary’s point is a serious one. Elections are all about the numbers and the immigrant vote could well become a group that politicians need to win over.

While Dr O’Leary did not mention the gay and lesbian community, and they may only be around 2% of the population, this is another example of a group that has friends, family and loved ones who also vote. Given the DUP’s recent hemorrhaging of support to the TUV, they (and unionism in general) cannot afford to keep alienating voting blocks with such abandon.

Consequently I thought O’Leary’s comments in this area were of value and provided much food for thought for all political parties in the North.

Finally he spoke of the need to bring over Protestant voters to the side of a united Ireland. He felt it was necessary for two reasons. Firstly, he believes without them a united Ireland cannot happen and also because he felt it was the principled thing to do. I cannot disagree with his position in this regard.

He went on to state that he does not believe demographic trends will deliver a nationalist majority via the cradle. He said historical data shows the nationalist population growing at 0.8% per annum, a trend he described as significant, and if continued this would bring a nationalist majority in the north by 2023.

However, he was clear that he believes recent trends (last 5 to 10 years) show that the nationalist population seems to have leveled out at the 42% to 45% range so nationalism should not expect to out breed unionists. Hence he believes that a united Ireland depends on the support of three key stake holders, the support of immigrants, “cultural Catholics” and significant numbers from the Protestant community.

He then went on to make a proposal that an Irish Federal arrangement was the political system most likely to bring about stable government in the event of a united Ireland. He specifically stated this was not a re-statement of the old Sinn Fein Eire Nua policy. Indeed Dr. O’Leary’s proposal is essentially consociationalism which has influenced his work in Iraq where he is an advisor to the government of Kurdistan and also his role as an advisor to the British and Irish governments on issues such as policing in the north of Ireland.

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  • KB

    The official name of the state of the 26 counties of Ireland is the Republic of Ireland not the the The Free State!!!!. You may not noticed that 93% of voters in the Republic of Ireland rejected Sinn Féin and it’s vision for a United Ireland.

  • Paul

    A United Ireland cannot be achieved without a united people. Politicians should spend less time speaking about constitutional issues and concentrate on bridging the gulf between the people of this country. Stability in a new state could not be achieved if we can’t live together in this province. If we can truly reconcile our differences i believe the constitutional matter will sort itself out naturally. I think we are a long way from that though as we’re only as strong as our weakest links (ie crazy dissidents and maverick loyalists). Besides any Southerner would have to be crazy voting for reunification with a few hundred thousand angry Protestants hanging around.

  • OC

    What impact on a border poll might the abortion rights issue make?

  • Dave

    Folks in NI really need to focus on building a self-sustaining economy because without that you don’t have any real guarantee that you will have any control over your future. English nationalism is on the rise and it is not disposed toward generous subvention by default.

    We all have this lingering fetish regarding the border issue but that is settled in favour of unionism. The Shinners just can’t tell the muppets that so you will see when pretending that their internal settlement is actually an external settlement – that a blueprint for a shared nation of Northern Irish is actually a blueprint for reunification. That is just delivery of their constituency into the United Kingdom and shouldn’t be regarded by unionists as the opposite.

    As the status quo improves, more people will support it. The “cultural nationalists” or, as by the oxymoron I call them, the ‘nationalist unionists’ will not have any reason to seek change to a status quo that is just fine and dandy. That is why it is in unionism’s interest to build a strong economy in addition to being less dependent upon those who you really should not be depending on. Likewise, the more successful your economy becomes the more immigrants you attract and the more immigrants you attract, the more those who support status quo will increase. So, your veto is consolidated by that means.

    A united Ireland was a nice idea when it meant selling an Irish nation-state to the protestants (then classified as a tradition within the Irish nation rather than a separate nation) but now that it has been substituted by the British government via the GFA for the dismantlement of the Irish nation-state and its replacement by an entity that gives parity of esteem to British nationalism, extending the British veto into Ireland rather than removing it from Northern Ireland, no one is quite so keen on the idea. Those who are keen on it simply haven’t grasped the new terms of engagement and are thereby keen under false pretences.

    Post GFA, it is no longer disputed that Ulster is British and that so are its citizens. As a separate nation (rather than a tradition within the Irish nation), it is formally accepted by the Irish state that you should have your own right to national self-determination (under the banner of the Northern Irish nation). Good luck with it, and I personally would not vote for a mutual veto agenda of two nations “sharing” one state under any circumstances.

    You really need to dump this unity garbage and get down to the real business at hand which is business itself. Just accept that the Shinners have to pay lip service to it but only for a few more years until the new status quo is accepted, but don’t waste any gray matter discussing things that won’t happen in any of our lifetimes, and probably never. Build an enterprise culture and, now that the Shinners aren’t bombing the hell out of NI, you could become a very prosperous. That’s the only future that folks in NI should be concerned about.

  • Nordi

    JEB
    “what impact do you think that will have on the NI housing market ?
    It will collapse and remain depressed for years.”

    Earth calling John, Earth calling John…..the property market has already collapsed and will remain depressed for years. Precisely because middle class ballbags, catholic and prod, have ‘property portfolios’ instead of homes. ffs.

    On the subject of a UI, if as JEB has prophesized, it leads to a few hundred thousand right wing prod-istan idiots heading ‘home’ to the motherland (GB), I’m all for it. Let the rest of us have a decent summer without all that orangefest shite ruining it for once.

    And quit banging on about how Irish you are. So Irish that you would leave Ireland and head off to Devon (wtf?) if you had to suffer the cruel fate of being governed by Irish people.

  • OC

    Posted by Nordi on Jun 16, 2009 @ 03:45 AM, quo he:

    “On the subject of a UI, if as JEB has prophesized, it leads to a few hundred thousand right wing prod-istan idiots heading ‘home’ to the motherland (GB), I’m all for it.”

    Would all “cultural nationalists” then be required to leave GB? Call it a fair swap, perhaps. I mean, where will all the Huns & Jaffes live if vacant housing isn’t immediately made available for them in GB?

  • bertie

    CS

    “Turgon, when are the unionists going to start apologizing for all the shit that they did in the past ? You can barely even get them to admit that Stormont was wrong, they’ll still make excuses for it, and even excuse the need for discrimination. And you yourself singularly refuse to discuss the historic association between unionism and loyalist paramilitaries despite all this stuff you put out about being against murder.

    And before anyone says “whataboutery”, whatever their faults, the republicans and the SDLP never asked unionists to get down on bended knee for anything, nor have they ever indicated that they expect this to take place under whatever constitutional setup we end up with in the future.”

    “unionists” have nothing to apologise for, neither do “nationalists”. Terroists do. Thus it would be bloody stupid for the SDLP to ask unionists to go down on bended knee for advocating the continuence of tne Union.

    The SDLP and everyone else should be demanding an apology on bended knee from the UDA/UVF etc. It is not to their credit oif they don’t.

  • Comrade Stalin

    “unionists” have nothing to apologise for, neither do “nationalists”. Terroists do.

    This is the whole problem. It was never as simple as “the terrorists vs everyone else”, because politics and terrorism here are closely linked.

    Thus it would be bloody stupid for the SDLP to ask unionists to go down on bended knee for advocating the continuence of tne Union.

    Well that would be a bit stupid. Asking unionist politicians to explain why they were reticient about condemning the McDaid murder, and why they were so keen to deflect blame away from the UDA, to use a recent example, might be more useful.

    The SDLP and everyone else should be demanding an apology on bended knee from the UDA/UVF etc. It is not to their credit oif they don’t.

    I think this is window dressing. The relationships between our politicians and the paramilitaries need to be properly explored. The people who pulled the triggers or planted bombs are guilty of having committed serious crimes, that is unquestionably the case, and I hope that all the “actors” in the conflict will eventually face some kind of truth and reconciliation process.

    But the idea that somehow the politicians who stood behind them either didn’t raise a finger to persuade them to stop, or actively encouraged them to continue killing, do not have anything to answer for is very disturbing.

    For example, it’s insane that people like Turgon and Jim Allister implicitly do not seem to believe that William McCrea should be required to explain why he felt the need to take to a podium with Billy Wright. Likewise, they don’t want to deal with the harder question about whether or not his political career should have suffered. Most unionist politicians who want to consort with paramilitaries have the wit not to do it when the TV cameras are rolling, but this doesn’t mean the issue should go ignored.

  • JR

    Hi Mack,
    I went to UCD and while it is a brilliant university 75% of my class came from fee paying schools in Dublin. I see this as a problem with the education system. My wife to be was educated in a non fee paying school in Notrth Dublin and was one of only four in her year to go to University.

    On Health, About two years ago I sat all day in Vincents in Dullin waiting to get seen with a broken finger in A&E. I fell off my bike at 8.30 and got out at about 7 that evening.

  • Mack

    Comrade Stalin

    Tax

    Well it does depend on what you are earning, and if you are a high earner it’s almost certainly true after the tax hikes down here (the UK has yet to have theirs, but they will come). Average and lower earners pay less tax in the south and most people are average and low earners. Because of tax credits over 1/3 of our tax payers pay no tax at all, and average wages are 30-40% higher down here, don’t forget – so you could well earn more under a pan-Irish system as well.

    Roads

    The idea that the roads are worse in the south (at least around Dublin) than in the north is ludricous. As is the idea that a United Ireland would negatively affect your roads. We’re paying for your new fecking motorway standard dual carriage way from border until well past Newry.

    Public Sector Unions

    The public sector in unionised north and south. CIE covers a much bigger area, but I’ve always found public transport fine in Ireland.

    Health Service

    The health service could be better (a lot better), but seems to rank reasonably high in league tables – just slightly below the UK. Ireland, like the UK has low infant mortality and a high life expectancy.

    Corruption
    Fair point on corruption, though I think the situation has improved off late.

  • Mack

    John EB

    The Irish government, or indeed British government, could take action to hedge final salary public sector pensions in the event of Irish unity so that they hold their values in Euros. Financial Engineering 101 (a cross-currency swap of some type should do it). But aside from that, very many British people retire to the Eurozone, I think your fears are largely unfounded..

  • Mack

    KB

    The official name of the state is Ireland in English – no Republic of or another appendage.

  • Mack

    JR

    Schools comparison – North and South

    Your ascertion isn’t backed up by the stats (or indeed my own experience, my wife and her sister went to a non-fee paying school, both and all their friends I know attended University). I’ve linked to EU wide stats showing superior performance in Ireland (Republic) vis a vis the north in the past. It was difficult enough to find them, but here are some easily discernable facts. I work alongside very many graduates of the Irish education system, very few went to fee pay colleges (although a couple did attend the famous grind school in Dublin in order to resit their leaving).

    Ireland (Republic) 2005

    55% of school leavers went on to higher education in 2005
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Education_in_the_Republic_of_Ireland#Higher_education

    Northern Ireland 2008

    39.9% of school leavers went on the higher education in 2008.

    http://www.deni.gov.uk/school_leavers_0708r-2.pdf

    One system is producing clearly superior results, and it’s not the one you are arguing for.

    Fee paying and non-fee paying

    In the south league tables are published every year detailing the destitination of school leavers. While fee-paying schools do well (no one would you pay for them if they didn’t, and they’d quickly disappear), non-fee paying schools also send large numbers of children to university.

  • Mack

    JR

    On health – a broken finger isn’t a medical emergency. You would have been in and out of a Swift Clinic in no time (clinics built to cater to cases like that and to take pressure of busy A&Es;, there’s one beside Dundrum shopping centre, and they are dotted about Dublin). You were probably given a very low priority, and in a busy hospital near the centre of a capital city it took a long time for doctors to see you.

    I agree, that in ideal world it would be better, in terms of convenience. But your experience doesn’t suggest life threatening incompetence. If your honest with yourself, it should indicate the opposite. It’s not a damning indictment, it’s simply good practice when you are busy to deprioritise trivial injuries.

    I had a similar experience in Daisy Hill hospital just north of the border (although I didn’t have to wait quite as long as that).

  • Mack

    JR –

    Also on health – did you know that a woman in labour in Daisy Hill hospital Newry, can only get an epidural between 9am and 5pm? Did you know that a woman in labour in any of the maternity hospitals in Dublin can get an epidural any time of the day or night?

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Mack,

    So electricals, etc are cheaper in the Republic now? FFS, when we can’t even discuss simple price comparisons without green tainted vision it’s not likely we’ll be agreeing a change in nation state.

    Just for the record I checked out the prices for a few TVs on argos.co.uk and argos.ie. Being a scientist I thought it would be a good idea to compare the same company operating in both jurisdictions as the control.

    The first TV on .ie is a Samsung 22in HD Ready Digital LCD TV/Monitor. 529/4213 €334.99

    The same tv (they use the same stock codes) on .co.uk is £199.99 about €230.

    The 2nd TV on .ie was a LG 26LG4000 26in HD Ready Digital LCD TV/DVD Combi. 087/1088 €644.99

    .co.uk was £420.99 or about €480

    The 3rd was a Samsung 32in LE32A656A1FXXU 1080P Digital LCD TV. 087/1150 €844.98

    On .co.uk £649.99 or about €740

    Do I need to go on?

    On TV you mention Sky. Here it’s £16.50 for the basic package or just under €19. In the RoI it’s €20.50.

  • anne warren

    So glad USA appreciated and agreed with the point I was making “I agree that some relatively simple accommodations such as a Bill of Rights, or an Irish Language Act, sorting out flags etc would make “cultural Catholics” feel more comfortable in the northern state. Ironically for unionists I believe such steps may actually help secure the union for a longer period of time”.
    Must also thank Driftwood for
    1)illustrating so clearly the mindset that does not even recognise the problem as s/he does not appear to have understood what was written,
    2) for gratuitously distributing epithets that reveal an atavistic pigeonholing mentality and
    3)for ending with an out of hand dismissal, none of which furthers any discussion of real issues.
    “”‘Anne Warren’ would do well to read Richard Dawkins before indulging in childish MOPEry. Pathetic SF sock puppet”.
    I suggest that if Driftwood has read any of Richard Dawkins books s/he certainly did not learn anything from them about how to present a reasoned, logical point of view.

  • Mack

    Congal Claen –

    Steady on, I don’t know where this anger is coming from. DID Electrical and Power City are and have nearly always been cheaper than UK chains. The sticker prices are highly negotiable in both stores if you are spending a reasonable amount (and that includes cumulatively over a period, 10-15% discounts). I’ve long shopped both sides of the border for the best deal, there is no green tinted glasses about it. I made the point that prices are falling in the south, you said it was still expensive. Those stores are cheap, always have been but for a period shops in the UK were substantially cheaper – not any more. A friend bought a camera there last week, he couldn’t find it cheaper on the web. Last week we went north to buy a buggy and some other stuff for the wean, there was no real difference in price north and south on those items. Prices are still falling fast in the south.

    Harvey Norman is and has always been more expensive than UK stores. If you’re price sensitive you don’t shop there (if you do, you also probably don’t shop in the north).

    Argos still charge more in the south than the north. If DID or Power City are cheaper for the same item or similar items, then you’d be better of shopping there. Their (Argos’) price differential (on goods imported into both the UK and Ireland) seem well out of whack. Give it time (months), that difference will disappear too.

    A €1.50 difference in the price of Sky – which may well include extra channels in the south (Setanta with premiership rights, 6, TV3, TG4, City Channel etc – my cable certainly carries those – does yours?) doesn’t seem a big difference, certainly not enough to make an issue of.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Mack,

    Sorry if that sounded angry. Exasperation would be a more accurate portrayal of my state of mind.

    Incidentally, how much would you pay for 2L milk, an own brand pan loaf and 500g of butter in tesco down south?

    Here, it’s approx £1.30, £0.70 and £1.70.

  • Mack

    Congal Claen –

    From tesco.ie online service –

    Tesco Fresh Milk 2ltr €1.49 (€0.75/litre)

    Tesco Sliced Pan White 800g €0.95

    Tesco Butter 454g €1.79 (€3.95/kg)


    I tend to mix and match, buy whatever is on offer in whatever shop I’m in on both sides of the border. Tesco / Aldi / Lidl / Sainsburies/ Dunnes etc.

    The Dunnes near my work is never really busy and seems to always have offers on perishables.

  • neil

    So electricals, etc are cheaper in the Republic now?

    Now there’s a burning issue for me, when are we going to get some competition regarding energy prices and specifically electricity in NI? Fed up to the back teeth having no choice of supplier and being ripped off by NIE, in this day and age it’s a total joke that you have one company offering a vital product which people have no choice but to buy regardless of how extortionate the price.

    With regard to the (strangely unmentioned here) further attacks on immigrants in South Belfast, does anyone see that these immigrants (I employ several, exclusively non political economic immigrants, solely interested in earning more) might be turned off Loyalism by the continuing animosity shown to them by some members of that community?

    It’s amusing that every time this comes up that people start to talk about how the immigrants are more Unionist than Nationalist, that doesn’t tally with my experience of them, I’ve had more than 10 through my doors, they do usually live in Loyalist areas, but then you can’t get a house in a Nationalist one. They are Catholics (by background anyway), and all of them, every single one, have suffered abuse from their Loyalist neighbours, which tends to make them less supportive of Unionism.

  • fin

    sorry for going back to the apologies stuff, but, it looks like unionists don’t feel that there is a need to apologise for single party government in NI which excluded nationalists, nor for the ulster workers strike which toppled Sunningdale.

    There is also the police force that looked the other way when civil rights marchers were attacked and when the pogroms happened

    The government/British Army who ran people like Brian Nelson, who with the establishments assistance imported weapons used in the murder of 300 nationalists

    The government/law makers who allowed unionist extremists to whip up hatred with inflamatory speeches, refused to outlaw the UDA, allowed semi-paramilitary meetings on hillsides and the open establishment of organisations such as the Third Force and Ulster Resistance by politicans

    It seems stupid to ask terrorists to apologise for murdering people with weapons handed to them by the establishment, what did Brian Nelsons superiors expect him to do with the guns and information

  • Cushy Glenn

    yawn
    Gerry, you need to listen to Unionists. In case you haven’t noticed, you don’t float our boat and you never will. You’re not my brother- you’re my mortal enemy. I’d sooner be yoked to North Korea’s wackos than your mob ( Punt take note)- at least Kim Jong Il gets a decent ghost writer to pen his wibble.. Of course we can grow closer to our southern neighbours, but we will in spite of your rough wooing, not because of it.

    The Union can and will adapt to come to a modus vivendi with the nationalist community- as it always has before. Go find some other group to patronise and harass. All you’re doing now is providing lessons for your fellow fascists in the BNP on the limitations that putting thugs in suits inevitably have

  • John East Belfast

    Mack

    “The Irish government, or indeed British government, could take action to hedge final salary public sector pensions in the event of Irish unity so that they hold their values in Euros. Financial Engineering 101 (a cross-currency swap of some type should do it). But aside from that, very many British people retire to the Eurozone, I think your fears are largely unfounded..”

    There is no such thing as a 30, 40 or 50 year currency hedge – how would the interest rate differentials which determine such a product be judged over that time ? Not to mention the amount that would need covered – it is bad enough for actuaries to ascertain true pension exposure without someone having to base what would in large part be a currency gamble on it.

    Also not all Final Salary Schemes are Govt – a very high proportion of them are Private sector. British Telecom are not going to start messing around with long term pension currency exposure – they have enough problems already.

    Also in addition to generous Govt. and private sector Final schemes there are all the other people with simple sterling denominated Money Purchase schemes. They would all have to convert to Euros as well.

    People wont like that kind of complexity and uncertainty.

    I know the ROI faced similar scenario in the run up to the Euro but the ROI populace had no choice at that stage. The NI STG populace would and I believe a very high proportion of them would vote with their feet and sail across the Irish Sea – something which the Republican idelaogues would not shed a tear about.

    However among the people left would be a disproportionate dependent culture – driving up taxes for those left behind on the whole island.

    My point is the immediate cost of unity as well as the long term economic case for unity is not even on Nationalist Ireland agenda – according to USA they flew all the way to Manhattan and the economics just gets a mention in Adam’s speech.

    Breathtaking stupidity if you ask me.

    You wouldnt take a business investment decision without having considered the various outcomes and costed the scenarios. It shows that the aspiration for a UI is based on a mixture of emotion and anti english prejudice.

    However the Border Poll will be asking the 40% who dont really care about the Union either way to make a decision on their wealth and prospects for a generation at least.
    Not to mention the 26 county citisens – they will have to be fully informed of the bill they will be presented with as well.

    When the ecomomic genie is let out of the bag in this debate it will torpedo the UI aspiration – regardless of demographics.

    Having said that if that card is palyed too hard by unionists in the run up then as I said it would become a self fulfilling prophecy as people jumped ship before it came too late.
    The recent housing crash has taught these two generations a lesson about how quickly housing wealth can evaporate and many people will have it ingrained in their minds not to let it happen to them again.

    Also as for ex UK pats moving to the Euro zone post retirement remember there is a big difference between the sunny climbs of the Costa Brava and wet Ireland. Anyhow the story on that is they are all returning home again because the recent strength of the Euro is making it too expensive to live there – once again a lesson learned about Sterling Pensions and cash assets being vulnerable in a Euro currency zone.

    The time for a UI was 1921 – too much water has passed under the bridge since then and economies are too complex.

    Nationalism just needs to do better with some serious thinking – I have a few ideas on taht but that is not my job

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Mack,

    Was at Tesco there at lunchtime. Milk was actually 118p and loaf was 72p. it was only an express so they didn’t have a 500g butter. However, by my reckoning we’re cheaper on those essentials. Talking of essentials, how much for a curry chip all smothered in peas?

    Fin,

    All your points could equally apply to the South. Collins gave active support to the Ra in NI after the Treaty and Haughey gave the dough to start the current Ra. Not to mention f*ck all security along the border and extradition bad faith. However, how is any of this discussion going to bring about a UI. Seems to me it’s pushing it further away.

  • fin

    Congal,
    It was in response to a sackcloth and ashes type post from earlier.

    Collins, gosh I didn’t know we were allowed to go back that far, I would have added a lot more,

    regarding the direction of this thread, I’m off to pitch Tesco’s with an advertising idea, its a Padraig Pearse lookalike on the steps of the GPO reading out a proclamation of Tesco’s BOGOFFs and special offers for the week

    I don’t remember the orginal arguement for partition been about keeping down the price of animal feed and a bag of coal or for independence been about property prices.

  • fin

    Cushy Glenn
    “The Union can and will adapt to come to a modus vivendi with the nationalist community- as it always has before.”

    I think you may have lost the nationalist community with this comment, could you possibly give a couple of examples of these “modus vivendi”

  • Mack

    JEB –

    Private schemes are easier to manage – either price or convert the underlying assets in / into Euros at the time of the change over. Most of the pension companies probably operate within the Eurozone and Sterling zone. I can’t imagine a one-time transition is two onerous. E.g. Many mutual funds have versions of the same fund available with dollar / euro / sterling pricing in Ireland.

    I have a UK private pension, and also an Irish pension. There is no problem in bringing the value of my UK pension into the Irish scheme. Once the conversion is done, it’s done – there is no uncertainty. It’s a non-issue for private pensions.

    For unfunded government schemes I imagine it is more of an issue. But probably not as much as you might think. Even if it is only possible to sell swaps lasting 10 years, the value of the pensions to rehedged come maturity will have been significantly reduced (less time remaining on existing pensions).

    One of the governments would have to take on some of the risk long term. Either the British government could pay the Irish government the NPV of the pension today (and the Irish government would take on the pension liability, to be paid in Euros). Or one of the governments could initiate cross-currency swaps with maturities as far out as possible and take on responsibility for converting the pensions into domestic currency. It’s a risk, but at the swaps maturity, the government could end up making money, or losing some. As both governments would have a responsibility to the citizens in that case, perhaps the risk could be shared? If not, I can’t imagine the Irish government would object.

    Incidentally, I imagine in United Ireland (if one ever comes about), northern Pensioners would be entitled to superior Irish state pensions as well..

  • Mack, JEB, etc,

    Alternatively we could all campaign for the UK to join the Euro so the argument would be moot.

    Here’s a thought: which will happen first, a United Ireland or the UK joining the Euro? 😉

    *ducks*

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Fin,

    True. The quest for Irish Independence came from a celtic revival that swept Europe at the end of the 19th century ie essentially a racist ideology with talk of indigenous peoples, languages, etc. However, that isn’t just as trendy now after the Nazis took that a wee bit too far. So, nationalism tries to resort to economic reasons for independence. So the myth that Ireland was shafted on union was propogated. Except that the facts are rather different. After union there was massive investment in roads, bridges and harbours throughout Ireland. So much so, that despite the tragedy of the famine, the GDP of Ireland was approaching that of the UK by 1914. Imagine those crafty British b*stards doing that to us? If we hadn’t put a stop to it, how could we have moaned on any more?

  • PaddyReilly

    My theory is that if the Irish Republic were to set up an office in Belfast for persuading Northern Protestants to join a United Ireland, they would be banging on the door at 8 A.M. But by the end of the day you would realise that every single candidate for persuasion was a walking encyclopedia of the faults of the Irish Republic, real, imagined, and downright mendacious.

    What you have to realise is that they aren’t all like that: it’s just that those who turn up, have done so for the express purpose of not being persuaded. They’re just here to waste your time, and indeed, that is all this Slugger thread is, like many others. Somehow you have to bypass them and find those who are genuinely open to persuasion.

    To find successful unifiers one has to turn one’s eyes across the watter. How did the English manage to persuade the Scottish and the Irish to give up their parliaments? The answer is, bribery. So what you have to do is find a small section of the Northern Protestant population- the gap is so narrow now it does need to be very large- and bribe them to vote for unification.

    The British tradition is of course, that you bribe them with their own money. So here is how you do it. You open a School of Irish Studies for the express purpose of fitting Northerners for forthcoming unification by teaching them those things which they might need to know about Irish life: the Irish language, Bunreacht na hÉireann srl. Anyone who attends this school is then guaranteed state employment in the new reunified Ireland and reaps their eternal reward, while those who currently hold such positions and have neglected to attend the School of Irish Studies will be made redundant and pass into the outer darkness of eternal unemployment punctuated by Job Creation Schemes washing Nuns’ dirty laundry.

    In this way you create a constituency of Northern Irish Protestants who have an interest in reunification coming to pass.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Paddy,

    So, if that’s such a great idea how come the Republic exists?

  • fin

    Congal, unfortunately the quest for freedom in Ireland was born long before than, but I hear you with regards the facist trends that prospered than, its despairing that Darwins ‘survival of the fittest’ been touted as a reason for the raping and staving off African and Asian countries, thankfully the Irish nation is excempt from that shameful period.

    Wasn’t aware of Irelands GDP at that time, but I guess the Irish have a right to be mad as hell at that the wealth was concentrated in the hands of a small handful of individuals mostly resident in England, while the native population starved. Equally shameful that the governments answer to raping and starving the native population, sending in ‘food regiments’ to collect athe abundant food stocks was to offer a pittance build roads.

    But even worse happened in India with 40-60 million starved to death in the late 19th century so Englands cruelty was fairly evenly spread around the empire

  • Mack

    Congal Claen

    The quest for Irish Independence came from a celtic revival that swept Europe at the end of the 19th century ie essentially a racist ideology with talk of indigenous peoples, languages, etc

    That’s a slightly odd line for someone who takes the name of an old Gaelic Cheiftan of Ulster as his handle ( I wonder if there is some tension between yourself and Pint of Unionist Lite author Ui Neill, sorry O’Neill).

    You are probably right about groceries in general. Some items are the same, some cheaper in the south, but in general it probably still is cheaper up north. Gap is narrowing fast though..

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Fin,

    If only it was that easy to get rid of the shame. Catholic Ireland supported Catholicism. So, you could include the rape of South America there for a start – given by Pope Alexander to Spain and Portugal. The New York race riots also spring to mind – caused by the newly arrived Catholic irish. Interestingly, NY originally sided with the Confederacy for the same reason before going with the union. You could then also wind forward to support for Fascist Spain. Look at the organisations that sprung up in ireland at the time – The Gaelic League, the GAA, the Warriors of Destiny not forgetting the Party of the Gael which of course included Duffy the Blueshirt. So, don’t be thinking Irish nationalism gets a clean slate from some of the antics it’s been involved in. All our ancestors have been right fekkers at one point or another.

    Hi Mack,

    Gaelic Cheiftan?

    Last Prince of the Cruthin I think ye’ll find ;0)
    BTW, the bee sting caused that squint.

  • Mack

    Congal Cláen –

    I was baiting you to say that 🙂 Gaelic speaking, gaelic culture, a pretender to the Ard Ri, rather than a Q-Celtic pict, was he not?

    Are you Ian Adamson by any chance?

  • PaddyReilly

    If that’s such a great idea how come the Republic exists?

    Well in the good old days the English only needed to form an alliance with a minority of people, the Irish landlords in the main, and these were mostly persuaded to change religion/side by penal laws etc. (Those who opposed this settlement had to leave the country).

    When ideas of democracy and universal suffrage (as of the 1880s) came in they were stuffed, because the unlanded Irish had not been bought or persuaded.

    Equally in Scotland it was only the landlords and rich merchants who needed to be bought, and nowadays (with no Empire to offer them employment in) the Scots are beginning to have a change of mind.

    The situation in the North of Ireland is a little different because there is already a huge pro-Irish constituency: it just needs augmenting slightly by a particular class of Northern Irish Protestant.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Mack,

    No, not just that old.

    You mean in the same way we are English speaking and indulge in a fair amount of English culture and sport?

    BTW, I thought the picts were P-celtic and that Cruthin is just the q celtic form of preteni is it not? Open to correction.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Paddy,

    Dream on. Whenever the EU fails, which I expect to see during my lifteime, new relationships will have to be adopted. I’ll then welcome back the prodigal Irish no problems.

  • Mack

    No you’re right, P-celtic.

    You mean in the same way we are English speaking and indulge in a fair amount of English culture and sport?

    Well, more like the way David Cameron is English speaking and indulges in a fair amount of English culture and sport 😉

    Not to force our political divisions on leaders back then, but he did want to be High King of Ireland and if he / they were separate Picts in Ireland – there would be some traces culturally. But apparently they lived as Gaels and did not follow Pictish traditions, so not sure how they become separatists. (I.e. Even in todays globalised world, most Anglophone cultures also have their own separate traditions, Irish culture and Scottish culture exist and our easy to recognise.).

  • PaddyReilly

    I’ll then welcome back the prodigal Irish no problems.

    Well, I have to admit the British Empire was a good thing (for its ruling class) while it lasted, and it probably was a fault of the Catholic Irish that they didn’t learn to exploit it more.

    In any group of three or more people there is a bully, a stooge, and a victim. The British Empire was founded on bullyhood for the English Upper Class, stooge status for a large swathe of the planet ranging from Scottish tacksmen who became army officers, Irish Protestants who became prison guards to Parsees and Anglo Indians who got jobs on the railways, and victim status for a lot of undistinguished coloured chappies.

    Irish tenants classed themselves as victims, but if they had tried a little harder they could have relocated themselves and become stooges, even bullies. Indeed there was a General Sullivan in America who perpetrated the genocide of the Sioux, a commendable example of upward mobility from the Celtic peasantry.

    But the British Empire is gone for ever and isn’t going to come back. The EU seems to do all right: I can’t see what it could be replaced with, unless it were something similar. England no longer wants or needs a class of “loyal” protestants to keep the Irish down so you’re going to have to learn to sing another song.

  • fin

    Congal, sorry fella did you nip up to your bedroom for a smoke on the old wacky baccy?

    “Catholic Ireland supported Catholicism. So, you could include the rape of South America there for a start – given by Pope Alexander to Spain and Portugal”

    “The New York race riots also spring to mind – caused by the newly arrived Catholic irish”

    It shows the trouble that Britain causes, if it wasn’t for the money it made from slavery those poor Africans would have been in Africa, or the money to be made staving the Irish of their land they would still have been in Ireland, shameful

    so where would good old Protestant Britain fit in here (from wiki)
    During the First and Second World War, German leaders used the writings of Luther to support the cause of German nationalism.[16] At the 450th anniversary of Luther’s birth, which took place only a few months after the Nazi seizure of power in 1933, there were celebrations conducted on a large scale both by the Protestant Churches and the Nazi Party

    The GAA, Facists? eh?
    FF, Dev who hired ex-IRA men to breakup Blueshirt meetings a Facist? what?

    Indeed the Irish were at the fore alongside Jews in fighting the Blaclshirts at the battle of Cable Street.

    Re: the Spanish civil war nationalities fought on both sides, perhaps more IRA and Protestent republicans would have reached the government forces if it hadn’t been for the British and French naval blockade in support of Franco, Franco also assisting the USA in troop movements towards the end of the WW2. Of course horrible war, its why so many people like me support the Basques in fighting for independence, they suffered more than most at Francos hands, I don’t understand why unionists get so upset over supporting victims of Facism.

    “All our ancestors have been right fekkers at one point or another.”

    Well your ancestors anyway as you keep pointing out, but mine are fairly blameless, but its not that long ago that the Brits put Gandhi in prison, and supported White South Africa against Mandela, of course the same crimes are been carried out today on people like the ex-inhabitants of Diego Garcia. I don’t think Leopards ever do change their spots, its in their DNA.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Well it does depend on what you are earning, and if you are a high earner it’s almost certainly true after the tax hikes down here (the UK has yet to have theirs, but they will come).

    I was a high rate tax earner when I worked in Dublin in 1999-2000 and I was earning pretty much fuck all. My salary was around IR11K (not far off the UK min wage at the time), but overtime due to the Y2K problem put me over the 14K barrier and that was taxed at 46%. I was also paying higher VAT and PSRI as well, and I had no medical insurance which, if I’d added it, would have reduced my net income further. So it’s not since the recent changes, it’s since a very long time. Admittedly, no rates (property tax) had to be paid, but the rental market was such where levying property taxes would have led to no change in the final market price.

    Average and lower earners pay less tax in the south and most people are average and low earners. Because of tax credits over 1/3 of our tax payers pay no tax at all, and average wages are 30-40% higher down here, don’t forget – so you could well earn more under a pan-Irish system as well.

    It’s very misleading of you to talk about tax credits as if they were a benefit unique to Ireland. We have them up here too, so let’s stick to the actual tax rates and tax bands, which can be clearly seen to be higher in the RoI by comparing the rates on the respective government websites. Property tax in the UK cancels some of that out but not all of it.

    If you’re earning more that means you’re having to pay other people more for your services so again, I don’t suspect that impacts standard of living in a way which is positive.

    The idea that the roads are worse in the south (at least around Dublin)

    I like the way you wrote “at least around Dublin” in there. Rural roads in Ireland suck badly compared to up here. Admittedly, though, I think the Roads Service spend too much on rural roads.

    And sorry, but I still see roads in inner city Dublin that suck because they’ve not been laid properly. They’re new and expensive, but were not competently laid. The M1 is a good job though.

    than in the north is ludricous.

    Only if you haven’t spent time comparing them.

    As is the idea that a United Ireland would negatively affect your roads. We’re paying for your new fecking motorway standard dual carriage way from border until well past Newry.

    Actually the part that the RoI paid for (Cloghogue – border) stops shy of Newry, and the current bypass under construction is funded entirely in NI. And yes, the RoI is pretty good at building motorway standard roads, especially considering they’ve only been doing it for about 15 years as opposed to almost 60 years in NI.

    The public sector in unionised north and south. CIE covers a much bigger area, but I’ve always found public transport fine in Ireland.

    The public sector is not merely unionized in the south, the unions have complete control over it particularly in transport. Bus and train strikes happen here but they are rare in NI and when they happen they tend to go on for a few hours. DART drivers on the other hand demand massive pay increases just to pay new trains. When I was in Dublin a third union was setup within the locomotive drivers (the ILDA) which unconvenienced passengers and damaged the economy just so that they could be recognized by IE. That is outrageous and it’s ridiculous that the Irish government backs down to their intimidation.

    The health service could be better (a lot better), but seems to rank reasonably high in league tables – just slightly below the UK. Ireland, like the UK has low infant mortality and a high life expectancy.

    Which means that the health service is worse, because Ireland has a younger population profile.

    Corruption
    Fair point on corruption, though I think the situation has improved off late.

    At least the mechanisms exist to vote the bastards out, now we need the people to actually make use of that vote. I can’t really lecture you there I have to admit, given the calibre of people we continually re-elect in NI.

  • Greagoir O Frainclin

    It’s gas that some Unionists folk with all the revisionism they can muster desperately want to admonish us Irish for the consequences of a history which was forced upon us.

    However, it doesn’t wash, no matter what way folk want to bleach out the bloodied stains of history, and of course it was mostly caused by England and her cohorts carrying out her will here in Ireland.

    BTW, we were driven away from the Union of Great Britain and Ireland for there was no room for ‘popish peasant paddy’ in the protestant dominated UK! Popish peasant uneducated landless paddy, a second class citizen in his own country, and all because he was a Catholic.

    So Home Rule was a fair request, that was constantly ignored. A fair request, because we had no right to be governed by England in the first place. (Although Unionist don’t sem to think so). A fair request by the majority of the people of the Nation of Ireland, the same Nation of Ireland that is still represented on the Union flag and Royal standard to this day, despite 3/4’s and more, of it being an Independant Irish Republic today.

  • Mack

    Comrade Stalin –

    The 42% rate did not kick in until £20,000 in 2000 (it’s €36,000 today). Are you just making stuff up?

    http://www.omahonydonnelly.ie/moving.htm

    Calculate and compare the actual amount of tax paid at different salary levels in each jurisdiction. I’ve actually done this. I’ve actually done this. If the amount of tax credits (amount directly subtractable from your tax bill) is different then you’ll pay different amounts of tax. Lower earners in Ireland pay no income tax at all. That is not the case in the Uk.

    By the way your 1999-2000 salary looks incredibly low, being the peak of the dot.com boom and all. I was offered a graduate job that year in Dublin (not a particularly good one) with a base 50% higher, I took an actual job the year after that paid £28,000. In software. Your example is not at all credible.

  • Eric

    “Greater choice for consumers. Our prices are way below that of the Republic. ”

    The hidden subvention.

  • Mack

    The Tánaiste said that the vast majority of those with high incomes pay tax at or close to the top rate (42% in 2003) and the top 1.5% of income earners pay more than a quarter of all income tax in the State, while after Budget 2007 nearly 40% of income earners at the lower end of the income scale pay no income tax.

    Finfacts – http://www.finfacts.com/irelandbusinessnews/publish/printer_1000article_1011252.shtml

    How many low earners in the UK pay no tax?

  • Eric

    The north IS an economic wasteland populated by the feckless and it would just be transferred to another jurisdiction.

  • Sir Anthony O’Reilly

    “One of the greatest gifts I can bestow on my children is their British passport.”?

  • Mack

    Comrade Stalin

    Actual examples

    1999 – Irish worker earning 14k

    Yearly take home pay. (Single)
    Selected Tax year is 1999/00
    Gross Take Home Pay = € 14000.00
    Tax = € 1775.37
    Take Home Pay after Tax = € 12224.63
    Less PRSI = € 332.88
    Net take home pay = € 11891.75

    ————————–

    The average salary in the UK is £24908 or €29496

    http://www.statistics.gov.uk/cci/nugget.asp?id=285

    €29496/£24908 – British Average Wage

    Irish salary €29496 – net = €25456.24
    British salary – £24908 – net = £19,116.17

    €36,000

    Irish worker on €36,000 gross. Net is € 29124.16 (was €30204.16 prior to emergency budget).

    UK worker on £32,400 (roughly equivalent) gross is £24,163.60

    Which is still substantially less tax.

    http://www.taxcalc.eu/

    http://listentotaxman.com/index.php?c=1&yr=2008&age=0&add=0&code;=&pension=0&time=1&ingr=32400&vw;%5B%5D=yr&vw;%5B%5D=mth&vw;%5B%5D=wk

    —-
    €17,000 – Around the minimum wage
    Irish – gross – €17,000 – net €16920 (was €17,000 prior to emergency budget)
    UK – gross – £15,660 net – £12,613.00 (£3,000 tax)

    €80 compared with £3k!

    €40,000/£33,777 Irish average salary (private sector)

    Irish average private sector salary (including management is approx €40,000 or £33,777)

    Irish salary – €40,000 net = 32368.16
    UK Salary – £33,777 net =25,235.78

    —-

    The average Irish worker has a take home salary of €32,368 compared with the average British workers take home pay of £19,116.17. It’s pretty clear Irish low paid workers pay less tax.

  • Disinterested observer

    ‘We’re paying for your new fecking motorway standard dual carriage way from border until well past Newry’

    Eh not actually true this is being paid for by Her Majestys Govt. The Republic promised to pay for upgrade to A8 to Larne and A6 past Omagh. I’ll lay money that they’ll will not in fact do so given the economic climate in the south.
    Martin Mansergh pointed out that a UI is out the window and the Republic is in a battle for its very economic survival

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Fin,

    Sorry for the delay, I was off yesterday.

    “Congal, sorry fella did you nip up to your bedroom for a smoke on the old wacky baccy?”

    Now that is funny. I’m the one on the funny stuff. Yet you are trying to build a case to suggest that Unionists/Brits are in someway responsible for WW2 as that was a Prod inspired event despite the fact that it was the Brits who largely held back the Nazis in Europe to give time for American involvement. And unfortunately for your thesis Hitler was also Catholic himself. In fact the swastika came from a statue in the Chapel he attended as a child.

    “The GAA, Facists? eh?”

    I never said that. I said that the GAA were formed as part of the celtic revival movement that swept Europe at the time. The result of which were Nazis in Germany.

    Regarding the Spanish Civil War, it is a fact that more Irish Republicans fought on the side of the Fascists. That’s hardly a surprise tho’ when the Irish Bishops were excommunicating those who fought against Franco.

    “Well your ancestors anyway as you keep pointing out, but mine are fairly blameless…”

    Earlier you mentioned slavery. It may surprise you to know your ancestors excelled at that. Remind yourself how Saint Patrick came to Ireland. And just to keep it more current, the Ra, were they all Prods as well? ’cause they were/are sectarian fekkers as well.

  • Greagoir O Frainclin

    “In fact the swastika came from a statue in the Chapel he attended as a child.”

    Congal, the swastika was already used by the German nationalist parties that predated the Nazi’s and prior to Hitler’s involvement!

    Read Laurence Rees “The Nazi’s”

    “I never said that. I said that the GAA were formed as part of the celtic revival movement that swept Europe at the time. The result of which were Nazis in Germany.”

    Why do you ignore the British Nationalism that emerged at the time too…. with historical and mythical figures such as the Celtic Boudica, mythical Celtic King Arthur, Anglo-Saxon King Alfred, etc… becoming figureheads of Britain’s Empire throughout the world. How about the British Nationalism of Elgar, Kipling, etc…such nationalism perpetrated from the times of Geoffrey of Monmouth and Gerald Cambrensis.
    And then there was the German linguist Max Muller who while working in Oxford as Proffessor of modern languages first coined the notion of the Aryan race that tied in well with Empire and W.A.S.P.s.

    Why do you blatantly ignore such facts?

    And you persistantly do so!

    http://unrepentantbritishnationalist.blogspot.com/

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Greagoir,

    Willing to be corrected on the Swastika. I saw that on some documentary about the young Hitler. It actually showed the statue with a Virgin Mary on top. The swastika had slanted arms. Which apparently was an ancient symbol of world peace. I wasn’t just making it up.

    If you read my former post you’ll see the phrase…

    “All our ancestors have been right fekkers at one point or another.”

    In other topics I have previously posted that the British Empire is not something that I am particularly proud of.

    So, I’m not sure where you get this idea from that I support everything British.

  • Greenflag

    “All our ancestors have been right fekkers at one point or another.”

    And some of their descendants are still fekking around too as events in East & South Belfast only too vividly tell us 🙁

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Greenflag,

    Absolutely. And wider afield…

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/13111789@N00/2905191206/

  • Comrade Stalin

    Comrade Stalin –

    The 42% rate did not kick in until £20,000 in 2000 (it’s €36,000 today). Are you just making stuff up?

    http://www.omahonydonnelly.ie/moving.htm

    Alright Mack, now you’re starting to piss me off, especially as it’s clear that you weren’t actually there at the time and have to rely on Google to make your case.

    The rate in your link kicked in in FY 2000, ie April 2000. I did say I was working 1999-2000, but I perhaps was not clear that I was working my year out at university (June 1999 – August 2000, although I thought given that I was working for just one year might have been a reasonable hint) and around Feb/March 2000 (I can’t remember which, I’ll have to dig out the payslips) I hit the upper rate which was at 14K.

    See this link : if you don’t believe me.

    I won’t forget it because it came as an unwelcome surprise at the time when I got to the point where I went over the threshold. It was even worse for another guy in the office who was a graduate earning IR£20K but who had not had his tax code updated to distribute his tax payments evenly throughout the year. Once he went over the threshold, his monthly pay was assessed at the higher rate – an even nastier shock. This problem doesn’t happen in the UK (and it may have been corrected by now in the RoI).

    For completeness I should add that I didn’t work the full tax year in 2000-01 (back to uni) so they refunded it (and in fairness to the Revenue they were damn quick about it – about 5 days after I sent in the P45 to make the claim). But then again, I didn’t come anywhere near the upper limit for FY2000-01.

    I am sure you will agree that taxation at the upper rate at 14K is substantially heftier tax than was levied in the UK at that time or since. The bands have widened somewhat since then.

    By the way your 1999-2000 salary looks incredibly low, being the peak of the dot.com boom and all. I was offered a graduate job that year in Dublin (not a particularly good one) with a base 50% higher, I took an actual job the year after that paid £28,000. In software. Your example is not at all credible.

    It’s well out of order for you to accuse me of lying – twice – in both cases without stopping to check the background facts first.

    It was a year-out job and it was in a major bank HQ, and the pay was £11K. Graduate jobs in the same place were coming out at around £20K, IIRC. If you don’t believe me I’ll scan my payslips and email them to you. If you’re familiar with Irish banks you’ll know that overtime rates and allowances for evening and weekend work are unusually generous, and for this reason I did pretty well down there. You’ll also know that they don’t necessarily respond quickly to labour market conditions, especially in the IT sector, so they weren’t – at that point at least – competing on salary. They don’t see software engineers/IT workers as a special case and they are treated like regular bank officials (in fact the job titles are all bank titles, ie “manager”, “executive” or “bank official”, not “engineer” or “architect” as in regular software firms, like the one I work in now).

    I’ll reply to your other posts about tax later. Transparency demands that you show how you arrived at the financial figures you are showing. I’m not disputing them but I’d rather check them against the government’s official tax bands and allowances.

    A quick check shows that the Irish upper rate still kicks in at ~EUR38000, or about UKP32K, whereas the UK upper band is at £34K (of taxable income so that excludes the tax-free part of your earnings). I don’t know if the Irish tax bands cover your income overall or just the taxable part.

    I’m still certain that you’ll continue to be showing as paying more tax in the RoI if you count VHI/BUPA as a “tax”, which is not wholly unreasonable considering that it’s very foolish not to have medical cover. Without that, it’s touch and go. I’ll need to see the sums.

  • Mack

    Comrade Stalin –

    I didn’t think you were lying or accuse you of lying – I thought your example wasn’t credible. Most likely that your dates were way off (i.e. that you were in Dublin a couple years earlier than you wrote), or you were an intern 😉 But I take your point on the tax rates, you were right on the 1999 rates. Intern jobs never pay well (the minimum wage comment, made it sound like you were implying wages were low in Dublin). It looks like tax rates fell dramatically in or around 2000 – yep, I didn’t arrive until 2001. Although given that the higher rate was 70 or 80% in the late 80s (until the PAYE demos and the multi-party Tallaght Strategy to reduce gov spending and tax) it may have been falling dramatically for some time. Incidentally the UK underwent a similar revolution only 5-10 years earlier as Margaret Thatcher reduced the top rate of tax from a swingeing 83% ! The Irish Friedmanite revolution came a little later than in the UK and USA, but not much.

    I arrived at those figures by plugging them into a tax calculator (links provided above). The bands in Ireland apply to all your income, generous tax credits are deducted from your total tax at the end.

    http://www.taxcalc.eu/
    http://listentotaxman.com

    I absolutley accept high earners pay less income tax in the UK at the minute (but higher taxes in other areas that high earners may be interested in, I think). There is no reason why tax rates should be higher in Ireland than the UK – all else being equal the opposite should hold as there are more workers per dependent. Given that low earners tend to spend proportionally much more of their money in the domestic economy it makes sense to tax them very lightly.

    A premium VHI plan for my family costs around €3k a year, which would bring a minimum wage tax payer up to close what (but still less) than what a British worker on the same salary would pay. It’s a fixed cost, so those earning more would still pay the same, singles on minimum wage could get health insurance for substantially less – say €1k or so. My single Quinn insurance (before we had our daughter) was around €800, but health insurance has gone up since then. That is a fair point, but it would depend on your circumstance – how much you earn, family size, number of workers in the household etc.

  • Lets Invent Stupid Acronyms

    Interns do not get paid

  • Comrade Stalin

    Sigh. Weirdly, this conversation has reminded me of how much I miss Dublin. I’ve had thoughts over the past day or two about moving back down, as I see some IT employers are still recruiting in areas that I’m good at. What sort of salaries are realistic for a sysadmin/unix/C/C++ developer these days ?

    I was quite happy with £11K at the time, I think the take-home came out somewhere around £750-£800. I was able to find a place renting for £150/month (sharing) so it did not work out too badly. I didn’t bother with VHI but if I was moving back down it would be an essential. I remember having credit card debts up here, and shortly after I moved down the exchange rate with Sterling became really bad, making it a struggle to get those paid off.

    I was looking on Daft and the rental prices look substantially higher than Belfast – as is probably to be expected – about EUR1000/month for a two-bedroom apartment. Working on a rule of the rent being no more than 1/3 take-home salary, that implies a salary of about EUR50K. Hmm.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Interns do not get paid

    I think this was true about 20 years ago. But internship is a lot more common now than it was then, and in the IT world at least it’s pretty much essential. Back when interns did not get paid, in the UK at least, students had much more generous grants and were permitted to go on the dole in the summer months.

  • Republic of Connaught

    The whole point of a united Ireland from a nationalist perspective is entirely logical to us. Not least imo but because children in the north from a nationalist, primarily catholic background are partitioned off from their own people – their own blood. Irish people are separated despite living in Ireland – our own homeland. Kids in Belfast or Derry or South Armagh are not being brought up in the same system as kids in Dublin, Cork or Galway. Indeed in many ways nationalist kids in the north are not too different to kids in England of Irish families. They are part of the English state apparatus and its control, not the Irish state. Thus six county nationalists can’t logically feel as “at home” in the Irish state among fellow Irish as they naturally should because they have been brought up in a different state, like outsiders in their own country.

    I myself visit relatives in Enniskillen and I salivate at the day the border is history. Not because I yearn to see Unionists “lose”, but because my relatives in the six counties will live under our own Irish ‘political’ roof, not an English one where English strangers like David Cameron are going to have such influence on their lives.

    However for the Unionists, they are being asked to leave the only political roof they have ever lived under or trusted. So why would a Protestant Unionist brought up to revere British history really CHOOSE to leave England’s rule, even if Scotland went independent?

    Was it not the Protestants of Ireland that England looked after with power and wealth and education and foreign adventure? Was it not England that partitioned Ireland against the wishes of the huge Catholic majority to maintain some of that power for her Protestant subjects in the north of Ireland? Mother England has still not walked out on her loyal subjects yet. And she won’t, until nationalist demographics forces her out. Only then will Unionists have no where else to go but a unified Ireland or the plane to England, as John East Belfast honestly said.

    Most of what Protestant British Ulster people hold most dear are essentially English symbols – the English Queen, English parliament, English historical figures. So moving to an independent England with the same Queen, the same house of parliament the same religion would seem a lot less crazy to a Protestant Ulsterman than being asked to choose to leave the UK and participate in a parliament in Dublin, among mainly Catholic people who glorify events like 1916 and tries to ignore any positive aspects of British-Irish history. Not to mention the dreaded sectarian division that has plagued Ireland for so long.

    So to conclude, I would not advise any nationalist to try to “woo” Unionists. The Ulster Protestant has no strong enough historical or contemporary reason to vote himself out of the UK – save a patriotic love of Ireland and its people, which patently does not exist among the majority.

    Instead it would be wiser to strive simply to improve civil relations for everyone’s mutual benefit and wait for the demographic change. There has to be a winner and loser in Northern Ireland between British and Irish sovereignty and at the moment nationalism is losing. But Irishmen have been told many times over the centuries they’d never be free of England’s rule. And the answer to that is twenty-six down, six to go.

    Finally removing English rule from Ireland is like trying to get a culchie out of the pub at closing time. A long, long, tortuous ordeal with an inevitable conclusion.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Jesus. If anyone thought nationalists were not capable of being bigoted and hateful, re-read the contribution above.

  • James

    why is everyone obsessed with religious boundaries, as a catholic brought up in bangor myself and all my friends (both religions) would vote to remain the the UK. Im sure there are protestants who would for for a reunification of ireland also. I was reading on wiki that a poll in 2007, only 23% would vote for a united ireland, the remainder to stay in uk or independance. I only knew the bad troubles from my parents.

    What would worry me is if SF dont get a united ireland in this timeframe will they go back to bombing and shooting?

  • AA

    “Finally removing English rule from Ireland is like trying to get a culchie out of the pub at closing time. A long, long, tortuous ordeal with an inevitable conclusion. ”

    I was so pissed once the barman gave up trying to eject me and let me sleep it off in the back lounge overnight.

  • Greenflag

    ‘What would worry me is if SF dont get a united ireland in this timeframe will they go back to bombing and shooting? ‘

    I would’nt worry about SF . I’d be more worried about the TUV and other unionist elements who want to put an end to power sharing . Now that is the way back to guns etc imo.

  • Greenflag

    Comrade stalin ,

    ‘If anyone thought nationalists were not capable of being bigoted and hateful, re-read the contribution above’

    I don’t see anything ‘hateful’ in ROC’s comment . Perhaps a little over the top in the dept of ancient sentiment but no more so than words uttered at any OO July 12th event .

    He’s correct about changing demographics being probably the only way in which any UI will ever be delivered . Whether it would be worth it is another matter .

    Nothing wrong with ‘Waiting for Godot ‘ I suppose ? -just as long as ROC is not too disappointed when said Godot fails to arrive during his lifetime .

    A fair repartition of NI directed by a neutral international agency is the just solution in the even that this power sharing exercise fails but then I would say that would’nt I .

    I suspect ROC would not approve but then that’s the problem with die hard nationalists and unionists . They both still believe in their ancient dreams .