Adams tries softer sell for unity

Gerry Adams launched the British leg of Sinn Fein’s United Ireland campaign at Westminster last night. I went along in a quandary. Having read the write up of the New York launch, I wondered if he had anything new to say. More to the point, had I? No use sniping or sneering, there’s enough of that elsewhere. In the event, I think I detected a new openmindedness, a much softer sell involving an adjustment to reality, certainly light years away from the old dogma of bombing the Brits out of Ireland or even the Sinn Fein hard line doctrine of inevitability. Adams is on a search for new allies for a revived project. Last night’s attendance ws largely limited to the usual suspects of the old hard-ish left wing and the sympathetic diaspora, elements not notably influential in post-Thatcher Britain. He admits it’s a daunting task. And yet he sounded like a Sinn Fein leader in comfortable command with all the time in the world, rather than Gerry Adams under pressure north and south. True, the old mantra were incanted (although absent form the Guardian’s shortened version of the speech): “ .. the underlying cause of the conflict persists – that is the British government’s claim to jurisdiction over a part of Ireland.” Yet this jarred with his basic thrust.

In the middle of questions and comments, Adams suddenly defined his problem: “All of us involved in the Good Friday Agreement are to some extent victims of our own success.” And that surely is the nub of it. What now is the onward strategy? In contrast to the old certainties, Adams was really open to anything, “formal” like the Smash the H block campaign or a looser “more informal,” process based on a statement of principles that produced the economic pressures that came from the McBride principles. “Is it possible to put in place a formal structured broad front approach to campaign for a united Ireland? Or would it be better to opt for an informal, organic and popular movement based on core principles?” It was strange to hear Gerry Adams talking like this.

There are “three interlinked challenges” in the campaign: “getting the British government to change from upholding the Union to becoming a persuader for Irish unity” (How?) Getting the Irish government to prepare for Irish unity.( No sign yet of that “Green Paper”) And engaging with Ulster Unionism on the type of Ireland we want to create.( Unionists are 2% in the Union, 20% in a United Ireland etc). The north-south institutions are a start. The aspiration fundamentally remains rooted in the rational enough belief that “Irish Unity makes sense”.

What might the process look like? Adams quoted Professor Brendan O’Leary approvingly , speaking at the New York event.

“Professor Brendan O’Leary, in his contribution to this very debate, suggested that republicans and nationalists and unionists should examine the possibilities of some form of federal arrangement. Others may have different ideas and suggestions. This is one part of the debate we must have.
But O’Leary warned it would all take a long time. There would not be a nationalist majority by 2023 and he was of the view that the gains by nationalists in the overall population of the North had likely flattened out.

There was, he said, “no quick victory” for Irish nationalism “through the cradle.”
As such, a “substantial portion of unionists and Protestants” needed to be converted to the idea of a united Ireland. There were, he said “practical and principled” reasons to advocate a federal Ireland. O’Leary argued that the “population explosion” in the South stood to give the North much less clout in a united Ireland than once would have been the case. A federal Ireland, he said, would dilute this effect. Such a federation would not necessarily be based on the historical four provinces but a two unit federation between the existing six county North and the South which, he said, could break into smaller units if it so desired. There would be a need to persuade others such as immigrant groups in the North in order to establish a required backdrop for unity of peace and pluralism, said O’Leary. The arrival of those groups made a federal Ireland more possible.

O’Leary focused on the difficulties of winning over public opinion in the South to the idea of unity. “There had been “estrangement” over the 90 years of partition and a fear in the South over potential violence from northern Protestants. Consent for unity on the southern side, he said, would minimally require the cooperation of the SDLP in the North, Fianna Fáil, Labour and the Greens in the South. ”

By the way, it’s worth noting that Sinn Fein appear not to be formally committed to continuing the existing six county devolved institutions in a united Ireland although the governments and parliaments are. However, this is the sort of unbuttoned thinking that Sinn Fein supporters will have to address before their next conference in February. It will take place against an Irish background of a reappraisal of the party’s reduced role in the south and possible challenge to its republican dominance in the north. In Britain David Cameron flirts with a new departure for unionism which, while by no means abandoning the British-Irish partnership, is far from adopting the language of persuader for Irish unity. So it’s far from clear who Sinn Fein’s effective new allies might be.

  • Davros

    Regardless of politics does someone have a spreadsheet of some kind, or a report written by a proper actuary, on how a united Ireland would actually be paid for? I mean really detailed, projected pension payments for NI public sector, PFI projects, tax take etc which integrates them with the Republics numbers. What would the North cost the South in laymans terms (a penny on income tax? Something catchy). The Romantic in me says a united Ireland would be wonderful for a few days but reality would soon set in as we realise than partition wasn’t actually a particular problem and we didn’t magically turn into Sweden

  • exile

    Regardless of whether or not this persuasion project has the potential to be successful, it will get nowhere with Adams at the healm. Time for new blood at the top which will include getting rid of Adams, McGuinness, (the already semi-retired) Doherty and Ferris for starters.

  • frustrated democrat

    The move by the Conservatives into partnership with the UUP means that in fact the unionists will be part of about 40% of the UK not 2% and the 40% will be represented by the UK Government and persuaders for the retention of the UK.

    This has dealt a severe blow to any prospect of a UI and Adams knows it, he is trying to pretend that the policy still exists even though he is aware that it is an untenable objective.

    He is forced into this position due to the dissidents who still hold it up as a number one objective and seem to be gaining in support.

    We need to find a mechanism whereby NI stays firmly within the UK but also gives an outlet for those who believe in a UI to feel that their beliefs are being respected. The GFA doesn’t seem to have fully achieved it on either side, maybe we need to be prepared to rethink some of its ideas.

    If Nationalists were prepared to modify their UI demands and accept the current status quo for say at least the next 25 years, which is becoming the accepted reality, then the unionists might feel more able to accommodate closer ties with the RoI across a range of activities.

    I am interested to hear what others think.

  • Greenflag

    BW ,

    ‘“getting the British government to change from upholding the Union to becoming a persuader for Irish unity” (How?) ‘

    Apart from a brief flurry during the Harold Wilson era no British government and especially not a Conservative one are ever going down that road . Whatever they say privately among themselves it will never be stated publicly .

    ‘ Getting the Irish government to prepare for Irish unity’

    The problem is not Irish ‘unity’ but getting the Irish economy back on it’s feet after years of ‘irrational’ exuberance ! There is no great appetite for a UI in the Republic . It’s like Godot -somewhere out there but ‘lost’ or in non arrivals .

    ‘ Unionists are 2% in the Union, 20% in a United Ireland etc). ‘

    Actually it’s 1.6% in the Union and more like 16% in any UI. Those percentages are based on the notional 1 million Unionists – a UK population of 61 million and a UI population of 6 million.There is probably less than a million Unionists as per paddy reilly !

    ‘The north-south institutions are a start. The aspiration fundamentally remain rooted in the belief that “Irish Unity makes sense”.’

    For those of us of the Irish persuasion it may make sense for reasons of political and economic history , geography, and in particular for the disadvantaged ‘border ‘areas which have suffered most from the first partition. For those of a Unionist persuasion who look to London for financial subvention and protection (defence) Irish ‘unity’ does not make sense either economic or political .The status quo such that it is despite it’s ‘complexity’ remains preferable . For those of us in the Republic the status quo also remains preferable as we can do without a UI and we can do without the necessary religious sectarianism which inevitably accompanies ‘unionism’ on this island.

    However it’s recognised that we are moving into a new era in respect of relations between both States- yet it’s far from settled how this relationship will evolve and/ or be an improvement on the mutually self imposed freeze of the 1920 – 1965 ? period .

    Despite Professor O’Leary’s rationale favouring federalism there is even less of an appetite for that route than there is for a UI . The island is too small and is already overgoverned. Added up both states on the island have to support almost 300 legislators as compared to the UK’s 600 . This means it takes one British legislator (English/Scots /Welsh) to do the work of 5 Irish (in a federal UI ). Overhead is overhead and it’s expensive . We need to increase the ‘productivity’ of our public representatives not reduce it . There is a minimum number of MP’s /TD’s which are needed for reasonably effective governance and which would allow an effective opposition . For Ireland (the island) that number would be closer to 200 than 300. That number (i.e 200) is not achievable with two states on the island.

    ‘So it’s far from clear who Sinn Fein’s effective new allies might be. ‘

    It’s actually very clear . They haven’t any. Well not any with any great political sway in the UK . In Ireland the non SF ‘left’ are regrouping around Labour /FG in an anti FF loose alliance that is hoping to benefit from FF’s discomfort at being left holding the ball when the Wall St property balloon went bust and the Madoffia ran away with the loot 🙁

    I’m afraid it’ll have to be back to the cradle if there is ever to be a a UI as the Presbyterian Minister of Castlerock wrote to a Nationalist friend back in the 1930’s (quoted in Marcus Tanner’s ‘Ireland’s Holy Wars ‘) .

    However the present ‘members ‘ of the Irish nation do not appear to be up to the job and prefer instead the secular artefacts of a modern economy than achieving a political aspiration which in this ‘globalised ‘ world economy would be mere window dressing anyway .

    As for persuading ‘Unionists ‘ of the benefits of a UI it would be more productive to watch grass grow . They are not listening , never have listened and more importantly don’t want to listen . Why would they ? They are financially supported by 15 times the number of taxpayers as would be the case in a UI, and they are also defended by the British military in the event of ‘invasion’ and by Britain’s nuclear power status ?

    What can a UI offer them ? More tourists and a lower corporation tax rate (maybe) ? An end to history ?

    There is no end to history just in case anyone is still labouring under that misconception.

  • soandso

    Surely this campaign would have been more likely to succeed at the height of the Celtic Tiger? Who wants to join now when we’d just be getting even more debt? And why is it omitted that the ROI doesn’t want a united Ireland with Sinn Fein at the head?

  • fin

    FD, I think the reference to unionists was as a demographic not political leanings. Regardless the UCUNF project is not so much a challenge for nationalists as a challenge for UCUNF and unionism for two reasons, 1)99.99% of people in GB who vote Conservative will not be doing it because of their stance on NI, in fact NI is not mentioned by the Tories outside of NI and 2) UCUNF now need to win votes to prove their point.

    The fact that people are discussing a UI is the very reason nationalists are not really interested in any deals outside of the GFA, its not that many years since unionist politicans swore blindly that they had no idea where Dublin or Cork were and had no interest. A UI is on the table and regardless of what the numerous straw polls predict the fact that its on the table and discussed is a victory for nationalists.

  • If Gerry Adams is pointing to the exemplars of the North South bodies as being the way forward to a United Ireland, he’s backing the wrong horse.

    As Foras na Gaeilge and the Boord o’Ulster Scotch illustrate most clearly, north southery is an excuse for non-accountability, wrong headed bureaucracy and instittutional arrogance. Incompetence on a grand scale is not down to north southery, in all probability, but to the personalities involved in positions of influence on these bodies.

    North-southery is a word most often used by DUPers. I’m an all Ireland kind of person myself. I use it here in the context of the pandering to the worst excesses of SF and the DUP in which the two governments have engaged….

  • kensei

    By the way, it’s worth noting that Sinn Fein appear not to be formally committed to continuing the existing six county devolved institutions in a united Ireland although the governments and parliaments are. However, this is the sort of unbuttoned thinking that Sinn Fein supporters will have to address before their next conference in February

    And it would be a huge mistake to do so, and not just because I’m an idealist that prefers Unionism got involved where the real power is int he event. Who knows the population or poltiical dynamics if Unification looks likely? What is the point of being wedded to a system that may not make sense, and may not be wanted? No no and a million times no. Far better to lay out a series of feasible / possible options, perhaps giving a party favourite but leaving the question open to negotiation if the event arises with appropriate noises about it ultimately being put to Irish people – Unionist, Natioanlist and New Irish to determine their own future. That is the Republican course.

    What might the process look like? Adams quoted Professor Brendan O’Leary approvingly , speaking at the New York event.

    I believe I told Pete on a recent thread that that conference was basically a good thing which would begin circulate a bit and the cyncisim was tedious. Bokyakasha!

  • BonarLaw

    “the fact that its on the table and discussed is a victory for nationalists”

    If that sort of “victory” keeps you happy then well and good.

    The reality of the Union or a discussion about a UI- remind me again who won?

  • elvis parker

    Fin if you can claim ‘99.99% of people in GB who vote Conservative will not be doing it because of their stance on NI,’ I can claim that anyone who votes SF is not voting for a UI – so Gerry’s task just got harder!

  • fin

    It does indeed keep me happy BonarLaw, and with that little victory in the bag, we carry on chipping away, policing is slowly been reformed, democracy is slowly happening, equality is slowly happening, all Ireland bodies are in place, an all Ireland infrastructure is been built, an all Ireland economy is happening, all these little victories please me no end, SF may well be the largest party in Stormont, slowly, slow but steady

  • Peter Fyfe

    Do you know the way Gerry is an elected representative for west belfast and the leader of the largest party in Northern Ireland at the last elections. Why does he not play any part in the executive? Does he feel himself above it? Maybe he feels he is not up to being made accountable by an assembly commitee. I imagine he would make Ruane look competent. Does he not realise how much more he could do to advance Irish unity by addressing the concerns of his own constituency rather than his world tour? The most bitter opposition is much closer to home. He could try some day to show in practice how unionists would be welcome but he chooses not to. If he is serious about Irish unity, get out of the public view, he is a reminder of division.

    We saw him trying to enter political debate in the south and he showed himself up as a uninformed fool. Why do we in the north have to put up with this? Do we not deserve better than this?

  • Éire Nua strikes back?

  • frustrated democrat

    fin

    You are obviously not following Cameron’s statements and speeches. NI is now regularly mentioned as an integral part of the Conervative policies.

    Conservatives believe in the unity of the United Kingdom

    For example – Cameron

    ‘We are the only party that has representation in every region of the UK – including Northern Ireland. ‘

    full text

    http://conservativehome.blogs.com/platform/2009/07/david-cameron-proud-to-be-british.html

  • fin

    FD, I think you proved my point, if NI was a topic of conversation someone might have called him on that comment, his representation been? the existing UUP MEP or the sole UUP MP who won’t play ball?

    Any Tory stories about NI in the MSM? not buried on a conservative website.

  • Paul

    ’ Unionists are 2% in the Union, 20% in a United Ireland etc). ‘

    2% in one of the world’s most influential countries is more than 20% of a country with virtually zero world influence.

  • ricky

    It is predicted that Rasharkin will soon be a 100% Nationalist village as yet another Protestant family is forced out by vicious Nazi republican thugs. Dunloy Orange Hall still suffers weekly attacks with almost every Protestant being run out of there also. Besides all this a Protestant family in Dunclug came to their house only to find it , along with everything they owned, burned to ashes by vile republicans. As usual not a cheep of condemnation from the SDLP and SinnFein. Irish Unity is not an option for Unionists.
    Ref.newsdesk@newsletter.co.uk

  • Peter Fyfe

    Ricky

    Declan O loan and Daithi McKay condemned all the attacks you talked about, get your head out of your own arse. Next you will be telling us North Antrim is a cold house for protestants.

  • DoctorWho

    I am not against the notion of an United Ireland, I do feel however that the Provos damaged the prospect of any such UI notion beyond repair.

    If Gerry is serious about persuading Unionists to such a notion he and his party should recognise openly that the armed struggle was wrong and that they now see the damage it caused.

    I don´t know if Gerry see´s the irony but a UI might come closer without him and Sinn Fein leading it´s call.

  • Peter Fyfe

    Doctorwho,

    People in West Belfast might be better of to if he cared as much about being an MP and MLA as he does about his missionary trips. Agree totally that he is the last man who could persuade people, he is not even capable of answering a few questions on current affairs in Ireland

  • [i]It is predicted that Rasharkin will soon be a 100% Nationalist village as yet another Protestant family is forced out by vicious Nazi republican thugs.[/i]

    Where can we also see these predictions? Also, look up “Godwin’s Law” on Wikipedia.

    [i]Dunloy Orange Hall still suffers weekly attacks with almost every Protestant being run out of there also.[/i]

    Yes, and equally as disgusting Catholic churches and schools are attacked on a daily basis in the same area. All such attacks are abhorent.

    [i]s usual not a cheep of condemnation from the SDLP and SinnFein.[/i]

    Utter bullshit, unfortunately for you.

    Do you like coming across as an uninformed, myopic bigot? You’re doing a bloody good job of it.

  • ranger1640

    The excerpt below was taken from the Guardian. Has Gerry not been keeping up but the UK and Ireland are equals for over 30 years. In fact from the day the 2 countries joined the EEC as it was then they were in-essence equals.

    “The single most important issue facing the people of Ireland and Britain is the achievement of Irish unity and the construction of a new relationship between Ireland and Britain based on equality”.

    I find it unbelievable that people still listen to this crap. It’s like listening to the well worn out mantra of the former Soviet Union, where food and tractor production has increased. Gerry thinks if he says it long enough everyone will believe it and his Irish utopia will be realised, and we will all lived happily ever after.

    I know Gerry is good at counting, he can count the number of houses he has, he can count the number of books he as written, and count the number of copies he has sold. But when it comes to big numbers like the Irish economy he gets easily lost. Gerry an Irish economy in melt down, even a successful Irish economy can never afford to take on Northern Ireland. Gerry is consistently out of his depth when it comes to big numbers. Gerry not even the USA could take on 1.7 million people at the stroke of a pen.

    The Irish government and more importantly the overwhelming majority of the Irish republics public see a united Ireland as no more than an aspiration.

    If Gerry thinks the Irish exchequer and the Irish electorate will want to burden themselves with an economy based on public sector jobs, and those jobs disappearing if the UK government move out of Northern Ireland. Gerry’s understanding of economics is worse than I thought.

    Gerry start getting your out of date thinking into perspective, and Gerry the delusional mantras are so 19th century. Gerry wake up and smell the coffee!

    I would like to run a few observations past the readers of this board that may strike a debate on the possibility and likely viability of a united Ireland?

    Firstly I would like to make an observation. If a united Ireland was the panacea that nationalists and republicans, here in Northern Ireland make it out to be why has the Irish state and southern Irish people never fought harder for Irish unification since 1922 or from 1969?

    continued at next posting.

  • ranger1640

    Why have the Irish political elite and every Irish government always kept the unification of Ireland as an aspiration, never more than an aspiration, why have they never made it a demand?

    The Irish government know it’s a simple question of who is going too, or how is, the unification of Ireland going to be paid for? It’s quite a simple equation, how much will it cost? In the old days it was punts over unification now it’s Euros over unification! The reason for keeping it an aspiration rather than make it a demand, is the Irish state now or ever could never take on the burden of 1.6 million extra in population. Never mind the political implications it’s a simple question of economics. To take on 1.7 million people would wreck the now tottering Irish economy, as it would the British economy if they had to take on an extra 1.7 million population.

    That is why all but a few British passport holders in the old colonies in Africa and the Far East were granted access to the UK after independence from their domicile countries. What would be the perceived or practical advantage for the Irish republic’s population to having a united Ireland? None!

    In fact it would lead to an increase in taxes for every Irish tax payer and cuts in the Irish benefits system. The burden to the Irish exchequer would be devastating. For a start both the health service and education system would require massive amounts of money just to keep going. This would obviously lead to personal taxes and indirect taxes needing to increase. No doubt massive payments would be required to pay back the British exchequer for the infrastructure in buildings and equipment within both sectors, and then there are the wages for the personnel working in both sectors they would obviously need to be met by the Irish exchequer.
    Now we can move on to the roads, water, agriculture, environment, housing and rates who is going to pay for these, and who is going to pay back money to the British exchequer for the investment they have made over the years in these areas.
    Pension rights and social security would need to be addressed. How you square that one, it would probably take the mind of Stephen Hawking to sort out?
    The obvious way for all this to be paid would be for the Irish wealthy to pay more, the Irish
    middle income worker to pay more, and the poorest in Irish society would need to pay more. The Irish poor could pay by cutting their social security handouts, thus burdening even more the poorest in Irish society for the misguided utopian vision of a united Ireland. And this would not be a short term hit on personal income or higher taxes it would need to be paid for, for at lest two, if not three or more generations. The question of compensation for business and investors would need to be addressed and complex tax issues would need to be resolved. All the financial institutions with there vast sums invested in Northern Ireland these financial institutions are not going to walk away from their investments? Complex tax issues, income tax, VAT, and thousands of mortgages (do we not need to pay our mortgages if we are dragged in to a united Ireland?). All these issues will put more pressure on the Irish exchequer.

    There may be limited help from the British exchequer, and the EU and America. However, with the growing pressures on the British exchequer and the ever expanding EU and Americas growing pressures with a possible recession and an open ended check book for two unwinnable wars in Iraq and Afghanistan they have little in the way of spare cash. So money to help the unification of Ireland will be small in the big scheme of things and over a very limited period.
    On the political front here are some issues I feel need to be addressed if the Irish unification question is to be addressed fully?

    Will any Irish government of any persuasion wish to be burdened with Sinn Fein/IRA (whose ideology is Marxist) in there government. The Irish government know full well that Sinn Fein/IRA will demand power in any united Ireland government. Sinn Fein/IRA will determine that they have fought the British for over 80 years and they will therefore demand a disproportionate amount of power in any united Irish government and the threat of another Irish civil war will be the likely outcome.

    continued at next posting

  • ranger1640

    No self-promoting career politician in southern Ireland will want to share power with people they are at this moment trying to distance themselves form in Irish politics?

    So who should be most concerned about a united Ireland should it be the Irish political elite, the Irish wealthy, the Irish middle classed or the Irish poor, all sections of Irish society should be concerned that’s who?

    Another question, will the political will be there in Ireland to send the Garda and the Irish army on to the streets of Belfast, and Londonderry, or any other city or town to patrol a hostile population. Not only of disaffected Unionists, but a hostile republican population. Republicans who for over 30 years of conflict have become conditioned against, and hostile to any form of rule of law?

    There would need to be guarantees that the Unionist minority had a voice in any unified Irish parliament and guarantees that on vital issues there was a Unionist veto or at lest cross community support. I wonder how that would sit with the armed republican parties of the north.

    If a referendum were to be held on a united Ireland, in the north only or north and south I think you would find that a large majority would keep the status quo as it stands!

    So all in all the aspiration of a united Ireland will always remain just that an aspiration for the Irish government and the people of the Irish republic!

    Only the fantasists of the armed republican movement in the north think unification is ether practicable or inevitable.

  • Puca

    If this is all Adams has got to offer the SF game is up. The reference to O’Leary’s federalism sounds like Eire Nua and there was I thinking that SF had something new to offer, if only on the constitutional tip. This campaign to reestablish the relevance of SF follows from another catastrophic electoral performance and promoting unification is a poor effort to paper over the fact that SF have no ideas at all. Adams does not even lay out the rationale from a southern perspective as to why unity is an attractive proposition. Perhaps he feels that southerners don’t need to be persuaded. Another assumption of his that is flawed. For the sake of worthy SF activists i hope this useless effort by the ‘leadership’ proves to everyone how much of a drag they are on the party.

  • HeadTheBall

    Cards on the table, I am no romantic nationalist but I would like to see UI and my own people (Northern Prods) comfortably and securely settled within it. That said, here is a serious question.

    If the British Govt and/or the DUP in government set about systematically diluting the “British” feel of NI (many fewer Union Jacks on public buildings, got rid of “Her Majesty’s this and that” in communication, painted the post boxes a neutral (blue?) colour, etc), how much of the overtly pro-UI support in the Catholic community would wither away?

    I pose this question because it seems to me that the border is hardly an issue any more (drove through it recently without actually noticing). It is much more a question for the Unionists (and I stress I am not one of them) just to help Catholics feel at home in NI.

    In asking this question I have in mind:

    – the poisonous impact of 30+ years of Provo violence (hear, hear DrWho, above)
    – the intellectual bankruptcy of SF
    – an unprecedented self-confidence in the nationalist community
    – the fact that the Union, apparently, has never been stronger
    – the economic arguments of GF, ranger, et al above.

  • Greenflag

    ranger 1640,

    ‘If a united Ireland was the panacea ‘

    Panacea means cure all . I doubt if any Irish nationalist/republican north or south sees any UI as a panacea . It’s a politically legitimate objective held by the vast majority of people on this island.

    ‘Why have the Irish political elite and every Irish government never made it a demand?’

    Ireland (the Republic) was very much dependent on the British market for it’s exports up to the late 1970’s early 80’s iirc . Piper , playing and tune come to mind . Demands are usually made by young children in tantrum mode or by very powerful States e.g USA , UK , China , former USSR etc . The Irish Republic doesn’t make the grade in either category.

    ‘who is going to pay back money to the British exchequer for the investment they have made over the years in these areas.’

    No problem . The Irish will simply not demand ‘reparations ‘ for the damage done to the Irish economy from 1700 ( the end of the Second Conquest/Penal Laws through to ‘independence’in 1922 )

    ‘There may be limited help from the British exchequer’

    Expect zero and you won’t be disappointed . The Irish Free State got zero help as it struggled into an ‘unwanted ‘ existence (by Britain) post 1922. Any future departing British Government would feel they have paid over and above the odds for Northern Ireland since 1920 .They could have a point.

    ‘Will any Irish government of any persuasion wish to be burdened with Sinn Fein/IRA.

    Wishes are wishes . The reality is if the people vote for SF in numbers i.e 15% plus of the vote they will probably have a share in a government coalition regardless of their ideology.

    ‘They will therefore demand a disproportionate amount of power in any united Irish government’

    They can demand all they want but it’s ‘votes’ that will decide what power they might attain. The electoral system is based on PR. A party can only hope to have a majority in the Dail if they can get at least 44% of the vote .

    ‘and the threat of another Irish civil war will be the likely outcome.’

    You have now as they say gone over the top :(. No SF elected representative either North or South would imagine coming out of any future Civil War with the Republic’s government except as a corpse in a box in a graveyard.

    ‘There would need to be guarantees that the Unionist minority had a voice in any unified Irish parliament and guarantees that on vital issues there was a Unionist veto or at lest cross community support’

    Nonsense . If there ever was a UI worthy of the name former ‘unionists ‘ for they would have to be ‘former’ would be treated the same as everybody else in law and in rights . And if that doesn’t suit there’s always ‘repartition’ as a compromise.

    ‘ I wonder how that would sit with the armed republican parties of the north.’

    In the above eventuality there would’nt be any ‘armed ‘ republicans in the north !

  • ricky

    Pat the baker, Your a blind bigot, when did you hear Mckay And O’loan condemn the daily attacks on Protestants in North Antrim and the ethnic cleansing of Protestants in Rasharkin, Dunloy and Dunclug- answer never. Their a lot like you when it comes to attacks on Prods- hear no evil, see no evil!