Is it “conceivable that in future Ireland would need to align itself even closer to Britain economically?”

Good interview in the Irish Post which pushes Martin McGuinness a little harder than we’ve become accustomed to in recent years within the Irish MSM. I was particularly interested in this section, because it has some pragmatic echoes of Bertie’s analysis just before he left office.

Yet it also asks some real questions about the foreign policy implications of the slow economic drift between Britain (and Northern Ireland) and Europe (and the Republic) for anyone wanting to put the two bits back together:

Give us a time scale?

For what?

For the ultimate goal.

The ultimate goal of Sinn Fein is to bring about the reunification of Ireland by peaceful and democratic means and it will take as long as it takes.

A Unified parliament, where would that be?

That would be the subject of some considerable negotiations between us…

Will it happen in your lifetime?

I’d like it to happen in my lifetime.

In relation to the move toward a united Ireland and the move away from Europe’s model for economic recovery, would it be conceivable that in future Ireland would need to align itself even closer to Britain economically? And would this be something Sinn Féin would encourage?

Well, there is a hugely volatile situation in Europe at the moment. Europe is undergoing a massive economic crisis. I doubt even European leaders know how it’s all going to end.

I’m a very committed European. I want to see the European Union continue, but I want to see it continue on the basis of what’s acceptable to the people of Ireland.

Quite clearly, the people of Ireland are worried and concerned about massively damaging austerity measures. Sinn Féin hasn’t advocated pulling out of the European Union, what we have advocated is a reform of the EU.

But would it not make more sense to align ourselves even closer with Britain, in light of the trade links that exist alrea?

We do have a trading relationship, but the difficulty in relation to where we find ourselves is that the North of Ireland is under the auspices of Westminister.

To have two different currencies on the island is hugely problematical for us in terms of economic advantages. That is something I would like to see corrected under the auspices of the European Union, and who knows where Britain is going to find itself in relation to the whole concept of Europe.

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  • Better Together

    The idea of autarky in the ROI only began to be broken down under the government of Sean Lemass. “We Ourselves” suddenly seems a child of a different era, evidenced by the DFM struggled with acknowledging interdependence.

  • Old Mortality

    “I’m a very committed European.”
    Since when has that been SF policy?

    “But would it not make more sense to align ourselves even closer with Britain, in light of the trade links that exist already?
    We do have a trading relationship, but the difficulty in relation to where we find ourselves is that the North of Ireland is under the auspices of Westminister.”
    He’s lost me there. How exactly does ‘the north of Ireland’ being ‘under the auspices of Westminster’ make closer alignment with the UK more difficult? The hard part would be for the RoI to leave the Euro and tie its new currency to sterling.
    Presumably he is referring to ‘the national question’ which in SF’s world takes precedence over any economic consideration.

  • lamhdearg2

    “That would be the subject of some considerable negotiations between us…”

    who are the us, Irish nats and British unionists
    or Ulster folk (northerners) and Eire folk (southerners).

  • DT123

    I am sure Merkel and the French are analysing policy at this very minute,in order to make sure their policies “are acceptable to the people of Ireland”.

  • SDLP supporter

    Complete nonsense from a delusional, self-regarding McGuinness, who is showing every sign of believing his own publicity. Hence Robbo’s ankle tap on Bloody Sunday today.

    The facts are that in all ten referendums on Europe since 1973 Sinn Fein have been on the No side every single time and have frequently called for EU withdrawal. Commitment to Europe has never been Sinn Fein policy, they hide behind the meaningless “a Europe of Equals” and many of their associated in the GUE/NGL grouping want to wreck the EU.

  • aquifer

    If Sinn Fein’s word war against geography and economics does not work out do we really want to be left alone on a small island with a gang of ex-Provos?

  • Henry94

    SDLP supporter

    I don’t remember SF calling for withdrawal from the EU in recent years. Nor do I see anything wrong with opposing the treaties that have led the EU to this sorry pass.

    McGuinness understandably gave non-answers to some of the questions but he like every other Irish leader must be aware that we could be faced with a tricy situation if Britain and the EU diverge. We also need to consider where our best interests lie in the event of a euro break-up. Shadowing Sterling at about 90p with a punt nua seems the obvious bet to me but if the break up were to bea messy one then using Sterling could be necessary in the short term.

  • ayeYerMa

    aquifer – ex-Provos? The Provisional IRA and Provisional Sinn Fein are one and the same provisional movement.

  • Mister_Joe

    who are the us, Irish nats and British unionists
    or Ulster folk (northerners) and Eire folk (southerners).

    lamhdearg2,

    I obviously have no idea what McGuinness meant but, in the event of an, unlikely it seems, vote in a border poll of 50% + 1 for unification, it seems to me that all 4 parties would have to have serious negotiations on how to proceed. Have a look at Canada’s Clarity Act, passed in response to a Quebec confusing referendum question which left many Quebecois thinking that even if they voted “YES”, they would still be part of Canada. It was a close run thing, less than 1% difference between yes and no.

  • “I’m a very committed European. I want to see the European Union continue,….” ? On this basis http://www.sinnfein.ie/eu-affairs.

    Lamdearg2, you forget that this is not about anything but SF which believes itself to be the true government of Ireland and in more misty less marxist (much les socialist revolutionary) moments the reincarnation of Eriu.

  • lamhdearg2

    joe “4 parties”?.
    joe and thedissenter, I was playing around with the idea the inside Marty there is an ulsterman at heart, and that faced with rule from Dublin that Ulsterheart,may beat more loudly.

  • Mister_Joe

    lamhdearg,

    By “parties” I meant the 4 broad groups that you mentioned.

  • in what way is britain a saviour? bs Q

  • FuturePhysicist

    Why? The Sterling Zone has most if not all the problems of the Euro Zone!

    What use if a separate currency when the only economic solution present is to print more money?

    Why not just say to hell with that and have multiple currencies anyway and we’ll descend back into a more natural barter economy in no time.