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.

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty