Message for the divided politicians. Read the long list. This is what really matters over Brexit.

Divisions in the Executive and the Assembly contributed to the lack of  scenario planning for the referendum outcome and are inhibiting the development of a clear Brexit strategy. These are among the conclusions in  a comprehensive briefing paper prepared for the Centre for Peace Building and Democracy ( chair Lord Alderdice) by  Queen’s academics  Professor David Phinnemore and Dr. Lee McGowan, entitled Establishing the Best Outcome for Northern Ireland.

‘Notoriously, similar strictures  apply  to  Whitehall and Westminster, But party divisions in Northern Ireland  aggravate  the problems; and according to the sole economic report on the implications of Brexit made by Oxford Economics,  Northern Ireland is likely  to be the region “ most vulnerable to  the economic consequences.”

So far, so no surprises. Nor are there any in the paper’s list of Brexit “options” already raised in Slugger.  The report makes two important strategic points. The UK government has yet to decide how to consult the  three devolved administrations on the Art 50 terms.That much was clear from Brexit Secretary David Davis’s visit to Belfast.  The joint ministerial committee and the British -Irish institutions do not  constitute effective forums.  And the Executive has so far devised no mechanism for business and the rest of civil society to feed in ideas and concerns  for developing  an eventual strategy.

 In August 2016 the First Minister and Deputy First Minister wrote to Theresa May outlined a number of key concerns, namely: the implications of Brexit for the border and especially for the agri-food industry, the need to ensure business competitiveness through ease of access to trade and labour markets, energy supply, structural funding and funding for the peace process. The concerns were presented as ‘initial thoughts’ only.

Representatives from Northern Ireland business organizations have issued a joint statement ‘Moving on from Brexit’ echoing the concerns raised by the First Minister and Deputy First Minister and calling for access to the single market to be maintained. How to involve these and other voices in developing the Northern Ireland position demands some creative thinking on who should be involved, when and how, and whether the fora – and which – might and should be limited to Northern Ireland, engage the other devolved regions and involve a cross-border dimension.

Perhaps  the most useful part of the  briefing paper is the e formidable list of questions, sector by sector. The following  gives only a flavour. A final point from the paper. Has Northern Ireland the capacity to deal with this agenda? – Again the same question is being asked of Whitehall.  

What are the issues Northern Ireland must consider?

Agriculture Fisheries.   Environmental policy.  Energy policy.  Trade and investment.  The border, the free movement of people, immigration and the Common Travel Area.  The border and free movement of goods.  Peace funding and cross-border cooperation Structural funding Research and development  higher education.  Citizens’ rights


Agriculture is one of Northern Ireland’s most important industries in terms of both an annual turn-over of some £4.5 billion and a workforce of some 29,000 people. Northern Ireland is more dependent on the agricultural sector (including the agri-food business).. It has been estimated that for every pound earned by Northern Irish farmers, some 87 pence comes from the EU’S Single Farm Payment. Challenges were already lying ahead for Northern Ireland farming sector as the CAP continued to undergo major reform, focusing much less on price support and seeking to agriculture competitive and to ensure better quality goods and lower prices for consumers.

Will the Northern Ireland Executive assume responsibility for developing and administering a Northern Irish agriculture policy following Brexit? How will it manage these responsibilities? . What funding mechanisms would be put in place to replace the payments that currently come from the EU and specifically, the CAP?

Can arrangements be put in place to allow Northern Irish agricultural products to be exported to the EU tariff- and quota-free?

How much do employers in Northern Ireland within the agricultural and horticultural sectors rely on migrant and/or seasonal workers from the EU? How can the supply of such workers be maintained post-Brexit?

Energy policy

How will Brexit impact on the supply of electricity from the Republic of Ireland and the idea of a single market for electricity on the island of Ireland? 5. How much would Brexit impact on the energy sector in the Republic of Ireland, particularly given the growing importance of gas and electricity connectors and the reality that much of the island of Ireland’s energy needs is imported?

Trade and investment

Post-Brexit how would trade between the UK and the EU be regulated?

Would free trade continue? . Would tariffs and quotas be reintroduced?

. Would the principles of the free movement of goods, services and capital be maintained in trade relations between the UK and the EU?

The border, the free movement of people, immigration and Common Travel Area

Will a new UK immigration policy require the imposition of restrictions on the movement of people between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland?

Can the continuation of the CTA be reconciled with the UK abandoning the free movement of workers and persons in its new relationship with the EU?

How does Northern Ireland ensure issues relating to the border and to the CTA are effectively represented in the withdrawal negotiations and the negotiations on a new UK-EU relationship? 15.

How does Northern Ireland ensure its interests are effectively represented and reflected in the development of UK immigration policy post-Brexit?

To what extent can tariffs be gathered and quotas be enforced without physical border controls? 2. How might physical border controls – if needed – be organized and where?

Peace funding and cross-border cooperation

How would EU funding for cross-border cooperation be affected? 5. What would be the implications for peacebuilding? .

Will EU cross-border funding (INTERREG) be replaced by national/ regional authorities? . What will happen to the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB)?

. How will other cross-border bodies be affected?

. Will EU Peace funding for Northern Ireland stop if the UK leaves the EU?

. Is peace funding still needed? . How can Northern Ireland’s interests regarding peace funding and cross community development be protected?

Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London

  • grumpy oul man

    A nice patriotic issue (that’s our rock so it is) is always good for inflating Jingoism especially when all is not well at home.

    expect flag waving from Spain if the internal situation worsens.
    And let us hope it goes no further than flag waving.

  • grumpy oul man

    Will it be fun to watch, will the UK defend it colony, har far would they be willing to go for war or spend millions on supplying Gib by boat replacing what comes over the land border.

  • grumpy oul man

    Oh goody more negotiations on NI place in the world, Historically Nationalist has always come out better,

    The GFA,and the AIA now the post EU treaty, another chance for the English to put a bit more distance between NI and themselves only this time a lot of unionists seem to be less than happy with the direction Brexit is going.

  • grumpy oul man

    the Core of a Nation State is its people and many people in Scotland and NI do not see themselves as represented by the British State, there is a possibility (a big one ) that Scotland will leave, effectively that will be the end of the union.
    How eager will the English be to keep or spend money on this place.

  • grumpy oul man

    At last something we can agree on!

  • grumpy oul man

    Of course we will, and the nice Europeans will play along and let us do what we want.
    For instance if we put up trade barriers they wont bother, we do live in complete isolation from the international community.
    The cheek of those Japanese telling us they will take their money elsewhere if they don’t like the deal Britain makes with Europe.
    Someone has to put them in their place and let Johnny Foreigner know the jolly old Empire still rules the waves and they can shove their trade.

  • Roger

    Ahh, it doesn’t need to be nearly so dramatic. With Gib out of the EU, its international finance activities will surely be vulnerable to all sorts of obstacles. Some will be arise with the best will in the world owing to Brexit. Others are likely to crop up at the instigation of the Spanish. Or I may have gotten it all wrong.

  • grumpy oul man

    Look back on History mate, Gib got dramatic more than once, unfinished business according to the Spaniards,
    One of those little things that membership of the EU has provided a calming effect on.
    I am not saying that a hot war will start but closing of land routes has been a feature in the past.
    I believe lately both the Spanish and British Navy have had words.

  • grumpy oul man

    Simple, there are not less nationalists but less people represented by SF and the SDLP.
    PBP has shown in a shinner stronghold that there are many people who would vote for a nationalist party which is not part of the old watch.

  • billypilgrim1


    “Have you any evidence that people in “the South” tend to think in terms of “the whole island” or conceive n and s as a whole nation?”

    Article 2 of the Irish constitution:

    “It is the entitlement and birthright of every person born in the island of Ireland, which includes its islands and seas, to be part of the Irish Nation. That is also the entitlement of all persons otherwise qualified in accordance with law to be citizens of Ireland.”

    I could go on all day, but I think this single clause alone makes the case pretty open-and-shut.

  • billypilgrim1


    What is this ‘state of denial or delusion’?

    Are you under the impression that Irish nationalists don’t know about partition, or the existence of a state called Northern Ireland, in union with Britain?

    If so, let me assure you, nationalists ARE aware of it.

    It’s just that they don’t like it, and they do like to ignore it, to the greatest extent feasible. Although of course, they also work within it, every day of the week, baleful and all as it is.

    Where perhaps you are getting confused is over the distinction between a political unit and a nation.

    You see, the Irish nation has existed throughout quite a few dramatic shifts in the political organisation of Ireland itself, and will continue to exist through a few more.

    I myself was not born and do not live in the part of Ireland over which Irish people are sovereign, but I am Irish just as absolutely as those who do. So’s Arlene Foster. So are you.

    The weakness in your position – and I apologise if I have misunderstood you – is that you make an explicit connection between your Britishness and the Union. Therefore, if the Union should come to an end, your Britishness must too.

    You have my sympathy. My Irishness has never been so conditional, nor so precarious.

  • billypilgrim1

    Why is it important to you that people should have to say something they don’t want to say?

  • billypilgrim1


    “In theory, Unionists should be careful about attempting to show Nationalists who is boss”

    Unionism’s problem is that it isn’t boss any more, and seems to be having a very difficult time emotionally processing this new fact.

  • billypilgrim1

    “People can be uncomfortable accepting NI as part of the UK if they want but it is factually part of the UK.”

    Sorry, but who is saying that these six northeastern counties of Ireland are NOT in the UK?

  • billypilgrim1

    Well said sir. If all of our political class was as intelligent, educated and well-rounded as Justin McNulty, we’d be in a much better place. He was very successful as a player (your description of his “composure, intelligence, skill, capacity for self sacrifice and proven ability to work as part of team” is spot on – apart from the skill part) but also has a distinguished track record in management and administration. Those roles require intelligence and judgement, and offer a genuine grounding for a career in politics.

  • Granni Trixie

    I was aware of the legal right to Irish citizenship, indeed my first reaction to the result of Brexit was to collect an Irish passport form from my local post office.

    I thought what the post was about however was how people in the south of Ireland perceived their counterparts in the North and all I have to go on is personal experience and anecdotes. For example, numbers of people have told me that they would not visit Northern Ireland during the troubles and still refuse to do so,implying they see it as ‘other’ not ‘us’. I also am going on knowledge of a few families settled in the south with one parent from NI who tell me of negative attitudes to ‘Nordies’, attitudes they are having to educate their own children out of.

    That said, I think people up here did appreciate the sacrifice of the south giving up articles 2 and 3 for the greater good. That and the AIA in 1985 paved the way for better relationships. The IRA however has to take responsibility for souring cross border relationships in the first place.

  • Katyusha

    I’m not saying it’s never used. It’s useful shorthand for sovereign states in a world that is dominated by nation states. Still, not all states are, strictly speaking nation states.

    The archetypal example is Italy, united under the forces of Italian nationalism. Were the city states that constituted what is now Italy nation-states? After all, they were sovereign units and most likely more homogeneous than the unified Italian state. But I’d have though t an Italian nation-state couldn’t be said to come into existence until most of the Italian people had been unified under one state (with the exception of the Papal States). You need a way of differentiating the new political unit (the nation-state, orgainsed on national lines, with nationalism being something of a modern concept) from the old units such as city-states, Empires, et cetera. (the UK being a formation dating back to Imperial days, which makes it unsurprising that it includes multiple nations).

    Anyway, I’m not saying it’s never used; just that it isn’t the most accurate description for somewhere like the UK. But a few points on the articles you’ve cited as examples of the term being “still in use”.

    1) You realise that 2004 is twelve years ago now? It’s almost as close to the historical instance (25 years ago) as it is to the present day.
    2) The article you’ve quoted by “an international law professor from 2008” appears to have been published in 1998
    3) The book you cite as a “2014 work by a Princeton academic”, was, in fact, published in 1987.
    4) You realise if you just type “nation state” into Google, you’ll only get examples that confirm what you were looking for? Its a clear-cut example of confirmation bias. Even if the term was not in common usage, if only one person used it from a total of one thousand or ten-thousand, you would still find the example that confirmed the result you were looking for.

    Anyway, I’m not saying it’s not used. It’s a useful blanket term to over our modern international system and differentiate it from how the world had been organised in the past. And I know in my own field of engineering, we still use all sorts of outdated, deprecated, and plain inaccurate language, because it has a different meaning in that context, much like how legal terms have precise meanings in a legal context. But it’s a poor description of the UK and many other states, and I’d be surprised if it was still politically correct.

    Anyway, lets turn to a dictionary, which I don’t believe are going out of fashion.

    Oxford (not the OED, unfortunately).

    A sovereign state of which most of the citizens or subjects are united also by factors which define a nation, such as language or common descent


    an independent state inhabited by all the people of one nation and one nation only

    Merriam-Webster (forgive the Americanisms):

    a form of political organization in which a group of people who share the same history, traditions, or language live in a particular area under one government

    All of those descriptions link the idea to the nation, as a group of people of common culture or heritage. The term nation-state is poor description of the UK in such terms – unless you think there is such a thing as the British nation. The jury is out on that one; some people seem to subscribe to the idea. Personally, I don’t.

    There is of course debate about whether the nation-state is the be-all-and-end-all these days, but we were having that debate when I was a law student.

    The ‘death of the nation-state’ feels a lot to me like the supposed death of tv-set watching as proclaimed by the pioneers of digital media many times over: that is, something fashionably predicted based on trends but which actually never happened like they said it would.

    I very much agree. Actually, I suspect we are at the start of something of a renaissance of the nation-state, at least in Europe, given the rise of anti-EU and anti-globalist sentiment, and the rise of right-wing populist parties such as the AfD and the FN. We’re in for interesting times. Thankfully these islands never had any time for the far-right.

  • billypilgrim1


    The problem is, you didn’t ask about the quality of relationships. You asked about whether people tend to think of Ireland (all of it) as ‘a whole nation’.

    I don’t disagree with most of what you have said. It’s just that you’re addressing a different question.

    It’s not necessary to like someone in order to recognise that they are of the same nation as yourself.

    Take England, for example – a profoundly divided place, full of people who hate each other’s guts. But that doesn’t mean that people in, say, Liverpool and Surrey, deny each other’s Englishness.

    “…all I have to go on is personal experience and anecdotes.”

    All? Really? There’s absolutely nothing in our history, in the public domain, in the cultural sphere, in our politics etc that you might look to?

  • Granni Trixie

    In the scale of what’s important – it’s not,just as I sad, annoying because it’s like an on G oing record at the expense of communicating other messages.
    What does interest me more however is political comunication/ discourse. Apparently some parties have a policy embedded in party culture where you know not to say for instance “Northern Ireland”. This does not come about innocently and flies in face of “reach out” kind of statements or visiting OO premises To show respect for others.

    Then there is th example of Derry/ Londonderry. I have always found it ‘natural’ to say “Derry” for instance but if I were in certain contexts out of respect to Waterside people I might say “Londonderry”. This is very different I would argue than certain unionist parties absolutely refusing ever to say Derry.

    Public reps can use their language to promote healing or keep up same old,same old.

  • Roger

    Answer to question put: No.
    Re second sentence: No confusion on my part.
    Sentences 3, 4 and 5: Nothing to do with my use of UKNI acronym; good for you, Arlene and whomever. You have musunderstood me and you are forgiven for that. The ‘Mainland Unionist’ editor made a post here that I responded to that explains things.

  • Roger

    I would add Ireland to the list. That’s the name of the Irish state yet persons of all political sides in UKNI usually refuse to use it opting for Republic of Ireland, South, 26 counties, the republic. They use acronym ROI instead of the official IRL too. It’s all quite disrespectful.

  • grumpy oul man

    that will probably be in Europe, here are the choice’s, Europe a forward looking large economy with freedom of movement and a good record in human rights, Britain a smaller inward looking economy, terrible record on human rights and controlled by little Englanders.
    I think i know which choice Ireland will make if forced to by the British.

  • grumpy oul man

    sorry GT i think the polls show different,

  • John Collins

    Thanks Billy.

  • John Collins

    You are right. Opinions on the effects of Brexit should be withheld for much longer that that however. I would suggest we should all hold our fire on this issue for about five years, as the decision has been made now and cannot be reversed

  • billypilgrim1

    So, if I understand you correctly, you believe that the cause of nationalism would be furthered (with lots of reachy outy stuff) if nationalists were to concede on nomenclature to unionism?


    I think this is fantastically naive.

    There’s a reason why we fight over the names of things. There’s a reason why it’s important to unionists that nationalists should be forced to use unionist nomenclature, and why it so annoys them when nationalists resist.

    Names matter. The power to name things matters. And resistance to the wrongful naming of things matters.

  • billypilgrim1

    “(Ireland) is the name of the Irish state”

    Yes, but it’s not ONLY the name of the Irish state. It’s also the name of the island on which we live. So the qualification is both understandable and necessary, for the avoidance of confusion.

    (PS. The UKNI thing is silly.)

  • billypilgrim1

    I asked: “What is this ‘state of denial or delusion?”

    You replied: “Answer to question put: No.”

    I admit, I’m confused. Can I try again?

    What is this ‘state of denial or delusion, that apparently nationalists suffer from?

  • Roger

    There’s rarely an instance where Ireland isn’t perfectly clear.

    Occasionally, I could see a need. But it’s rare. But UKNI politicians never use it with v limited exceptions. That’s got to be as offensive as persons not being willing to use the term Northern Ireland. And if we want to get theoretical about what could be confusing: Northern Ireland, the North, the South, the Republic all would have to be listed too.

  • Katyusha

    As well as being used political sides – and non-political sides – ordinary people, businesses, organisations – not only in the South, but throughout the UK and Europe too! I’m sure there are many Irish citizens on both sides of the border “disrespecting” their country on a regular basis in this fashion, but at least the vanishingly small partitionist element in the south that object to Ireland being termed a “Republic” appreciate your stand, Roger. Not many seem to be that bothered about it though – maybe they don’t find it disrespectful? Maybe it reflects their own preferences? Maybe it’s rather useful to differentiate the Republic from the island that shares the same name? Just a thought.

  • billypilgrim1

    “Occasionally, I could see a need. But it’s rare.”

    Personally, I can see that the need would be quite common.

    It’s also quite important for northern nationalists to resist any drift towards “Ireland” and the Republic becoming synonymous. Most southerners tend to be very understanding of this, in my experience.

    No-one, absolutely no-one, finds it “offensive” when northerners refer to “the south” or “the Republic”. Except, apparently, for you.

    Although I doubt that even you really do. I suspect that your “offence” is being taken entirely strategically.

    I was making the point elsewhere to Granni Trixie about the importance of the naming of things. But I can see that I don’t need to persuade you of this.

  • 1729torus

    No idea, Nationalism is not filling the vaccuum left by a weakening Unionism as much as the likes of SF would hope. I suspect disengagement and apathy are the biggest factors.

    That isn’t to deny that Dublin’s influence in NI has organically increased by a considerable amount within the past 5 years. It only became apparent in the past month though when there was open talk of NI getting annexed, and the DUP were told by Michael Martin that their presence at a post Brexit forum was not essential and they didn’t have a veto. DUP/UUP have been shown up, so Nationalist might be more inclined to vote.

    In addition, the Republic now has a strong incentive to establish as much influence in NI as possible and weaken Unionism so it can’t cause trouble again like Brexit. So expect more efforts at putting the DUP down. FF will definitely enter NI politics ASAP, in much the same way Turkey went into Syria (similar strategy and goals, but different tactics). This would increase the Nationalist vote.

  • Roger

    No idea…Would you dismiss the idea that falling Nationalist vote is evidence that there’s simply fewer Nationalists relative to Unionists / Others? That’s the most obvious conclusion so interested to take your thought on it.
    Otherwise, interesting it would be to see the kingdom and the republic fighting for influence in UKNI.

  • Roger

    Rest assured I do take offence and it is sincere. The citizens of Ireland chose the name of their state democratically 79 years ago. There’s a lot of talk of respect these days, and respecting that choice of name is, in my view, an important part of it.
    I don’t agree that I am the only one concerned either. The government of Ireland went to great lengths to ensure its name was used and still insists always that that’s its name.
    We definitely agree on something though: the importance of names. We could explore confusion further, but it’s pretty useless doing so in the abstract.

  • Roger

    We are, as always, agreed on so much that is presented by you as if there were disagreement. Forgive me if this comes off as personal remarks but that approach does get tiring. Like you, I’m sure all sorts of people use all sorts of names for Ireland, the UK and other countries. Thankfully, many countries including Ireland and the UK broadly speaking have free speech.
    However, I don’t think it’s considered respectful in the international community for political leaders in one state to studiously avoid using the correct name of a neighbouring state. Do you disagree with me?
    I don’t think many regular citizens in Ireland give what nomenclature UKNI leaders use much thought. However, if they were aware that those leaders were refusing to call their state by its name, I think quite a few would consider that childish and disrespectful. Do you disagree with me?
    As for differentiating islands from jurisdictions, gosh that’s trotted out so often but so rarely is there any ambiguity. But that’s best talked in reference to specific examples so we can surely pick it up another time.

  • Roger

    I did my best. I don’t think we will get anywhere.

  • billypilgrim1

    “The citizens of Ireland chose the name of their state democratically 79 years ago.”

    79 years ago, in Article 4 of Bunreacht na hÉireann, the citizens of 26 counties of Ireland declared the name of the state to be Ireland. But before that, in Article 2, they had defined the state as 32 counties. This was what people in 1937 had meant by “Ireland”.

    Obviously the amendment to Articles 2 and 3 affected this, but nowhere in constitutional scholarship have the new Articles been interpreted as signalling even abstrusely that “Ireland” now means 26 counties, or that the six northeastern counties no longer qualify. Unless you can show me otherwise?

    The sense of “Ireland” (the state) being 26 counties, with six more pending, has always been built into the Constitution.

    “The government of Ireland went to great lengths to ensure its name was used and still insists always that that’s its name.”

    In that case, it’ll be easy for you to link to an occasion when an Irish government minister has challenged a northern politician on this point?

  • billypilgrim1

    I thought it was a simple enough question, and a reasonable one, given the remarkable charge you were levelling against nationalism. Are you really unable to defend that charge, even at a basic level?

  • 1729torus

    I would not dismiss it all, but I would say that it represents the development of a “Northern Irish” identity. Ireland has a lot of latent regionalism even discounting the PUL population, and it is starting to naturally reassert itself just the same as everywhere else in Europe.

    I always felt a German-style federal Ireland had a good chance of happening even without NI. Tension between Cork & Limerick vs. Dublin would drive the emergence of Munster regionalism, conversely a devolved Dublin government would necesitate one for everywhere else since everywhere else would want one.


    You can see with Enda supporting Scotland over the EU that the Republic is starting to form an active foreign policy to shape its environment post-Brexit, it was a clumsy effort, but the country will get better as time goes by. Ireland is starting to pursue its own geopolitical imperatives, albeit unconsciously so far. One of which is to frustrate a unified Britain that could present a threat.

    From an Unionist POV, NI would be at best a puppet state of the Republic without London. Unlike in 1922, RoI is easily around 5-7 times more powerful than NI. Suppose Dublin did a Putin and sent polite green men up the road to occupy Derry and West Belfast, funnelled guns to Nationalists, and had its small navy blockade NI’s ports. How much could the DUP, UVF and the UUP do on their own? This illustrates the disparity in influence.

    The problem if you are a Unionist is that it is not obvious that London really cares. What does the UK get out of NI? They lost a lot of political capital on things like the RUC or discrimination, and the place is a black hole for money.

    What London will care about is retaining influence in the South, and preventing it from turning into a Franco-German protectorate next door. If it has to throw the DUP under the bus, including by forcing a United Ireland to keep RoI out of a Kerneuropa, it will.

    In addition, any bickering will distract the UK from its goals in pursuing trade deals abroad.

  • Katyusha

    If you agree with it, you don’t need to read it as disagreement. It’d be unusual for people to disagree on everything. (Well maybe not on Slugger).

    To spell it out, I disagree with the statement that using terms such as “Republic of Ireland, South, 26 counties, the republic” is disrespectful to the Irish State. The people using such terminology usually mean no disrespect to the Irish state and nor is any offence taken. Nor is the use of the acronym “ROI” disrespectful to the Irish state. Just like using a non-official acronym like “UKNI” is not disrespectful to Northern Ireland.

    That’s it. There are plenty of reasons why people would use alternative terminology.

    However, I don’t think it’s considered respectful in the international community for political leaders in one state to studiously avoid using the correct name of a neighbouring state. Do you disagree with me?>

    It’s unusual that we’ve jumped to a discussion about the international community, when we are talking about a local context. But sure. Most examples of “refusing to use the official name of a neighbouring state” would be to deny the existence or legitimacy of that state. But even then, even politicians don’t always use official names to refer to states.That would be rather cumbersome; usually people are intelligent and nuanced enough to tell if a term is intended in a derogatory fashion or not.

    Assuming you are referring to Sinn Fein as these “political leaders”, they do use the term Ireland, and related terms like Economy of Ireland, Government of Ireland, et cetera in a 26 county context, as well as using “all-Ireland” or “island of Ireland” to differentiate the island from the state. Since they talk so often in both 26-county and 32-county contexts, it’s necessary to differentiate.

    For example, if you look at the latest statement on their website, it’s unclear whether they are referring to 26 or 32 counties, since they don’t differentiate and just use the term “Ireland”:

    “Sellafield, which is a dirty word in Ireland, a nuclear free country, is now a threat to all of Europe.
    “It must be closed and there should be a halt to the construction of any further nuclear power plants near the Irish Sea.

    But, if the other parties in Government or supporting the Government in Ireland find their terminology childish and disrespectful, the are always welcome to tell them so in the Dáil or in the media, just like SF respond to the childish and disrespectful use of the term “SF-IRA”. As far as I know, this hasn’t happened. I guess it’s not much of a problem.

  • Roger

    Ireland and Northern Ireland are different jurisdictions. They’re not in the same state. International is indeed the appropriate description. Not local, not that that actually matters. You’ve agreed with me that refusal to use a state’s name is really around denial of its legitimacy or sometimes existence. It is disrespectful. It’s no different here.

    I disagree with those who studiously avoid calling UKNI by its name, Northern Ireland too. That like refusal to use Ireland’s name stems from a desire to put in question its legitimacy or even existence. It bothers a good many people. It certainly is disrespectful of that jurisdiction. It is an issue regularly referred to. The treatment of Ireland’s name is not so regularly referred to but it’s the same logic.

    All political actors leaders should show some maturity and respect and stop denying the name of the jurisdiction they live in or its neighbour.

  • Roger

    I don’t really agree with some of your analysis especially UK doesn’t care idea. But Ive disagreed with so many pointing out the UK is a nationalist country (just left EU) etc that I won’t go over it all again.

    Interesting though you agree the number of Nationalists might be dropping. Another question. Does that mean Nationalists would be better off acknowleding the drop in support for the cause? Few seem to do that. Many crow on about a united ireland as if it were a prospect when, with falling numbers of Nationalists, it mustn’t be.

  • Roger

    I referred you to a post by Mainland Ulsterman further up to which I replied. It concerns the topic of denial. I haven’t seen anything to suggest you’ve reflected on what was said there. It explained the topic better tha. I have ever explained it.

  • Roger

    Ireland dropped its claim to UKNI with the GFA. It’s citizens didn’t change its name. Whatever you think the Irish people meant, that’s the reality. About 6 counties being pending, the current provisions remarkably create hurdles to and cession of the territory. They lay down not that two referendums must endorse the idea. One in UKNI. The other in IRL. It would be far easier under the Irish constitution for the Isle of Man to be ceded to IRL. I’m not sure I’d describe that as building in something that’s pending.

  • billypilgrim1

    Ah, you’re now shifting the goalposts to discussing the mechanics of the “reintegration of the national territory”. A separate question.

    But you can’t actually provide any evidence that the new Articles 2 and 3 have been interpreted as implying that the six northeastern counties are no longer part of Ireland.

    Meanwhile, the new Article 3 clearly envisages the natural unity of “all the people who share the territory of the island of Ireland”.

    Any examples yet of when an Irish government minister challenged a northern politician for referring to “the south” or “the Republic”, or all 32 counties as Ireland?

  • 1729torus

    I’m just acknowledging the obvious, that “Ulster” is a real regional identity in some sense, and not just some kind of false consciousness. [I am not endorsing “Orangism” here, or the whole British mystique].

    You could say the same for Munster though. Ireland was generally composed of small fiefdoms when left to its own devices.

    Thus the precedent for any unification of Ireland is the unification of Germany. It is not guaranteed to happen on its own since Ulster or Dublin or Munster are perfectly viable as independent sovereign countries. Prussia had to use a bit of stick and coercion to unite Germany.

    The fact that RoI controls 3 counties here, and the demographics makes the problem of getting NI to join much easier of course.

    To be honest, the problem with Nationalists is that they aren’t willing to discuss a United Ireland properly and engage in sheer intellectual laziness.

    Gerry Adams knows damn well that a French or British style centralised state isn’t working as it is in the South even without NI. But SF have nothing to say about a federal Ireland, becaus Irish politicians hate having to think about politics.

    If they had looked into federalism properly, they would have across the same articles and history I did, and come to a simlar conclusion as I did there.

  • Katyusha

    But the problem there is that Sinn Fein do recognise the legitimacy of the Irish state – they’ve done so since 1986. And they are not denying the use of the name Ireland to refer to the Irish state: they also use the name Ireland to refer to the 26 counties themselves, on occasion. Look: here’s a statement from them doing exactly that:

    Sinn Féin Finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD has said the government must deal comprehensively with the issue of tax avoidance by property investments in Ireland.

    Deputy Doherty said dealing with the abuse of charity status, while necessary, will not address the vast majority of tax avoidance in this state.

    NI is different. The refusal to use the term Northern Ireland is directly linked to a denial of the legitimacy of the Northern Irish “state”.

    Conversely, the use of the word “international” to describe cross-border relationships (between NI and ROI, not between UK and ROI) is often construed as childish: like how Gregory Campbell refers GAA matches as “international fixtures”. It’s childish and petty and he does it to get a rise out of people. It’s the same with the use of the name Éire by unionists. It is an official name of the Irish state, but those that use it in this context are normally trying to make a political point. It’s possible to be accurate with your language and still be childish and disrespectful.

    Now, if you think using the unofficial acronym “ROI” to describe Ireland is disrespectful, how come using the unofficial acronym “UKNI” to describe Northern Ireland isn’t disrespectful? If you believe in sticking to official terminology, shouldn’t you at least be consistent?

  • Roger

    The conclusion you’ve reached seems to be there is a dwindling number of Nationslists. That probably says it all.

  • Roger

    If you look over government stance through the decades you’ll find plenty of Irish government action (and even courts) in defense of its name. It’s well documented. Local politicians in UKNI aren’t very important people relative to leaders in London. That’s naturally where most Irish gov action on the point was directed.

    It’s not reintegration of national territory. It would be cession to Ireland of foreign territory. Upon cession of course it would be national.

    The constitution expressly recognises that Ireland is not the only jurisdiction on the island. That’s clear indeed that Northern Ireland isn’t in Ireland. Pre 1999 and GFA it was a different story.

  • billypilgrim1

    You’re shifting the goalposts again. This disagreement between us has always been about your claims about the Irish nation. Now you are talking about jurisdictions – a separate question that has never been at issue.

    Give it up, Roger.

  • chrisjones2

    This thread reads like a 16th century debate between Bishops on the nature of trans-substantiation where both sides miss an essential truth – that there is no God

  • Roger

    To recap, not at length because I’m not convinced it’s worth it: Granni Trixie expressed her dismay at those who refuse to use the name Northern Ireland. I jumped in and added that I’d add the name Ireland into the same category. We’ve exchanged views on the topic since but what is there really to say about it. I nor the Irish government nor any Irish citizen should have to defend that state’s choice of name nor consider it ok for others to disregard it. That’s really all that’s to it. The other topics we touched on don’t directly concern the name so if you think talking about them moves goal posts, they needn’t be mentioned at all.

  • 1729torus

    I never said the number of “pure” nationalists was decreasing, I just noted that it potentially wasn’t increasing. It isn’t the final word on the matter eitherw. Any plans towards unification will still get considerably more feasible and NI will get “greener” since PUL will decline. As I pointed out before, demographics haven’t delivered a Greater Albania yet.

  • Roger

    Is it getting greener if number of nationalists is not growing.
    Population is growing. We know that. Is proportion of nationalists in population dropping even if number is the same?

  • MainlandUlsterman

    people who imagine the UK-wide Brexit vote somehow shouldn’t be applied to NI

  • MainlandUlsterman

    “Wishing to develop still further the unique relationship between their peoples and the close co-operation be between their countries as friendly neighbours and as partners in the European Union”
    Is that it? And you think not being partners in the EU therefore renders void the rest of that sentence, let alone the entire GFA? Surely the main thrust of that sentence – which is by the way pre-amble anyway, not a substantive provision – is stating that the UK and the ROI wish to develop their relationship and their close co-operation. Are we suggesting that no longer holds because of Brexit? I don’t think that’s anything near the view either in London or Dublin.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    The Princeton book actually says 2016 in Google books now I check (a new edition?). The Hein Online one does say 1998. Very weird, I wasn’t making up the dates before, the sites I got them from were definitely showing the dates I quoted before. I’m not however au fait with academic online publishing eccentricities, and I have no clue how all those different dates were attributed, but they were. So apologies for misleading there. That said, the articles do nevertheless show the current use of ‘nation-state’ in public international law, which is enough to rebut the argument that nation-state has to mean a state in which the people are homogenous. It doesn’t have to mean that and indeed its technical legal meaning is not that.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    And more specifically …
    Declan Doyle said: “If people choose to see their nationality and identity as different or if they are not comfortable accepting NI as a part of the UK , it doesn’t stop anybody else from having their own view.” Suggests the legal reality of NI as part of the UK is secondary to people’s “views” or what they are “comfortable” with.
    Thomas Barber said: “The clue is in the “United” bit of United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland ie four separate constituent parts. A Commonwealth of nations if you like and no different than the EU.” The UK is here treated as having no more status as a nation-state than the EU, which is clearly not a nation-state but an international organisation of which nation-states are members.

    Both of these attempt to portray the UK as something less than a nation-state and by extension, N Ireland not fully bound by national decisions like the Brexit vote. Utter rubbish.

  • cu chulainn

    It isn’t rocket science. One purposes of the GFA Is to promote partnership within the EU. This is not the only mechanism for partnership, but leaving the EU before those other mechanisms have been agreed to the satisfaction of all concerned is clearly abrogating the GFA. You are correct that London pretends that this is not the case, but no reasonable person in Ireland does.

  • billypilgrim1

    The reason SF, SDLP and others are bringing a legal case to argue for the exclusion of Northern Ireland is that they understand that NI is part of the UK, and unless they can pull a rabbit out of the hat, that NI is going to be bound by this iniquitous UK-wide decision.

    In terms of the court case, of course they haven’t got a prayer, and I’d be astonished if they didn’t know that themselves. But it’s sensible political positioning all the same, in what is a very fluid situation. If a UK-wide vote is to cause our ejection without consent from the EU (as seems certain) then it’s important that we go kicking and screaming.

    You (and others) go too far with your penchant for pseudo-psychiatry (‘illusion’, ‘delusion’ etc, even ‘psychosis’ gets a regular airing here) but you have a point in suggesting that people who in recent times came to believe that being in union with Britain really wasn’t so bad, were fooling themselves.

  • billypilgrim1

    You’re noticeably touchy on this subject. Your points are of course as correct as the statement that water is wet. But It’s the vehemence with which you insist that all must acknowledge, rather than the substance of your argument, that is most communicative.

    Perhaps it’s because you’re approaching this with such a gimlet eye, but you have missed the salient point in all of this.

    Of course NI is bound by UK-wide decisions – as long as it is part of the UK.

    It’s that latter part which, of course, is at the heart of all of this.

    England has just exploded a land mine beneath our feet. As you rightly point out, if anyone in NI thinks we can escape the malign consequences of being in the UK, they are fooling themselves.

  • Roger

    “Nationalists” in context of UKNI has a narrower meaning. One that’s well understood in the local UKNI context. Your point might be a good one were my post not on a UKNI based blog where (most: clearly not all as you’ve shown) understand the context.