“For me to refuse to talk about these things when I’m asked a straight question almost suggests I’m ashamed to be a nationalist – and I’m not”

The Irish News Political Correspondent, John Manley has a really interesting interview with the Foreign Affairs Minister, Simon Coveney which outlines his views on a border poll and a United Ireland.

In the interview he says;

“I would like to see a united Ireland in my lifetime – if possible, in my political lifetime,”

Manley does not that Coveney was disappointed that his evidence to the Good Friday Agreement committee was focused mainly on his comments in this area. But he went on to say;

“I was asked question which was not in the context of a Brexit discussion and people have introduced this into the Brexit discussion, which is unhelpful.”

“For me to refuse to talk about these things when I’m asked a straight question almost suggests I’m ashamed to be a nationalist – and I’m not.

“Just like no-one should be ashamed to be a unionist either.”

The Minister does not believe that now is the time for a border poll but does think the context for one needs to be very different from today, he does highlight that the Irish government needs to reach out to Unionist communities in order to address fears.

You can read the full interview in today’s Irish News or on the website here. 

David McCann holds a PhD in North-South relations from University of Ulster. You can follow him on twitter @dmcbfs

  • Reader

    05OCT68: Why is it a non runner?
    Because the people with the relevant power to decide this, don’t want it.
    And in fact, most of the people who think they want it wouldn’t actually want it either.
    Here’s an example. Most of Ireland’s trade with the UK, the EU and the world goes either to or through GB, because that is the cheapest route by far. Do you want that trade to go through two sets of customs barriers, or maybe choose a more expensive route instead?

  • Tochais Siorai

    Ah yes, they’re fine team players in the DUP.

    What’s that I hear you say? Gay marriage? Bilingual signs? Pro-Choice?

    Oh no we’ll not be having any of that, this is Ulsterrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

  • Tochais Siorai

    a) a Fenian.


    b) a Fenian lover.

  • murdockp

    It’s like being asked if you want to be shot in the knee or the ankle. Not much of a choice. Shame the not to be shot at all is a choice.

  • El Daddy

    Ah I was just being a bit facetious. John Taylor’s comment kinda brought it on.

  • Reader

    Oggins: Here, here

  • Oggins

    There, where, who cares!

  • Damien Mullan

    “It is, under the Belfast Agreement, both Irish and British, which means that it must, after Brexit, be both inside and outside the European Union.”

    This is quite correct. The ‘outside’ is the sovereignty of NI within the UK, which he is not disputing, nor would you ever find a word written or spoken by Fintan O’Toole in which he has ever suggested it otherwise. Now the ‘inside’ is the issue of the polity within NI having EU citizenship conferred upon them by their entitlement and right to acquire Irish citizenship.

    If, as the Belfast Agreement outlines, it is the principle of self-determination by the polity of Northern Ireland that grounds its current constitutional position, it also in its provisions enables a divergence of cultural and national allegiance in relation to citizenship. And as Irish citizenship is also EU citizenship, and citizenship is the conferral of rights upon the holder, then so it follows that the polity of NI is inside the European Union. The territory of NI will no longer be in the EU, but a significant portion of the population will be or can be if they so wish, as the citizenship will attest.

    The issue of sovereignty in NI is a matter for self-determination of the people, not an issue for the cows in the fields or the rocks on the cliffs, NI is contingent on the polity of NI, therefore NI is contingent on the people of NI, in all the cultural and national diversity, or rather division, of this place.

    You can be assured that Nationalists would not have endorsed the GFA had these provisions not been emblazoned therein.

    “O’Toole may wish to tear up the GFA and try for a new one on that basis.”

    It is rather the inability of unionists to fully comprehend the citizenship and self determination provisions, thus conditional nature of NI’s constitutional position, that has them chiseling unilaterally by the backdoor at the tenets of the GFA.

    Because the provisions state the right to be, ‘British, Irish, or both”, and by Irish that includes EU too, and there can be no diminution in the rights of Irish citizenship in NI from Irish citizenship in ROI, if one wishes to respect the provisions of the GFA, thus NI Irish citizenship if it is to mean that, must have the same recourse that any Irish/EU citizen of ROI has.

  • NotNowJohnny

    You appear to be struggling with my questions as regards territorial claims … it’s been two days now.

  • 05OCT68

    Of all the countries that remained neutral or didn’t oppose Hitler why is your ire directed at Ireland. You could direct your ire at the old Stormont that did not campaign to introduce conscription in NI. Or the OO that canceled 12th celebrations during the war in case the people of Britain would see the thousands of eligible men that failed to enlist.

  • harmlessdrudge

    Did nothing to impede the Nazis? Besides the fact that more men from the south fought in British uniform than from the north?

    You want to tell us next that we’d be speaking German but for the British — and have no sense of irony or shame?

    de Valera offered full participation in the war in return for Irish unity. The offer was spurned with contempt and the British made but didn’t execute plans for invasion and conscription — and you have the neck to criticise the Irish for not siding automatically with their colonial masters–because the Nazis were worse? Get up the yard.

  • harmlessdrudge

    None so blind as those who see what they want to see. Watch the video again. It showed EU customs officials.

    We had the British navy occupying Irish ports up to 1939. We know the difference between British and EU officials. At least you didn’t imply, unlike Paisley senior in times past, that they’d be Papist officials. In Northern Ireland that counts as progress I suppose.

  • harmlessdrudge

    Someone who recognises the inevitable. The partition of Ireland was wrong and it will not stand in perpetuity. The days of the Protestant State for a Protestant People are numbered.

  • harmlessdrudge

    Fantastic post. I’m Irish, from a family from NI. Currently, I live in the south with my English wife (kids have both passports). Nearly 300,000 mainland British people living here, such as my wife, get along perfectly well here, just as my family did in the many years we lived in mainland Europe. We have no interest in borders and like to enjoy the best that Europe has to offer.

    DUP support for Brexit was intended to deepen and perpetuate division on the island of Ireland and it will not stand. Most people in NI voted remain. If NI joined us it would be better off — it would be prosperous, not a welfare case — and we’d be stronger together. And Sinn Fein and the DUP could be consigned to the dustbin of history and we could have normal left/right politics. It’s inevitable, but it’s not inevitable that it happens peacefully. We had a decent chance of a peaceful status quo or transition that suited us all, but the DUP has opted for an attempt to guarantee separation and continued British (and unionist) hegemony — even at the FURTHER expense of the rest of the UK.

    I would have no trouble at all with any reasonable transition to a unified Ireland within the EU, with special status for NI. Nor, I think, would the majority of the population on both islands.

  • harmlessdrudge

    Most of Ireland’s trade does not go through the UK.

  • harmlessdrudge

    One of stupidest comments I’ve read on this blog. Family FF voter? Voted FF all your life like your father and his before him? Or worse, a shinner? Spare us your historical baloney and guff about “blueshirts”. It’s long past time to leave the civil war behind.

  • harmlessdrudge

    Well said. NI is a place of slow learning still for arrogant imperialists who assume that the colony will continue unchanged in perpetuity.

    Snarks from unionists about coveting part of a neighbour’s country reveal a staggering level of ignorance and entitlement.


    I would have voted in favour of the removal of the articles in the Irish constitution claiming the north, had I been in Ireland at the time, as I accepted the principle of consent — despite the wholly cynically and artificially contrived nature of NI, intended to guarantee unionist hegemony in perpetuity. The moment there’s a hard border in Ireland dividing parts of my family then my own consent is withdrawn.

    Pat Byrne, the founder of the Irish airline CityJet, declared: “It almost seems that the Brexit car crash must be allowed to happen before the people of the UK see the folly of it”

    And even more so for the hard border.

    Experience keeps a dear school but fools will learn in no other, as someone said long before the idea of “slow learners”.

  • harmlessdrudge

    > the vote in the South was put in as window dressing to spare nationalist blushes over conceding NI’s right to self-determination really.

    The GFA was about accepting the principle of consent, not coercing people into a united Ireland against their wishes, despite the fact that the statelet was gerrymandered into existence against the wishes of the majority of the people on island of Ireland.

    There are two ways a unified Ireland will come about or not, peacefully or violently. The majority of the people of Ireland would like to see it happen peacefully and there are no blushes about that, nor in the slightest about the need for reciprocity. The UK’s position is that it’s for the people of Ireland to decide the matter. The endless entitled whinging from some unionist obsessives is pretty funny

    You can’t afford us
    You aren’t respecting our wishes (like Mummy across the water)

    We have our own wishes. Get over it.

  • harmlessdrudge

    There’s plenty of support for unification in Ireland, on both sides of the border that is unwanted by a majority of the people of this island. There’s very little support for anything other than accomplishing this peacefully and very little support indeed for any kind of SF takeover on a 32 county basis (they are as disliked and distrusted in the south as in the unionist community in the north).

  • harmlessdrudge

    It’s beautiful and not at all miserable now. Far too many 2nd homes there though.

  • harmlessdrudge

    You have omitted the middle east and a lot more. Surely you’ve seen the list of countries that the British haven’t occupied or invaded? It’s short, a small percentage of the world’s countries. 22 in total.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Haha! Yes, OK, fine 😉

  • MainlandUlsterman

    it said the EU officials may well be Irish

  • MainlandUlsterman

    but the select commitee majority makes a logical error with that argument. The “technological solution” concept allows for checks to be done without a hard border. Yes in theory there will be a customs border but one that is not dealt with at the border itself and in which small traders are given exemptions. They don’t explain why in principle that can’t work.

    I sometimes work in innovation research, testing new ideas for big business and if a stakeholder I was interviewing fed back to me about an idea that it was ‘untested’ and ‘speculative’, I would say, “Yes, and …?” I would get that they were hostile to it for some reason but would be none the wiser about why.

  • Zig70

    Stick around, I’ve written much dafter stuff than that. More to come, no doubt. 👍