The Union will not survive the end of the NI Protocol

I’m sure everyone must be feeling as exhausted and frustrated as I am to see that once again we’re back to groundhog day once again with the European Union and the UK launching into another period of tense negotiations. I don’t want to spend a lot of time going over what is currently going on when there is plenty of fine – and infinitely more qualified – commentary available elsewhere, except to say that it sounds like the UK is …

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“Five to 10 years down the road, we’re looking at Irish unification because the economic forces at work just aren’t going to be reconcilable with the political situation.”

ireland, connemara, nature

Some Unionists may have choked on their Rice Crispies this morning reading Margaret Canning’s story in the Belfast Telegraph – Reunification of Ireland is close, says top economist Posen. From the article: The reunification of Ireland will take place “within five to 10 years” because the conflict between politics and the economy under the NI Protocol is not sustainable, an economist has said. Dr Adam S Posen, president of the Peterson Institute for International Economics, said he believed there was …

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United Ireland remains a popular aspiration in the Republic, but one for which a majority don’t want to pay…

Interesting poll came out at the weekend which gives a different picture of the sentiment in favour of a United Ireland in both the north and the south. Now it is my view that polls only tell us what we think we already know, and I believe we need something far more adventurous than numbers. However, this one by Kantar is a useful for a better understanding of where we might actually be in relation to constitutional change on the …

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Northern Ireland at 100: Unionism failing; Nationalism stuck; Moderates thriving…

One hundred years after Partition, Northern Ireland is still in existence. It would surely come as a big surprise to many who thronged the streets of Belfast on June 22nd 1921 – the date King George V opened the first NI Parliament in City Hall – that unionism is now a minority in Stormont. It would also surely come as a big surprise to many nationalists in 1972 that the state set up to guarantee unionist rule in north-east Ireland …

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Ten Ways Irish Unity Could Benefit the Republic of Ireland…

The topic of Irish unity has been propelled into the mainstream of political debate to an extent that would have been inconceivable even five years ago. And it’s not just the usual Republican voices engaged either. Most of Nationalism’s moderate mainstream, plus some elements within Unionism, are also pondering the question of what form Northern Ireland’s future could or should take in a world where Brexit has happened and demography is shifting. It still remains very early days in that …

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Unionism needs to step out from the shadows on the Unity referendum question…

It’s difficult to avoid the reality that discussions about a referendum on the constitutional position of Northern Ireland are gaining momentum. For better or for worse it has become part of our daily lexicon in which every problem within Northern Ireland that arises is a result of partition which can easily be rectified if only the island was united. It also means that every mistake Unionism makes (and there are innumerable) make the demands for a referendum louder. The conversations …

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Whether as part of the UK or a United Ireland, we all need Northern Ireland to work…

There is a standard view amongst many republicans that Northern Ireland is a failed state. With every new scandal or government failure, they take a perverse delight in pointing out the flaws as if to say ‘see we told you it does not work!’. They believe that the more Northern Ireland is unworkable and ungovernable, the closer we get to a United Ireland. The problem with this strategy is that it’s a bit like the cartoon where the Wile E …

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Real world pressures are complicating neat arguments over unification

I begin with  more inexplicable partitionism from Dublin, as discussed by Newton who has a hawkeye for this subject “Genuine mystery surrounds the Irish Government’s lengthy refusal to share Covid passenger data with Northern Ireland. The Government will not explain it and nobody else can see what the issue might be. There is increasing urgency for a solution as Britain, Ireland and Northern Ireland introduce negative Covid test requirements for travellers, with varying sets of self-isolation periods that cannot be …

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George Osborne: Northern Ireland is already heading for the exit door…

Former Chancellor, and now editor of The Evening Standard, George Osborne, has been writing about the potential break up of the Union. Not any more. By unleashing English nationalism, Brexit has made the future of the UK the central political issue of the coming decade. Northern Ireland is already heading for the exit door. By remaining in the EU single market, it is for all economic intents and purposes now slowly becoming part of a united Ireland. Its prosperity now …

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Unionism Fighting a Border Poll…

There are two fixed rules within Unionism – (1) you do not talk about a ‘Border Referendum’ and (2) you do not talk about a ‘Border Referendum’. However, today I will break that cardinal rule and discuss how Unionism approaches such a referendum and what we can learn from the two recent big referendums, namely ‘Scottish Independence’ and ‘Brexit’. It’s difficult to hide that calls for a ‘Border Referendum’ have been growing in recent years. We may not be quite …

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Mary McAleese and Peter Robinson should lead a commission on reunification proposals…

Mary McAleese was on this week’s Sunday with Miriam show on RTE Radio 1. It was a reminder of what a class act she is, very sharp and well informed. Mary McAleese would have made a great Taoiseach or First Minister. If got me thinking about how we should make use of the considerable talents of our leaders who are no longer in office, but still have a lot to contribute to society. With the passing of Seamus Mallon and …

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Irish unity : going nowhere fast

So how’s the Irish reunification campaign coming along ? According to Sinn Féin President, Mary Lou McDonald, there doesn’t need to be one, because it’s already been won. A few days ago, speaking to Owen Jones, McDonald said of a United Ireland : ‘We’ll do it in the next decade. We’ll do it in this decade, actually.’  This is an example of the nationalist equivalent of the ‘inevitability doctrine’ I wrote about a few months back. In my previous article, …

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Working Group on Unification Referendums on the Island of Ireland: Belfast Consultation Event, this Thursday 10 December 2020…

The recent post by Dr Alan Renwick on how the mechanics of a unification referendum need attention highlighted that the Interim Report of the Working Group on Unification Referendums on the Island of Ireland was published on 26 November. Following the launch of this report, a number of online consultation events are being held which will provide an opportunity for public discussion of the report’s purposes, analysis, and conclusions. Once such webinar is being co-hosted by The Democracy Unit at Queen’s …

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Copper Fastening Stormont provides the smoothest path to an agreed Island

Michael Martin has a long record in politics and is undoubtedly part of the Good Friday generation in his understanding of North-South relations. His shared Island Unit can only be the result of a thirst to implement the agreement in full without an obsession over the simplistic narrative of a border poll to fix all ills. His re-focus on local projects to lift up long forgotten border communities should be applauded by all (the detail of which has been sadly …

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On the doctrine of inevitability

The News Letter had an interesting article a short while back, reporting remarks by Alex Easton in respect of a border poll and the Irish reunification debate. It is not clear in which context he made his comments, but the headline is that he speculates that nationalists will “inevitably” lose a border poll, and recites a few other well-known tropes. I am not a nationalist, but I feel that his comments reflect beliefs prevalent within unionism around how people like me …

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Unionism: so what’s the plan ?

The BBC reports this evening the following remarks from DUP North Antrim MP, Ian Paisley: Northern Ireland will not be used as a pawn – we opposed the withdrawal agreement, we warned about this protocol, we said it would damage the integrity. “I am glad, maybe at the last minute, the PM has wakened up to the serious threat that this poses to the union,” he said. “If the prime minister has the mettle to finish the job I welcome …

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Northern Ireland economic sovereignty must come before unification…

With the change in demographics in Northern Ireland, as well as the rise of Sinn Fein in the Republic, Irish Unification increasingly looks to be a matter of when rather than if. While there are both obvious historical and political reasons to move towards Irish unification, I don’t think it can be done without dramatic economic change in Northern Ireland. Currently, Northern Ireland runs at an annual deficit of £9.5 billion. This is an enormous bill to place in the …

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Peter Robinson was Right: Unionism Needs a Plan B…

Former DUP leader Peter Robinson warned Unionists in 2018 that they should be preparing for a United Ireland. He used the analogy of one’s house burning and having insurance in place in case it does, commenting “I don’t expect my own house to burn down but I still insure it because it could happen”. Indeed, he doesn’t want his house to burn down, but prepares for the possibility of doing so, and is therefore prepared if it does. Peter Robinson’s analogy is telling because it demonstrates …

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Any New Ireland Would Need to Accommodate Unionists…

Over twenty years since the Good Friday Agreement and we haven’t had an Assembly for over two years, and Brexit threatens to fundamentally reshape the tone of the entire political landscape on this island for at least a generation. Talk of a border poll is once again in the news as Boris Johnson makes a spectacle of the UK, and his Government, during the ongoing Brexit saga. The idea that somehow the NI Assembly will be responsible for agreeing to …

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Bill Clinton and George Mitchell some of the big names backing an ambitious plan to finance the cost of Irish reunification…

The FT is reporting on an ambitious plan by billionaire Irish American hedge fund manager Ronan O’Shaughnessy to finance the cost of Irish reunification. With Brexit there have been increasing demands for a border poll on reunification. One of the major issues for debate is how the Republic will pay for an all Ireland. But Mr O’Shaughnessy believes he has a solution: Our economic appraisal of the situation is that reunification will cost in the region of  6billion euro per …

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