Nuances of a re-united Ireland

stringjack

1
Moderator
Joined
Feb 8, 2003
Messages
3,887
sean1 said:
Sure, we could reach an arrangment that the British flag could fly in public buildings in Unionist areas, but I wouldnt stand for getting rid of the Irish flag.

Similar to the anthem. The Unionists could still have their British anthem for functions within their areas.

I would say that they should have their own police force-or (mostly) sub-police force within their own areas as well.
Perfect. I know just which areas we can give them.
 


ibis

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 12, 2005
Messages
12,293
Last time I went to the dentist here (fillings), the charge was, I think €175. Last time I went to the dentist in the UK (fillings), it was free (NHS).

On both occasions I was employed.

I think people think we have a National Health Service here. We don't. We have a safety net for people who can't afford health insurance, and who get treated like sh*te as a result. Besides that we have community weighting in VHI, which means that the young and healthy pay the same rates as the old and sick (effectively hidden taxation, although, hey, you don't have to be insured...). Now we have BUPA, who apparently didn't realise that VHI were the Irish Health Service.
 

Sidewinder

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 23, 2004
Messages
442
hiding behind a poster said:
This is a huge issue, and its one that lots of people haven't even looked at.

The fact is that lots of people have simply assumed that a united, 32-county Ireland, will be exactly the same as the current 26, with 6 counties added on - but that's not the case. We in the Republic are gonna have to face the fact that there will be changes - and not all of them will be attractive. For starters, I think we're looking at Commonwealth membership (dealt with on another thread). I also think there'll be guaranteed minimum parliamentary representation for the constituencies of the 6 counties for an initial period. There'll also be cultural changes - to be simplistic about it, July 12th will be a national holiday, but there'll also be changes to the anthem, flag, etc. And then there's the taxation issue. Many people in the Republic pay lip-service to the idea of a United Ireland - but if, given how much of a loss-making entity Northern Ireland is, if people in the Republic were faced with a tax hike to pay for unity, support would ebb away pretty fast. So there's a lot more to the issue than meets the eye.
As a norner who has lived in the south for about 15 years...

I don't think anyone minds the idea of a new Constitution, flag or anthem. As things stand, the one issue we really need to sort out is the health service, which is crap in the north but abysmal in the south. I think that's what the original poster was asking: what do we need to do to make unification possible?

It's pretty simple really. The north only makes a loss because it is appallingly badly run by the Brits. 68% public sector? Hello?

Spend the money integrating our infrastructure to run proper roads, rail, ports, airports etc in cooperation with the north. Give our local councils the power and the wonga to burst through the border with cooperative schemes with the northern councils round the border. Get the IDA and IDB cooperating on FDI projects. Up the spend on R&D so we can still compete in 10 years time. Give tax breaks or other encouragements for indiginous southern companies who want to expand nothwards.

Within a decade, you'll have large areas of the border region of the south, and large areas of Derry, Tyrone, Fermanagh, Armagh and south Down that can actually pay their own way. The increased tax revenue from the southern border counties makes us even stronger - places like Leitrim and Donegal don't pay their own way right now for the south because of the effects of the border.

We can consider changes to the Constitution that make the Republic even more attractive, though it's hard to see where, seeing as over the last 20 years we've removed almost everything (bar abortion - and many fundamentalist northern Protestants agree with the current position) that anyone reasonable could object to. Maybe some Seanad reform could be useful in drawing in Unionists though.

At the end of the day, if we want the Republic (32 county version) we have to deserve the Republic. Bending over and asking Mutha to shaft us is hardly the way forward. None of us (apart from the Cruiser and Col. MyArse) want to go back to being in the UK. We need to just keep showing how independence works, and backing that up with cash and infrastructural development to integrate our own border counties and the border regions of the north.

End result? Northern Unionists in border regions stop seeing us as Papists out to kill all the heretics. Southern border regions start paying their own way. Northern border regions have economic rennaissance, significantly reducing if not eliminating the "subvention". Done deal.

All it takes is some political will and competence in Dublin.
 

Sidewinder

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 23, 2004
Messages
442
As an aside: Lots of my family, and plenty of friends back home, are Protestant/Unionist.

Whether it makes sense to us or not, and despite what the original purpose of the flag was, they see the tricolour as "an SF/IRA flag". So, come Unification, it'll have to go, sadly.

Funnily enough, every single one of them wouldn't have a problem with the old harp-on-green flag. Result!

I've no objection to a new anthem, as long as it isn't commissioned by an RTÉ "You're A Star" type prgramme and neither Phil Coulter nor Brian Kennedy have any involvement :lol:
 

ibis

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 12, 2005
Messages
12,293
It's pretty simple really. The north only makes a loss because it is appallingly badly run by the Brits. 68% public sector? Hello?
It's what you do with areas where there's no chance of the private sector employing them and you think they might make trouble if they don't have jobs!

Seriously, the economic dislocation for the North will be huge, unless we can get reunification on the basis of the Brits slowly stepping down their subvention over at least a decade. If we can't get that, we need at least a decade of building cross-border connections, and that still won't do much to cushion the shock.

We're talking about absorbing a population of 1.5 million people into a recently prosperous population of c. 4 million. It was a different ballgame when we were poor - they'd have been welcome to some of our poverty. Now it's us who stand to lose, not them - the impact could drag us back to the 80's.

When did Germany reunify? Are they back on their feet yet? Look at their figures - West Germany 66m people absorbed East Germany 16m. The East German population as a percentage of West - 20%. NI's population as a percentage of ours - 38%.

East Germany might have had a slightly higher percentage of workforce employed directly by the State, but West Germany at the time was the most prosperous country in Europe. 16 years on, the East still receives subventions of €100bn annually, and we're still at a historic interest-rate low to cater for the faltering unified German economy (will we get that kind of treatment?).

All of which doesn't mean we shouldn't do it. But we certainly shouldn't think for a moment that it will be easy.
 

Sidewinder

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 23, 2004
Messages
442
ibis said:
Seriously, the economic dislocation for the North will be huge, unless we can get reunification on the basis of the Brits slowly stepping down their subvention over at least a decade. If we can't get that, we need at least a decade of building cross-border connections, and that still won't do much to cushion the shock.
Errr, and what was it I was talking about? Remember, long-term infrastructural investments and making the IDA & B cooperate, and making the councils cooperate, and thus over a decade drastically reducing the economic dislocation across the border region? Hmm? Was anyone paying attention?

If you think the Brits are going to run the place properly then I have a bridge in Galway I'd like to sell you. It's up to us. But there's nothing difficult, arcane or complicated about it. If we started tomorrow - though that's unlikely seeing as we have plenty to fix down here - how about a decent Government in Dublin that would spend 3-4 years seriously tackling issues like the health service and finishing the infrastructure spending down here, then diverting the resources towards integration? Easy - anyway, if we did start tomorrow the "subvention" would be gone within a decade, and then no poor little Deefers have to worry about their taxes rising. The oft-quoted "German Example" is deeply flawed. West Germany had no time to plan. Unification caught them by suprise. West and East were in a state of undeclared war up until the Wall fell. German unification happened in entirely different circumstances, and in the worst way possible.

If we plan and organise over the next decade, and I hardly think the Brits can realistically complain, and there's certainly no way they'll send massive tank regiments rolling across Westmeath if we do, then Unification becomes an economic non-issue. The German thing is a total cop-out and red herring.

Some people really want to make things far more complicated than they really are.

All this blether is just an excuse to do nothing.
 

meriwether

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 1, 2004
Messages
12,539
If there is a referendum tomorrow, and Ireland is Re-united, what will we have to concede to Unionists in order to ensure they dont pursue physical force against the new state?

It's going to be pretty dramatic. Unionists will have about 20-25% of the electorate in this new country and therefore will probably be put into Government with one of our parties.
And what will be on their programme for Govt? We are looking at re-entry to the Commonwealth straight up, and perhaps a role or recogmition of the monarchy in our affairs. People think that a 32-county Ireland will be the 26+6, put there are going to be some pretty unpleasant changes for those who claim to be of the Republican persuasion.
The question of economics is also more complicated than Sean1 thinks it is. Just because we now have more economic growth now than we did 20 years ago does not mean that a United Ireland is now viable. Our economy is growing faster than the UK's- that does not mean we have a bigger economy.
And we must also look at happened to Germany when it re-unified. The cost od East Germany crippled West Germany. And the same will happen here, without massive EU and US aid. And our days of receiving aid are over, since the birth of the Celtic Tiger.
 

FactCheck

New member
Joined
Mar 13, 2006
Messages
1
I find it interesting that this issue is discussed like it will happen tomorrow when it may well not actually happen in our lifetime. It's difficult now to even imagine how Ireland will look 15 years, nevermind 30 or 40 years down the road. How will the economy look? What will the impact of mass immigration be?

The behaviour of the loyalists is entirely unknown as well, obviously every violent situation would discredit reunification and polarise camps unless handled extremely sensitively as even moderate or maybe even reunification-friendly unionists would probably rally around the flag (and not the tricolour) if confronted with a flareup of violence between the communities.

Another interesting question is when exactly will Sinn Fein and its base lose patience, if nothing has happened 10 years from now, what kind of backing will "doves" like Adams have? Any renewed IRA violence would of course only delay the process further but would the rank&file know that?

Of course, as it has been said, concessions to the unionist side would be a must in any scenario, even 40% unionists are big enough a group to pull some weight at the end of the day.

Economically it would strongly depend on how exactly Ireland is faring at the time, if Ireland was doing very well the reunification could work much better than that of Germany. The West German economy was struggling before reunification and would have struggled more so in the 90s even without reunification. Reunification didn't help but it didn't turn a blossoming economy into a wreck either. After reunification the German government also made a lot of crappy decisions economically which probably both slowed down Eastern recovery and led the West German economy to stagnation. If good economic policies were implemented in Northern Ireland quickly and there was no violence or threat of it that could scare away investment, I'd be confident the N.I. economy would improve within a relatively short time..
 

FutureTaoiseach

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 20, 2005
Messages
7,980
Website
greatdearleader.blogspot.com
sean1 said:
smiffy said:
How do you know that everyone who votes for a nationalist/republican party (I assume that's where you're getting the 41% from, as it would be very foolish to base this simply on numbers of Catholics in the six counties) would also vote for a United Ireland?
I am surprised that you asked this question. Given that they are Nationalist parties, I would presume that they would vote for a re-united Ireland.

Granted there maybe some that wouldn't, but there would also be some Unionist Party(ies) supporters that would conversly vote for one. A survey carried out a few years ago said that between 20-30% of Alliance Party supporters, for example, would vote for a re-united Ireland.
Polls consistently show that while 98% of Northern SF voters support a United Ireland, the figure falls to 25% among SDLP voters, with another 25% opposed and 50% don't knows. It isn't as simply as just getting over 50% for Catholics. Also, only 3.8% of Northern Protestants say they want a United Ireland, so the 2 dissenting groups do not cancel each other out at all.
 

Risteard

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 29, 2004
Messages
453
sean1 said:
The fact that the mostly Unionist dominated Trade Union for medium sized businesses (whatever its called) is in favour of 7 County Councils
The Provos and their paymasters (the English government) are the only ones in favour of seven councils. Incidentally, these are not "seven county councils". As there are only six counties north-east of the British-imposed border there cannot be seven county councils.
 

sean1

Active member
Joined
Feb 22, 2005
Messages
104
Website
www.gaelport.com
FutureTaoiseach said:
Polls consistently show that while 98% of Northern SF voters support a United Ireland, the figure falls to 25% among SDLP voters, with another 25% opposed and 50% don't knows. It isn't as simply as just getting over 50% for Catholics. Also, only 3.8% of Northern Protestants say they want a United Ireland, so the 2 dissenting groups do not cancel each other out at all.
I remember seeing one of these surveys in college. I didn't see those figures. The majority of SDLP supporters in the one I saw were in favour.

FactCheck said:
I find it interesting that this issue is discussed like it will happen tomorrow when it may well not actually happen in our lifetime.
No its not.

Risteard said:
sean1 said:
The fact that the mostly Unionist dominated Trade Union for medium sized businesses (whatever its called) is in favour of 7 County Councils
The Provos and their paymasters (the English government) are the only ones in favour of seven councils. Incidentally, these are not "seven county councils". As there are only six counties north-east of the British-imposed border there cannot be seven county councils.
I meant six county councils and one city council.
 

sean1

Active member
Joined
Feb 22, 2005
Messages
104
Website
www.gaelport.com
smiffy said:
sean1 said:
I am confident that most people who vote for Nationalist parties in the North would vote for a re-united Ireland, even if it wasn't in their economic interest- which is not the case anyway.
Yes, I know you are.

However, for someone who started a thread on 'nuances' you seem surprisingly unwilling to actually speculate on or discuss them.

Well, maybe not that surprising.
Why do you see complications where there are none? Are you stupid?

Sidewinder said:
I think that's what the original poster was asking: what do we need to do to make unification possible?
 

meriwether

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 1, 2004
Messages
12,539
Why do you see complications where there are none? Are you stupid?
If you dont see massive complications in uniting this country, then you really havent examined the issue. It simply wont be a case that 50%+1 will vote for a united Ireland, then the next day we take over.
 

Risteard

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 29, 2004
Messages
453
sean1 said:
I meant six county councils and one city council.
You would still be wrong. Belfast is in the Counties of Antrim and Down (primarily Antrim). Furthermore, none of the other six proposed councils cover the geographical area of any county.
 

sean1

Active member
Joined
Feb 22, 2005
Messages
104
Website
www.gaelport.com
Risteard said:
sean1 said:
I meant six county councils and one city council.
Furthermore, none of the other six proposed councils cover the geographical area of any county.
I never knew that. We discussed this issue before. I think that they should stick to 7 councils.

meriwether said:
Why do you see complications where there are none? Are you stupid?
If you dont see massive complications in uniting this country, then you really havent examined the issue. It simply wont be a case that 50%+1 will vote for a united Ireland, then the next day we take over.
I was talking about complications in the title of the thread.
 

Whig

Member
Joined
Nov 28, 2005
Messages
22
hiding behind a poster said:
I think there'll be certain nuances to the electoral laws, which will guarantee a certain level of representation for the six counties in the new All-Ireland parliament - possibly a different electoral system for the early years for those areas, which guarantees a certain minimum level of representation for minority parties.
The reason proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote was part of the Government of Ireland Act was because it is the best voting system to ensure that minority parties will be represented, at least when there are large constituencies. I wouldn't like the idea of a separate voting system for the former Northern Ireland, I think there should only be a united Ireland when it is ready to integrate fully. I could imagine though that the parties would pledge to appoint a minimum number of Ulstermen to Government. We'd also see of Irish parties changing quite a bit, as each of the Northern parties join the existing parties, either as a whole or with different wings (of say the SDLP) joining different parties.

sean1 said:
hiding behind a poster said:
The problem is that flags, anthems, symbols, etc have become such huge issues in Northern Ireland, that whatever is accepted by one side is complete anathema to the other. So Unionists can never give allegiance to the Tricolour, and Nationalists can never give allegiance to a flag containing the Union Jack. Hence a completely neutral will have to be designed from scratch, and likewise an anthem.
I do think its childish (and I dont use this word much in politics) that the Unionists- or many of them- have a problem with the Irish flag. Sure, we could reach an arrangment that the British flag could fly in public buildings in Unionist areas, but I wouldnt stand for getting rid of the Irish flag.

Similar to the anthem. The Unionists could still have their British anthem for functions within their areas.

I would say that they should have their own police force-or (mostly) sub-police force within their own areas as well.
One either hopes for a united Ireland on the Wolfe Tone basis of uniting Protestant, Catholic and Dissenter, uniting the people, or a united Ireland based on land and on having the Irish Catholic nation on this island within one state. If it is the former one wants, the flag and anthem must go, the Constitution itself would probably need to be redrafted from scratch. There are reasons Unionists would feel uncomfortable about the flag, for many of them it never meant what it claimed to mean, and that wasn't their fault. I have problems with the flag myself. There should only be one national anthem, one to which all the people of Ireland can feel a connexion. As it stands, Unionists cannot identify with the sentiments of Amhrán na bhFiann. If your aim is a united Ireland, it should an Ireland that all of its citizens can identify with, so many of the things that Irish nationalists hold dear to their hearts would have to go. That is why I hope that when a united Ireland comes into being it is because of true reconciliation, after the forming of a new Irish nation and identity and not simply because of demographic shifts.
 

sean1

Active member
Joined
Feb 22, 2005
Messages
104
Website
www.gaelport.com
smiffy said:
sean1 said:
Why do you see complications where there are none? Are you stupid?
Good work, sean. Put your head in the sand, ignore the points I raised, pretend that everyone thinks the same as you. 'Re-unification' is clearly inevitable, and just around the corner.
I never said that re-unification was just around that corner, you twat. The only point you raised was about the health service and that it couldn't be taken for granted that Nationalist voters would vote for a re-united Ireland.
 

smiffy

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 11, 2004
Messages
1,279
Website
cedarlounge.wordpress.com
sean1 said:
I never said that re-unification was just around that corner, you twat. The only point you raised was about the health service and that it couldn't be taken for granted that Nationalist voters would vote for a re-united Ireland.
Untrue. I questioned your assumptions about the economic benefits to those in NI.

I look forward to your learned and 'nuanced' response.
 

Libero

Well-known member
Joined
May 22, 2004
Messages
2,994
Whatever about the North, as the years go by I find it harder to imagine a majority for reunification in the Republic.

I'd probably gulp deep and vote yes, but for most people - who aren't wrapped up in politics or nationalism - the thought of coping with the six counties is too much of a pain in the arse.

Let them stew in their own tribal nonsense and let us get on with life.

It's not a very admirable sentiment but it's pretty widespread. And the louder and more arrogant that the two main northern parties get, the less that southerners will want to do with them.

Needless to say, even a significant southern minority against reunification would only heighten the feeling amongst unionists that the whole thing wouldn't work.
 


New Threads

Popular Threads

Most Replies

Top