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Question: Will there be a united Ireland in 2032?
Aint gonna happen   -26 (81.3%)
Yes - a confederation   -3 (9.4%)
Yes - a federal republic   -3 (9.4%)
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Total Voters: 32

Author Topic: United Ireland?  (Read 2237 times)
politicus
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« on: April 09, 2012, 09:38:52 am »
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Is there any credible path to a unification of Ireland and Northern Ireland in the next 20 years? Either as a federation or (more likely) as a confederation. I think that an independent Scotland might change the position of some NI protestants - especially in the younger generation. Northern Ireland is already an odd component in the British state, and it would be even odder and more marginal in an amputated British/ English-Welsh state.
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« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2012, 09:41:31 am »
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No. Nobody here wants it.
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Keith R Laws ‏@Keith_Laws  Feb 4
As I have noted before 'paradigm shift' is an anagram of 'grasp dim faith'

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« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2012, 09:52:56 am »
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The birth rate of Catholics in NI is much higher than that of Protestants, and they should be a majority in 20-30 years if present trends continue.  Of course, if a majority ever supports joining Ireland, the UK government will presumably become massive hypocrites and partition NI.
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« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2012, 12:30:05 pm »
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No. Nobody here wants it.
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« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2012, 12:41:17 pm »
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The chances of a united independent Ireland twenty years from now are about as good as those of a restored United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland in the same time frame.  Not absolutely impossible, but so improbable as to not be worth worrying about.
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politicus
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« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2012, 12:50:51 pm »
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The chances of a united independent Ireland twenty years from now are about as good as those of a restored United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland in the same time frame.  Not absolutely impossible, but so improbable as to not be worth worrying about.
Well, at restored UK of GB and Ireland is absolutely impossible, so that's a false comparison.
A prerequisite for my question is the possibility of an independent Scotland (chances 30-40% IMO) and the dynamic it would unleash regarding the future of the UK.
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« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2012, 12:54:18 pm »
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About as likely as South Tyrol re-joining Austria.
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« Reply #7 on: April 09, 2012, 01:10:17 pm »
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If I'm recalling correctly, a recent survey in NI showed that 55% of primary school pupils are Catholic and 40% Protestant.  The unionists in NI are headed to demographic apocalypse in the medium term, should present voting habits persist.  That's why you've seen recent moderation on the part of the unionists (Peter Robinson gave a speech [in Dublin!] in which he stated that unionists will have to start reaching out to Catholics, and Jonathan Bell spoke at the Fine Gael party conference, while the UUP just elected their first non-Orange Order leader).

Of course, there never will be a fully united Ireland in any scenario; like I said, a nationalist majority in NI would merely mean partition.  Of course, even if the present demographic trends continue, that won't be happening for 50 years or so, unless the nats get momentum from other parts of the UK breaking off.
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« Reply #8 on: April 09, 2012, 01:13:18 pm »
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I would like to just point out that while nobody from Northern Ireland has posted in this thread (or, as far as I know, on this forum, ever) the two people from the Republic have made an interesting point that everybody else has ignored. Though I'm not sure it is literally true, there is obviously a lot of truth to it.
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« Reply #9 on: April 09, 2012, 01:18:11 pm »
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I figure it's like the West Germany/East Germany or South Korea/North Korea thing - they might not really want to in the strictly practical sense, but they would feel obligated to anyway.
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« Reply #10 on: April 09, 2012, 01:22:19 pm »
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I do agree it's somewhat unlikely West Germans would still have *wanted* reunification if a longish period of democratic rule in the East and some kind of Good Friday equivalent had gone beforehand.
As it was, the Right wanted it and the Left didn't know what it was wanting (and showed noticeably reduced turnout in the 1990 elections as a result; including the bobo kinds of leftie that always vote).
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« Reply #11 on: April 09, 2012, 02:04:40 pm »
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What about secularization, does that play a role at all?
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« Reply #12 on: April 09, 2012, 02:56:10 pm »
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What about secularization, does that play a role at all?

I personally don't see why it would, or at least not a particularly large one.
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politicus
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« Reply #13 on: April 09, 2012, 03:01:16 pm »
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I figure it's like the West Germany/East Germany or South Korea/North Korea thing - they might not really want to in the strictly practical sense, but they would feel obligated to anyway.
I agree. Its mostly up to NI. If there is a change in opinion up there, it'll be hard for the republic to say no.
Also both FF and FG support unification in principle.

« Last Edit: April 09, 2012, 03:11:54 pm by politicus »Logged

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« Reply #14 on: April 09, 2012, 04:17:56 pm »
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What about secularization, does that play a role at all?

No; that would require two factors to be true: 1) that religion in itself is the cause of conflict in the NI and will disappear once the religious divide will disappear (whatever that means) and 2) that NI (especially Protestant NI) is secularizing rapidly. But neither of these are the case. As it happens, there was some quite significant secularization of NI society in the 1950s and 1960s and look where that ended up...

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I figure it's like the West Germany/East Germany or South Korea/North Korea thing - they might not really want to in the strictly practical sense, but they would feel obligated to anyway.

No; NI isn't like anywhere really, but it is more like India-Pakistan than either of those two examples. Partition was not, unlike the above two but like India-Pakistan, solely the creation of outside powers where borders were arbitrarily* drawn in any areas were division had existed beforehand. Rather in Ireland the cause of partition were the divisions that existed inside the country which continued to exist to this day....

* - (Which isn't to say the borders of Ireland and India-Pakistan are not arbitrary. They are in large part, of course, but the division itself was not)

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If I'm recalling correctly, a recent survey in NI showed that 55% of primary school pupils are Catholic and 40% Protestant.  The unionists in NI are headed to demographic apocalypse in the medium term, should present voting habits persist.  That's why you've seen recent moderation on the part of the unionists (Peter Robinson gave a speech [in Dublin!] in which he stated that unionists will have to start reaching out to Catholics, and Jonathan Bell spoke at the Fine Gael party conference, while the UUP just elected their first non-Orange Order leader).

Of course, there never will be a fully united Ireland in any scenario; like I said, a nationalist majority in NI would merely mean partition.  Of course, even if the present demographic trends continue, that won't be happening for 50 years or so, unless the nats get momentum from other parts of the UK breaking off.

No, what will mean is that the Stormont government will have a nationalist majority and nothing else. Now, I suspect that this is something that wouldn't actually trouble people in London or Dublin much* but it certainly would in East Belfast and The Antrim Jesus belt.

* (as opposed to say, actual talk of unification, which would and, in all honesty, would trouble Dublin more than it would London)

As it happens, there is no actual evidence that even a majority of NI catholics would support unification if it came to a referendum.

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I would like to just point out that while nobody from Northern Ireland has posted in this thread (or, as far as I know, on this forum, ever) the two people from the Republic have made an interesting point that everybody else has ignored. Though I'm not sure it is literally true, there is obviously a lot of truth to it.

Iain Paisley is perhaps the most successful unionist of all time - he convinced so many (southern) Irish people that we simply didn't want to unify with the North if it involved (and it would) unifying with the likes of Iain Paisley.
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Keith R Laws ‏@Keith_Laws  Feb 4
As I have noted before 'paradigm shift' is an anagram of 'grasp dim faith'

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« Reply #15 on: April 09, 2012, 06:39:16 pm »
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The chances of a united independent Ireland twenty years from now are about as good as those of a restored United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland in the same time frame.  Not absolutely impossible, but so improbable as to not be worth worrying about.
Well, at restored UK of GB and Ireland is absolutely impossible, so that's a false comparison.
A prerequisite for my question is the possibility of an independent Scotland (chances 30-40% IMO) and the dynamic it would unleash regarding the future of the UK.


A prerequisite for either scenario to happen so soon is (Southern) Ireland rejoining the Commonwealth.  A restored UKGBI would also require not merely the implosion of the Euro Zone, but also of the EU, but if that unlikely scenario were to happen, Ireland rejoining the Commnwealth would have a much better chance of occurring, and reunification with Britain would have an extremely slender chance of happening, albeit with Southern Ireland retaining a devolved government and quite possibly under a different name, such as the Isles of the North Atlantic or the Federated Republic of Ireland and Great Britain.
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« Reply #16 on: April 09, 2012, 07:04:16 pm »
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As it happens, there is no actual evidence that even a majority of NI catholics would support unification if it came to a referendum.

What evidence there is points pretty firmly in the other direction, actually.
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« Reply #17 on: April 10, 2012, 06:12:38 am »
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No. Nobody here wants it.

Not perhaps among the demographic who would regularly post to international political forums. I wouldn't necessarily project from there onto the population at large.

As politicus says, the motivation, if it comes, will come from Northern Ireland. That requires a majority wanting reunion, and while that may come closer with demographic change, there are two dampeners from the point of northern nationalists:

i) the state of the economy/society in the south (not currently looking good),
ii) worry about how the "law-abiding" current majority would react to being outvoted in a democratic election.

(I wouldn't pay much heed to the likes of the Northern Ireland Life and Times surveys; given their massively skewed results when it comes to political party support, it's clear that they measure the opinions that people feel comfortable expressing to total strangers in a society where "whatever you say, say nothing" is still a wise course of action.)

If there was a majority in favour of reunion in the north, I wouldn't expect there to be any significant opposition in the south (the occasional bobo excepted). But I don't expect it to happen any time soon.
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« Reply #18 on: April 11, 2012, 04:36:25 pm »
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If that happened, it seems to me no one would be sadder than Gerry Adams.  Sinn Fein would lose it's entire reason to exist in a unified Ireland.
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« Reply #19 on: April 11, 2012, 05:50:03 pm »
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If that happened, it seems to me no one would be sadder than Gerry Adams.  Sinn Fein would lose it's entire reason to exist in a unified Ireland.

I wouldn't be sure of that. The ANC, Indian Congress Party, KMT, etc. are still around.

At the moment, there's a gigantic hole in the centre ground of politics in the south where Fianna Fáil used to be. Fine Gael have the right to themselves (at least until Merkozynomics works its magic and the country goes even more tits-up than it is already), while to the left, Labour look to be returning themselves to single figures, and the other rivals for that swathe of territory are either an uneasy alliance of two mutually-suspicious Trotskyite sectlets or a gaggle of rural populist independents. Sinn Féin are trying to reposition themselves to take advantage of that.
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« Reply #20 on: April 12, 2012, 08:03:12 pm »
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Well, I am a "Bobo" so I don't speak for - and can't claim to speak for - the man in Ballyheerin but I don't see much sentiment in favour of unification going around around the country. Rather I think the border has become far too well-entrenched for it to change without some form of upheaval in the way we consider "Irishness" taking place. The recent incident when Armagh GAA players were referred to as "British bastards" being a particular demonstration of that.

I'd agree though if a majority in the north was in favour of unification, it would happen. But I don't really see that happening....
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Keith R Laws ‏@Keith_Laws  Feb 4
As I have noted before 'paradigm shift' is an anagram of 'grasp dim faith'

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« Reply #21 on: April 12, 2012, 08:57:15 pm »
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Well, I am a "Bobo" so I don't speak for - and can't claim to speak for - the man in Ballyheerin but I don't see much sentiment in favour of unification going around around the country.

I think the best description for it is "desirable in the abstract but not at all urgent at the moment".

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Rather I think the border has become far too well-entrenched for it to change without some form of upheaval in the way we consider "Irishness" taking place. The recent incident when Armagh GAA players were referred to as "British bastards" being a particular demonstration of that.

I wouldn't necessarily take too much from the Queen's County football team's taste in sledging; the hysterical treatment meted out to Derrytresk after the Junior club football semi-final was more serious in my judgement.

Partitionism is there in the south and it has been for as long as I can remember; it still didn't stop McAleese being elected President in 1997.

The change, if it ever comes, will come from north of the border and may come when people least expect it.
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« Reply #22 on: April 12, 2012, 08:58:44 pm »
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^^^^
Don't disagree with any of that.
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« Reply #23 on: April 13, 2012, 06:15:20 am »

As it happens, there is no actual evidence that even a majority of NI catholics would support unification if it came to a referendum.

What evidence there is points pretty firmly in the other direction, actually.

It's a myriad really. The problem is that Northern Irish and Irish identity is interchangable. The two political outcomes are a result of a divergence in opinion as to Ireland's future. Catholics certainly don't feel 'British.' In comparison Catholics in Scotland do tend to identify strongly Scottish over 'British' but are traditionally 'unionist' (but not 'Unionist') as remaining in the UK was preferrable to the alternative of independence. For most of the last century Scottish independence would have manifested itself as a Presbyterian non-secular hegemony; a Northern Ireland Mark II. Of course, Scotland has rapidly secularised (it could be argued more so than England and Wales)

While re-unification has romantic appeal to some Catholics in Northern Ireland, the suspension of Home Rule and the introduction of an army presence was initially welcomed as a protection against political Orangism. Even during the 'Troubles' it was more welcomed than perhaps many Catholics would care to admit (and always preferable to the police)
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« Reply #24 on: April 13, 2012, 10:49:26 am »
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While re-unification has romantic appeal to some Catholics in Northern Ireland, the suspension of Home Rule and the introduction of an army presence was initially welcomed as a protection against political Orangism. Even during the 'Troubles' it was more welcomed than perhaps many Catholics would care to admit (and always preferable to the police)

I wouldn't over-egg the pudding; the welcome wore out very quickly after the Falls curfew and the introduction of internment. It also depended on the regiment; a lot of Scottish regiments had a bad reputation for dealing with Catholic civilians and the UDR (officially part of the British Army) a worse one.
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