WHAT WOULD A NEW RE-UNITED IRELAND LOOK LIKE? by Harry McAvinchey

 

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In one of Jude’s recent blogs there was some crowing that a United Ireland was a  surefire inevitability.

Well , is it? There is some evidence that  nominal  Nationalists in Northern Ireland will eventually outnumber nominal Unionists.”North Munsterman” posited that within fifteen years,  with Nationalists in the ascendance  , unionists will comprise some forty percent of those voting.The implication is that with Nationalists having a sixty percent majority , a United Ireland is a shoo-in. Unionism will gradually decrease in influence and will only have a ten per cent  hold on the entire  political pie.

We know , of course , that barely half the population votes at any given time so the figures may not tell the whole story. We know too that it is only those very interested citizens who care enough to get out and vote anyway. Many do not.

The thing I find that is never considered in the great new vision, is that  in this magical re-united Ireland  we’ll be carrying the same old problems of racism, bigotry, neo- fascism, gangsterism and all the rest of that intransigent cussedness with us . There’ll be no magic  fix.

 Cultural unionism  has very little influence in Westminster but will have a large bloc in a future Irish  government , possibly carrying all that same bile into this sparkly New Ireland. They’ll still want to walk Traditional Routes. They’ll  still want to push a Creationist agenda and all those other old shibboleths.

All of this while the now Republic is finally shucking off the chains of  Church- inspired  conservatism ,censorship and all that . The things that divide us in Northern ireland have never been properly addressed and are constantly fudged or pushed back .Government is not solving these problems.

Given that our  southern neighbours  will  have to agree to this  wholly new conservative input  from the North , will they ever vote for that ? Will they vote down a re-united Ireland and leave well enough alone?

23 Responses to WHAT WOULD A NEW RE-UNITED IRELAND LOOK LIKE? by Harry McAvinchey

  1. morpheus June 18, 2014 at 4:02 pm #

    Is the long-term plan to make Northern Ireland such a perpetual shit-hole that those in the south will never vote to reunite Ireland?

  2. Theresa Watson June 18, 2014 at 4:21 pm #

    I was home in the South of Ireland recently and was having a chat with the owner of the hotel, we were staying in; The conversation turned to NI and I asked the inevitable question, a united Ireland?

    His reply the NI problem was sorted out in the GFA. A united Ireland is a dream, we don’t want to wake up one day and find it’s an nightmare come through, I’m still trying to work out what he meant. It seem to reiterate the old attitude of ‘leave them where they are’.

    • Jude Collins June 19, 2014 at 3:51 pm #

      That’s what it sounds like to me, too, Theresa. So where did people get this idea? Might it have been that the politicians and the media constantly referred to ‘up there’ as a dark and dangerous place full of psychopaths over a thirty/forty year period? I think the powers that be in the south have done a first-rate job of not allowing the violence (by and large) to spill over into the south, and of maintaining this mental wall in sound repair after the ceasefires, so that a cosy corrupt set-up could be continued as far as possible without interruption by those pesky nordies. Looks as though the strategy has begun to leak a bit lately, though…

    • Virginia June 20, 2014 at 3:27 am #

      You could use that dream/nightmare scenario for a host of ideas, places… well done to the man who coined it.

  3. maryjo June 18, 2014 at 6:20 pm #

    Ireland expansionism isn’t the only option. An option more attractive to Ulster people, might be an Independent Ulster that would reconstitute its historic boundaries by annexing Donegal, Cavan, Monaghan and the Cooley Peninsula. Considering how many NI citizens have had extensive military and paramilitary training, the 3 separated counties should be a walkover.
    Ulster folk are different, always have been and always will be. The rebuilding of the Black Pig’s Dyke could be the founding act of the Independent Free State of Ulster.
    (As an expat NI person living in Donegal, I keep having this vision of being reintegrated into the homeland especially when I see how effectively Nordies can takeover Donegal beaches in this sunny weather..)

    • Jude Collins June 18, 2014 at 6:30 pm #

      Maryjo – I admire your imaginative proposal but I can tell you now Pope Francis’s chances of being elected chairman of the PUL are higher than your idea flying successfully…Sorry to sound so negative.

  4. chris June 18, 2014 at 6:53 pm #

    This is exactly why SF and ADAMS went South, unless there is actually a will to push the idea through by a major party it will be shelved, just like all the other free state ‘republican’ parties, it needs to be at the forefront of a leading party’s agenda, SF need to keep this at the top of their priorities!

  5. NorthMunsterman June 18, 2014 at 6:57 pm #

    Harry :

    I would be interested to hear what would be on your Unionist “shopping-list” to agree to an independent Re-United Ireland.

    • paddykool June 18, 2014 at 7:15 pm #

      Well…. Sir NorthMunsterman, seeing as I am not a unionist by tradition or inclination ,I’d really have no idea. I can see though that the unionists would have a much bigger say in united Irish situation than in the “paddy-lite” situation they find themselves in in the setting of Westminster where they are not really treated too seriously. They’ll always be “paddies” over there , let’s face it. I’m not saying they’d need a shopping list, they’d need to be invited in . i’m not entirely sure they be wanted…i’m not too sure the Nationalists are really wanted either , though .

      My feeling is that given that the Catholic church has lost the heft of its influence in the secular world, that old bogeyman really doesn’t fly anymore . It has to be the economic argument first.

      Cultural details need to addressed in the North first in any case before any of us are ready for the Orange and Green cultures to co-exist in a new Ireland. those “Peace Walls” in Belfast have to be addressed before that contamination is allowed to spread island -wide. It’s probably the only place in the world outside of drug barons’ walled compounds …or the old Berlin Wall where people live like that.

      Do you think many people down around Dingle realise that’s how some people live in Belfast. Do you imagine people in Manchester or Swindon realise that some people in Belfast live like that? There ‘s a lot of work to do yet…..

  6. Francis D June 18, 2014 at 7:25 pm #

    Fiddle Sticks, as Dickens might helpfully venture to the above, Fiddle Sticks. The country will inevitably Unite, and with checks a balances with all traditions catered for, the dust bowl of Dixie Belt intransigence will give way to a stronger Ireland, north and south where people can examine this long festering anomaly from a safe Academic distance if they so wish, free from the Shackles of Sectarianism and the Shadows of a failed, and ethically bankrupt and ultimately doomed project from its divisive inception. On this, the Orange Order and Progressive People in Ireland are in absolute accord, for the Union, the writing very much so is plainly on the Wall.

    • paddykool June 18, 2014 at 7:58 pm #

      Well Francie …It does sound like Utopia…and I’m all for your optomism! But Marjo may have other ideas and there is also that old “backs against the wall” mentality that brought on the neo -fascist Ulster Workers Strike back in the early 1970,s. I have no doubt that that kind of fascism still exists in some quarters and could easily be re-ignited again……then what? …Another generation of the same old pointless slaughter and the Utopia goes up in flames and the border is sealed again .Does anyone remember being stopped at border checkpoints? Remember a few scant years ago being searched every time you went shopping? remember sitting in bars with CCTV cameras and steel doors? All those same people are still out there….or their children…..

  7. Francis D June 18, 2014 at 9:30 pm #

    I do not think Paddyk that I share your pessimism. Often, pessimism and Realism share the same platform and can be mistaken for each other over the din. ‘Utopia’ is a word that likewise the foolish or religiously zealous are prone to employ, ergo it holds little sway over the Rational. When pessimism speculates on the future we must be wary that such blinkered prognostications do not become self fulfilling. Realism requires that we examine the pathology of what is wrong in a measured and comprehensive way that the same errors may not again arise. The UWC Strike held hostage the people in the six counties in the north east certainly…..could it be Realiatically adjudged that the Tail could or should be ever afforded or would have the clout to, Wag the Dog again? Unionism is flailing around looking for flotsam to stop it drowning from every and any quarter it apply its influence over. These desparate times for the Bowler Hats and their desperate death throws see it even court Catholics to vote for them,- some may certainly, but most Turkeys don’t vote for Christmas. The DUP want Catholic votes now the demographic tide has neutralized their capacity to dominate everything. These (arguably the most moderate of the Unionist Family) same Party members don’t want Catholics to marry any of their Kins Folk. Dillemas, Dillemas. How can we get the Turkeys to vote for us when they can see us with the Oven trays with Sir Cliff singing about Christmas in the other room. Most savvy Turkeys might just say Feck this for a Party, could you blame them? The Realists within the Unionist Camp know that the times they are a changing. The pessimists in the Unionist Camp have always knew Ulster’s peril, and now things are starting to move….they know this once proud little Apartheid Statelet has changed, changed utterly….a word that may perhaps prove more useful in dissecting this absurd anomaly north of the DMZ would certainly be ‘Distopia’. It sounds similar to Utopia however the D for disfunctional has been in the minds of many before the Partition experiment ever left the lab……Realists have a quiet right to be optimistic, as for the Turkeys, they are confidently booking their Holiday for next Easter.

  8. Séan Tómas June 18, 2014 at 9:36 pm #

    This is a pretty good post by Harry, the old idea of “if we breed enough taigs, we’ll get a United Ireland” needs to be set aside.

    The thing that complicates things here is identity. As well as British and Irish, we now have Northern Irish as well. The thing about the latter identity, is that there is no agreed consensus on what it means to be Northern Irish.

    Let us take the two traditions. Split those in two, both extremes have similar, yet diametrically opposed views on it(One side refuses to recognise it, the other does, but part of UK/GB. You then have the more moderate parts of the two sides, the low fat versions of the aforementioned extremes.

    Then you have the middle ground, where people see themselves just as Northern Irish. A few young people would recognise themselves as this.

    There is a question I would ask; could you say that you are Northern Irish, yet you still believe in a United Ireland?

    Could Northern Ireland ever go independent? Would the unionists push for this, if they thought that they would lose more power?

    How much is Northern Ireland REALLY costing the UK taxpayer?

    Nobody here, north or south of the border, from what I can see, is talking about a United Ireland in the same way that people are talking about an Independent Scotland. It is just a bit too romanticised, without getting down to the actual nitty gritty.

    Another thing is shape. Is a 32 county republic really likely, or realistic?

    If it were to happen, would it be in the form of a federal republic, with two regional parliaments, with one bigger parliament?

    Back in the 70’s, the provies political ideals were something called Eire Nua, where you had 4 regional parliaments, in Belfast, Dublin, Cork and Galway, to represent each of the 4 provinces, with the main central parliament in Athlone.

    I did read somewhere that there were discussions between them and the UVF/Gusty Spence, who believed in an Independent Ulster, and they were negotiating some kind of arrangement that would suit both sides, but that fell through, as someone leaked details to a politician in the south.

    Another thing that some nationalists take for granted is……unilateral support for a United Ireland down south. How sure is anyone that they would support it? If you had re – unification, would the northerners be looked upon in the same way that people from eastern Germany are sometimes looked on from those in western Germany?

    I know I’m rambling here, but could a Bosnia – Herzegovina like solution work on the whole of Ireland, with Donegal, Monaghan and Cavan being part of two separate entities (Northern Ireland/Ulster and the Republic of Ireland)?

    • paddykool June 19, 2014 at 10:29 am #

      Sean :That was a well constructed response.My alter -ego thanks you for the compliments too.I do believe these are questions that have to be quietly asked . It’s like the questions I asked about fear that rages through communities and creates racism. These details are never constructively revealed amongst the clatter of negatives….the fear of talking about them….the Sinn Fein kickers in the DUP and the romantic out of tune singing of Republican and Loyalist anthems when like -minded groups pump up their egos.
      We need facts and figures or we’ll still have the same old bullshit to deal with … infinitum…..

    • Gerry McDermott June 30, 2014 at 6:03 am #

      The so called “Northern Irish” identity has been created in a attempt to somehow lessen the changing demographics,it will be exposed as such,and that will be the end of yet another British/Unionist myth/lie.They were trying to convince us recently that Irish nationalists are turning into Unionists,for heavens sake,now for their next trick.

  9. paddykool June 18, 2014 at 10:20 pm #

    Francis…. You’d better let them knw then….I think I’ll just pour another glass of red and get on with it mucked ….

  10. RJC June 19, 2014 at 9:57 am #

    The notion of an independent Northern Ireland seems utterly insane to me.

    As regard those who choose to identify as ‘Northern Irish’ I don’t see this being a problem within a United Ireland. Plenty of Cork people would consider themselves ‘Corkmen’ as well as Irish, and I’m sure there are plenty of Dubs and others who feel similarly.

    Identifying as ‘Northern Irish’ within Ireland shouldn’t be a problem I think.

    I have lots of other thoughts on the matter, but too much work to do today unfortunately! I will say that I believe it’s dangerous to view a United Ireland as a forgone conclusion – there is much work to be done between now and then in order to achieve an Ireland in which all creeds, colours and customs feel an integral part of.

    I’ll sign off with a favourite Franz Kafka quote –

    “By believing passionately in something that still does not exist, we create it. The nonexistent is whatever we have not sufficiently desired.”

    • paddykool June 19, 2014 at 10:17 am #

      Ahh Kafka…Great quote RJC…wish I’d had that one ready for Francis D last night !

  11. Billy Pilgrim June 19, 2014 at 2:42 pm #

    ‘What would a re-united Ireland look like?’

    Like this.

    http://trueclassics.files.wordpress.com/2010/09/maureen-ohara-lady-godiva1.jpg#

    Whereas the status quo looks like this.

    http://b.bimg.dk/node-images/240/5/800×600-u/5240953-ole-thestrup-i-ny-randers-rolle—1.jpg

    • paddykool June 19, 2014 at 3:34 pm #

      Aaah Billy{great name by the way} ….Maureen could sell it all right!!

    • Jude Collins June 19, 2014 at 3:53 pm #

      Nice one, Billy. A picture, as they say, is worth a thousand words…

  12. Alan June 27, 2014 at 5:52 pm #

    I’m sure the majority in the south want their country unified. All of Ireland should be ruled by an Irish government, after all, no matter how long the English have interfered in our country.

    But the northern loyalist is a foreign species in the south. He is not a nice friendly character who one can compromise with. Rather, he is a relic of another, less evolved century.

    The south doesn’t want the inevitable painful headache of dealing with uncouth northern loyalism within its own borders. That is the problem with unification for many southerners.

    • Jude Collins June 27, 2014 at 5:56 pm #

      Good point, Alan. But maybe that’s because so few southerners have taken the time or energy to cross the border and even see what the landscape looks like. Their image of northern unionists will therefore come to them second-hand. I know a lot of northern unionists and I can tell you, more decent, humane people you couldn’t ask for. I don’t think Irish unity would mean the south having to digest this hard, uncomfortable lump. I think it’d be a case of the south being lucky enough to form part of a mixture that would include the northern unionist, who has many traits that some southerners could well do with.