Enda and Micheál and the border

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The recent comments by various people on a possible border poll has excited widespread media attention. So who said what?

Micheál Martin  (FF) thinks the remain vote in the north “may show people the need to rethink current arrangements…However, at this moment the only evidence we have is that the majority of people in Northern Ireland want to maintain open borders”.

Enda Kenny told the MacGill Summer School that a border poll may be triggered if there is clear evidence of a majority of people in Northern Ireland wishing to leave the EU and join the republic.

It doesn’t take a gimlet-eyed lawyer to see that both men have restated the bleeding obvious: the Good Friday Agreement includes a clause which says that if it is believed that a majority wanted constitutional change, a border poll should be held.

It is the concern over Brexit that has triggered these bleeding-obvious remarks by both men. Maybe a desire to remain in Europe might out-trump unionist distaste of any re-unification? Not if you heed the words of Ian Paisley Jr.

He says it’s a load of rubbish, that Enda Kenny and Gerry Adams are under pressure to resign as leaders and so they’re using this distraction of a border poll. “We all know first of all the public in Northern Ireland, nationalists and unionists, have no interest whasoever in a united Ireland”.

Poor Ian –  “no interest whatsoever’?  Now if he’d said Enda Kenny and Micheál Martin have no interest whatsoever in a united Ireland, he’d have been nearer the mark. The political parties in the south, with the obvious exception of Sinn Féin, would like the north to detach itself and float out into the middle of the Atlantic, never to be seen again. And to be fair to Kenny and Martin, they both merely restate the GFA. It’s their way of pressuring for the best deal in terms of border controls. It is in the interests of business north and south that the border provides a minimum of blockage to trade.

And so the leader of Fine Gael and the leader of Fianna Fail make solemn statements about possible Irish unity at some unspecified point in the future. They do so, believing it might strengthen their hand in terms of post-Brexit arrangements – and of course it’s a way of stealing the Shinners’ clothes.

Nothing personal, just business.


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38 Responses to Enda and Micheál and the border

  1. Antaine de Brún July 20, 2016 at 10:19 am #

    The proliferation of posters, flags and murals articulate the dysfunctional nature of the political system in this part of the world and reinforces the simplistic notion of two warring tribes. The partial administration of the law led to death and destruction courtesy of a range of serving police officers and sundry ‘state sponsored agents.’ It was Lord Chief Justice Lowry who stated:

    “…more than ordinary police work was needed and was justified to rid the land of the pestilence which has been in existence.”

    Mr (Remain) Brokenshire has wasted no time in time in confirming that he is now officially part of the Irish problem. The majority of people in Scotland and Ireland wish to remain part of the EC yet his premature response was:

    “It is difficult to see how NI can stay in the EC…”

    Ian Hamilton writing in The Guardian, states:

    “The vote to leave the EU breaches the spirit of the Good Friday Agreement… Ireland’s right of self-determination applies to one question only – whether Ireland should become united. But Brexit undermines the spirit of Good Friday…To remove Northern Ireland from Europe without its consent is not only morally wrong and politically risky; it is also a rejection of the fundamental bilateralism of the peace process…England’s unilateral declaration of independence means that the border will dominate politics again…”

    Any individual with 20/20 vision can see a paradigm shift in the political landscape.

  2. jessica July 20, 2016 at 10:34 am #

    I agree, but it was still nice to hear them show an interest for a change.

    It also raised the issue to higher levels beyond where Sinn Fein could have as now one of the joint guarantors of the GFA have suggested a poll could be coming.

    We all know politicians cant be trusted, but it is not nice when parties such as Fine Gael and Fianna Fail can blatantly dismiss and show open disregard for a whole section of our people.

    If there are more noises in this vein it would be very welcome to many I think.

    • Antaine de Brún July 20, 2016 at 12:06 pm #

      The only constant in history is change, it is political action that is needed now, not more noises. There is a challenge to develop rational arguments which will promote and develop the best interests of the entire population with adequate high quality housing, roads, railways and public services. There is the potential to reduce unemployment, economic migration and to eradicate the scourge of poverty. Current evidence illustrates that a small number of individuals have become extremely wealthy at the expense of the taxpayer. Blue and green Tories welcome the politics of division as they continue to implement austerity policies.

    • Oz 2015 July 20, 2016 at 1:36 pm #

      Jessica I read that Leitrim county Council passed some resolution about the need for a “border Poll”
      It would be better if more councils did the same like Donegal, Monaghan Cavan etc.
      Did likewise rather than anything these 2 x amigos could say.
      After all even their united Ireland calls are for a 32 County Free State..They talk of absorbing the Wee 6 into the Free state.
      Anyway I think it’s not going to happen.
      Who wants to join into a Country which bends over backwards to attract foreign investment because it has very little industry of it’s own.
      Denmark has something like 15,000 companies exporting .
      Ireland has about 2,000.
      Ireland is not working.

      • jessica July 20, 2016 at 2:41 pm #

        Fair play to Leitrim, I agree completely that county councils especially among the border counties need to lead the way on this and that it is not a northern Ireland only issue. Lets hope the other councils do likewise and lead the way that this is not simply an EU choice, but a very real issue for Irish people in both jurisdictions.

    • Scott July 20, 2016 at 1:40 pm #

      If public opinion has shifted hugely due to Brexit Jessica, then any reunification will presumably be built on the back of people wishing to join the ROI to stay within the EU, thus boosting the Pro EU camp in the south.

      Going by your other posts I can see that you are strongly anti-Eu, so I was wondering if you would be happy with reunification if it meant further deepening pro EU sentiment in the ROI and keeping NI within the EU?

      Perhaps if your Eurosceptism outweighs your Irish nationalism, then you would support a new federal UK with a UI within it? Just an idea.

      • jessica July 20, 2016 at 5:40 pm #

        I actually thought about this recently Scott, and what I decided was that my loyalties would lie with Ireland as in the country which is the whole island first, then by county, possibly province next.

        I have no more feelings towards a separate northern Ireland than for any 6 county area in Ireland.

        I see Britain as a close neighbour with us having much more in common with Scotland than we do with England.

        My nationalism is for an all island Irish nation, ruled by ourselves only and not by London or Brussels or any other power hungry nation.

        I would very much support a federal relationship with England, Scotland, Wales and as many other nations as would be interested including from within Europe. It is the direction the EU is taking towards political unity I could never support.

        As for Irish unification being built on the back of people wishing to join the ROI to stay within the EU.

        That would be the very last thing I would want and is why I am so against it. Not because I feel there is a majority support being in the EU in either part of this Island, in fact I believe the opposite is true and just as a Brexit was not expected, I would back a majority leave vote from a 26 county referendum.

        My reason is that unification has to be because a majority of people on this island want to be part of a single nation state and can agree a political solution that is in the best interests of all of our people, both economically, socially and politically.

        • PF July 20, 2016 at 9:07 pm #


          “I would very much support a federal relationship with England, Scotland, Wales and as many other nations as would be interested including from within Europe.”

          I know it’s not exactly what you have in mind, but if Jude will permit the link, a form of this conversation is already taking place:


          • jessica July 20, 2016 at 11:02 pm #

            Scotland and England will be the first piece of the jigsaw.
            I expect there is a chance they will be open to keeping the monarchy as their head of state, there is none whatsoever in Ireland.

            In typical Irish fashion however, I am sure there would be a way of keeping our president and status as a republic while allowing the royals better access to Ireland and tagging us within the moniker of a kingdom between Britain and Ireland.

            In return, there may be a renaming of the British isles to something more reflective of Irish sovereignty.

            I could see Scotland remaining with Sterling in return for a new bank of Britain. If agreed, would this then be offered to include Ireland?

            I personally would doubt it. It would be a risk and England would prefer a united Ireland as they know it would be the best for Ireland economically and that will be very important in this new dispensation.

            We could very well have Irish sterling however and our own banking autonomy or a degree of autonomy in return for some good practice commitments. I think this has more potential and wuold help maintain and grow the current trade relations.

            Another reason I see Ireland uniting is our economic prosperity in the north lies hand in hand with the south, through a unified approach to tourism to help us rebuild the new Ireland. We have barely scratched the surface of our potential in this sector and it will grow significantly which will have knock on benefits in construction and so on.

            So yes, I can see a new federal Britain across the water and a new form of union between Britain and its nearest neighbour Ireland as well as an extended federal union including India, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and other nations all with totally free trade agreements and a potential prosperous future.

            Or it could all just turn to shit from self preservationists in Dublin continuing to oppose unity and attempting to rewrite us out of our history, the rebellion having been fighting for a 26 county republic all along don’t you know.

            War or prosperity. I could accept either above the status quo. What will be will be.

  3. billy July 20, 2016 at 11:30 am #

    micheal and enda seem confused about what was promised in the brexit vote,total control is part of what the majority voted on so majorities in different parts of the uk doesnt come into it.enda will come under pressure from england to tighten their ports and merkel will be telling him to let more migrants in so hes stuck between a rock and a hard place.he knows whos to blame so he has to make decisions or the brits will make them for him.

  4. ANOTHER JUDE July 20, 2016 at 12:16 pm #

    Unionists sometimes talk the biggest rubbish, saying Nationalists in the six counties have no interest in uniting Ireland is tantamount to saying Nationalists are, well, not nationalist. What do they pour onto those bonfires that can make people say stuff like that? Or is it just the fumes from the illegal tyres they burn?

  5. Perkin Warbeck July 20, 2016 at 1:07 pm #

    How does one copyright a cliché, Esteemed Blogmeister, is a question currently in the air and on the airwaves alike.

    While most media attention is focused on M.A.M. ( Michelle and Melania) nonetheless The Unionist Times opted to zero in on a different M and M – Mayoman and Micheal Martin. Indeed, the mouthpiece for Southern Yoons goes one better and includes a third M in the equation: Martin McGuinness.

    -Mr. Kenny has shot himself in the foot with, no doubt, a decommissioned Sinn Fein blunderbuss.

    This thigh-slapper of an end line is atypical, it must be said, of the High-Church harrumph one normally associates with the po-faced editorials in The Union Times. But in this instance the topic is the Border Poll and by extrapolation, the Shinners.

    And of course where the Shinners are concerned it’s a thumbs up and a green light alike for a real knees up and mind the dresser time when Anything Goes. Including the odd kick in the Shins, accidentally on purpose, like. The musical instrument of choice being the cor anglais and the repertoire de rigeur being anything derived from (gulp) Yoony Tunes.

    In this instance the cartoon character evoked is none other than Yosemite Sam. In whose hands of yore a blunderbuss would not have looked at all out of place.

    His full name of course was Yosemite Sam McAughtry and after The Unionist Times and its broadcasting wing, RTE had recruited him into its ranks back in the 80s , it seemed that, for a spell, the bould,horse-laughing Yosemite Sam McAughtry was all over the Free Southern Stateen like brown sauce on a plateen of Ulster Fry

    In 1996 with a certain remorseless sense of inevitability he morphed into Senator Sam on hearing and heeding the Call of Caligula.

    While his deceptively supercilious tone of voice, and choice of attitude took some die hards south of the Black Sow’s Dyke a little while to get used to, eventually it became only a matter of time before even they became bewitched by his winning combo of blather, comical anecdote and contempt.

    Thus did the Unionist Times craftily calculate that the tones and toons of this Northern Yoon with his eleven gallon hat and his vaguely sinister sense of uber-Ulster bonhomie would assuredly convert their rabbit-like readership into sure-fire infallible Southern Yoons in time and Times alike.

    Hence you had the spectre on RTE’s ‘rival’ station yesterday, Toady fm, oops, Today fm of its mega-star, Matt’ Cascarino’s trouser-cough catcher’ Cooper having a, erm, catholic spread of opinion-formers on his show to deal with this blunderbuss-shaped blunder of Mayoman : Senator Frank ‘The Not Sinn’ Feighan of Fine Gael and (gulp) Newton Emerson of (gasp) The Unionist Times.

    (Being a worthy successor of Yosemite Sam McAughtrey , The Newt, of course, is the latest Northern Yoon to be recruited for the purpose of comically catechizing those still slightly wavering Southern Yoons).

    Like his legendary predecessor, the Newt is never seen without his eleven-gallon hat even as he lorries in to his favourite slap up meal of Ulster fry : a Lough Neagh-sized plate of soda bread and potato farl, cooked in reserved bacon fat, thus rendering them golden and crispy; and served alongside Ulster bacon, sausage, black pudding, tomato and ego.

    It is the latter Roaring Meg- proportioned ego which leaves the Newt as it did Yosemite Sam before him, cocky to a T (for Taigue).

    To conclude: mention of the two Martins, (Micheal and McGuinness) reminds one that there might even be a third Martin at play here. To wit, Martin Chuzzlewit.

    Consider the following: perhaps the most poplular character in this novel of Dickens’s is the character of Sarah Gamp. Mrs. Gamp, as she is usually referred to, is dissolute, sloppy and generally drunk. So popular indeed did she become with the British public that a type of umbrella became known as a …gamp.

    This was because Mrs. Gamp always carried one which she displayed with ‘particular ostentation’. She was also known to use her brolly to whack perceived adversaries across the, erm, Shins.

    Now, it is widely rumoured on Liffeyside that Martin the First Minister of Fianna Failure employs a nurse as his Spin Doctor. To whom he is totally in thrall. So much so the relationship is not so much nurse/ patient as ventriloquist/ dummy.

    Consider also now the following: Mrs. Gamp had an alter-ego called, erm, Mrs Harris, an utterly imaginary creature with whom she consulted in times of crisis, turmoil and calm.

    Substitute now: Saorstat for Sarah; power drunk for drunk and anti-Casement for Sindo.

    PS The Perkin, copyright free and footloose, wishes it to be known that Melania is free to plagiarise with him whenever and wherever she chooses.

  6. PF July 20, 2016 at 3:56 pm #

    Of course there’s going to be a Border Poll (Referendum on Irish Unity/assimilation into the RoI); but if the articles on this website are anything to go by then it with be Northern Ireland’s Nationalists who will fail to grasp the best opportunity they have had for 100 years to test the public mood – honestly, sometimes reading the articles here reminds me of the perennial squabbling within Unionism – was ever a political movement more poorly named?

    And why will there be a Border Poll?

    First of all, Unionist Parties are in denial, particularly the DUP; having said that they are also in denial about their treatment and subsequent hypocrisy over David Trimble – but they must be spooked – if they are not, they ought to be, as almost every Nationalist voice on the island is talking about the possibly not only of a poll, but of unity.

    Secondly, there will be no change to the current border arrangements – it is in no one’s interests – and there is absolutely no chance of England squandering the Belfast Agreement over a border control problem – a couple of airports and seaports are easier to control than a land border.

    In addition to this, for all their protestations (forgive the pun) Unionists have already signed up to such a poll – and they’d be better admitting it. And in signing up to such a poll, they have already given credence to Irish Unity. During the time of the Belfast Agreement they had the opportunity to encourage a stronger British connection within Ireland, but they were so myopically focused on Northern Ireland that they missed their chance.

    Northern Irish Nationalism is talking about a Border Poll.
    Westminster is talking about a Border Poll, and new arrangements within the current UK.
    Scotland is talking about their own Poll.
    The British Constitutional Reform Group is talking about an new Union.
    And the Republic of Ireland is talking about a Border Poll…

    And if the contributors to this site can’t see the direction of travel and use it to their advantage, then like Ulster’s Unionists they will squander the opportunity to secure the future they have always said they want.

    • Jude Collins July 20, 2016 at 4:54 pm #

      ‘ but if the articles on this website are anything to go by then it with be Northern Ireland’s Nationalists who will fail to grasp the best opportunity they have had for 100 years to test the public mood – honestly, sometimes reading the articles here reminds me of the perennial squabbling within Unionism – was ever a political movement more poorly named?’ – When you say ‘articles’, PF, do you mean extended comments/discussions – like your own??

      • Antaine de Brún July 20, 2016 at 6:50 pm #

        Today in the north, The Bank of Ireland announced closures and potential redundancies. Some rural areas will be left without banking facilities while Chamber of Commerce staff in Dublin are reporting unprecedented numbers of queries from firms who wish to locate and trade within the EC.

        Today in Westminster, political unionism dismissed Irish unity on the basis of simple economics, suggesting that such a move would be a financial catastrophe. One may speculate what Mr Brokenshire might say about the millions of pounds lost on NAMA property portfolios. A penny for his thoughts would be a penny well spent in relation to the costs borne by the taxpayer on the biomass fuel project, policing contentious parades or the financial, health and social implications of bonfires.

        Fantasy economics but not on my watch, perhaps?

      • jessica July 20, 2016 at 8:27 pm #

        I don’t think he was criticising the site Jude, I think he is pointing out that nationalism is becoming just as divided as unionism in shades and opinions that are travelling in very much opposite directions which make talks of unity rather ironic indeed.

        I would concur and I think many nationalists in particular Sinn Fein underestimate the strength of opinion against the continuing loss of sovereignty as well as the austerity and control being handed over to the EU. London may be bringing austerity to the north, but likewise it is the EU pushing austerity in the south. Why is that any better?

        Thankfully it seems as though there could be growing support emanating from the south towards maintaining stronger links within this island which I think is a very positive thing. Now if Sinn Fein could only get behind that ethos and drop the divisive promotion of the importance of remaining in the EU over the importance of actual unity on this island.

        As I have said, there may have been a 56% in favour of remain, but the majority of this was anti border support for stronger all island links to remain more so than support for links to Brussels.

        Sinn Fein have got this one wrong imho and are focussing more on the divisive elements than on the unifying elements.

        Lets hope this groundswell of opinion from the people can continue to grow and show the political gobshites the way forward, for the political leadership in Ireland leaves a lot to be desired.

        The vast majority of them north and south need sacked and thrown out on their arses.

    • billy July 20, 2016 at 7:37 pm #

      secondly there will be no change to current border arrangements…..so refugees,migrants,ect who will be arriving en mass on merkels orders into the south will just simply get on the bus and travel at their leisure over a uk border.if that was the case what was the point of a referendum ,

      • jessica July 20, 2016 at 11:30 pm #

        I don’t think Ireland was on the forefront of their minds wen they called it billy.

        • billy July 21, 2016 at 2:36 pm #

          uk border i mentioned,they campaigned on the drawbridges being pulled up in the uk thats north of dundalk last time i drive over.

    • Oz 2015 July 20, 2016 at 10:28 pm #

      Absolutely stunning stuff to read from a unionist perspective.

      • Jude Collins July 21, 2016 at 10:11 am #

        Are you referring to my blog, Oz? I do hope so. I love to stun…

  7. PF July 20, 2016 at 8:53 pm #

    I mean both the main articles and subsequent discussions, Jude – not *all* articles/comments, of course, but to this ‘outsider’ there appears to be a tone which I hadn’t expected.

    As a Unionist I suspected a suspicion of Unionism, but I hadn’t expected to be drawn into a window on the internal all island Nationalist/Republican conversation.

    Perhaps this serves to demonstrate that each community only sees the other as a monolith?

    However, to this Unionist outsider, there appears to be a recurring tone of negativity about the Republic’s government, of certain aspects of the Republic’s society, and of their desire for/seriousness about a United Ireland. This tone also appears to highlight the Republic’s dislike of Sinn Fein (especially the Northerners).

    Now, the latter may be true enough, I don’t really know; but my point is that at the very time when the future of the UK is under greater debate than ever before, its security as a union in doubt as never before, and this is more discussion about a United Ireland than ever before, the various voices within the Nationalist/Republican community are ’squabbling like Unionists’ and missing the wood for the trees.

    Shouldn’t you be rushing to agree with any hint that the Irish Establishment is willing to talk about a Border Poll? Rushing to take them up on the offer? Putting the DUP under pressure to cooperate for the benefit of Northern Ireland’s Unionists following brexit? Encouraging all-island narratives like the recent Somme Centenary? Shouldn’t someone be commissioning an opinion poll?

    But it seems that Nationalists and Republicans, North and South, are as divided as Ulster’s Unionists.

    The UK Union isn’t safe. I’ve never believed my community’s politicians when the’ve told me that – everything about the last 20 years has pointed towards harmonisation. And Paisley is wrong, his comments are evidence of the denial, that and he’s a member of a ‘Little-Northern-Ireland’ party: a ‘Little-Northern-Irelander’ – the DUP have always been devolutionists, and therefore, in my view, less than Unionist.

    I’m an Ulster Unionist who would prefer to be an Irish Unionist – but the weight of national and international opinion is against me – having said that, however, Irish Nationalists disagreeing with one another about the unity of their own nation may be the best guarantee of the UK union I have.

    Goodness, wouldn’t it be ironic if England and the Republic agreed to a United Ireland that nobody in the North wanted!

    • Jude Collins July 20, 2016 at 9:48 pm #

      Thanks for that eloquent and extended commentary, PF. The fact that I don’t agree with it probably means it’s on the money…I think the slowness of Northern nationalists to greet FF and FG talk of a border poll with squeaks of joy is because they know that FG and FF are, as ever, into pretend-nationalism. If you look at what they say, it’s the bleeding obvious, as I said in my blog. They have expressed no enthusiasm for, let alone plans for, a united Ireland. They also talk – ok, maybe just one of them – about the north joining the republic. I don’t know a nationalist or republican who wouldn’t want to say ‘We don’t want that, we want a new Ireland’. Shouldn’t that be a cheering thought for any unionist who thinks a UI is coming, rather than a cause for distress?

      • PF July 20, 2016 at 11:08 pm #

        Thank you for your reply, Jude. May I respond to one aspect of it?

        “They also talk – ok, maybe just one of them – about the north joining the republic. I don’t know a nationalist or republican who wouldn’t want to say ‘We don’t want that, we want a new Ireland’.”

        Well that’s interesting and until I had visited this site I had never really contemplated the possibility of such a point of view; however, do you really believe that Northern Ireland’s Nationalists would vote, ‘No’, in a Border Poll which offered Irish Unity in the current circumstances?

        In all the talk of a Border Poll in recent days I haven’t heard any call for a ‘New Ireland, I’ve heard calls for a vote on Irish Unity; so unless we’re going to have a huge debate on what kind of New Ireland people want prior to a vote, any vote will be on the basis of Northern Ireland/Republic of Ireland unity with the details to be hammered out at a later date – a bit like the Brexit Referendum. And I’d have thought that a ‘New Ireland’ debate prior to a ‘Unity’ vote is the best way to make sure a vote never happens!

        But vote ‘Yes’ to a United Ireland in a Border Poll and we’ll have our own version of Article 50, a timescale, organised negotiations and all the rest.. and all the while, there will be ‘Unity’. Surely Nationalists aren’t going to reject that because of some dislike of the current republic?

        Ulster’s Unionists have agreed to this already, all you need is 50.1%

        • Jude Collins July 21, 2016 at 10:10 am #

          I agree, PF – I can’t see nationalists/republicans voting no in a border poll. But I equally believe that it’ll have to be made clear that the kind of Ireland we’re talking about is not six counties being swallowed up by twenty-six. I don’t expect you’re a fan of Sinn Féin, but they have consistently argued that a reunited Ireland must be a new Ireland, and they do represent the great majority of nationalists/republicans in the north and many in the south. There’s been a growing awareness by nationalists/republicans that as partition was bad for the north, it was equally bad for the south. The sort of society that both parts of Ireland created was nothing to be proud of. The present state of the south, with homeless people, food banks, corruption – I think such features would have to be absent from the new state. Rather than disunity, PF, I see that as intelligent criticism. (Btw, I welcome your voice on this site. Your views and your articulation of them are informed and intelligent. Failte romhat! )

    • jessica July 20, 2016 at 11:27 pm #

      If you mean accept we are sub standard Irish and left in the cold until such time as the south feels we are worthy to be taken under their wing, then no, I simply cannot see that happening.

      The border issue is an all Ireland issue, not just a northern problem. The south benefitted from the violence being on the whole focussed within the north and the south given the freedom to grow their economy.
      There is no chance whatsoever of that being the case in any return to conflict should be peace process fail.

    • Scott July 20, 2016 at 11:51 pm #

      It puzzles me also PF.

      Many, but of course not all, commentators on this site are diehard in there desire for a UI yet seem to have little love for FF, FG or SF who wield by far the greatest amount of political support.

      Also many Northern Nationalists here seem to be Eurosceptic, yet Ireland is a strongly pro European country who has done extremely well out of the EU who helped fund there world class infrastructure.

      Would these nationalists really be happy in a UI were there political leaders would inevitability be from the parties they seem to despise? Let’s be honest who else has a chance of winning a election.

      Would they also be happier in a UI which is bolted hard and fast to the EU, which appears to be the wishes of the vast of our southern neighbours? Even if they wanted to leave the complexity disentangling the ROI from the EU with there common currency would make Brexit look like a Sunday stroll in the park.

      • PF July 21, 2016 at 11:10 am #

        Hi Scott

        It certainly seems more complicated than I had thought!

        When you say, “Would these nationalists really be happy in a UI were there political leaders would inevitability be from the parties they seem to despise? Let’s be honest who else has a chance of winning a election.”

        That’s closer to the kind of thing I’m thinking – they certainly don’t sound happy about it, if some of the comments here are anything to go by, and it seems to me that it could be a stumbling block on the road to Irish Unity.

        And if I can bring Jude in at this point (I don’t like speaking about people in the third person when they are present!), it’s interesting that in his last comments he links a New Ireland to social issues: “ The sort of society that both parts of Ireland created was nothing to be proud of. The present state of the south, with homeless people, food banks, corruption – I think such features would have to be absent from the new state.”

        Well, yes, no problem there, but the thrust of this thread was a suspicion of FF FG’s Nationalist credentials, not their social policy.

        So the question is, if Northern Ireland’s Nationalists and Republicans are suspicious of the current Irish Establishment, and continue to express that openly, then any Border Poll will become more complicated than the simple question of reunification.

        In terms of the politics of it all, my best guess is that if there was reunification, the main parties would realign in the following way: FF and FG would continue to exist (perhaps with a closer relationship), SF would continue as a third slightly smaller party, the SDLP would fizzle out and Ulster’s Unionists would coalesce in some shape or form, and in the short term seek to form an opposition Unionist bloc in the Dail (although the term ‘unionist’ would be defunct!)

        Whichever way it would work out, though, as you say, the current Irish Establishment would still be there and still hold power.

        • jessica July 21, 2016 at 1:50 pm #

          I don’t think there are any suspicions, we are very well aware they have no interest in the Irish citizens living in Ireland who are unable to vote them out of office.

  8. Ryan July 21, 2016 at 12:41 am #

    You have to laugh when Unionists like Ian Paisley Jnr thinks he can speak on behalf of the Nationalist community lol

    First of all, this statement that “no one in the North is interested in Irish Unity” is false. There is no evidence at all to support that with the exception of a few surveys, most of whom were run by Unionist newspapers such as The Newsletter and the Belfast Telegraph. The last border poll here was in the early 1970’s and it was boycott by all Catholics because the inbuilt Unionist majority guaranteed it would be a vote to remain in the UK. But that inbuilt Unionist majority is gone now, we’re not a large Nationalist majority yet but that’s the direction we’re heading in by the look of it. Unionism only has more seats in Stormont and dominate a few councils because of location. If the population was spread out more evenly it would be a different story. That’s why SF got more votes in Council elections here in 2014 than the DUP but the DUP got more seats overall. Even on a low nationalist turnout in the 2016 Assembly Elections SF is catching up with the DUP in terms of votes.

    Now even with this huge increase in Nationalist voters today (compared to the 1970’s or 1980’s) we often hear the theory that many Nationalists back the Union. This theory is spread far and wide in the media and portrayed as fact. Its not fact because there has been no evidence whatsoever of Nationalists even lending their vote to any Unionist party, never mind backing the Union. Even the Alliance party fails to draw any significant nationalist voters. Indeed the Unionist parties often accuse Alliance of turning “Nationalist” to slop up some of the Nationalist vote. In one poll, done in 2012 and quoted by Noel Thompson, 0% of Catholics would vote for the UUP and only 1% for the DUP. To put that into context, its estimated that 10% of the SDLP’s vote is from Protestants….

    When it comes to Irish Unity the economic and social argument is definitely on the side of a United Ireland, not for NI to remain in the UK. The average wage in the South is double, DOUBLE, what it is in the North. There is areas in the North that are some of the worst in the UK for Poverty and especially Child Poverty (most of them Catholic, West Belfast ranks 2nd in UK for worst Child Poverty). The NI economy whilst in the UK has been an utter basket case. Even Unionist David Vance once described it to me as “Sovietized”. Whilst the South had a very impressive economic growth of 26.5% in 2015, the North’s was less than 1% and its predicted when we leave the EU the North will be in recession. The South’s economic growth is predicted to grow by 7% this year, one of the fastest in the World. The UK’s economic growth as a whole is predicted to be just 1%. A study by a Canadian University said Irish Unity would cause Irish GDP to increase by 30 billion within the first 8 years.

    The social consequences of the North being in the UK has been an utter disaster as we all know. It lead to a semi-civil war situation. Its lead to sectarianism being reinforced here. Its lead to the darkest elements of Unionism holding sway over a state for over 50 years and creating a state, as John Hume described ” that created some of the greatest injustices in Europe”. Even with peace here, sectarianism hasn’t decreased, its actually increased. Peace walls aren’t coming down, more are going up. That’s the social price of the NI state existing.

    Why would anyone, especially Catholics, want this state to even continue surviving? Why would we want to stay in a run down, bankrupt, pathetic sectarian state? It makes no sense to want to. That’s why parties like Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and Sinn Fein must promote the facts, destroy the myths and end this craziness and reunite our country.

    Unionists, from what I see, have absolutely no plan to somehow make this state a success. Maybe they too realize the truth and know its unworkable but think NI can just keep limping from crisis to crisis. But they’re wrong……

    • Nuacht July 21, 2016 at 4:06 pm #

      I might be wrong but I don’t believe that the Canadian university report had considered Brexit in their analysis and calculations. If not then a revised report would probably show more compelling reasons for unification.

  9. Perkin Warbeck July 21, 2016 at 7:18 am #

    One cannot but wonder, Esteemed Blogmeister, just what it is about the Free Southern Stateen, which makes the Northern Yoons so dismissive of it.

    Listening to Ian Og Paisley being grilled by Audrey Carville on RTE the other day one’s wonder would surely have been a candidate for the Eighth Wonder of the World Wide Web, at least. The topic du jour was the Border Poll and such were the Mississippi lengths to which the grilled guest went to dismiss the proposal one would have thought the topic was the Border Pole Dancer or some such genuine source of scandal.

    Actually, one tells a lie. Much as The Playboy of the Western World once wielded a loy – for dramatic purposes only. In fact it was the hostess who was subjected to the grilling on this occasion. Normally, the stiletto is on the other foot, such as when the guest for grilling is – say, a Shinner. Then the hostess unfailingly reminds us just why she is so fondly known as Audrey Carve Up.

    This time the guest got to do the grilling. And not only that, but got away with it too. Scot free. Indeed, Ulster Scot free.

    This is the norm in 98 % of the media south of the Black Sow’s Dyke: be nice to the Northern Yoons, be Nice to the Northern Gnats. This is because the sergeant major media outlets in the Free Southern Stateen are steered by Southern Yoons.

    This is why one is as unlikely to hear ‘Who fears to speak of 98%’ these placid days in DOBland as one was to hear the original version of this ballad (the one minus the percentage at the endage) during the Dirty Thirty Years War when the Communication Czar, Conor Craze O’Brain imposed the concept of a Section 31 County Ireland .

    (The 32 nd county was earmarked as the Gaulag for those die-hard Gaels in dire need of indoctrination once again).

    Now, two of the grievances south of the Black Sow’s Dyke which most get the Grievance Goat of Ian Paisley (current edish) going on a sustained bleat are the Priest-ridden and the Leprechaun midden . If, however, IP took time out to zip his lip – say for a wee six minutes – he could, perchance, peruse two items which were published in the same 98 % on the exact same day, it might have given him pause for thought, or at least un-sought mental activity.

    For these two items would illustrate just why the notions of Priest-ridden and Leprechaun-midden are forbidden in one case and hidden in the other.

    This is an article by one Maggie Armstrong (seemingly a real name, and if so, how happily apt) on the new appointment of two new overlords to the, erm, National Theatre of Ireland / Amharclann Naisiunta na hEireann (!), a pair of Celitc thespians one a Jock the other a Taff.

    -Since the Abbey first opened its doors on December 27, 1904 a nation has been fought for and won, violently, an Irish language imposed. Nationalism is not the nice word it was during the Celtic Twilight’

    This thoughtful piece appeared in The Irish Independent, oops, An Irish Independent.

    Although it did not explicitly state it the implicit hint conveyed by this article was that we can, in the wake of the Panti Blissful Pusch at the same theatre last year, soon (anytime) look forward to a production of the Jane Millington Synge classic: ‘The Playgirl of the Western World’.

    Though this not necessarily get Ian Og Paisley’s nanny goat as there is no indication that the Border Pole Dancer (see above ) will play the leaderene role, not having a stich in which to store an Equity Card.

    While IOP was being grilled on RTE, not, by a quite breath-taking coincidence the RTE Education Correspondent , one Emma O’Kelly, was tweeting on her twitter account that the end is nigh for the Priest-ridden school system south of the Black Pig’s Dyke:

    -Castlebar could be about to get its first non-Catholic school ( !!!!!!!! )

    At the top of her twitter account there is a superb exercise in superfluity when the tweeter (one hesitates to use the other t-word) announces :

    -The views expressed are my own and do not express the views of RTE.


    This is akin to a neutral international referee wearing the red-and-white gansey of say, Tyrone in Sunday’s game against Donegal.

    The reason, incidentally, why one opted to bracket the eight exclamation marks above is because they do not actually appear in the tweet. They came a little latter when Emma O’Kelly breathlessly delivered her verbal report on RTE (with whose views her own do not necessarily, erm, coincide) .

    Her tweet, also incidentally, was accompanied by a thoughtful military-style map in which the number of enemy, oops, Catholic-run schools in Mayo were punctuated with map markers, that is, pins with coloured balls.

    The preponderance was much, much more than two to one. Unlike, say, the Cathedral spire-count in a map of ecclesiastical Dublin where the pin number of red, white and blue coloured balls is but a transcendentally modest, erm, two.

    What is it exactly that Ian Og Paisley does not like about the Free Southern Reich ? The Reich that so disliked the Hunger Strikes and morphed its capital city to DOBlin, in ogling recognition of the Klondike which its biggest media mogul has been allowed to make south of the Black Sow’s Dyke..

    what part of Southern Yoon does he not understand?

    What, indeed, is it, indeed, about Ian Og Paisley that makes him such a faint, humourless echo of his da, Ian Ogre Paisley, RIP. Not unlike Nathalie Cole and her phenomenal da, Nat ‘King’ Cole something seems, alas, to have got lost in the transmission if not the translation. While the name is the same, more or less, give or take, the genome is different.

    In a spirit of neigbhourly concern, therefore, might one respectfully suggest that, perhaps, the time has come for the scion of the Paisley Clan(n) to consider a Deed Poll, if not a Border Poll. And consider changing his surname to (gulp):

    – Shawl.

    That way, it might even give Ian an in to an exciting new career in the entertainment end of TV which his late, grating da dominated for so long.

    He might, for instance, co-host a show called ‘Shawl we Dance?’ with, possibly, the (gasp) Border Pole Dancer as his co-hostess. The show might be set in that ballroom of romance known as the Black Sow’s Dyke.

    The moolah would indubitably roll in such waves that the irreverent Ian Og Shawl would soon be up to his gooleys in golly gosh.

    Or, as his inner master of the dark art of dependency economics puts it so eloquently himself:

    -Thon is the only way the Free Southern Stateen would be able to afford to keep me – us – in the uber- comfortable lifestyle to which we have grown so accustomed.

  10. Wolfe tone July 21, 2016 at 7:55 am #

    Me thinks the Irish establishment is merely mentioning irish reunification simply as an attempt to win favour with the EU in their talks with Britain. One things for sure, as the last couple of days are evidence, when the establishment says something it then becomes a live topic. Unionists often use the claim that ‘nobody wants a United ireland’ and point to the deafening silence concerning it, as proof. If the EU,US and free state establishment pushed the subject then you can be sure that deafening silence would be no more. It would discussed everywhere. Just imagine if the British establishment decided they wanted Irish unity? Then people really would have to face up to dealing with the subject rather than wishing it away. Beidh ár lá linn……..someday.

    • jessica July 21, 2016 at 10:07 am #

      It proves without question, that the biggest block to Irish unification is not Britain, is not unionism, but the establishment in Dublin who have been feeding unionist intransigence for their own ends.

  11. Beachguy July 21, 2016 at 12:54 pm #

    It is a good thing to hear from people like PF and Scott so thoughtful comments from unionism can be considered instead of the nonsense from others in the Loyalist community or from DUP politicians who are playing to their constituency.

    • Jude Collins July 21, 2016 at 1:05 pm #

      Couldn’t agree more, Bg…

  12. Jack Black July 21, 2016 at 3:42 pm #

    Great to be part of such a great website, thanks Jude.

    • Jude Collins July 21, 2016 at 7:24 pm #

      Grma, Jack. You know how to make an old man happy… ; )