A united Ireland: don’t be misled

The message is getting through. More and more pundits and columnists are making space for consideration of a border poll and a reunited Ireland. If they’re writing for the Irish Times, the chances are very much that they present such a poll as at best a distant possibility, with northern unionists rejecting reunification and southerners unwilling to have changes in tax, flag or anthem in a new Ireland.

See what I did there? I switched from a ‘reunited Ireland’ to ‘a new Ireland’, for the simple reason that I believe a constitutional change must involve new political and social arrangements. These will be essential, and the sooner both northern unionists and southern traditionalists waken up to this need for a transfigured state, not a lego-like attachment of the north to the south, the better.

In recent weeks much has been made of the findings of The Irish Times/ARINS research project,  which showed that many southerners had no friends in the north and hadn’t travelled there in the course of the last five years.

Well doh. When you divide a country in two, and for one hundred years have a different political system, a different educational system, a different health system – a different everything – when that happens, it’s hardly surprising that people on either side of the border become different and detached from one another.

Besides which, as has been pointed out by Chris Donnelly, relatively few people in NEI know people in Britain, even though they are  (as they repeatedly tell us) part of the same United Kingdom. Personally, I’m completely in favour of a reunited Ireland, but I can’t remember the last time I visited Carlow or Waterford. On the other hand, certainly when I lived in Derry,  three-quarters of that city had a Donegal granny.

It’s certainly true that there are southerners who reach for the northern caricature of a dour, quarrelsome contrarian, just as some in the north like the cartoon of southerners who are all sweet talk, given to two-facedness, and who probably have a pig in the parlour if you searched hard enough. There are fools on both sides of the border, the same as everywhere else.

One final point. Questionnaires or interviews which ask people would they like a united Ireland tomorrow are seriously misleading. It’s exactly the kind of question that was asked of British Brexit-voters, and which landed Britain into the political, social and economic dungeon in which it currently languishes. If you want to ensure buyer’s remorse, don’t show them what’s in the package before you sell it to them.

Tony Blair’s policy was declared to be “Education, education and education”. For those of us who believe in a self-governing, united Ireland, the mantra must be preparation, preparation and preparation.



5 Responses to A united Ireland: don’t be misled

  1. Ann fitzpatrick February 4, 2023 at 12:43 pm #

    Preparation and Cork twinned with itself

  2. Beachguy February 5, 2023 at 3:13 am #

    Read FrankConnollys book. United Nation- the Case For Intergrating Ireland.

    It has to be a new country not adding the north to the existing state to the south.

  3. Roy February 5, 2023 at 2:44 pm #

    Don’t delete this Jude. Save it to your hard drive. Post it again in 2028.

  4. Harry McMahon February 7, 2023 at 12:02 pm #

    I like your analysis, Jude. I’ve felt this way ever since the NUU sit in after Bloody Sunday. It seems that at last the signs of serious preparation are advancing over the horizon.

    • Jude Collins February 7, 2023 at 5:49 pm #

      God to hear. your thoughts/memories, Harry. I hope you’re well….