Elisha McCallion: Report shows Irish unity will yield €23.5 billion while Brexit likely to spark €10 billion collapse

Elisha McCallion and Dr Kurt Hbner.
Elisha McCallion and Dr Kurt Hbner.

A new report projecting that Irish reunification would boost the all-island economy by €23.5 billion by 2025 while Brexit will likely lead to a €10 billion slump in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) demands urgent attention, Sinn Féin MP Elisha McCallion has said.

The Foyle MP was speaking at the launch of ‘The Cost of Non Unification - Brexit and the Reunification of Ireland’, a new detailed analysis completed by a team of political science and economics researchers led by German academic, Dr. Kurt Hübner, who is the Director of the Institute for European Studies at the University of British Columbia.

Three years ago Dr. Kurt Hübner and Dr. Renger Van Nieuwkoop’s, in their ‘Modelling Irish Unification’ paper, estimated that “in total, Irish unification could boost all-island GDP in the first eight years by as much as €35.6 billion.

Now, in a new updated analysis launched as a 'no deal' Brexit looks increasingly possible, Dr. Hübner has suggested a united Ireland would boost the island of Ireland economy by €23.5 billion with most of this windfall, €17.9 billion, accruing to the North.

Mrs. McCallion said that anyone claiming to be interested in improving the prosperity of the people of the North needed to consider the study urgently.

“This report, and particular economic modelling, exposes the hard economic evidence that reunification would provide a massive economic boost to the entire island,” she said.

“Dr. Hübner and his team bring a wealth of experience to this debate and their conclusions are crystal clear – reunification would lead to a massive €23.5 billion increase in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) across the island by 2025.

"The vast majority of these economic benefits would be in the North, where GDP would increase by €17.9 billion, that equates to over €9000 for every citizen.

“That is in stark contrast to the economic devastation identified in the report of a no-deal Brexit which would lead to a slump in GDP of over €10 billion. Even in a post Brexit scenario where the North remains in the European Single Market, we would still face a GDP decline of almost €4.5 billion.

“So of all the potential futures facing the people of Ireland, North and South in this current climate of political uncertainty, it is abundantly clear that reunification is the one that not only makes sense, it is imperative if we are to maximise the potential prosperity of all our citizens.

“In the words of the report, unification ‘is the only option with positive net effects’," she said.

The Foyle MLA said it was time for the Irish Government to take an active role in preparing for the reunification of Ireland.

“This strength of this evidence cannot be ignored and while we thank Dr. Hübner and his team for this valuable contribution, it is a debate that the Irish government must now take a much more proactive role in leading.

“A new generation is already questioning partition, particularly in the context of Brexit, and it is time now for the Irish Government to encourage and lead an informed, reasoned and respectful public dialogue on the issue of Irish unity.

“It is also time that the Government prepared a realistic plan for Irish reunification, including the establishment of an Oireachtas committee to bring forward a Green Paper for Irish reunification,” she said.