‘Ireland can’t afford partition’

The North has never been a viable economic entity. Partitioned, cut off from the rest of the island and left exposed to the English-centric policies of Westminster and Whitehall, the North has never been able to reach its potential.

Saturday, 5th October 2019, 9:50 am
Updated Saturday, 5th October 2019, 10:50 am
Elisha McCallion

Partition has chronically stunted the growth and development potential of our island – a potential only Irish unity can unlock.

The impact of partition was and is most keenly felt along the border region.

It has created a cycle of boom-and-bust in border communities with currency fluctuations and other factors resulting in limited short-term gain for one side of the border or the other but ultimately both sides lose out on real growth.

With Brexit looming, the border regions, north, and south, face catastrophic economic consequences.

As a result of the undemocratic Tory Brexit, a referendum on Irish unity is an obvious option that must be on the table.

People from across this society, even those of a British identity, are now seriously questioning the current constitutional arrangement.

The Good Friday Agreement provides a peaceful democratic pathway to a new and agreed Ireland.

The issue of Irish unity has taken on a new dynamic because of Brexit.

Irish unity is the ultimate solution to this ongoing Brexit chaos. Brexit has re-exposed the folly of partition.

Opponents of Irish unity are now hard-pressed to deny the cost of partition and the benefits of unity.

Whilst some cling to the myth that Ireland can’t afford unity, there are countless reports and projections that show this is clearly not the case. Ireland can no longer afford partition.

The British Government’s reckless insistence on dragging the north out of the EU against the democratic wishes of the majority of its people is a prime example of this.

A new agreed and united Ireland with a single, all-Ireland economy, would not only end duplication in public spending, it would address the economic uncertainty created by partition, unlock the full potential of our island and people and allow all of Ireland to remain in the European Union.

In April 2017, the European Council stated that in the event of a successful referendum on Irish unity, the entire island would automatically re-join the European Union.

This was then reinforced by French President, Emmanuel Macron, who stated that Irish unity presents the ultimate solution to this Brexit mess.

Irish unity would present cross-border businesses, communities, workers, students and the agri-food sector with the certainty they require to thrive and that is currently being denied to them by Brexit and partition.

Trade, particularly in border areas, would no longer be subject to the whims and fluctuations of currency.

A number of comprehensive research projects, from reputable sources, have demonstrated the potential benefits of a new and united Ireland.

These include; ‘Modelling Irish Reunification’ by Professor Kurt Huebner from Vancouver University in British Columbia, ‘The Economic Effects of an All-Island Economy’ by Paul Gosling, ‘The Economic Case for Irish Unity’, by Michael Burke and the Joint Oireachtas Committee Report, ‘Brexit and the Future of Ireland – Uniting Ireland & Its People in Peace & Prosperity’.

Kurt Huebner’s report found that within a short number of years, the economy of a reunified Ireland would benefit the existing two economies by approximately €35 billion.

These represent a sample of a series of serious and respected economic reports that have shown Irish unity makes economic sense.

There is a near consensus amongst economists that Irish unity is not only affordable but economically beneficial.

Brexit has thrust the discussion on Irish unity center stage and in some of the most unexpected circles.

Dialogue about what a new Ireland would mean, what it would look like and how to bring it about is now firmly on the political agenda.

No one has anything to fear from such a debate. If handled with political maturity and sensitivity it will help shape and improve the economic future of the entire island. It’s time to talk about unity.