A United Ireland will have to include Unionists – so let’s get on with the difficult task of including them…

an abstract painting of purple and blue colors

I will be surprised if I see a united Ireland in my lifetime (I am in my early seventies). But the direction of travel is unmistakable. The history-changing reasons have been well rehearsed: the growth of the Catholic population – and particularly the young Catholic population – in Northern Ireland; the new confidence of Sinn Fein-led northern nationalists; the emergence of the Republic of Ireland as a prosperous, successful, liberal country at the heart of the EU; and the decline …

Read more…

How realistic is the doomsday scenario?

Back in the bad old days a mitigation presented for loyalists convicted of unlawfully possessing firearms was that the guns were stored for a ‘Doomsday scenario’, the doomsday in question being a United Ireland. Nationalists should consider that for a moment. For many Unionists, a united Ireland spells the end of life as they know it, an unknown, full of dread. As a child at the start of the Troubles I can remember such fears being voiced and although one …

Read more…

Why the Shared Island Initiative matters…

gray stone on green grass

Nobody would ever accuse the former Taoiseach, Micheál Martin (now Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs), of being an inspirational public speaker. But listening to his speech at the big Shared Island event in Dublin Castle earlier this month, I realised he was outlining an inspiring vision of Irish people, North and South, genuinely coming together around vital shared goals and aspirations, practical and achievable and mutually beneficial. Not political unity – that remains the dangerously risky issue that continues …

Read more…

Loyalists feeling “abandoned” and “extremely left behind.”

grayscale photo of high rise building

Ulster loyalism is in crisis – but then when in recent years has it not been in crisis? Opinion in working class and rural areas has hardened against the Northern Ireland Protocol, which has given DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson little room to manoeuvre when – and it will be when – the British government under its new more pragmatic leader Rishi Sunak reaches agreement with the EU on reforming that controversial instrument. So we’re heading towards one more climbdown …

Read more…

Arlene Foster launches Together UK Foundation…

Ireland’s Future has been getting all the attention lately, and many people have been asking where is the organisation advocating for staying in the Union? Arlene Foster thinks she has the answer with her recently launched Together UK Foundation. According to her website, Arlene now goes by the snappy title of The Right Honourable Dame Arlene Foster Former First Minister of Northern Ireland, or TRHDAFFFMONI for short. That’s going to be a challenge for the baristas at Starbucks. Arlene has …

Read more…

The Ireland’s Future event at The Ulster Hall …

The significance of the Ulster Hall as a venue would not be lost on the audience of the Ireland’s Future event last night. From Carson to Ulster Resistance, the Ulster Hall has been the home to many Unionist protest rallies. It is a measure of how the times are changing in that while the event was sold out, the protest outside could only muster 7 people. The event opened with a panel of people from Protestant backgrounds, who had either …

Read more…

It is about identifying the best future for all citizens who live across the island of Ireland…

Ben Collins has worked in political communications across the UK and Ireland for two decades. I was raised as a Presbyterian in a strongly pro-British and unionist household, so I understand the attachment to country and crown that many unionists feel. Good friends of mine and family members voted for Brexit in the genuine belief that it would make things better. There is no pleasure in seeing the dysfunction unfold at Westminster since the surprise vote to leave the European …

Read more…

O’Leary’s conclusion is that Ireland is now simply a better, fairer and more prosperous country than the UK…

I have been reading Making Sense of a United Ireland by the University of Pennsylvania-based Irish political scientist Professor Brendan O’Leary. This is an important book, rich in detail, truth-telling but also hard-nosed. It is the first deeply considered exploration of how and why Irish unity should come about through a Border poll as allowed for by the 1998 Good Friday Agreement. It is not without its flaws, an almost exclusively nationalist reading of the future being the major one. …

Read more…

What next for Ireland’s Future?

photograph of concrete structures beside tree

I was at the big Ireland’s Future ‘Preparing for a United Ireland:Together we can’ event at Dublin’s 3 Arena earlier this month. There was very little ‘preparing’ in the proceedings – it was more like a ‘Forward to the Promised Land’ rally, with not a voice raised in dissent. Well, maybe one: Fine Gael leader and Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, while saying he believed in a united Ireland, then suggested that the existing structures of the Good Friday Agreement – internal …

Read more…

Choyaa on Ireland’s Future…

Ireland’s Future held its latest conference at the 3Arena on Saturday, with the event being heralded by organisers as a significant step forward in the push for Irish Unity. Predictably following the conference, opinions were divided with some deeming the event as a defining moment in Irish history whilst others felt it was a misfire and many in between were unaware it even happened. Having watched the event online, I thought I would give a Unionist perspective on the proceedings. …

Read more…

Book Review: ‘Can Ireland Be One?’ by Malachi O’Doherty…

“A border poll on Irish unity has progressed from possible, to likely, to certain.” Words you might expect to have been said with some relish by a Sinn Féin politician, perhaps, but their author is actually Alex Kane in his praise for Malachi O’Doherty’s latest work. Conventional wisdom in this part of the world would now have you believe that the writing is on the wall – not just in respect of a Border Poll, but also Irish Unity as …

Read more…

Five ways to scrap the protocol…

The UK has refused to engage with extensive proposals from the EU to introduce an “Express Lane” for goods intended only for consumption in N. Ireland, and to radically reduce the amount of paperwork associated with phytosanitary controls. The Joint EU UK committee to oversee the workings of the protocol hasn’t even met since last February. Instead, the UK has gone for a “maximalist” position, passing legislation in the Commons to give Ministers the power to disapply large parts of an international Treaty, …

Read more…

Recognising Ulster-British Identity in a United Ireland: a Federation of Ulster-British Communities (FUBC).

The Belfast Good Friday Agreement recognises that: “… it is for the people of the island of Ireland alone, by agreement between the two parts respectively and without external impediment, to exercise their right of self-determination on the basis of consent, freely and concurrently given, North and South, to bring about a united Ireland, if that is their wish, accepting that this right must be achieved and exercised with and subject to the agreement and consent of a majority of …

Read more…

A response to Andy Pollak talk on “The South is not ready for unification”…

At one point, after his talk, Andy was asked: “So has Partition been a success?” to which he replied with a horrified “No, it has been a disaster”. But that does not mean partition has not had major effects. Blogging at the European Tribune and on Slugger O’Toole has taught me that we might as well be on two different planets. There is almost no appreciation of N. Ireland politics in Ireland, never mind Europe, and vice versa, much N. …

Read more…

“The harsh reality is that in the past two decades we have done too little to take up the historic opportunity of the Agreement to build understanding and cooperation on this island”

Today’s Irish News reports on a speech by Taoiseach Micheál Martin at a commemoration event for former Taoiseach Seán Lemass yesterday in Dublin. From the article: PEOPLE making the loudest calls for Irish unity are “the most divisive” in how they treat opponents, Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said. People who do not conform to a specific approach on how to achieve unity have been dismissed and abused. “It is remarkable how often it is that those who are loudest in …

Read more…

David McWilliams – ‘The truth is the union has been an economic calamity for Northern Ireland…’

Three Belfast landmarks in one shot. From left to right: Titanic Belfast, a museum for all things Titanic related; the very large Harland and Wolffe ship building crane Goliath; and immediately below it, the red bricked building where the Titanic was designed by Harland and Wolff prior to its fateful end in 1912 (May, 2019).

The Economist David McWilliams is married to a Presbyterian from Belfast, so his latest article for the Irish Times might get him a frosty reception at his next dinner with the in-laws. In the article, he outlines his view that partition has been a disaster for Northern Ireland. Take, for example, emigration which has always been a good indicator of economic frailty. Between 1841 and 1951, the population of what would become the Republic’s 26 counties fell by 55 per cent …

Read more…

Choyaa: Unionism and the Unity Debates…

brown concrete bridge besides green plants during daytime

Irish Unity forums are not a new phenomenon, they have existed for many years but in recent times calls for Unionists to attend these events have started to amplify. These calls were made again this week at an “Ireland’s Future” future event held at Westminster; however, the calls came from an unusual source. Stephen Farry from the Alliance party used his platform at the event to outline how his party would help “shape the conversation” and warned Unionists that they …

Read more…

Home truths : pension provision in a United Ireland

source : getty images

A topic I see coming up quite often relates to the question of pension provision in a united Ireland. For such an important topic, there seems to be a great deal of misinformation. The ongoing “civic conversation” has not really addressed it properly and, unfortunately, there have even been academic papers that have sought to wave the problem away.  Most people assume that since they’ve been paying national insurance contributions to the UK throughout their life, the UK government would …

Read more…

Unionism cannot expect Sinn Féin to keep saving the Union…

giant's causeway, northern ireland, rocks

Phelim Grant and Charles McCann were members of the IRA who died when a bomb they were placing exploded prematurely. At the beginning of February, some Republicans, including members of Sinn Féin marked their death by holding a commemorative event. During the commemoration, Sinn Féin’s ‘Unionist Outreach Officer’, Declan Kearney, gave a speech talking about the inevitability of a United Ireland, part of the speech was aimed at “Protestants and Unionists”, Kearney’s message to them was that “we want you …

Read more…

A new constitution for a reunified Ireland? It already exists (more or less)…

ireland, sea, ocean

Stephen Stewart is a Faulknerite unionist currently living in exile from Norn Iron and proudly an analogue person in a digital age. “Ireland is too small to be divided forever. Reunification is inevitable. It won’t be in my lifetime but it will happen” Sir James Craig to a senior Irish civil servant in 1938. Since the political hand-grenade that is Brexit was set off nearly five years ago, there’s been a lot of debate in Northern Irish nationalist circles about a …

Read more…