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Complaints about cross-border development funding for Northern Ireland October 25, 2006

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Northern Ireland.

Rumours that the latest National Development Plan will include a significant funding of cross border links has led to some complaints about such an idea here.

I could make a case about the morality of providing support for Northern Ireland in view of shared historical ties, culture, politics and so forth. I could speak as a someone who believes that new forms of Nationalism and Republicanism can be developed that celebrate all aspects of the identities on this island and that requires funding. But I can’t be bothered.

Because, from a purely pragmatic point of view, it is strongly in the interest of this state—quite separate to any issues relating to a United Ireland—to have a partner north of the border which is economically viable. But more importantly it is necessary, indeed imperative, that this state invests in stability in Northern Ireland. Some of the views on this issue have been frankly partisan, narrow minded and downright stupid with a sort of blinkered ‘Little Irelander’ mentality parading as hard-headed self-interest.

Well, newsflash: former Taoiseach Garret FitzGerald (who should be lauded as a man who understood the paramount necessity of peace and stability to the self-interest of the 26 counties so that both parts of the island could co-exist and develop economically, culturally and politically), initiated one side of this process through the Anglo-Irish Agreement. Everything else, right up to and including the GFA and the much-vaunted Plan-B should the St. Andrew’s Agreement fall is part of that process.

The Republic of Ireland has a quite pointed strategic, and entirely selfish interest, in ensuring that there is no repetition of the last thirty odd years, and that is going to require funding, not rhetoric.

As to whether this will play as an election issue, I seriously hope not.

AP 1970


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