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An all island economy and loyalism… October 16, 2019

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

An Sionnach Fionn has noted the interesting news that the DUP met with loyalist representatives – inconveniently perhaps for the DUP just a week before there were threats issued by loyalist paramilitaries about a ‘compromise’ Brexit deal between the UK and the EU.

Thought this was interesting, in the Belfast Telegraph, from the original report of the meetings. Jamie Bryson, loyalist blogger argues:

…there was “nothing controversial” about the largest unionist party engaging with a “significant section” of the unionist and loyalist community.
“I don’t think there’s anything overly significant about that; however, I do think the DUP should be listening to the voices of the grassroots in the unionist and loyalist community,” he added. “I do think in the past number of days we have certainly seen a change from the DUP’s position last week where they were ultimately almost signing up for an economic united Ireland. I wasn’t present at any of these meetings. However, I think that engagement within all shades of unionism is always a positive thing.”

Note the phrase ‘an economic united Ireland’. How interesting that this is the terrain all these disparate forces, DUP et al, are focusing on. But reading Strand Two of the Good Friday/Belfast Agreement it is impossible not to see an all-island economy taking shape (with explicit reference in 3 (iii) to the EU!), as with 5 (ii) and 5 (iv). Indeed there’s a bit of a nonsense in the loyalist stance given that the Implementation bodies deal directly with areas like Food Promotion and InterTradeIreland with all-island trade and business (and by the by what happens to the Special European Union Programmes Body, which oversees PEACE III and INTERREG IVA with Brexit?). Moreover there’s also Tourism Ireland which markets Ireland as an island and was established as one of ‘six areas of cooperation’ under the GFA/BA.

But I can’t help but think that all the rhetoric from parts of unionism and loyalism is a combination of political expedience as well as ignorance. Some in loyalism and unionism clearly do not understand the GFA/BA, others do and are all too happy to push back at the aspects of it that are shaped, and there’s no other way of putting this, towards a unitary economic space on this island. That is what was voted for in 1998. To see this wilful forgetting 21 years later is abysmal.


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