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Raise one precondition to unity, then raise another, and then another June 22, 2022

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Unimpressive contribution by Charlie Flanagan of Fine Gael to the discussions around unity this last week or so. He argues that:

Preparations for a Border poll are “premature, hasty and divisive”…adding that there was “little evidence” that a poll in the North would produce a majority for reunification and even doubt that a vote would pass in the Republic.

He… 

also criticised Sinn Féin for raising “political fears by the constant beating of the united Ireland drum”.

And:

He said “meetings and gatherings across the island preparing for a united Ireland without unionism are without realism”.

Well, two of those are preconditions that would stymie any progress and the other is an entirely legitimate political position which he appears unaware Unionists who take a different view also have a right to express albeit from the opposite perspective. 

The point is that it’s not just Sinn Féin who are calling for some sort of preparations for a Border poll. And the point is not whether or not a poll would result in any such majority, though polling suggests at this point that, whatever his doubts, such a vote would likely pass in the Republic. 

Rather the point is that it is necessary in a time of extraordinary flux and change it makes sense for this state to be ready with some form of response should the situation in Northern Ireland change, or that a change was likely. It’s basic stuff really. 

And the idea of preparing for a United Ireland without unionism is somewhat behind the point. Unionism isn’t receptive at this point to engaging. But that doesn’t mean the challenge vanishes or the attempt is pointless. Quite the opposite. The same response about the necessity for preparation remains. Really what he is doing is attempting to build in a precondition that would prevent any movement on a United Ireland. That is his right, but it should be seen for what it is. 

As to Sinn Féin ‘raising political fears’. That raises the question as to who it raises fears amongst and it entirely ignores the reality that the largest formations in Unionism have no qualms about loudly and repeatedly proclaiming their adherence and loyalty to the Union, as is their right. Moreover it is their actions, intrinsically linked to their view of the Union, as distinct from more emollient variations, that has us where we are with regard to the Northern Ireland Protocol, whereas by contrast Sinn Féin has worked with both the SDLP and Alliance in a constructive fashion. Which makes the following from him simply inapposite:

“There is little evidence that the people of Northern Ireland would vote for a united Ireland,” he said. “In fact, there is doubt if even the majority of people in the Republic would vote for a united Ireland, at this time. If the protocol remains in place, Northern Ireland will continue to have the best of both worlds. Economic indicators are showing that Northern Ireland is already benefiting from this unique position. Why would people vote to change that situation?”

But even he has to recognise the new realities of this post-Brexit dispensation.

“The trust between the two governments that was so carefully developed during the last 50 years has now been fractured by this Conservative government,” he said. “Trust has also broken down between the UK and the EU. This UK government is no longer seen by the EU as a good-faith partner. We can only hope that other voices within the Conservative Party will take a more principled stand.”

Comments»

1. NFB - June 22, 2022

“In fact, there is doubt if even the majority of people in the Republic would vote for a united Ireland, at this time.”

FG are really living in a bubble if they think this state would vote against reunification.

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2. benmadigan - June 22, 2022

“meetings and gatherings across the island preparing for a united Ireland without unionism are without realism”

A Unionist veto on talks about reunification should not be permitted to block the entire island of Ireland from having that conversation and making plans.

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3. banjoagbeanjoe - June 22, 2022

I can’t see “preconditions to unity” in what Flanagan, or WBS, said there.
Seems to me Flanagan is talking about whether it’s sensible to push for a border poll at this point in time.
I think SF have to push for it because that’s what their base wants and expects. But SF will push for it knowing that they won’t get it from this British government – and I wouldn’t be surprised if deep down SF are happy enough about that because they know the numbers just aren’t there at this point. And to be fair, there isn’t the evidence there to suggest that the British government should hold a referendum … the Belfast Agreement bit about the Secretary of State holding a referendum if it appears that a majority would be in favour of a UI. Any read of the current situation would be that a referendum in the six counties would result in at least a narrow rejection of a UI.

The reality is that unionists are not going to get into discussions about what form a UI might or should take. They’re just not going to go there. Not now, not until they lose a referendum on it.

Everyone just has to wait another 10 or 20 years until the demographics change to the extent that there are clearly more nationalist than unionist voters in NI. Even then I bet the unionists won’t engage. But they’ll probably very reluctantly do so after they lose a referendum on it.

So we (Irish nationalists) have enough to be getting on with and let’s leave discussions on what form a UI might take for another 10 years or so.

That’s that sorted.

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4. benmadigan - June 22, 2022

“SF will push for it knowing that they won’t get it from this British government”

The UK Govt has long refused to define the criteria that enables its NI Secretary of State decide to hold a Border Poll, much less agree to hold one.

Likewise the UK Govt refuses permission for a Scottish administration to hold another Independence Referendum.

The UK position seems to contradict the UN’s Charter

Article 1. 1. All peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.

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