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(45 Posts)
MustStopAndThinkBeforePosting Mon 27-Jun-16 05:08:51

I feel I am moving on from the anger and bargaining stages of my grief at the death of what I thought my country was, so perhaps may be moving closer to acceptance.

However, nobody seems to be talking about Ireland. Any NI mn people who can share some wisdom?

My understanding is that being able to have free movement between NI and ROI has been a vital part of the peace process and that anything that the UK does to "take back control of our borders" is going to disrupt that in a serious way. Is that right? And is it really likely, as I have heard, that such a disruption could actually reignite all the violence and horror that we thought was over?

Might it be feasible to give Northern Ireland some kind of dual status whereby it can be considered part of Eire for the purpose of EU membership and rights and freedoms thereof, but also simultaneously also have a status of being part of the uk? Or is that pure fantasy?

I'm worried but genuinely don't know whether my worries are realistic...

mathanxiety Mon 27-Jun-16 06:53:42

I think NI and also the Republic have been shat on from a great height. Scotland too, but in the case of NI there is the justifiable suspicion that people in England and Wales completely forgot about their existence.

NI peace process sacrificed to English nationalism (or actually nativism would be a better word imo).

Self rule for England - is England ready? The prospect of the breakup of the UK.

Do you know how many years of bloodshed happened over the question of 'dual status' or status in general - status of NI and status of its individual citizens? People died trying to give an answer to that. That sort of musing is why NI feels royally kicked in the teeth right now, no matter what side of the question of 'status' people are on. It shows how little of events in NI is known in the UK, how easily NI's future could be decided on a pub napkin as it were, in haste, on an ad hoc basis, with no proper thought given to it, or to the consequences - just like Brexit really.

All of the questions in your OP forget the part where NI speaks up for itself. Might it be feasible to give Northern Ireland some kind of dual status whereby it can be considered part of Eire for the purpose of EU membership and rights and freedoms thereof, but also simultaneously also have a status of being part of the uk? Or is that pure fantasy? - you are concerned, and that is a good thing, but NI has never been shy of trying to make its own arrangements, and certainly has an opinion, or rather several opinions.

I'm not taking a pop at you personally, MustStop. I am Irish, and there is a sense of frustration in Ireland that the hard won peace has now been jeopardised, apparently without anyone even noticing what was at stake for the province. NI really was an afterthought in all of this, and some groups that have staked a lot on the idea that their identity and their hopes and dreams can now be expressed without fear in NI are feeling they have had the rug pulled out from under their feet. There is more anger about this in NI than there is in Scotland. 'Status' is an extremely loaded question.

If I were in NI I would be looking at Dublin and hoping to hear sensible and well thought out responses to the Leave decision, positive proposals that pushed hard for continued EU framework to support the Good Friday agreement and the fragile prosperity it has brought. If I were a Unionist I suspect I would be swallowing hard and maybe repeating 'Federal Republic of Ireland' to myself in the privacy of my bathroom, just to see how that sounded.

Traditionally, the response to uncertainty in the province has been to reach for the weapon you keep stashed in the shed and to posture really hard, with extreme voices on both sides taking over.

I sincerely hope this won't happen, and that sanity will prevail, but at the moment there is a vacuum in Westminster, so this will be a huge test for NI - can people there set a course for themselves, can people there commit fully to presenting a unified front to Brussels and possibly working out a deal of the sort Sturgeon talked about as an alternative to independence?

Independence is not a viable option for NI. It is too small and its economy is small too. It has been heavily dependent on EU money. There has to be a future with either the UK or with Ireland. A very far out possibility is a connection with an independent Scotland. The idea of political association with Ireland is unacceptable to the Unionists, and the idea of continued political association with a UK that is not in the EU potentially returns the nationalists to where they were in 1950 in terms of expressing their sense of national identity that was so important.

NI stands to lose everything it has recently gained by exiting the EU, and returning to the armalite as a means of settling matters.

SeasonalVag Mon 27-Jun-16 07:04:56

Im fearful for NI. Am Irish and very well versed on "the troubles" - so frightened that we'll be going back there again. Also there is very obvious geographical divide between the Remain and the Leave parts. I have no idea what the best way forward is.

MustStopAndThinkBeforePosting Mon 27-Jun-16 07:52:44

Thank you math - I know I'm ignorant about these issues. I was mostly too young (and too self-absorbed, sorry) to be very engaged in politics around the time of the Good Friday Agreement. Most of the areas that voted with a strong margin for remain in England (London, Oxford, Cambridge, Bristol, etc) are prosperous areas which will pull through this post-brexit misery OK, and our main consequences are merely about money so there is a temptation to stop being so angry and upset and accept our new reality. I realise that this must be awful on a so much greater level for those of you in NI though. I really hope a way can be found.

Warrior314 Mon 27-Jun-16 07:55:17

I'm Irish and I worry that it will fast forward the united ireland thing. A lot of people really want it, a lot of people really don't want it. It's not just political. Lots of financial reasons. The 'normal' people just want stability. it's worrying.

Pangurban1 Mon 27-Jun-16 09:29:13

Interesting statement from the Ulster Unionist Party, who backed remain.

"We need to ask the First Minister when she goes to negotiations, is she going to reflect the fact 56% of the people wanted to remain," he said.

"Because the Prime Minister, representing all the people of the United Kingdom, lost the referendum and resigned, the First Minister, representing all the people of Northern Ireland, lost the referendum and celebrated."

ElspethFlashman Mon 27-Jun-16 09:45:18

Well I think a United Ireland is a fantasy.

Scotland seems to be realising that it's not as simple as "please may we stay?" The EU are saying that the whole kit and caboodle must leave first and then bits of it must negotiate their own entry after. That would apply to NI too surely.

Yes it has the Good Friday agreement but I'm not sure that changes the essential fact that it is a territory of the UK and the UK is leaving the EU. That means NI is leaving the EU too.

I also doubt that Brussels would view a united Ireland with anything other than wariness as it would ruin ROIs recovering economy. We can't afford half a million extra mouths to feed. We would be plunged into recession and have to bailed out by Brussels for years afterwards.

This is also the reason there is zero appetite for it in Dublin. That and "this is not our fuck up - why should we go down the tubes cleaning it up".

There is also no wish to have the lawless gangster element - the Gardai are really struggling with the Dublin & Limerick gangs at the moment and would be appalled at the prospect of more banditry and violence. And the Gardai have a very strong voice here.

The Unionists would never ever agree to it. Their identity is based on the Queen being their sovereign - that would evaporate. They would become a bit player in a large homogenous and pretty peaceful country where the GAA is God.

And finally, there is a solution - of sorts. Everyone in NI is entitled to an EU passport. So they may remain EU citizens. That means they can avail of the same rights as people in ROI but stay as they are. It's not perfect - obviously investment in NI is a massive concern. But with Unification there wouldn't be enough money for investment anyway!

LaurieMarlow Mon 27-Jun-16 11:29:55

I agree there is pretty much no appetite for a united Ireland from the Republic. N.I. is huge liability, they don't feel much connection with the people anymore really (a sad fact for NI nationalists, but true).

The N.I. I know are utterly wounded. It's so obvious that no-one gave them as much as 30 seconds of attention when making this decision. I haven't heard a single leave voter even acknowledge their existence. And if you grew up amongst sectarian violence up there as I did, you'd understand the horrors of a fragile peace disintegrating.

The Republic are also reeling. They've a lot to lose from this too (vast majority of their exports go to UK) though they also have a lot to potentially gain. But the thought that the disenfranchised of Sunderland/Wales and so on have been able to have such a huge impact on their future economic security is a difficult one to swallow.

mathanxiety Mon 27-Jun-16 17:26:31

Elspeth, I disagree with your analysis, especially the certainty that citizens in NI would still be entitled to EU citizenship.

This would not be a case of more mouths to feed.

A soplution where both parts of the island remained would be a massive rationalisation of EU policies towards the island as a whole with administrative savings to the EU and to both NI and RoI. Agriculture and other sectors have a lot more to gain on both sides of the border as a single entity than they would if Irl and NI were to separate more.

The UUP statement is earth shattering and Dublin needs to start talking.

I think unionists might be ready for a split - fundamentalists vs people with a lot to lose by Leaving.

A federal republic of Ireland, with a special position for HMQ in the NI part of it, might be an option to think about.

peachpudding Mon 27-Jun-16 17:37:01

Ireland couldn't afford to take on N.ireland, financially, and couldn't cope with it security wise. So its not even an option without the country going up in flames. As for Scotland taking it on, thats a joke they won't even be able to afford their own independance.

The solution is to keep an open border, mini free movement area. It will probably work unless loads of migrants start to swarm in. If N.Ireland were to experience migrant camps then they would quickly start to want a border.

Jeanniejampots80 Mon 27-Jun-16 17:43:30

There will be no Union no matter what Sinn Fein think. There would first be a vote in NI which would fail and even if it miraculously passed the vote in the republic would fail. The ROI have nothing positive to gain for a United irrlanc only historic pride which the vast majority of us have gotten over many many years ago.

The attitude here seems to be supreme pity for NI as the rest of the U.K. Has royally fecked it over but also "well they made their mess now let them clean it up"

The ROI had enough of our own unwanted economic mess to deal with now curtesy of the Brexit

LaurieMarlow Mon 27-Jun-16 17:47:41

The ROI is only just over its own, much more serious recession than the one the UK faced. It really doesn't have the resources to pick up after the UK. And why should it feel any obligation too?

lalalonglegs Mon 27-Jun-16 17:49:03

One of the reasons I voted for Remain (after a great deal of hand-wringing as I was so fed up about the whole campaign on both sides) was because I thought NI and the RoI didn't deserve to be shafted by a Leave vote. I feel so embarrassed about what has been done to them, their recoveries are so fragile and so inter-dependent

evelynj Mon 27-Jun-16 18:06:13

The media hype is not helping but in general people are just getting on with things in NI as far as I can see. It's normally a bit more laid back here anyway but there doesn't seem to be the sky is falling in attitude that I'm seeing from many friends in England. Many of us normally strongly disagree with f&f on politics so we're used to that side. I certainly don't think a united Ireland is a possibility for all the reasons already listed.

The extra eu passport is handy for us for the folk panicking though-all the post offices ran out of application forms!

I think if Scotland go it would be sad, but UK can look forward to good times ahead, it's in nobody's interest to shaft the uk for leaving.

LaurieMarlow Mon 27-Jun-16 18:06:28

Lala, I am quite heartened that you factored that in.

ofshoes Mon 27-Jun-16 18:07:49

It will probably work unless loads of migrants start to swarm in. If N.Ireland were to experience migrant camps then they would quickly start to want a border

Um, what makes you think the migrants are going to stay in economically deprived NI? Unless you're proposing border controls between NI and the mainland in which case you know that we're back to square one with civil unrest?

Warrior314 Mon 27-Jun-16 21:18:48

Thanks Lala. I know it didn't work but brew

mathanxiety Tue 28-Jun-16 04:24:47

A united single state Ireland wouldn't necessarily be on the cards, but a federal Ireland might.

From the pov of the agriculture sector, separation has never made any sense. Regional policy has been ridiculously fractured and the effectiveness of EU money in Donegal, Leitrim, Cavan, Monaghan, Tyrone and Fermanagh diminished. The border has hampered economic development. A natural region has been divided. So much stands to be lost if economic links cannot be guaranteed. NI's loss of EU funding will be compounded by the re-emergence of the border as a factor in the economy. But regional development in the Republic will be affected too. It makes no sense whatsoever for NI to be part of a UK adrift from the EU.

Numberoneisgone Tue 28-Jun-16 04:28:31

Very well said Math

lalalonglegs Tue 28-Jun-16 08:01:24

I'm gutted for you, Laurie. Warrior, is that a nice cup of Barry's wink?

Warrior314 Tue 28-Jun-16 15:33:11

Barry's Gold!

morningrunner Tue 28-Jun-16 16:49:50

Just terrified at the consequences for Ireland north and south if this lot cant even keep the UK in the single market.

Why don't we just have a united Ireland with Belfast as the Capital. All the TDs can sit in Stormount and we can have some non controversial well regarded politician ( pref. unionist? ) as president.

Job done- everyone happy ( xcept Dubliners obvs.)

Jeanniejampots80 Tue 28-Jun-16 16:54:08

Or any of the rest of the ROI obv smile

CremeEggThief Tue 28-Jun-16 17:00:50

Why would Belfast be the capital?confused Dublin is bigger, more ethnically diverse and much better connected and known internationally. I for one would love to see a united Ireland, which I realise is pretty much a fantasy, but the capital would have to be in Dublin.

fusionconfusion Tue 28-Jun-16 17:00:56

I don't know if it will make as much difference to NI as people fear, given folk entitled to dual citizenship if they feel like claiming it, and hence to an EU passport.

It will largely depend on what the negotiations with the EU determine in relation to borders and trade. Maybe NI will get some sort of exemption. I am not that worried about the peace process, I don't think anyone is in a mad rush back to those bad old days.

The idea of a non-controversial unionist politician running all of Ireland from Stormont is hilarious. Unsurprisingly, given the Republic is NOT IN THE UK here is not a unionist majority in the 32 counties (yes, there are a lot more people living in Ireland than just in the capital) so unless you're suggesting some sort of dictatorship, I'm not sure how that would work...

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