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Will Brexit deliver Irish reunification?

(157 Posts)
Drunkvet Fri 14-Apr-17 14:59:18

Just that- will a united Ireland be an after effect of Brexit? Let's be honest, without EU money NI is going to cost the UK government ££££; NI has always been the annoying, problem child. Both UK and EU have said there will be no hard border but, surely, there will have to be a border and customs control somewhere? So it would make sense to have the border around the island of Britain (Eng/Scot/wal)
The demographics in N.Ireland are changing. We no longer have a unionist majority at Stormont. Well TBH we don't have a devolved govmt at all ATM but that's a whole, other thread.
While I can't see a UI this year or next year I do feel that Brexit has brought it forward and there will be a border poll in the next 5-10 years.

Peregrina Fri 14-Apr-17 15:23:21

I think you may well be right , certainly as far as the timescale goes. As for the devolved Government, or lack of, that has completely dropped out of our news now. Which rather demonstrates the rest of the UK's attitude towards NI.

Anon1234567890 Fri 14-Apr-17 15:56:12

There wont be a border poll because it has a very very small chance of achieving reunification. Maybe that will change in ten years but not even the Catholics want to leave the UK. The people of NI know who pays the bills and Eire certainly wont be ponying up to the tune of what the UK does.

Its also fantasy to think reunification would be a peaceful process, anyone heard of the Unionist militants the UVF, UDA, UFF, the Orange Volunteers, they are all still there just in a ceasefire? Force them into joining an Irish state and you will be restarting the violence big time. Will they be sending in an EU army to suppress them?

Drunkvet Fri 14-Apr-17 16:12:36

Hi Anon
I really think you should reconsider your "not even the Catholics want to leave the UK" It's devisive and reductionist and it is exactly the kind of thinking the most people in NI are trying to move away from.
I'm aware that reunification may not be peaceful but that's not what this thread is about and I refuse to be drawn into whataboutery and themuns get it all.
Why do you think a border poll in the next 5-10 years unlikely? I think it highly likely as by that point Sinn Fein may well be the largest political party on the island of Ireland. Scotland got their referendum, why not Ireland? I have always felt that the Tories would be gleeful at the thought of disposing of NI. They pay lip service to NI unionists when it suits them but most of the time they'd happily let us go to hell in a handcart.

relaxo Fri 14-Apr-17 16:17:02

I think that if Nicola Sturgeon gets a second Scottish referendum then it will make Irish change more likely. A hard border is such a big step backwards. 🙁

scottishdiem Fri 14-Apr-17 16:17:34

Not at the moment as there needs to be pretty much an unassailable lead in the community for reunification.

People feel that the Scottish Independence referendum was socially damaging - can you imagine what would happen in Northern Ireland if it was as close at the scottish independence referendum. The snowflakes in Scotland would soon see real examples of division and community discord.

I think it will happen eventually and probably more based on it making sense for things like the border and trade as opposed to anything else.

Drunkvet Fri 14-Apr-17 16:53:14

scott that's exactly my point. That the border and trade situation which Brexit will create will make a UI more likely more quickly. I wonder if the Unionist parties regret selling Brexit to their voters now?

horizontilting Fri 14-Apr-17 16:53:25

Good Friday 19 years ago and such a massive step forward. I was thinking about the moment it was announced so much today.

And the thing that gutted me most about the Brexit vote was how little thought was given to what it will do to peace in Northern Ireland. And that few of those who voted the leave the EU would have cared enough to take that into consideration even if it had been highlighted to them. It's so upsetting and so wholly unsurprising.

You may well be right, OP. Certainly the UK have no desire to hold onto it. Like most people I'd care far more about how things happen and that retaining peace is the overwhelming priority than whether NI actually stays in the UK or becomes part of a united Ireland.

squoosh Fri 14-Apr-17 16:55:24

It's not all about N.I though. I'm really not sure Ireland is in a huge rush for a united Ireland.

Anon1234567890 Fri 14-Apr-17 17:14:59

Hi Drunkvet

I was thinking back to a poll in N.Ireland which concluded that only a quarter of Catholics would support reunification. And given that reunification would mean the people of N.Ireland joining a Catholic state I think it is a very relevant thing to say.

Sinn Fein may well become the largest party in N.Ireland but they are not silly enough to hold a referendum on an issue they have very little chance of winning. scottishdiem explained it well.

So what happens in Scotland and with Brexit will probably determine the mood in NI, so we are talking another decade before opinion might shift sustainably, but I wouldn't bet on it.

Drunkvet Fri 14-Apr-17 17:25:47

Anon we all know how reliable polls are though! I know that I'm one of those people who might say one thing to a pollster but vote an entirely different way. My mind changes with alarming regularity #ficklebitch Plus the political environment here has changed massively since that poll
Squoosh yeah I've never thought ROI had apetite for the NI issue but EU may provide 'funding' to ease the deal? The ROI govmt could just have referendum after referendum until it gets the answer it wants. We've seen that before and SF are likely to play a large part in that Dail govmt.
I think SF would call a border poll just for the trouble it would cause the UK gvmt. They've always held the view that's Britains disadvantage is Irelands advantage. Gerry Adams said as much in a TV interview last month.

Anon1234567890 Fri 14-Apr-17 17:51:09

Drunkvet, polls are actually pretty accurate. What is usually not reported and not understood generally by the public is that polls give a range not a precise prediction. Unfortunately only the mid point is reported. And the polls in N.I. are pretty wide apart so even within the range its not even close.

Yes the political reaction to cash for renewable energy has changed things but is this a permanent change? History would say no, scandals blow over and people return to their long held positions. Just think how many scandals the Tories have had and yet here they are still in power.

Would the EU provide funding to ease the deal? Probably a token sum, but just consider their second largest budget contributor is leaving, so where do they get the money for long term massive support of Ireland? Look whats happening in Greece, do Germany tax payers really have the stomach to prop up another country?

And of course when sectarian violence raises its head does the EU have the military to cope?

Drunkvet Fri 14-Apr-17 19:03:23

Anon, I didn't mean RHI. I mean the fact there is no longer a unionist majority. This in itself maybe fleeting given renewed calls for a single unionist party but I do believe it is a sign of what is to come. I do think that Brexit will change the minds of the moderates on both sides who voted against it and make a UI more palatable.
With regard to ppl knowing who foots the bill, I don't see austerity Britain being constantly willing to bail NI out for much longer. They certainly won't be replacing the EU Peace monies.

Somerville Fri 14-Apr-17 19:20:04

If a physical border is imposed because of Brexit then we all know what will happen next... and that what the IRA successfully learned was that bombing the mainland was the key to getting the attention of English politicians. I don't want that to happen, but with the cavalier attitude of Brexiteers in government towards the north of Ireland I feel like it's edging closer.

And ultimately, the political will behind supporting a massive expensive and inflammatory border on the island of Ireland or having a natural border of the sea around GB, combined with the changing demographics of the north of Ireland... I didn't expect to see a united Ireland in my lifetime, but post-Brexit... it feels possible.

Anon1234567890 Fri 14-Apr-17 19:31:37

I do think that Brexit will change the minds of the moderates on both sides who voted against it and make a UI more palatable
You might be right ... or not. Its just to early to tell. I get the feeling people in N.I. are willing to wait and see, which is why I put a border poll way past 2020 at the earliest.

I don't see austerity Britain being constantly willing to bail NI out for much longer And never in a month of Sundays will the South replace that money either. I feel that until N.I. gives up violence and stands on its own 2 feet it will be dependent on English money.

Anon1234567890 Fri 14-Apr-17 19:33:53

Somerville Its not the North of Ireland, Its NORTHERN IRELAND.

Mistigri Fri 14-Apr-17 19:34:29

I don't think it will happen tomorrow, but I do think that anything but the softest of soft Brexits makes Irish reunification inevitable.

Why? Because leaving the EU customs union means that a hard border for goods between the ROI and NI is inevitable. This leads me to believe that the eventual settlement will involve NI remaining in the customs union, with customs procedures, inspections etc taking place at the British border.

Ultimately, this will lead to NI's ties to the ROI and the EU becoming closer, and those with Britain becoming looser. But it may take a decade or two.

The above assumes that brexit happens; my own view is that we will end up in an indefinite half-in-half-out "associate membership" and will remain in the SM.

MrsDustyBusty Fri 14-Apr-17 19:35:51

Hilariously, no. Brexit won't unify Ireland and you'll have to continue to clean up your own message.

Anon1234567890 Fri 14-Apr-17 19:37:19

and that what the IRA successfully learned was that bombing the mainland was the key to getting the attention of English politicians

You could easily reverse that statement and say, "post reunification everyone learned that bombing Ireland was the key to getting the attention of Irish politicians". Will the "cavalier attitude of Remoaners" be to blame?

Its not that simple.

BWatchWatcher Fri 14-Apr-17 19:37:23

God, I hope not.
While we may not technically have a unionist majority at Stormont I reckon you'd see a substantial amount of people who are voting for the moderate middle ground currently (Alliance, SDLP, Greens) head back to their tribal roots pretty quickly.

Mistigri Fri 14-Apr-17 19:37:27

I don't think there will be a hard border for movement of people, btw; only for goods. The EU and the UK will go out of their way to ensure that people can cross the border freely, but I do not believe that the same will be true of goods (unless NI remains in the EU customs union).

In a hard brexit, NI will be between a rock and a hard place: it may have to choose between money from the UK and free cross-border trade with the ROI.

MaudGonneMad Fri 14-Apr-17 19:37:39

Its not the North of Ireland, Its NORTHERN IRELAND.

If you're going to be aggressive about terminology, Anon, perhaps you'd like to revise your outmoded use of Éire upthread

WeShouldOpenABar Fri 14-Apr-17 19:39:27

If anecdotal evidence means anything no one I know in Dublin, where a lot of voters are, would want it to happen. Stories spread constantly of the cost of northern Ireland and how everyone has a government job there which we just can't fund. There's quite a bit of, we've problems of our own went would we take on anyone else's!

There's quite a bit of pro ira graffiti still around but let's be honest those people aren't voting

Anon1234567890 Fri 14-Apr-17 19:42:34

I can guess what side of the debate your on.

woman12345 Fri 14-Apr-17 19:42:57

What MaudGonneMad
De lurking to say I appreciate this thread to discuss implications of Brexit on the North of Ireland.
The GFA has been a hard won victory of peace, here's to continued peace.

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