*Photograph: Joe Buckley
I am an Irish republican and I strongly believe that the only way to deliver on the promise of the 1916 Proclamation to ‘cherish all of the children of the nation equally’ is through the delivery of a 32 county Irish republic.
Several studies and reports in recent years have shown that Irish Unity would boost the economy of the whole island. Dr Kurt Hubner, of Vancouver University, estimates that in eight years following unification the economy would grow by over €36 Billion. In a recent book, David McWilliams wrote “In short, in pure budgetary terms, there is little doubt that the Republic’s economy could absorb the North, even before the commercial dynamism of unification kicks in.”
As we now face the fallout of Brexit, the reality of British jurisdiction over part of our nation means that in a few months part of Ireland will be inside the EU and part will be outside. There will be dreadful impacts on businesses here in the south. Last month media outlets reported that effects of Brexit on the Irish road haulage industry could cause some products here to double in price. This will have a major knock on effect on our economy
Covid-19 has taught us that we need an All Island pandemic response plan. Pandemics do not observe borders. We have an all-Ireland approach to animal health, but not to human health. This crazy situation arises because six counties of Ireland are ruled by Britain and by a Tory government that was never elected by people in this country.
Recent opinion polls, North and South, have consistently shown support for Irish Unity. Unionist political parties in the North no longer have a majority at election time. In the Brexit referendum, the people in the six counties voted solidly to remain in the EU. All of these indicate that people would consider changing the constitutional arrangement, and vote for Unity, but it won’t happen unless we plan for it and make it happen.
We have had a hundred years of the division of partition. It’s time build a real, national, Republic that treats everyone equally. Irish Unity is a threat to nobody. It offers the potential of a better future for all our citizens, including the unionist community.
Partition has been bad for us all. It has damaged the economy of all of Ireland for a hundred years. Irish Unity is now a doable project. Irish Unity will be good for everyone. It’s not just an issue for the North. It’s an issue for everyone, from Clare to Dublin, and Kerry to Derry, and beyond.