Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
A rather good compendium of where things stands in NI, from Politico.eu (I learned things):

Can Northern Ireland survive Brexit?

Naomi Long, the leader of Northern Ireland's center-ground Alliance Party, told POLITICO that before talk of a united Ireland can begin, the people of Northern Ireland must unite first, and they're nowhere near doing that.

Long, a native of overwhelmingly Protestant East Belfast, has seen the city's nearly 100 "peace lines" -- barriers of brick, steel and barbed wire separating nationalist and unionist districts -- continue to grow during the most recent two decades of relative calm, a period when the rest of Northern Ireland's capital has grown increasingly Catholic.

She says few in Dublin, London or Brussels understand how deeply segregated Belfast is and how dangerous the loyalist paramilitary threat can become when confronted with change. She has faced repeated threats because of her message of tolerance and compromise.

The Good Friday accord gives the British government the power to call a unity referendum if it believes a majority exists in Northern Ireland for this outcome. Former Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern, who jointly oversaw the agreement, thinks 2028 - three decades after Good Friday - could be the year it happens.

Privately, many Irish diplomats hope Ahern is wrong. They broadly share British exasperation over Northern Ireland, where the two colliding national identities have mutated into a land of never-ending arguments. "The longer this remains London's problem, not ours, the better," says one.

Such views beg the question: Does London want rid of Northern Ireland more than Dublin wants it?

"Britain, as has become so apparent since the beginning of the Brexit saga, sees Northern Ireland as expendable," said Diarmaid Ferriter, professor of modern history at University College Dublin. "It really is the problem child that nobody wants."

by Bernard on Wed Apr 21st, 2021 at 08:05:24 PM EST
Yes, I'm sure this is a reasonable snapshot of sentiment at this time. However, the trend line suggests that unionism is on the ebb.
Yes, the extremists will always be there, but the neutrals are moving away from them; these people are going to be left stranded and sooner than they think.

If I had to bet I'd say some time in the 2nd half of this decade they will be at 70%. At which point it's over

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Apr 23rd, 2021 at 08:01:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There are two sides to the equation: the British side (mostly English side), as you mention, who is getting tired of subsidizing the Unionists and their sectarian lifestyle. Then, the efforts the Republic may have to undertake to uplift and integrate the North.

As Frank, repeatedly pointed out, the difference between the two part of the island would make even the German re-unification look like a stroll in the park. It may well happen before this decade is out, but eventually integrating Ireland will take several more decades.

by Bernard on Sun Apr 25th, 2021 at 08:46:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The ongoing problem is going to be the intensification of ghettoisation of the residual Loyalist constituency.
Low-qualified but well-paying manufacturing jobs no longer exist; boys from poorer Protestant districts have low educational attainment; those who attain higher education tend to do so in Great Britain and not come back; and so on. It could go on for generations, with careful management by the Unionist politicians (for whom a resolution of grievances would not seem to be a good career plan).

Still. Reunification is perhaps harder than Germany, but easier than Korea. Surely?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Mon Apr 26th, 2021 at 06:53:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The problem in Germany was primarily economic once the Iron curtain went down. In Korea it is political and military. In Ireland in is economic and social, particularly in ghettoised areas. It's not beyond fixing, but Britain must withdraw first and a long transition will be required, together with a lot of money...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Apr 26th, 2021 at 02:04:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I would think that another factor would be the availability of money to support the poorer of the merged states. West Germany was (is) able to do this, and presumably South Korean would be able to do it if Korea united.

If Ireland united, where would the support for the previous NI come from, the EU?

by asdf on Tue Apr 27th, 2021 at 03:45:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Some EU help may be forthcoming - from regional, CAP and peace funds - but nowhere near the €12 Billion p.a.  UK net subsidy. A Biden style administration might also contribute a little, but the heavy lifting would have to be done in Ireland where it represents 4% of (bloated) GDP and a lot more in terms of real disposable income. Not impossible, but not without significant impact on living standards generally.

Over the course of a few decades the integration of the two economies and governmental systems could yield some synergies and economies of scale, and there is no reason why, with more appropriate economic policies, N. Ireland couldn't come to be as economically successful as the Republic.

However time is running out for Ireland's corporate tax driven incentive package for MNC's to locate here, and they are the drivers of economic growth and government tax revenues. It's a bit like Scotland's oil running out - both parts of Ireland would have to develop new models of economic/tax growth to mitigate damage to living standards.

And all of this assumes that continued unrest in N. Ireland wouldn't create a huge disincentive to locate and invest here, not to mention the social and related financial costs. The protocol actual offers N. Ireland unique access to both UK and EU markets, and could be a huge unique selling point for investment there. However you an rely on unionist "leadership" and loyalist rioters to muck that up. Quelle surprise...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Apr 27th, 2021 at 11:17:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]


Occasional Series