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Ireland United?

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Ireland United?

Old 21st Jan 2020, 19:02
  #41 (permalink)  
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I think he's repeating an English view of things - which is also commonly expressed about Scotland and then people wonder why they want to leave.................
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Old 21st Jan 2020, 20:12
  #42 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Steepclimb View Post
Sinn Féin want a referendum in 2025. The other parties in the Republic are ignoring them. Fortunately I could never see them in government in the Republic. The whiff of semtex
​​​​​ still surrounds them. But they may dangerously hold the balance of power after the election next month.
Sinn Féin could have held that balance in the Dáil/Parliament that has just finished. Out of 158 seats Fine Gael (FG) held 49 seats, Fianna Fáil (FF) 43 and Sinn Féin (SF) 23. The next biggest party was Labour with 7.

However due to a confidence and supply agreement with FF, FG formed a minority government with a group of independents (there were a total of 23 independent TD’s/MP’s elected), keeping SF on the opposition benches.

It’s suggested that the Greens might increase their 2 seats into double figures in the coming election, and FF are currently looking like being the largest party, although without a majority on their own. FG (Centre-Right) has firmly ruled out any deal with SF (Leftist/Marxist) post-election. The more rabidly republican elements within FF (socially conservative centre-left-ish/centre/centre-right-ish) would be open to a deal with SF, the party leader has ruled it out.

There are also the wider security concerns still attached to SF and their comrades in balaclavas. To quote one senior source in the SF leadership, "They haven't gone away you know".

JAS
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Old 21st Jan 2020, 21:26
  #43 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Tankertrashnav View Post
First may I give you my background. I am a Roman Catholic, my family came from Co Westmeath and emigrated to the West of Scotland in the early 20th Century. I was brought up and educated in Glasgow, a society with many similarities to that of Northern Ireland. I was educated in an atmosphere of religious bigotry and lived in a community where there was little contact with those from "the "other side" (we went to Catholic schools and joined Catholic cub packs and scout troops etc). What saved me was my own family life - my Catholic father had married a Protestant, and though we children were all baptised Catholics (as required by the Catholic Church as a condition of my father being granted permission to "marry out") there was none of the aforementioned bigotry at home.

I note that on this thread there have been many references to Protestant bigotry. As a Catholic I can assure you that bigotry came from both sides - we certainly practised it as a matter of course in the Glasgow of the 1950s, and have no doubt the Catholic population of Northern Ireland was little different. I do not deny that there were injustices suffered by the Catholic population in N.I. That may have justified the protests at the outbreak of the troubles, but it was certainly no excuse for the murderous campaign carried out by the P.I.R.A both at home and on the British mainland. Does not getting a council house give you an excuse for planting bombs in pubs and streets and killing women and children? And yes I know the so called "loyalist" terrorists did their share as well.

I could not summarise the causes of the troubles as requested- I lack the specialist knowledge, but all I know it was never a matter of "Catholics good, Prods bad" which seems to be the opinion of some on here. The truth is far more complex.
TTN, as a Northern Irish Protestant, can I thank you for a reasoned thoughtful post...it's a pity not all posters on this thread had shown such balance.
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Old 21st Jan 2020, 21:30
  #44 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by old,not bold View Post
Let's keep it simple; the Irish Republic is welcome to add Ulster's 6 Counties to the Republic. The benefits to the UK of that would be enormous. And now BoJo has set that ball rolling, it won't take long to complete the process of transfer. I can hear him now; "Get NIXIT done" will be the battle cry.

I wouldn't shed many tears for the Protestants; I still have vivid memories of their appalling treatment of the Catholic minority pre-1965 that led directly to the Troubles, and all the evidence suggests that they have not learned one single lesson since. They plumbed the depths of bigotry then, and they still do now.
Old, not bold ... speaking as a Northern Irish Protestant, can I just ask who do you think you are to condemn an entire community? You clearly know nothing of the vast majority of people like me, who work, live, and play peacefully and happily alongside our catholic neighbours. Wise up. Would you judge all Englishmen as if they shared the views of Tommy Robinson?
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Old 21st Jan 2020, 23:53
  #45 (permalink)  
 
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Things could have turned out so very different had the civil rights movement succeeded.
Exactly, the Catholic population wasn't demanding a united Ireland and the official IRA was dormant, having turned away from political violence. The demands were simple, an end to discrimination in housing, employment and voting rights. The civil right movement was inspired by Martin Luther King and the marches were peaceful. The major difference was that the American government listened to their civil rights movement and addressed the issues, ending discrimination against blacks, where as the Northern Ireland government tried to violently suppress the movement with batons and tear gas.

After direct rule was imposed, the civil rights movement got what it wanted, the Fair Work Act was the most progressive anti discrimination employment legislation in Europe at the time and proportional representation was introduced ending the gerrymandering of local elections. Unfortunately the genie was well out of the bottle by then and the IRA had embarked on a guerilla war. RUC men who were previously laying into peaceful demonstrators with fists, boots and sticks were now down on their hands and knees poking mirrors underneath their cars in the morning.

After the Good Friday agreement, one of the unionist leaders made the best summation of the troubles when he recalled that Edward Carson, one of the founders of unionism had told them to look after the minority "We didn't and by God did we pay the price."

Edward Carson:
“From the outset let us see that the Catholic minority have nothing to fear from Protestant majority. Let us take care to win all that is best among those who have been opposed to us in the past. While maintaining intact our own religion, let us give the same rights to the religion of our neighbours”.
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Old 22nd Jan 2020, 06:14
  #46 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by NWSRG View Post
Old, not bold ... speaking as a Northern Irish Protestant, can I just ask who do you think you are to condemn an entire community? You clearly know nothing of the vast majority of people like me, who work, live, and play peacefully and happily alongside our catholic neighbours.
And yet come election time the two polar opposite parties are elected, Sein Fein - DUP. The middle of the road Alliance party gets very little support. Every 12th of July the Orange order demands the right to parade through Catholic areas as a show of who is still in charge.
It is still pretty tribal and the region costs the UK a fortune to support. When Maggie Thatcher visited the province she was stunned at the number of new cars on the roads. wasn't the largest BMW dealership in Europe in N Ireland at the time. Its all government money paying for the security services and various initiatives. The EU is pumping in 100's of millions in peace grants as well, what happens after Brexit?

Criminal gangs are bought off, here is some money for some mickey mouse group as long as you do not riot. Every time a drug dealer gets hassle the "fleg" riots kick-off in that area.
Its a money pit and the UK are waking up to this fact. The Irish Republic I doubt can afford N Ireland, but if it happens the EU will step in assist financially.
The biggest shock to all if or when a United Ireland comes around is the health insurance, the NHS is a hard act to follow but how long can the NHS survive as it is in the UK without some form of customer payment.

Last edited by DroneDog; 22nd Jan 2020 at 06:32.
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Old 22nd Jan 2020, 08:02
  #47 (permalink)  
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I'd expect the criminal gangs in N Ireland (and there are some in the Republic as well) will shift to smuggling stuff in and out of England/Scotland post a union.. They've already moved from politics into drugs and protection so they'll continue to evolve
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Old 22nd Jan 2020, 13:49
  #48 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Tankertrashnav View Post
First may I give you my background. I am a Roman Catholic, my family came from Co Westmeath and emigrated to the West of Scotland in the early 20th Century. I was brought up and educated in Glasgow, a society with many similarities to that of Northern Ireland. I was educated in an atmosphere of religious bigotry and lived in a community where there was little contact with those from "the "other side" (we went to Catholic schools and joined Catholic cub packs and scout troops etc). What saved me was my own family life - my Catholic father had married a Protestant, and though we children were all baptised Catholics (as required by the Catholic Church as a condition of my father being granted permission to "marry out") there was none of the aforementioned bigotry at home.

I note that on this thread there have been many references to Protestant bigotry. As a Catholic I can assure you that bigotry came from both sides - we certainly practised it as a matter of course in the Glasgow of the 1950s, and have no doubt the Catholic population of Northern Ireland was little different. I do not deny that there were injustices suffered by the Catholic population in N.I. That may have justified the protests at the outbreak of the troubles, but it was certainly no excuse for the murderous campaign carried out by the P.I.R.A both at home and on the British mainland. Does not getting a council house give you an excuse for planting bombs in pubs and streets and killing women and children? And yes I know the so called "loyalist" terrorists did their share as well.

I could not summarise the causes of the troubles as requested- I lack the specialist knowledge, but all I know it was never a matter of "Catholics good, Prods bad" which seems to be the opinion of some on here. The truth is far more complex.
What a superb post. Thank you so much TTN for writing this.

I have a very, very similar background inasmuch my parents were both Irish catholics that relocated to (Protestant) England for employment and better opportunities. That never stopped my mother, in particular, for constantly reminiscing with rose tinted spectacles about the Old Emerald Isle, conveniently forgetting the whole reason they left in the first place. I was brought up in a house of subtle bigotry. As children we were constantly told about the appalling treatment of Catholics by the British throughout history, their dislike of the Scots - which I always find slightly ironic because both countries have a very similar culture and a genetically not too different. There was a seething resentment about Cromwell and Elizabeth 1 for their treatment of the Irish and one never challenged the authority of the Catholic Church. When the stories of the Magdalen Homes emerged, my mother was of the view that the nuns gave the “fallen women” shelter and a job, so what was the problem? They were in denial about the abuse by priests and stated that the Church of England also had their fair share of miscreants. They even expressed a support for the IRA believing that Ireland is Ireland, should be one country and that what The Troubles were all about. Ironically, they both chose to hold UK passports though. If both sides were as indoctrinated and sectarian as my parents, no wonder it took so long to bring peace to both sides.

I personally believe a major factor what brought an end to the conflict in N.I. was the Irish Americans waking up to the fact that it was more about terrorism than fighting an oppressive occupying Britain, having experienced it on their own soil with the Oklahoma bombing. Once the funds for armaments were cut off, both sides had no option but to come to the negotiating table. I fear that the veneer of peace is a thin one and it wouldn’t take too much for a lawless few - from either side - to relight the powder keg.

Several months ago there was also an excellent series on the BBC - Spotlight on The Troubles: A Secret History which is very eye opening about the whole Irish question. Worth a watch.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episod...secret-history
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Old 22nd Jan 2020, 14:45
  #49 (permalink)  
 
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The major factor was that both sides realised that they couldn't win militarily, after nearly 30 years the British army were no closer to beating the IRA than they were at the beginning and the IRA weren't able to wear down the British to the extent that they would withdraw.

By that stage as well, the demographics were shifting and the solid 2/1 majority which the protestants held back in the 1970s was being eroded. Now that the playing field was level, gains could be made through the ballot box. The demands of the civil right movement had been addressed and Catholics would be in the majority within 20 years anyway. The recent general election returned more nationalist MPs than unionist ones for the first time ever and the census next year will almost certainly have Catholics over the 50% mark. Nine years ago Protestants lost their overall majority becoming instead the single largest group.

The most troublesome Protestants will be the unemployed and working class ones, they are the least adaptable to change and lack the skills and money to move elsewhere. The middle class have the qualifications and resources to emigrate but would probably stick around. The land owning gentry would certainly remain as being in the EU would be better for them, many probably hold Irish passports already as they knew reunification would be on the cards eventually.
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Old 22nd Jan 2020, 16:16
  #50 (permalink)  
 
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What BehindBlue Eyes says.
M-i-L was N Irish Catholic.
If one allowed it, history lessons began from Cromwell.
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Old 23rd Jan 2020, 10:10
  #51 (permalink)  
 
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Having read some very balanced and varied opinions above, I still hold the belief that talk of a United Ireland is premature. It would have taken a few more decades of status quo, I feel, before the bile, bigotry, hatred and atrocities carried out by a minority within all active players (including the RUC & Army) had faded enough into the past for totally rational and logical debate to occur. At least a significant proportion of the Protestant/loyalist community need to feel, even reluctantly, that there is a place for them in a United Ireland.

If I were a NI resident, until now I’d have been looking at the 20+ billion pounds in subsidies NI gets from Westminster every year and thinking “the Republic can’t match this gravy train”, but Boris’ mates in the English print media have repeatedly written stories about this, and how much of a burden it is, costs more than EU membership etc. It seems to me Westminster is getting pretty fed up with this situation and a change is imminent.

”The EU will pick up the bill”...is just passing the book. I think, if Westminster is already preparing to reduce supplements to NI and force Stormont to get it's house in order financially, then those here in the Republic who support a United Ireland would be better off letting Boris and his successors do the dirty work.

In summary I don’t think we are ready. Serious talk of a unity poll now risks seriously alienating ordinary reasonable protestants like NWSRG above, which benefits nobody. Brexit has reopened some old wounds in NI, which is very unfortunate, more healing needs to occur in my view.

Last edited by Una Due Tfc; 23rd Jan 2020 at 12:12.
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Old 23rd Jan 2020, 12:09
  #52 (permalink)  
 
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Yip, that pretty much sums it up. Boris's chief advisor has made no secret of his views on N Ireland's quote ‘I don’t care if Northern Ireland falls into the f****ng sea’.'
The money saved could be ploughed back into the NHS and policing which would put Boris on a pedestal.
it may well be the best thing to happen to the province forcing hard decisions on bread and butter matters and not tribal politics.
I have no doubt the EU would step in to bail out Ireland if or when a United Ireland occurs. The protestant-catholic thing only exists in the North If southern attitudes prevail religion would be a non-event. Not everyone thou would want to live in a united Ireland so perhaps a relocation grant could be offered for those looking to relocate.

Last edited by DroneDog; 23rd Jan 2020 at 14:29.
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Old 23rd Jan 2020, 15:15
  #53 (permalink)  
 
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No one wants an immediate referendum, the unionists want to delay the inevitable for as long as possible and the nationalists want to have a reasonably sure majority. The Irish Republic wants to delay the financial burden and Britain wants to postpone the unravelling of the united kingdom as Scotland will be wanting to leave as well when the Irish show that it's possible to cut ties. Next years census will prove interesting and provide a basis for future planning. Sinn Fein might push for a vote if they think the numbers are on their side.

Unemployed and blue collar unionists would find it difficult to fit into a united Ireland but wouldn't really be wanted on the other side of the water either. Priced out of the better areas they'd likely end up concentrated in depressed areas of the north and in Scotland.
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Old 23rd Jan 2020, 19:14
  #54 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Una Due Tfc View Post
If I were a NI resident, until now I’d have been looking at the 20+ billion pounds in subsidies NI gets from Westminster every year
Do people living in NI believe that they receive such subsidy ?
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Old 23rd Jan 2020, 19:25
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Originally Posted by occasional View Post
Do people living in NI believe that they receive such subsidy ?
No they don't
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics...et-way-brexit/

In other words we pay (the EU) a net £7.8 billion to gain access to a market of about 450 million people (after deducting our own population) and we pay £8.8 billion a year to 1.8 million people in Northern Ireland

Last edited by DroneDog; 23rd Jan 2020 at 20:04.
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Old 23rd Jan 2020, 20:27
  #56 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by DroneDog View Post
No they don't
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics...et-way-brexit/

In other words we pay (the EU) a net £7.8 billion to gain access to a market of about 450 million people (after deducting our own population) and we pay £8.8 billion a year to 1.8 million people in Northern Ireland
Ah, so I was sucked in by one of Boris’ propaganda pieces listing total expenditure without subtracting income. Mea Culpa.

Does that £8.8 billion include the extra 1.5 billion per annum Theresa May agreed to give in exchange for DUP support?
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Old 23rd Jan 2020, 23:03
  #57 (permalink)  
 
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If I was a Northern Unionist/loyalist I would be depressed by this thread. If I was a soldier who served in Northern Ireland I would be really depressed.
Having said that it is in fact a possiblity . The Good Friday agreement made it possible. Brexit made it inevitable.
​​​​​​
Northern Ireland was and is an anomaly. It was imposed by the British for the best of reasons given the imperial situation at the time. The Irish while they had not defeated the British. Lyoyd George had not defeated the Irish despite ruthless and brutal repression which frankly is not the British way.

Anyway a compromise was reached which caused a civil war in Ireland. I usually felt that the rebels were wrong. They wanted a full all Ireland.
My wife's grandad was a rebel he fought the British and later the Irish army in the civil war.
He escaped being executed by the Irish army because he got rid of his revolver just in time. Lucky for me as I married his lovely grandaughter.
​​​​​​
I wonder sometimes if he was right. Was it worth the comprise?




​​​​​​



​​​​​​.













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Old 24th Jan 2020, 00:22
  #58 (permalink)  
 
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Around 10% of the British population have either an Irish born parent or grandparent, even Mrs Thatcher had an Irish great great grandmother. My Irish grandad fought for the British in WW2 and my Irish grandmother's brother fought for the old IRA, I often wonder how that went down at family gatherings.

Catholics are now a majority in Northern Ireland and the upcoming census will simply confirm this, in 2011 they were ahead in every age group except the over 65s. Many of the +65 protestants will have died and many of the Catholic children will have reached voting age. However the Catholic birth rate has slowed down with increasing living standards, 13 children per couple is now the exception rather than the norm so the rate of increase won't continue forever.

How the voting would go is anyone's guess, some Catholics would vote to remain with the UK and some Protestants would vote for reunification. All sides will be studying the census results very carefully, Sinn Fein won't want to risk an early poll if the result would be marginal and if by waiting a couple of years they would have an appreciable jump in the number of Catholic children turning 18. Unionists would want the vote put off for as long as possible because at best it would maintain the status quo with a very marginal lead.

Issues such as UK government pensions, entitlement to a British passport, voting in UK elections, funding for protestant schools etc would need to be addressed, but basically the biggest changes would be having the Euro as a new currency and getting used to speed limits in km/hr.

Ireland today is a very different country to what it was in the 1970s, back then it couldn't have afforded to take in the north or cope with the civil war that would have resulted. The Republic of today is a modern stable democracy with a high standard of living, the Catholic church has little influence in government, there is freedom of religion, free speech and property rights are respected.

Reunification is inevitable. The British government are keen to get rid of the Irish problem, Boris Johnson has the next five years and a substantial majority which doesn't require any unionist support. If he can deliver a successful Brexit he might be encouraged to tackle Northern Ireland as well. Mrs Thatcher will always be associated with the Falklands victory, Mr Johnson could go down as the man who reshaped Britain leaving the EU and solving the Irish problem.
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Old 24th Jan 2020, 05:49
  #59 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Una Due Tfc View Post
Ah, so I was sucked in by one of Boris’ propaganda pieces listing total expenditure without subtracting income. Mea Culpa.

Does that £8.8 billion include the extra 1.5 billion per annum Theresa May agreed to give in exchange for DUP support?
You were not wrong, I jumped the gun a bit and I was focused on the net loss to the province, but £20 billion is paid annually and is an eye-watering amount, but the majority of tax raised by HMRC comes from government-related projects or civil service jobs, the private sector is tiny. A lot of jobs are non-jobs, just hoping to keep people from signing on.

In 2016-17, according to HM Treasury figures, total expenditure by the Government on Northern Ireland was £20.6 billion. HMRC reports that tax receipts from Northern Ireland in the same year came to £11.7 billion, a net payment of £8.8 billion.


Last edited by DroneDog; 24th Jan 2020 at 09:23.
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Old 24th Jan 2020, 07:39
  #60 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Steepclimb View Post
​​​​
Northern Ireland was and is an anomaly.
Like Portugal presumably.
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