• Morgan Fagg

Lockdown Voices Number 32 EIRE

After 30 plus posts, I thought it was worth looking at the Island of Ireland as 32 counties instead of two separate countries.

These two regions North and South are known as Northern Ireland and The Republic of Ireland and there are some minor and major differences that confuse people such as the fact that there are two different currencies used on the island of Ireland.

Comedians Foil Arms and Hog hilariously demonstrated some of these confusing terms in this two-minute video.

Coronavirus has hit Europe hard but the border in Ireland proved problematic as the United Kingdom embraced "Herd Immunity" and dragged their feet on sensible precautions.

It is ironic that for once I am in favor of a border in Ireland but unlike BREXIT and the 2015 Referendum that divided the United Kingdom, any future discussion on a United Ireland must be exactly that, a United approach and it was crazy to have pubs open in Northern Ireland on Saint Patrick's Day while the Republic of Ireland prepared for a pandemic

All political parties need to be able to come together to discuss the needs of everyone, and I was afraid Sinn Féin would have politicised the situation and was delighted to see that the first person I saw advocating for debate on this topic was former president Mary McAleese and not someone running for office.

In an article in the Irish Independent, the former Irish president discussed the need for phased discussion rather than a divisive referendum and I think, there is an argument that Ireland and Northern Ireland have never been closer, especially after the mismanagement of Covid-19 in the UK and 20 years of peaceful co-operation as members of the European Union.

I imagine that Northern Ireland will need to maintain independence from Dublin, and I presume that most people just presume that Dublin will remain the Irish capital. Clearly concessions would have to be taken to bridge the gap between Stormont and Dáil Éireann but I doubt Athlone is any closer to becoming the heart of Ireland as it is to becoming a city.

Ireland has changed much since the 1960s and has progressed on many religious issues.

I have never understood the sectarian argument of Protestant versus Catholic, especially in the 21st Century and especially when both Christian religions are almost identical.

Post Coronavirus, Ireland and Europe will need to offer the people of Northern Ireland a better future than the division of the past and despite the small size of the six counties in Northern Ireland, I think

Europe needs to invest in this region to reduce the fallout of losing the United Kingdom.

After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, I believe the reunification of Germany put enormous economic strains on West Germany as they brought the East up to their standard of living.

Ireland cannot easily foot the bills that the United Kingdom has paid in the past but I believe Europe can and must and a United Ireland or Great Ireland would be worth it, provided the vast majority agreed.

It is the easiest way for Europe to limit the effects of Brexit and would prove powerful in swaying the Scottish independence vote towards Europe and all it would require is an investment by Airbus and other European factories to continue building in Europe by shifting focus from the United Kingdom to the border counties in the Republic where people in Northern Ireland would be drawn to the euros on offer rather than dependent on the pound.

Like the Berlin Wall, 30 years ago, reunification is going to be costly and I believe Germany is going to have to help pick up the pieces and foot part of the bill.



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