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IT Sunday: A united Ireland? What do the people think?

North and South series explores public opinion on Irish unity on both sides of the Border

NI Poll top image

Welcome to this week’s IT Sunday, a selection of the best Irish Times journalism for our subscribers.

This week The Irish Times begins a major new series called North and South, which explores public opinion on Irish unity on both sides of the Border. In the first instalment Pat Leahy writes that the findings of the Ipsos polls “could not be clearer: a Border poll in Northern Ireland would reject the prospect of unity by an unquestionably large margin. In the Republic, by contrast, a united Ireland is backed by an overwhelming majority.” Read his analysis here.

With possible economic woes occupying many minds on this island, David McWilliams asks how Ireland will fare as the world enters a new economic era. In his column this week he writes that economic growth is like a giant game of Scrabble: “The more letters used in the widest possible combinations produce the most complicated, sophisticated and highest-scoring words. If a player (or country) is limited to only three letters, that country can produce a restricted number of words no matter how creatively it combines its three letters. But if the country has 10 letters, there’s a huge variety of potential words.”

Seán Quinn dominated many headlines this week due to his appearance in an RTÉ documentary. Simon Carswell, who covered the Anglo trial extensively, assesses Quinn’s legacy following the three-part series. At the start of the series, the former billionaire proclaims that there are “achievers” and “destructors” in life and that he is “one of the achievers”. In reality, he is both, writes Simon, who says the once mighty businessman was toppled by his own flaws.


Meanwhile, Mark Paul, in his Caveat column, questions why we must “still be subjected to his [Quinn’s] hot, bitter tears”. “Does the world still have anything to learn, really, from watching him choke back emotion while he pickles in self pity in his mansion,” he writes.

What’s going to happen to house prices in Ireland? If only someone had a definitive answer... Cliff Taylor writes that to decide what might happen next year we need first to work out whether prices are overvalued at the moment – and then look at what factors will affect the outlook into 2023. Neither is straightforward. So what does economics say? Find out here.

Staying with the housing crisis, in her Monday column Una Mullally criticised Leo Varadkar for his comments about the rent situation in Dublin which he compared with that in other major cities around the world. “The people living the housing crisis aren’t the ones imagining things. It’s the version of events from Government that’s the fantasy,” she writes.

Michael McDowell also took umbridge over comments by the Tánaiste, not on housing, but on arming gardaí. Varadkar said that he would “absolutely” favour doing so if the Garda Commissioner requested it. “The remarks were at very best ill-judged and at worst irresponsible in the sense that the decision is one where responsibility must lie exclusively with our elected politicians and the elected government,” McDowell writes.

Fiona Reddan looks at how handbags, as well as looking swish on your wrist, can prove to be a good financial investment in a booming resale market. If you’d like to read more about the issues that affect your pocket, try signing up to On the Money, the new weekly newsletter from our personal finance team, which will be issued every Friday to Irish Times subscribers. You can read the latest edition of the newsletter here.

In our weekly restaurant review, critic Corinna Hardgrave runs the rule over Caviston’s Seabar in Glasthule. “A handsome room, a stunning sea view and an avalanche of dishes makes for an enjoyable experience, and the new casual space at this Irish seafood treasure will be even more special after just a few tweaks,” says Corinna.

If you are starting your Christmas shopping this weekend Malachy Clerkin put together a list of the best sports books of the year while Ciara O’Brien has some gadgets for tech-lovers.

Trish Murphy advises a woman whose boyfriend left his wife, and now his children will not talk to him. “I am desperate to help him work through it, but I am not finding any resources that apply,” the reader says. You can read Trish’s suggestions here.

As always, there is much more on, including rundowns of all the latest movies in our film reviews, tips for the best restaurants in our food section and all the latest in sport. There are plenty more articles exclusively available for Irish Times subscribers here.

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