Irish unity and a disintegrating UK?

 

A chara, – Thank you for publishing the opinion piece by Kevin Meaghar about the reunification of Ireland (“Why reunified Ireland offers best outcome for North’s future”, Opinion & Analysis, December 28th).

His statements tell the truth plainly – the demographics are changing in the North, the British public really does not know much and cares less about Northern Ireland and Ireland in general, and the economics of unity in Ireland make sense.

I am particularly happy to see that he referred to a deafening silence in the Republic about the unification of Ireland.

It is to the eternal shame of Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and the Labour Party that they did not organise themselves on a 32-county basis as this would have allowed the discrimination in the North to have been addressed earlier and better.

By ignoring northern nationalists, they allowed injustices to continue and left the field open to believers in armed force to set the agenda. These parties condemned the IRA and other organisations for their activities but did not step up to offer leadership on the issue.

The freedom and unification of Ireland is unlike other political issues, such as a better health system or public transport. Why was it acceptable for Irish people in Monaghan to be citizens of an independent Irish state but it was not acceptable for Irish people in Armagh or Fermanagh? What was the difference between the people in these neighbouring counties?

The hypocrisy of supporting independence for Irish people in some counties but not in others meant that these parties lacked integrity when claiming to be nationalist. Hopefully the same mistakes will not be made now.

Difficult decisions need to be made by the next generation of Irish people. The so-called United Kingdom is slowly but surely breaking up and this will impact Ireland hugely. This will accelerate the movement to Irish unification.

Political parties in government and in opposition, as well as the public service, need to start thinking about how to deal with the changes that will happen.

As a nation we will need to ask questions about our national identity, what it means to be Irish, what our national symbols are and what constitution will we need for the changed situation.

It is not often that we hear of a federal constitution for Ireland but now is a good time to start imagining it. All political parties need to think of a federal constitution for Ireland if we are to have a viable united Ireland and avoid mistakes of the past.

I look forward to these debates and to more articles on this topic from your newspaper. – Is mise,

SEANÁN Ó COISTÍN,

Luxembourg.