Shared Island Unit is a distraction


Sir, – May I respectfully suggest to the Taoiseach Micheál Martin that he is being a bit previous with his Shared Island Unit? Northern Ireland is the matador’s cape that is distracting the Irish bull from his real problem.

The fountainhead of our contention is not the relations between Northern nationalists and unionists, but the vexatious relationship between Ireland and Great Britain.

Brexit proved this in the way that the Irish response quickly devolved into broader, heated and opportunistic anti-British and anti-Brexit opinion among the politicians and Dublin commentariat.

Yet tens of thousands of Irish living and working happily in Britain, many of them immensely successful and celebrated, are short-hand testimony to a British-Irish relationship of economic and cultural inextricability.

Their silence has allowed this rich relationship to be utterly misrepresented.

Why should the narrative of latent and chronic hostility bully the daily reality of peaceful and productive co-existence and interdependence? The Taoiseach’s initiative may be politically brave in a strictly Irish context, but the real bravery would be in setting up what an Irish government desperately needs — a Shared Islands Unit. – Yours, etc,


Visiting Research Professor,

Queen’s University,