Unification – a changing landscape


Sir, – Your editorial notes Irish encouragement of European support for German unification in the face of scepticism from other member states at the time (“The Irish Times view on the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall: The legacy of reunification”, November 2nd). This is connected in your editorial to current German endorsement of the peace process.

There is another link. Brexit, if it happens, means that Irish reunification is likely to be framed as part of the European integration journey. It will be, as the European Council confirmed in April 2017, a way for this region (Northern Ireland) to return automatically.

Planning and preparing for possible constitutional change in Ireland will therefore include questions for the EU.

Why? Because there will be a pluralist European context that will inform the constitutional conversation on this island. It is time to start thinking about what this means. – Yours, etc,


Queen’s University


Sir, – Stephen Collins is wrong (“Stop the dangerous guff about a united Ireland”, Opinion & Analysis, November 1st).

First, the fragile political settlement in Northern Ireland is already unstable.

Second, there are two “national” identities at play here. Demography, the growing prosperity in the Republic, and the need for a government by consent in the North have all put the present inherently unstable status quo under great strain, especially within the unionist community.

Inevitably, there will be change. It is not “guff”, therefore, to suppose that one of the changes might be to an agreement on a united Ireland by consent.

Equally it is not “guff” to suppose that some other compromise, based on consent, might be put in place.

Consent is the essential quality lacking in Northern Ireland, probably because military force appears to make it unnecessary, especially among unionists!

A united Ireland or some kind of condominium both represent potential solutions; as such they are not guff. – Yours, etc,


Dublin 16.