Newton Emerson: Money talks and waffle walks in Shared Island initiative

If Republic really aspires to unity, it needs to show North the colour of its money

Taoiseach Micheál Martin speaking to the media after giving an address on the Shared Island initiative at Dublin Castle on October 22nd. Photograph: Julian Behal Photography/PA Wire

Taoiseach Micheál Martin speaking to the media after giving an address on the Shared Island initiative at Dublin Castle on October 22nd. Photograph: Julian Behal Photography/PA Wire

Money is the underappreciated element in the Taoiseach’s Shared Island initiative. Attention has focused instead on a Border poll, with debate steered into the sort of binary terms the shared-island approach is meant to avoid.

There is not as much of a difference on this between both sides as at least one side is trying to pretend. At the initiative’s launch last week, Micheál Martin said a poll was not on his Government’s agenda for the next five years. During the general election campaign, Sinn Féin dropped its demand for a poll within five years as a condition of entering coalition. Five years is, of course, the maximum period an Irish government can rule out anything.

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