The death of Martin McGuinness has brought home the question of a united Ireland once more and with Sinn Fein winning a landslide election maybe it’s time.
I had an early start yesterday morning waking at 6am I was stunned to hear the news of Martin McGuinness death, I had known he was sick but had not expected him to pass so suddenly.
His death has brought home the question of Irish unity once more. A man who devoted his life to the republican struggle either with force or politics.
After the Sinn Fein election result of a few weeks ago its got me thinking might we just see a united Ireland in our lifetime?
The UK is more disunited than its ever been. Scotland is gearing itself up for Indi Ref 2.0, the labour party cant agree on anything and Teresa May is about to trigger Article 20. Its left Irish farmers north and south in a difficulut situation.
The UK is our main trade partner but without the link of the EU what happens next. Our farmers are in so many ways in the front line, our mushroom sector was the first to feel it and then our beef farmers who saw prices plung.
When we turn our mind to the North we can see that many farmers there wanted to remain in the EU? Why because they are smart and know that they need to farm the grants as much as farm the land. Britian alone cannot support its farming families and grant aid is not secured after 2020.
Northern farmers trade with Southern farmers, co-ops in the south buy northern milk. We live beside one another and farm the same type of ground.
Lets just take a look at it econmically. A united Ireland could generate a €36bn boost to the all Ireland economy. These are not Irish or British figures but drawn up by Canadian consultancy firm KLC and the Univeristy of British Columbia academics.
The main benefit of the reunification would be the North of the country with exports to rise by 5% and long term GDP per capita to increase by 4% - 7.5%.
This would involve the north adapting the Euro and irish tax system but for figures of growth like that I don’t think anyone would mind.
It would also open the north to some of the great foreign direct investment the Republic already attracts and all imporatntly retain those CAP grants for northern farmers.
Farmers across Ireland would be safe in the knowledge that they would receive support beyond 2019/2020.
Access to the UK for our produce would still be an issue but we would now be a stronger barganing power and with more cattle to sell we could potentially agrue a better price.
GDP in the Republic could also rise the report says by as much as €152m in the first year.
You can read the report here.
The north currently has a devolved parliament in Stormont and that could remain with Northern politicians having a say in their domestic affairs.
There is scope for a federalist republic to be formed which would allow for equal recognition of all parts of the country. It’s the model that Germany operates under and it works pretty well. Or like New Zealands quota model we could have a set quota of unionist seats that has to be elected so as to ensure that group has a fair and equal voice in political life.
With Brexit causing problem for all of Irelands farmers now is the time to be smart.
The flag of the republic represnts all sides of Irish life its time the politics of this island did too. It will make for a safer future for all of us.