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    • Pretty interesting read in the Economist about how Brexit could lead to a unified Ireland. Northern Ireland is separated from the rest of Ireland and is a member of the United Kingdom (since 1921), which is now dealing with the repercussions of Brexit. Brexit has already created talk of Scottish independence and now there is also talk of Ireland re-unification happening. I.e. Northern Ireland becoming a member of Ireland again. 

      It sounds like Northern Ireland, like Scotland, wants to be in the E.U. and increasingly sees the value of joining with Ireland again. Plus, the whole Protestant vs. Catholic thing isn’t as big of a deal as it used it to be. It’s close to an even split between Protestants and Catholics with Catholics gaining ground. In the very near future, Northern Ireland will be as Catholic as the rest of Ireland. So, there goes that important distinction. I.e. Northern Ireland being Protestant and Ireland being Catholic. 

      It’s going to be interesting to see where Brexit takes us and what happens to the United Kingdom as a result. It’s very possible that in the relatively near future, the U.K. will either dissolve altogether or be a shell of its former self. 

    • I'd agree on it being optimistic, apart from anything else the UK Govt would have to agree to let Northern Ireland go and I can't see that happening in a hurry because it would give impetus to Scotland to do the same, and I imagine there is also still a hard core of locals that wouldn't want to see it happen.

      Economically though I believe Northern Ireland is a liability to the UK, not an asset.

    • It's a simplistic view, The political parties in NI only resumed their duties in Stormont recently. There is still a huge divide and a Tory Government would never allow the UK to be sundered.

    • It sounds crazy, but... Crazier than what? UK leaving the EU? Trump being the president of the USA? When it comes to politics in the 21st century, the notion of 'too crazy to be true' needs some serious adjustment.

    • While I think anything is possible (the British did give Hong Kong back to the Chinese after all) there are a number of issues here which make this more complicated.

      We are after all talking about a conflict which began in 1169, at least in the case of Northern Ireland as us been complicated with Reformation Religious politics as well as land and class issues ever since.

      Also many Catholics are very happy with NI being part of the UK - tax situation and health care is better (cheaper).

      Yes if NI wants back into the EU it has to mean a break up of the UK - remember the official name of the Conservative Party is the Conservative and Unionist Party. Brexit was/is British nationalism - giving up NI would lead to a Scotland referendum.

      Finally Sinn Fein (at one stage considered the political wing of the IRA) just won the second largest number of seats in the Republic of Ireland elections - that frighted a lot of people in NI - so older battleground positions are being taken up.

      Do I think that there could be a vote at some stage - yep - but respect for all groups in order for peace to continue has to be a bigger priority.

    • So do you think it’s possible the U.K. slow plays this and perhaps in the future (further out than this arrived suggests) gives back Northern Ireland to Ireland? Is that what you are suggesting?

    • Thanke for that insight! Very informative! So are you of the opinion NI will likely never leave the U.K. or that they may, but not in the relatively near future. I believe you are implying this is too much too soon. And yes, from what you illustrated, this appears to be a very complicated situation with lots of layers and moving pieces.

    • Unfortunately, yes. Although I would much rather live in a world where "That bozo? A President? Come on, no way." is the correct response. Alas, we're not there.

    • I guess what I am saying is that this is a much longer conflict than most people realize. And once a battle is almost 1,000 years old, it is going to be problematic to say the least. Since the Good Friday Agreement - there have been attempts at peace - not always successful all the time (Summer, often known as "Marching Season" can be difficult to say the least) but there have been more better days.

      To introduce the probability of a united Ireland now would be to risk a return to a much more constant violence, and that needs to be avoided at all costs.

    • If the UK does give it back I suspect it would take decades. I think giving Hong Kong back took a few decades to happen. Who knows, maybe with Sinn Fein getting such a presence in government then discussion may at least start within Ireland.

      @DangerDave s article on tensions resulting in violence would be my main concern. While there is more or less peace between the factions at present there are many who would fiercely defend their 'right' to be part of England and won't be part of the Republic. If those people decide to it could start 'the troubles' all over again.

      An example of this, admittedly a few years ago now.
      When I lived in Dublin my also Kiwi flatmate was a direct to consumer travelling salesman for gourmet chicken products. One day in order to try and increase his sales we traveled up to Belfast in Northern Ireland where his company didn't have a presence, so in theory was an untapped market. Dublin to Belfast is not much more than an hours drive, but is a separate country for most intents and purposes.

      In the first suburb we came to he went to the first house and knocked. The lady of the house opened the door just a crack and advised us to turn around and leave the suburb immediately and that even if she was interested in his products she couldn't be seen to be buying them, and even our knocking at her door would raise enough questions. Going into any other suburb on that side of town was in her opinion was also a risk to our safety.

      This was all because we were driving a vehicle with a Republic of Ireland registration plate.

    • The good Friday agreement put a mechanism in place where the people of Northern Ireland can decide if they'd like to unify with the Republic of Ireland, so its not really up to the UK or Irish government; which is great, the people can decide for themselves.