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32 County Ireland keeps the Northern Ireland Assembly?

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  • 05-10-2018 9:31am
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 16,940 ✭✭✭✭


    Sometime in the future the people of Northern Ireland will vote to reunited with Ireland. It will be a tight vote & most definitely a divisive vote. When this happens there's a strong chance that some of the Troubles will move south of the border.


    Here's what I've been thinking about for a few months now, What if we keep the Northern Ireland Assembly? At least in the short term, 10/20 years. Would it be a good idea as it might help bring some of our Loyalist brothers & sisters with it? Could there be a better chance of peace by giving the likes of the DUP a voice on Northern Ireland, at least in the short term?


    Ive kept this in my head. Now as I type here I'm getting nerves that this is the plan all along I I'm the only one in Ireland that doesn't know it. :o Personally I think it the right way forward but would love to hear others views on it.


    Mods if this is better suited to Politics Cafe please feel free to move.


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Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 14,818 ✭✭✭✭loyatemu


    you're assuming the North would just join the existing Republic, which I don't think would be acceptable to unionists. The 2 entities merging into a new country with new political structures seems more likely, but that could be unpopular in the "south". Keeping the existing political structures on either side of the border would be the worst of both worlds. I still don't expect to see it in my lifetime.


  • Registered Users Posts: 23,862 ✭✭✭✭Larbre34


    If and when the 6 counties become politically reunited with the 26, I think it will be done in tandem with a reform of local and regional Government in Ireland.

    The Republic currently has 31 local authorities for 4.8 million people. N.I. has 11 district authorities for about 1.6 million folk. 42 Councils and 2 national assemblies (or 3 counting Seanad Éireann) is a simply ridiculous proposition for effective democracy and devolution of regional competencies in a small country.

    As it happens, I think the announcement this week of plebiscites to introduce directly elected mayors in the cities outside Dublin is the first step in a proper regionalisation of the land.

    Post reunification, it wouldn't be practical to keep a 6 counties assembly when the interests of Donegal and Derry and Fermanagh and Leitrim are so closely aligned and also Newry and Dundalk, for instance, already form a de facto economic region. I see something like a single Oireachtas in Dublin and regional assemblies centred on Belfast, Derry, Dublin, Waterford, Cork, Limerick, Galway, Sligo and Athlone with their natural catchments. To my mind, they should have discretion over significant budgets, the assemblies should be elected for full-time office and should control housing, health, education, infrastructure and economic development in their regions, while the Oireachtas should focus on national finances, climate and energy, foreign affairs and headline social policy for a Republic. Personally, I would give the Seanad universal franchise and make both houses elected by list system to properly disconnect them from the parish pump.

    From all this, those of a unionist background could retain effective representation in their traditional areas and while not having a situation of their being two parliaments in one nation.


  • Registered Users Posts: 10,662 ✭✭✭✭maccored


    loyatemu wrote: »
    you're assuming the North would just join the existing Republic, which I don't think would be acceptable to unionists. The 2 entities merging into a new country with new political structures seems more likely, but that could be unpopular in the "south". Keeping the existing political structures on either side of the border would be the worst of both worlds. I still don't expect to see it in my lifetime.

    this - the idea of the south absorbing the north isnt very realistic. "The 2 entities merging into a new country with new political structures" indeed seems the most likely way of doing it, and will probably take a few decades or more - plenty of time for people to get on board


  • Moderators, Politics Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 24,268 Mod ✭✭✭✭Chips Lovell


    Yup, I think the only way it could potentially be made work would involve a complete reorganization of the state, with a new constitution.

    Both communities in the North will want some kind of guaranteed representation, which means something like a greatly devolved Northern Ireland with a continuation of regional government or some kind of national power-sharing arrangement between the three communities, a Stormont for the island of Ireland.


  • Registered Users Posts: 16,940 ✭✭✭✭Sleeper12


    loyatemu wrote: »
    you're assuming the North would just join the existing Republic, which I don't think would be acceptable to unionists. The 2 entities merging into a new country with new political structures seems more likely, but that could be unpopular in the "south". Keeping the existing political structures on either side of the border would be the worst of both worlds. I still don't expect to see it in my lifetime.




    Good point. I had been thinking that the unionists would be just told "hey you're in Ireland now" & as you say that wouldn't be acceptable to them. Nor should it be. A new country representing both sides sounds a much better idea.


    The last sentence, in bold, you may be perfectly right but I used to say that about the "troubles". Growing up in Dublin in the 70s & 80s I never thought I'd see peace in my lifetime. Having said that a slower more gradual change from divided to united country will probably have the best chance of success


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  • Registered Users Posts: 375 ✭✭breatheme


    If it is temporary... then I could see it happening. However, not permanently... unless... similar entities are created elsewhere in Ireland. (Former provinces?) There's either devolution or no devolution, but it is too chaotic to have one devolved region. But if it's time contained while negotiations on unification terms happen, it could work in the short-medium term.


  • Registered Users Posts: 16,940 ✭✭✭✭Sleeper12


    Patww79 wrote:
    Joining the two countries to make a new one would see too many concessions from our side and would change our country too much. Hopefully we get a say on the matter in Ireland too so we can vote to leave things as they are regardless of a vote in Northern Ireland.

    We will also have to have a referendum before anything happens so we will get a say. Unfortunately no one knows what the wording will be or what we will be voting on. Its all wonderful getting to vote in a referendum but it might not be the wording that we want to vote on.


  • Registered Users Posts: 24,296 ✭✭✭✭lawred2


    loyatemu wrote: »
    you're assuming the North would just join the existing Republic, which I don't think would be acceptable to unionists. The 2 entities merging into a new country with new political structures seems more likely, but that could be unpopular in the "south". Keeping the existing political structures on either side of the border would be the worst of both worlds. I still don't expect to see it in my lifetime.

    to be honest the current structures in the Republic shouldn't be acceptable to any of us..

    local politics in the national parliament

    no real local autonomy

    so many layers of bureaucracy that accountability need never be a reality

    Ireland should have elected city mayors with elected councils, 4 provincial governments for local matters and a national parliament.

    What we've got now empowers very few and delivers very little.


  • Registered Users Posts: 13,576 ✭✭✭✭briany


    What would happen if there was a border poll in NI, and they said yes to unification, and we also said yes, but then the NI and Irish governments couldn't agree on what the new structure of the state would look like? Basically, a bit like Brexit negotiations, the Unionist and Nationalist sides had lines they wouldn't cross, making a deal very difficult to reach. Could the DUP block Irish unification by being intractable?

    Anyway, ideally, if you were going to have devolution, you'd have it for each province. No gerrymandering for what was Northern Ireland.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,199 ✭✭✭troyzer


    A federal structure with four devolved provinces is the only solution.

    And to be honest, a federal system in general would be good for Ireland.


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 16,015 ✭✭✭✭James Brown


    You can't simply have the occupied territory shoe-horned in to the rest of the country. A new flag would be a mere administrative no-brainer straight off.
    The constitution would need over hauling with all peoples having a say, not just catholic conservatives, about time too.
    It would be a new country essentially. There would be no need for an assembly. We can't break off chunks of the country because some don't like the will of the majority. Kerry would be a circus with the Healy-Raes for example. Not to forgot part of Ulster is already in this jurisdiction.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 13,993 ✭✭✭✭recedite


    briany wrote: »
    What would happen if there was a border poll in NI, and they said yes to unification, and we also said yes, but then the NI and Irish governments couldn't agree on what the new structure of the state would look like? Basically, a bit like Brexit negotiations, the Unionist and Nationalist sides had lines they wouldn't cross, making a deal very difficult to reach. Could the DUP block Irish unification by being intractable?
    Interesting question. Leaving a union is different to joining one though. So I think the whole process would actually be divided into two separate parts.
    Part 1 is the exit of NI from the UK. This is the "border poll" that SF are planning for. Its a referendum to leave the UK, with no plan after that. So very much like Brexit. A very hard Brexit would make this referendum more likely to succeed, so it is a possibility in the near future. The ROI and its people would have no direct involvement in it.

    Part 2 is the formation of a new United Ireland. This would be between the people of NI and the ROI. It would be more like EU accession talks, where each party knows in advance what treaties and what constitution they are signing up for. We should really have a ministry already dedicated to working on this. If the proposed roadplan looked reasonably attractive to everyone, then it would pave the way for Part 1 above to proceed.

    By way of comparison, when Ireland was first partitioned, technically it happened in a two part process. Part 1 was when Ireland became SI and NI in 1920. Part 2 was when SI and NI morphed into the 32 county Free State in 1922, but NI immediately seceded from the new state and rejoined the UK.
    On 7 December 1922, the day after the establishment of the Irish Free State, the Parliament of Northern Ireland addressed the King requesting its secession from Irish Free State. The address was unanimous, with the abstentionist Nationalist and Sinn F members absent. The King replied shortly thereafter to say that he had caused his Ministers and the Government of the Irish Free State to be informed that Northern Ireland was to do so.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irish_Free_State_Constitution_Act_1922

    Of course these things need to be well choreographed in advance.


  • Registered Users Posts: 433 ✭✭Lmklad


    They GF Agreement states that the current legal and governance institutions will stay in situ after a successful poll vote. In other words MP’s become TD’s and Stormont stays as is, same goes for the PSNI. There is no facility in the Agreement to disband these.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,435 ✭✭✭Imreoir2


    briany wrote: »
    What would happen if there was a border poll in NI, and they said yes to unification, and we also said yes, but then the NI and Irish governments couldn't agree on what the new structure of the state would look like? Basically, a bit like Brexit negotiations, the Unionist and Nationalist sides had lines they wouldn't cross, making a deal very difficult to reach. Could the DUP block Irish unification by being intractable?

    Anyway, ideally, if you were going to have devolution, you'd have it for each province. No gerrymandering for what was Northern Ireland.

    Reunification is not dependent on a deal with the Unionism. If a border poll is passed north and south then Ireland becomes an all island state. While this might result in a reorganization of the state, it does not have to. While some people don't like the idea that NI would simply be added onto the existing republic, that can and in large part probably will occur. There does not need to be Unionists acceptance for this to happen, by definition Unionists don't accept a United Ireland in any form.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,435 ✭✭✭Imreoir2


    The most likely outcome is a unitary state with a devolved administration for NI. The Dáil will have overall sovereignty over the national territory with some issues devolved to Stormont. The Dáil would continue to administer those issues from Dublin for the rest of Ireland. The scope of the devolved powers could be similar to the powers the UK has chosen to devolve, but they could be more limited.

    Policing for example would probably be centralized with a merger of the PSNI into the Gardaí, the UK has a very decentralized police force so a separate force for NI makes sense in the context of the UK. Ireland's police is centralized and having a second force for NI would probably not be seen as beneficial in a United Ireland.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 13,993 ✭✭✭✭recedite


    Imreoir2 wrote: »
    Reunification is not dependent on a deal with the Unionism. If a border poll is passed north and south then Ireland becomes an all island state. While this might result in a reorganization of the state, it does not have to. While some people don't like the idea that NI would simply be added onto the existing republic, that can and in large part probably will occur. There does not need to be Unionists acceptance for this to happen, by definition Unionists don't accept a United Ireland in any form.
    You say NI would "probably" be bolted onto the existing RoI. This would depend on the wording of any referendum. If the plan was to drag unionists kicking and screaming into an unchanged RoI, then in theory, yes, that could happen. But that referendum would be far less likely to succeed, because a lot of people both north and south would oppose it.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,435 ✭✭✭Imreoir2


    recedite wrote: »
    You say NI would "probably" be bolted onto the existing RoI. This would depend on the wording of any referendum. If the plan was to drag unionists kicking and screaming into an unchanged RoI, then in theory, yes, that could happen. But that referendum would be far less likely to succeed, because a lot of people both north and south would oppose it.

    The question? The question will be about the concept of unification, not the details. It would probably be the same as the last border poll.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 13,993 ✭✭✭✭recedite


    Lmklad wrote: »
    They GF Agreement states that the current legal and governance institutions will stay in situ after a successful poll vote.
    I don't think so, but feel free to quote the text you refer to.
    In one part it says...
    2. Institutions with executive powers and functions that are shared between those jurisdictions may be established by their respective responsible authorities for stated purposes and may exercise powers and functions in respect of all or any part of the island.
    Which seems to imply to me that new institutions may or may not be established. Its completely open to whatever people might want to agree on.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,673 ✭✭✭flutered


    Lmklad wrote: »
    They GF Agreement states that the current legal and governance institutions will stay in situ after a successful poll vote. In other words MP’s become TD’s and Stormont stays as is, same goes for the PSNI. There is no facility in the Agreement to disband these.
    the problem nowdays with the psni is that it has gone 80% protestant at the behest of the unionists, plus it may go higher


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 13,993 ✭✭✭✭recedite


    Imreoir2 wrote: »
    The question? The question will be about the concept of unification, not the details. It would probably be the same as the last border poll.
    When was the last border poll? I don't remember any.

    You could have a 2-part question like the one in Crimea in 2013 "do you want to leave (x country) and rejoin the motherland?" That would imply no change to existing structures in RoI. No details required.

    Or you could have a 2-part like "do you want to leave (x country) and join RoI in a united Ireland as specified in x Treaty of Unification?
    That would imply a new Ireland, with some compromises and some new features.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,435 ✭✭✭Imreoir2


    recedite wrote: »
    When was the last border poll? I don't remember any.

    Back in the 70's, it was boycotted by Nationalists so was a non-event at the time, but it does set a precedent for the question to be asked.

    It was a choice of:
    "Do you want Northern Ireland to remain part of the United Kingdom?"
    or
    "Do you want Northern Ireland to be joined with the Republic of Ireland outside the United Kingdom?"


  • Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 28,792 Mod ✭✭✭✭oscarBravo


    Imreoir2 wrote: »
    The question will be about the concept of unification, not the details.

    We've seen what happens when a referendum is held about a concept without bothering with details. I hope we'll never be that stupid.


  • Registered Users Posts: 27,272 ✭✭✭✭blanch152


    Imreoir2 wrote: »
    The question? The question will be about the concept of unification, not the details. It would probably be the same as the last border poll.


    Like the abortion referendum, the parameters of what might happen would have to be on the table.

    Only a fool thinks that even the nationalists in Northern Ireland would be prepared to exchange what they have for a leap into the unknown.


  • Registered Users Posts: 67,189 ✭✭✭✭FrancieBrady


    oscarBravo wrote: »
    We've seen what happens when a referendum is held about a concept without bothering with details. I hope we'll never be that stupid.

    One thing distinctly different about referendums held here are that the issues are very well trashed out before hand.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,986 ✭✭✭bilbot79


    An incentive of 25k per British affiliated person who wishes to renounce Irish residency in a United Ireland should mean that there are no new troubles. They can then set up in a nice house in England courtesy of the Irish taxpayer.


  • Registered Users Posts: 67,189 ✭✭✭✭FrancieBrady


    bilbot79 wrote: »
    An incentive of 25k per British affiliated person who wishes to renounce Irish residency in a United Ireland should mean that there are no new troubles. They can then set up in a nice house in England courtesy of the Irish taxpayer.

    Ridiculous notion, Unionists knew the day was coming since partition, they should have been saving!


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,266 ✭✭✭MrMusician18


    I would have thought a Hong Kong like solution would be the template for unification. Essentially NI would keep it's assembly and perhaps mini constitution for like 50 years as it is slowly integrated into the republic.

    After the referendum is won, unification will be a slow process, taking the guts of a generation to be completed.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,435 ✭✭✭Imreoir2


    oscarBravo wrote: »
    We've seen what happens when a referendum is held about a concept without bothering with details. I hope we'll never be that stupid.

    You will find that on any referendum ballot paper here, the question does not include the details. Take the abortion referendum, the question was yes/no on the repeal of the eight, while there was a full national debate on the merits of this, and the government published the legislation it intended to introduce, none of this apeared on the ballot paper.

    The poster suggested that the unification process would be determined by the wording of the referendum question, this will almost certainly not be the case. Like the first border poll, the referendum question will likely be a simple yes / no to unification. It is likely that this will be asked in the context of a detailed proposal on what the unification process will entail, but this detail will not be on the balot paper.


  • Registered Users Posts: 14,818 ✭✭✭✭loyatemu


    troyzer wrote: »
    A federal structure with four devolved provinces is the only solution.

    that would be a totally artificial arrangement, the "provinces" have no significance in the Republic beyond sporting competitions.

    Unionists would not accept being part of a federal state where the 6 counties were absorbed into a larger, 9-county, nationalist-majority Ulster that was itself only 1 of 4 federal provinces.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 13,576 ✭✭✭✭briany


    Imreoir2 wrote: »
    Reunification is not dependent on a deal with the Unionism. If a border poll is passed north and south then Ireland becomes an all island state. While this might result in a reorganization of the state, it does not have to. While some people don't like the idea that NI would simply be added onto the existing republic, that can and in large part probably will occur. There does not need to be Unionists acceptance for this to happen, by definition Unionists don't accept a United Ireland in any form.

    There would need to be an agreement with Unionists at some point. If you call a border poll and give no details on what a United Ireland would actually look like, you're giving ammo to Unionist politicians to paint any picture they like to their constituents.

    So to prevent that, you would have to actually get around the table and hammer out the the details of what a United Ireland would actually look like, i.e. certain guarantees made by the Irish government to Northern Ireland about identity, equality, devolution etc.


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