January 16, 2014

#WhitePaper - What does a united Ireland actually mean? Ctd

Graphic via Paul Krugman
A commenter wrote on Slugger O'Toole here that more and more of his or her Catholic friends are thinking with their heads, rather than their hearts. They want to know more about what a united Ireland actually means in terms of the important issues which will effect them and their families (jobs, health, education, economy, social security, housing, political representation, policing, justice etc). Until then they see it as a case of ‘better the devil you know’ - i.e. the status quo.

This is what this series is about. Trying to find out what a united Ireland would look like in terms of jobs. But making a reasoned and considered case for maintaining the Union. Fintan O'Toole wrote in The News York Times a piece by the title 'Ireland's Rebound Is European Blarney' and said:

"Ireland has two economies: a global one dominated by American high-tech companies, and a domestic one in which most Irish workers have to make their living... But home is where the heartache is: in the domestic economy outside the gated community of high-tech multinationals. Outside Dublin, property prices are still falling. Wages for most workers have dropped sharply. Unemployment remains very high at 12.8 percent — and that figure would be higher if not for emigration. There’s always been a simple way to measure how well Ireland is doing: Go to the ports and airports after the Christmas vacation and count the young people waving goodbye to their parents as they head off to the United States, Canada, Australia or Britain, where they have gone to find work and opportunity. 
Other people protest in bad times; the Irish leave. And they’ve been doing so in numbers that haven’t been recorded since the 1980s. Nearly 90,000 people emigrated between April 2012 and April 2013 and close to 400,000 have left since the 2008 crisis. For a country with a population about the size of Kentucky’s (about 4.5 million), that’s a lot of people. 
There’s no great mystery about why they’re going: They don’t believe in the success story. A major study by University College Cork found that most of the emigrants are graduates and that almost half of them left full-time jobs in Ireland to go abroad. These are not desperate refugees; they’re bright young people who have lost faith in the idea that Ireland can give them the opportunities they want. They just don’t buy into the narrative of a triumphant rebound."
On Fianna Fail's 2010 policy of No Bondholder Left Behind, Fintan O'Toole said:
"Particularly galling to most Irish people is that there is now an almost casual admission that this was a pretty crazy idea. Olli Rehn, the European Union’s economic affairs commissioner and one of the chief architects of Irish strategy since the crash, now says, “In retrospect, I think it is quite easy to spot some mistakes like the blanket guarantee for banks.” This admission, though, does not imply any change of policy. “But that is now water under the bridge,” he went on to say, “and now we have redirected the river.” Ireland, Mr. Rehn reassured us, is in “a better place for the moment.”"
Paul Krugman wrote a response to the Fintan O'Toole article in his NYT blog here. He said: "It takes an almost heroic act of denial to look at this chart and see a success story, a vindication for austerity policies."

Even though the Irish and Northern Ireland economies are anaemic and private finances are massively encumbered, naked revanchist sentiments still sit front and centre for Sinn Fein - the single-policy pressure group party. They naval gaze on their pet project of a United Ireland. Raising it above the economy, education, health care and employment

By all means cherish and pursue the goal of a United Ireland; but do not make it the primary concern. As Seamus Mallon said recently: "If we are going have integrity in Irish republicanism it has to be an organic thing." Yes, it has to be organic, not achieved through the end of a gun or through the antique "sore thumb policy." 

As Donncha O'Connell explained the "sore thumb policy" here
"Sore thumb policy” then pursued by the Irish — whereby every opportunity was used to raise the issue of Irish partition as a human rights violation."
Of interest, I also wrote about how health care costs in Ireland could rise here. I wrote here about how Irish politicians want a separation of church and state. Read my august 2013 post, 'Catholics want to know more about what a united Ireland actually means' here. My previous posts in the #WhitePaper series can be seen here and here.

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