December 23, 2013

#WhitePaper - The case for Northern Ireland Ctd Conall McDevitt

The goal of this series is to articulate a positive, considered and optimistic case for maintaining the Union. My first post on the series is here. (An earlier piece again that inspired this project, which includes contributions from Diarmaid Ferriter, Charles Townsend, Alan Hynes, Seán Ó Faoláin and Ernest A. Boyd can be read here.) In the second post I want to look at what Conall McDevitt had to say on the matter of a United Ireland in an interview with Alan in Belfast here.

His first point was the very raison d'etre of this series, that the case for a United Ireland hasn't actually been articulated. He said:
"If we’re honest with ourselves we haven’t done a huge amount of work in trying to work through what that would look like (if you’re thinking about a united Ireland) or to consider the practical issues around it. How would you pay for it? What system of government might be best? Would it be a unitary state? Or would you have a federal Ireland?"
Below are a selection of interesting points made by Conall. The first that there is a need to make Northern Ireland work:
"The trick to a new Ireland is to make Northern Ireland as it is today work. That is the key to building a new Ireland. To make Northern Ireland as it is today a success."
He also said that a United Ireland would likely be federal:
"Éamon de Valera in debates in the Dáil at the time of the Republic of Ireland bill, whenever they were establishing the republic, talked openly and at length about the fact that a united Ireland would nearly certainly be a federal Ireland. O think federalism would be the way of us being able to capture the diversity of who we are. It would be the way we could use to acknowledge regional identities and regional levels of government at the same time as having a national sense of purpose. It would involve sending TDs to the Dáil rather than MPs to Westminster but Stormont would most likely remain. Stormont would most likely continue to run the health service here."
He also said that people would be free to express their British identity. He said:
"There’s no question that in the new Ireland people born and wishing to enjoy a British identity should have the right to that identity. That seems to me to be a fundamental tenet of the new Ireland."
The first post in the series can be seen here and the earlier piece again which inspired this project (and includes contributions from Diarmaid Ferriter, Charles Townsend, Alan Hynes, Seán Ó Faoláin and Ernest A. Boyd) can be read here.

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