A united Ireland now looks like an increasing possibility

Sinn Fein chief negotiator Martin McGuinness answering journalists' question during a press conference in London, 26 February 1998.

Unity was once the “solution that dare not speak its name”, but when it comes to a desire to remain within the EU, Ireland is already united.

When we were teenagers, a dyslexic friend of mine, who was exempt from studying Irish in school, started using the slogan “tiocfaidh ár lá”. When I asked him what it meant, he said “Up the IRA.” To this day he’s still slagged off for it, though he wasn’t exactly wrong. The meaning of those four syllables, “our day will come,” is synonymous with dissident Republicanism, but also speaks to the innate hope among many for a united Ireland, not through violence, but through choice.

Last year, Mary Lou McDonald ended her first speech as the leader of Sinn Féin with an unscripted tiocfaidh ár lá. While allegations of IRA involvement plagued her predecessor, she promoted herself as part of a new generation: a Dublin woman with no involvement in the conflict. In that spirit, she is now calling for a border poll, claiming a referendum on a united Ireland is inevitable in the case of a no deal.

British politicians have already admitted as much; Theresa May last month warned MPs that crashing out of the EU would risk a border poll and pose a real threat to the “precious union.” Even before Brexit, Jeremy Corbyn told the New Statesman that he supported aspirations for a United Ireland.

While Taoiseach Leo Varadkar accused Sinn Féin of being “disruptive” for pushing the issue of reunification, he was quick to remind people recently that his party, Fine Gael, is the “United Ireland Party.”

But what would unity really mean in Ireland today – and what is at stake?

Under the terms of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, a border poll should be called if it’s likely that …read more

Source:: New Statesman


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