Thursday, May 26, 2005


Thursday Thoughts:Joint Authority

I'm pretty sure I've discussed the issue of Joint Authority at some point on United Irelander but a recent discussion over on Balrog got me thinking about it again. I am not quite sure what to make of Joint Authority to be honest. Part of me thinks it could be very good for nationalism while part of me thinks it could be a hammer blow to nationalism. Below, I give some pros and cons to the idea:


- It is the 'foot in the door' so to speak and would pretty much guarantee Irish involvement in the North's affairs permanently.

- It gives the Irish government stronger powers as an official joint partner. We may finally get to see the tricolour flying high over Belfast.

- It would discredit the position of the NI State within the United Kingdom.

- Ireland's north would become official policy for the Irish government meaning that in the eyes of people in the south, it is part of the country which might help the cause of Irish reunification.


- Many northern nationalists could simply become content with official southern involvement in their affairs. Likewise in the south, many people may feel that the 'Irish problem' would be resolved with Joint Authority.

- Having a say in the North's affairs could come at quite a cost. The Irish government would have to contribute to the North and this could lead to higher taxes for people in the south which could cause much resentment.

- It could discredit Irish nationalism. For example the border would likely remain even with Joint Authority.

- There could be violence from Loyalists. If there is no referendum on Joint Authority and it is simply imposed, what's to stop Loyalist paramilitaries targeting Catholics in a bloody campaign? If such a thing were to happen, this could lead to resentment from the south and people may end up wanting nothing to do with the North!

I remain sceptical about Joint Authority and I don't view it as a solution to the problems that plague our divided island. What are your thoughts on the matter?


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