Wednesday, December 14, 2005


Biting into the economic argument

As I highlighted yesterday evening, there was a show on RTE1 this afternoon called The Big Bite, hosted by David McWilliams, which examined the argument for economic reunification. I actually missed the first couple of minutes so I don't know the names of the panellists involved I'm afraid, nor do I know their qualifications, however, if I'm not mistaken, Slugger's own Mick Fealty was on the panel which was a surprise! So did any of you catch the programme?

The programme examined whether Catholics would vote for a United Ireland today due to the economic factors involved with such a move. One panellist said he didn't think they would as it would cause too much upheaval and he pointed out the North's social services are better than the Southern equivalent. However, the host McWilliams pointed out that this gap is now narrowing.

Identity was brought up as well and I was disappointed to hear one panellist talk about how "we'd be dealing with people who are not Irish". McWilliams stepped in again pointing out that before The Troubles, most people in the North defined themselves as Irish Unionists and that to say they're not Irish is very debatable.

The types of United Ireland were brought up as well with one panellist saying it would need to be based on a loose federal system like in Belgium currently or else it would need to be based on a centralised government.

Believe it or not but rejoining the Commonwealth was also brought up (I think they've been reading my blog) however the panellist who brought it up and Mr McWilliams both said they didn't see the point of it.

Even though I missed the first few minutes it was an interesting debate and it's good to see these things being discussed, especially since the northern nationalist parties seem very reluctant to do so.

The general consensus seemed to be that a United Ireland is achievable in an economic sense, however the debate couldn't answer the, as yet, unanswered question on the North - is it worth it from an identity perspective?

All I know is, I should have been on that panel!


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