A UNITED Ireland would not break the nation’s finances, claims an economist who helped reunify the two halves of Germany.
Brexit has led to increased speculation about a 32-county Republic with Sinn Fein demanding a border poll.
And surveys show people are more open to the idea than ever before while even British PM Theresa May admitted the UK “union will only endure” if there is no hard border on this island.
It had been widely believed a united Ireland would cost us €10.4billion as we would have to find the cash to cover the British subvention.
With three million people working on the island, that leaves a potential cost of €3,467 per taxpayer.
But that figure has been rubbished in a report compiled by Fianna Fail Senator Mark Daly and Gunther Thumann, a senior IMF economist during the reunification of East and West Germany at the end of the Eighties.
Thumann instead found the deficit would “come close to a balanced budget” and be as low as €799million or €266 for each employee — the equivalent of an extra property tax.
And according to Thumann’s research, Ireland would not pick up the €3.19bn pension bill. Instead, that would still fall to the British because the money was paid into schemes before the North and South came together.
Senator Daly said: “People say we cannot afford Northern Ireland but then do they know the facts? I found the only economist alive with first-hand experience of German reunification and he looked at the figures.”
The Kerryman has also brought out a report on the prospects of a return to violence in the case of a hard border or a rushed border poll.
It was compiled from research by UNESCO chairs Professor Pat Dolan and Professor Mark Brennan and Michael Ortiz, who was a security adviser to former US President Barack Obama.
According to the paper: “In as little as six weeks it is possible that a hard border could materialise due to a no-deal Brexit, triggering a return to violence in Northern Ireland.”
Daly wants a border poll, but only after all the preparatory work has been done.
He told us: “Brexit has changed the mindset. In the event of a hard border you have 56 per cent saying they will vote for a united Ireland, and that includes members of the unionist community.
“The demographic shift in Northern Ireland also shows there will be a nationalist voting majority by 2023/2024. So we have five years to plan.”
But he added: “We need proper engagement, acknowledging the past, educating people about the real consequences of violence.”