Category Archives: A United Ireland in Peace and Prosperity

In 2017, Senator Daly was appointed rapporteur by the Oireachtas Joint Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement of the report Brexit & The Future of Ireland, Uniting Ireland and its People in Peace & Prosperity. It was the firt report of its kind and was adopted unanimously by the all-party comittee, along with its 17 recommendations.

Section 1 Recommendations

The Irish government must negotiate for Northern Ireland to be
designated with special status within the EU and for the whole island
of Ireland to have a unique solution as part of the Brexit negotiation.

If current EU funding programmes cannot be protected then the
eligibility of Northern Ireland for receipt of EU Structural funds and
other funding schemes and mechanisms must be clarified as a matter
of urgency, to help underpin the peace process.

The Report on the All-Ireland Economy: compiled in 2016 by Peadar
Tóibín TD for the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Jobs, Enterprise and
Innovation in the light of Brexit should be updated.

Any passport controls between Ireland and the UK should be along the
same basis as for people traveling between these islands from 1939 to
1952. There should not be a return to passport controls on the borders
between the North and South of Ireland.

Given the likely impact on certain categories, including women, in border
counties and employment in these areas there is a need for impact
analysis on these sectors of society

Further research into the income and expenditure for Northern Ireland
should be carried out

Section 2 Recommendations

Welcome the declaration agreed to by the European Council on 29 April
2017 which provides for Northern Ireland automatically becoming part of
the EU in the event of a future united Ireland.

This declaration known in Brussels as ‘The Kenny Text’ is similar to that
of Commission President Jacque Delors in January 1990 on the issue of
German Unification ‘East Germany is a special case’.
Section 3 Recommendations

It is recognised that World Trade Organisation rules and a hard border
would have a detrimental impact on Ireland North and South & Further
impact assessment is required on the economic impact of reunification.

The Committee urges that the matter of EU funding for Northern Ireland and
the border region remains high on the agenda and an expeditious solution is
found for successor programmes after 2020.

Section 4 Recommendations

The establishment of a New Ireland Forum 2 is recommended to set a
pathway to achieve the peaceful reunification of Ireland.

Establish an international task force with experts in security so that plans to
meet any risks may be devised and implemented.

Fears and concerns of the Unionist community need to be examined,
understood and addressed comprehensively by all stakeholders in advance
of any referendum.

The legacy issues in society outlined by Senator Frances Black and the
inter- generational impact of the troubles in terms of mental health
consequences and substance abuse needs to be addressed
Section 5 Recommendation

Explore potential solutions to resolve disputes that may arise from the
implementation of the Good Friday Agreement, as recommended by High Court
Justice Kevin Humphreys.

Section 6 Recommendation

Lessons from referendums need to be learned to ensure that the Irish
government fulfils its constitutional obligations.

Section 7 Recommendation

The Government needs to carry out an audit in relation to the
legal and constitutional changes pre and post-unification

Research Report: The Calling of a Referendum on a United Ireland By The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland

The Calling of a Referendum on a United Ireland by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland

A research report on who will be allowed to vote in a referendum on a United Ireland and how it will be called by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland as provided under the Good Friday Agreement. The research shows that not only does the Secretary of State decide when a referendum is held, but also who is allowed to vote. The report is available in full at the link above. 

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Executive Summary

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland in January 2019 is reported to have said at the British cabinet meeting that a ‘border poll’ on a United Ireland is likely in the event of a hard border and hard Brexit.3 Yet the Secretary of State has refused to produce a policy on how she would call a ‘border poll’. This is despite the fact a court case was taken in Belfast to require the Secretary to publish such a policy. Of course, the clear lesson of Brexit for Ireland is you should not hold a referendum and then try to figure out what the future looks like. A border poll should only be held after long term engagement and planning. That little reported upon high court ruling in which the Secretary of State was the defendant was taken by Raymond McCord, a unionist victims’ rights campaigner. He wanted the Secretary of State to formulate and publish a policy on how they would determine a ‘border poll’ / referendum on a United Ireland as provided for under the Good Friday Agreement would be called. The Secretary of State and their legal team argued they should not be forced by the courts to come up with any policy.

Currently, as provided for under the Good Friday Agreement, a referendum would be called when the Secretary of State believes the majority of people are in favour of a United Ireland. However, there is no clarity in relation to how the Secretary would make that determination. Would it be based on opinion polls, recent election results or a combination of both?

Raymond McCord believes the uncertainty regarding how a referendum would be called can be used by paramilitary extremists on both sides to exploit and radicalise young people for their own ends in the run up to such a referendum. The judgment by Rt. Hon. Sir Paul Girvan, which as it currently stands in essence will establish the parameters for the calling of a referendum, makes it clear there is a serious lack of clarity in this high court judgement as regards to defining exactly the criteria that would trigger a referendum.

Rt. Hon. Sir Paul Girvan explained in his judgement that while such a policy outlining how a border poll would be called would be desirable, currently under the legislation he cannot compel the Secretary of State to draft such a policy. In the next part of the ruling, Justice Girvan appears to contradict the Good Friday Agreement itself when he says that such a decision on holding a referendum “required a political assessment on the part of the Secretary of State and in this context flexibility and judgement are called for”. However, nowhere in the Good Friday Agreement does it state that political consideration should be a reason for holding or not holding a border poll.

The confusion is then exacerbated because Justice Girvan does go on to confirm that under the Good Friday Agreement a ‘duty’ is imposed on the Secretary of State to exercise the power to call a border poll if it appears likely that a majority would be in favour of a United Ireland. ‘If the evidence leads the Secretary of State to believe that the majority would so vote then she has no choice but to call a border poll’. However, the crux of the issue is on what basis and on what evidence the Secretary should base this determination. Sir Girvan goes on to say ‘Evidence of election results and opinion polls may form part of the evidential context in which to exercise the judgment’.

The potential scenario is that the Secretary of State’s determination could be based on combination of political considerations, opinion polls and election results. How could this process work in what is likely to be a highly charged political environment? There are of course potential issues with each of these criteria. As regards to the election results criteria, Alex Kane, political journalist and former communications director to the UUP, has observed that pro-Union candidates received fewer votes than other candidates in the 2017 Northern Assembly and Westminster elections.

Opinion polls, for the first time ever, now reveal that a majority of people in Northern Ireland would vote for a United Ireland in the event of a hard Brexit and the possibility of the return of a hard border.4 However, based on recent elections and the Brexit referendum, opinion polls can be notoriously unreliable. Given Justice Girvan’s judgement that opinion polls should be taken into account, serious thought should be given as to exactly how opinion polls should be incorporated into the process.

Obviously, significantly increased clarity and transparency, and most of all, a policy is required from both governments. This is vital to avoid political instability and potential court challenges surrounding any referendum. One can easily visualise the potential chaos that could ensue if a border poll is initiated as a result of a court challenge or ruling due to the lack of policy preparation and all-party engagement.

Along with the lesson for Ireland from Brexit on the consequences of holding a referendum without proper planning, historians would agree with the advice of John Bradley, an economist speaking at Queens University, Belfast in 2014 – ‘policy neglect seldom goes unpunished’.

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“Fears and concerns of the Unionist community need to be examined, understood and addressed comprehensively by all stakeholders in advance of any referendum”.

Unionist Concerns & Fears of a United Ireland: The Need to Protect the Peace Process & Build a Vision for a Shared Island & a United People  

This report is the result of 18 months of research and conversations with members of the protestant, unionist and loyalist communities and includes contributions from Reverend Kyle Paisley, the son of the founder of the DUP Reverend Ian Paisley, Trevor Ringland, former Ireland rugby international, Michael Nesbitt, leader of the UUP (2012-2017) as well as former Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, Dr. Hamilton OBE, unionist politicans and community activists. Dr. James Wilson, a former member of the British army who served in Northern Ireland during the Troubles, was commissioned to conduct focus groups with members of the Independent Orange Order, a Loyalist Flute Band, UDR/British Regiment Veterans and East Belfast Mission. The research identified 7 key areas of Unionist Concerns and Fears regarding a United Ireland:

  1. Loss of Identity and the place of unionism within a united Ireland
  2. Triumphalism by Nationalists
  3. Retribution on former members of the RUC, British Army and Prison Officers
  4. Land being taken from unionist farmers
  5. A Return to Violence
  6. Returning to the European Union after voting for Brexit
  7. Healthcare, Welfare and the Economy

The full report can be found at the link above.

unionist fears and concerns cover

Executive Summary

“Fears and concerns of the Unionist community need to be examined, understood and addressed comprehensively by all stakeholders in advance of any referendum”. This was a central recommendation of the report entitled ‘Brexit & the Future of Ireland: Uniting Ireland & Its People in Peace & Prosperity’ published in 2017. The report was adopted unanimously by the all-party Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement. The Rapporteur for the report was Senator Mark Daly.

Senator Daly followed up on this recommendation by contacting many stakeholders in the Protestant/unionist/loyalist community, from church leaders and unionist politicians to former loyalist paramilitaries, to start the process of engagement to ascertain what their “fears and concerns” might be. This research report is the result of these contacts.

Reverend Kyle Paisley is of the view that there are other reasons for unionists rejecting the idea of re-unification than just religious or political ideas. The lack of unity in the six counties shows how difficult it would be to get unity in a thirty-two county Ireland. Issues such as economics and the NHS will be crucial in consideration of a United Ireland. “I think there are other, more practical reasons for their rejecting the idea of re-unification than just religious or political ideas. To begin with, if there is no unity in the six counties of Northern Ireland, how can there be heart-felt unity across thirty-two counties?”
A unionist public representative who gave the submission on the basis of anonymity spells out clearly the kernel of the fear, “Unionists do not have fear about a United Ireland. Unionist fear is a United Ireland”. He also states what unionism is by saying it is about a belief in the existence of Northern Ireland and that “its interests are best served in the United Kingdom”. In addition, many unionists would see the breaking from the UK as “a historic complete and irreversible failure of their core politics and identity” and he goes on “any talk or discussion on a United Ireland by unionism is seen by many as tantamount to negotiating surrender” This public representative believes the other issues that concern unionists in any consideration of a United Ireland include economics, the NHS, the EU, terrorism and the glorification of terrorists and their activities in the Troubles, identity and symbols of that identity.
Raymond McCord, a victim’s rights campaigner, believes that Brexit cannot be used as an excuse for a United Ireland. Based on his own personal experiences he does not trust politicians, North or South. The Government in the Republic, he believes, shows no interest in unionist victims. He will accept whatever result comes from any referendum, but he states, “how can we have a United Ireland when we don’t have a united people in Northern Ireland?”.

An anonymous Protestant/ Unionist/ Loyalist (PUL) community member living in the Greater Belfast area made a submission, in which they stated that they have “serious concerns of the consequences of the Republic of Ireland absorbing one million people into a country where they have lost their identity” and “I was born an Ulsterman and chose my identity as British and as such like my forefathers I do not identify with the Irish Culture”.
Reverend Hamilton, Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland (2010-2011) states “It appears to be the case that those who seek a United Ireland have little skill in, or interest in, uniting communities and building relationships as the necessary conditions for deep political discourse of huge constitutional import”. The Reverend goes on to say, “I have great resistance to a referendum in the foreseeable future, not least because of what has been learned (or not learned) from the recent referendum in the UK”.15
Trevor Ringland, former Irish International rugby player and co-chair of the Northern Ireland Conservative Party (2013-2014), in an interview with Mark Rainey of the Belfast Telegraph on the 22nd of April 2019 spoke about how there was “no space in New Ireland for me”.
The report on uniting Ireland from the Joint Committees on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement contained a submission by Dr James Wilson, who served in the British Army during the Troubles, which outlined some of the unionist’s fear of a United Ireland. This submission is available in full as Appendix 2 of this research. In it Dr Wilson outlined that, along with the normal concerns that all those in Northern Ireland share about a future all island heath service and the economy, there are real and genuine fears among the Unionist community in Northern Ireland that the land would be taken from them, there would be retribution on members of the security forces and their community’s identity would be lost.

Dr Wilson’s previous findings are more comprehensively analysed in research and focus groups which Senator Daly commissioned Dr Wilson to undertake specifically for this research report. Dr Wilson conducted this research among members of the Independent Orange Order, a Loyalist flute band, UDR/Irish Guard veterans and a focus group at the East Belfast Mission. What it makes clear is the “mother of all fears” for the Unionist community is “effectively our home would become a foreign state”. Within that overarching fear is the belief that they could not “really be British in a United Ireland” that they would be “assimilation” and they would effectively become “second class”, “planter citizens” in a United Ireland. There is also a fear of “Triumphalism” by nationalists and republicans. The pressing need to address these and all the other fears in the unionist community in advance of a referendum is clear.

In some of the submissions, the fear of violence is spoken about. There is an urgent need to address the loss of memory of harm uncovered in this research among the ‘Agreement Generation’ and in other groups who could be exploited by some to use violence to try to maintain the status quo. The Agreement Generation is classed as those born during or just after the peace process. Senator Daly worked with the UNESCO World chairs in Children, Youth and Civic Engagement Dr Pat Dolan, Dr Mark Brennan and Michael Ortiz, senior advisor on counter terrorism at the National Security Council in the Obama administration and the first US Diplomat appointed by the State Department on the issue of countering violent extremism who devised a strategy to be implemented in Northern Ireland. The research “Northern Ireland Returning to Violence as a Result of a Hard Border due to Brexit or a Rushed Border Poll: Risk to Youth” is included in full as Appendix 3 of this research. This report and its recommendations urgently need to be examined by the Irish Government.
Dr James Wilson, in his introduction to the research specially commissioned for this report by Senator Mark Daly, focuses on the views in relation to the issue of a United Ireland of some of the demographic represented by the 18% of the population in Northern Ireland who would find this “almost impossible to accept”, as reported in the 2014 NILT Survey’s Political Allegiances Module18. Some of the views of this 18% we have highlighted previously and Dr Wilson’s focus group findings are published later in this report. In contrast, 82% of the unionist community “would happily accept the democratic decision”, “would not like it but could live with it” or “don’t know” which is just 7%19. Notably, Rev Mervyn Gibson, Grand Secretary of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, has said, “The only thing that will take us into a united Ireland is a vote of the majority of the people. As a democrat, I’ll accept that.”
Many of the submissions, including that of Dr Wilson’s focus groups, referenced a fear of a United Ireland being that of triumphant nationalism. This fear is not without foundation and that is why we in the South must change not only our vision of a United Ireland but also how we speak about it. Language was a key component of negotiating the Good Friday Agreement and it remains key component of the peace process. With hard work, we must move from the language of the past such as a ‘United Ireland’ and all the dread and fear which it creates in the minds of our unionist friends and neighbours. We must instead change to the language of the need to protect the peace process, build a vision for a shared island and a united people in a New Agreed Ireland.

The Brexit referendum has taught us an important lesson: you do not hold a referendum until every possible outcome has been examined and prepared for, where possible. In his submission Raymond McCord explains the work he is currently undertaking to allow clarity on this issue “I have a challenge in the courts of Belfast and Dublin relating to a Border Poll. I am not calling for a Border Poll, what I am calling for is legislation to be put in place that a Border Poll can and must be held when certain conditions are met. Those conditions must be set out and abided by all.” This research has shown now is the time for the Irish Government to address the unionist communities’ fears and concerns of a united Ireland. It is clear the Irish Government must follow through on the recommendations contained in the Joint Oireachtas Committee of the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement report entitled “Brexit and the Future of Ireland, uniting Ireland and it’s people in peace and prosperity”.

The Government should establish a New Ireland Forum 2 as recommended in the Joint Committee’s report, not only to set a pathway to achieve the peaceful reunification of Ireland but more importantly uniting the people who call this island home.

In order to create the new future, we all wish to see for the coming generations we must embrace true reconciliation in the knowledge that true reconciliation means giving up all hope of a better past for the aspiration and hope of a better future for the coming generations.

 

 

 

 

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Submission to the National Risk Assessment 2019 Deputy Sean Fleming & Senator Mark Daly

Submission to the 2019 Draft National Risk Assessment 2019 Void due to Omission is Possible/Probable Referendum on a New Agreed Ireland

The submission compiled by Deputy Seán Fleming, Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee and I to the Taoiseach’s 2019 Draft Risk Assessment highlighted the need to include a possible referendum on a United Ireland in our National Risk Assessment. There was no mention of the possibility of a referendum on a New Agreed Ireland uniting the people of Ireland in the 2019 Draft National Risk Assessment. Meanwhile, topics as diverse as global warming, cybersecurity, terrorism, the healthcare crisis, the housing crisis and even the possibility of another referendum on Scottish independence are included. The Taoiseach’s response was that “a border poll would not be regarded as a risk, and the very important and sensitive policy issues related to it would not be dealt with in the Risk Assessment process”. The full report can be accessed at the link above. 

Draft NRA Cover

 

Executive Summary

A key element of the state’s future planning is the annual National Risk Assessment. To quote the Taoiseach in his own words in the 2018 National Risk Assessment: Overview of Strategic Risks, the risk assessment “aims to counteract ‘group think’ and to ensure all parts are heard by Government.”

Since the first National Risk Assessment report was published in 2014, these assessments have called attention to a number of risks that subsequently became major issues for society including Brexit, risks to EU stability, international terrorism, global warming, and risks around cyber security and housing supply. There is no mention by the government of the issues of a referendum on uniting Ireland in the 2018 National Risk Assessment signed by the Taoiseach or the 2019 Draft National Risk Assessment.

In a reply to a parliamentary question by Sean Fleming TD on the 12th of March 2019 as to why the issue of a referendum on a new agreed Ireland was not in the National Risk Assessment produced by the Taoiseach’s Department the Taoiseach replied “Although a border poll would not be regarded as a risk, and the very important and sensitive policy issue related to it would not be dealt with in the Risk Assessment process”.

While the topic of the possibility of a referendum on Scottish independence is mentioned in the section of the National Risk Assessment report titled ‘Instability in Northern Ireland’, the possibility of a referendum on a New Agreed Ireland is not mentioned. This is concerning given that the Taoiseach spoke about his desire to achieve a New Agreed Ireland on the 2nd of January 2018 as reported by CNN. “In terms of a United Ireland, our constitution is clear on this….Our constitution aspires to there being a united Ireland. I share that aspiration.”

In a reply to another parliamentary question from Sean Fleming TD, the Tánaiste stated, “In the event of a future referendum within the consent provisions of the Good Friday Agreement, the Government would make all necessary preparations in accordance with the terms of the Constitution and the principles and procedures of the Agreement.” One lesson we have learned from Brexit is that you do not hold a referendum without the necessary preparation.

An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar set himself a challenge of engaging with everyone about the future of the whole island at his address to the 20th anniversary of The Good Friday Agreement, in the U.S. Library of Congress.

“There is now a particular onus on those of us who currently hold the responsibility of political leadership. We are a new generation. It is time for us to step forward and play our part. That is why we must engage young people in the future of our island. In the months and years ahead, I for one want to engage with the next generation – the Agreement Generation – to build on those achievements…Our mission now is to imagine the next twenty years. Not only to imagine it, but then to build it.”

Senator Mark Daly wrote to the Taoiseach, the Tánaiste, all Ministers, Secretary Generals of all government departments, and the chairs of their Audit Committees and their Risk Committees to ask that they address the issue of a New Agreed Ireland in the National Risk Assessment and send copies of any policy plans. He received two responses addressing the request and thirteen acknowledgements of receipt of his correspondence. None of the responses included any discussion of having a New Agreed Ireland in the National Risk Assessment.

The Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Simon Coveney TD has also said, “I would like to see a united Ireland in my lifetime. If possible, in my political Iifetime.” However, when asked in a parliamentary question by Sean Fleming TD on the 12th of March 2019 why the issue of a referendum on a New Agreed Ireland was not on his department’s risk register or if his department risk committee had examined the issue the Minister could only say “In the event of a referendum within the consent provisions of the Good Friday Agreement, the government would make all necessary preparations in accordance with the terms of the constitution and the principal and procedures of the Agreement”. The full questions and replies can be found in the appendix.

The Brexit referendum has taught us an important lesson: you do not hold a referendum until there is debate and discussion with all sides and all necessary preparations are made. It is widely known that policy neglect seldom goes unpunished and this is very true of the lack of policy preparation for a New Agreed Ireland by the Government.

Voices as diverse as those of the British Prime Minister; former Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Congressman Paul Ryan; DUP leader Arlene Fosters; and Lady Sylvia Herman, MP for North Down, have all spoken about the issue of a Referendum on a New Agreed Ireland or a New Agreed Ireland.

There would be economic consequences due to the lack of policy planning by the Government around a New Agreed Ireland.  Research by economists John FitzGerald of Trinity College Dublin and Edgar Morgenroth of Dublin City University shows that continued government inaction in relation to Irish reunification could come at a high price for the Republic, reducing income and living standards by as much as 15 percent.

Gunther Thumann, a senior economist at the Germany desk for the IMF during German reunification, issued a report on the true income and expenditure of Northern Ireland in a reunification scenario. His assessment shows that the current reported budget deficit in Northern Ireland could come close to balanced in a re-unification scenario. Other research such as ‘Modelling Irish Unification’ was compiled by Dr Kurt Hubner of the University of British Columbia. It states that ‘political and economic unification of the North and South would likely result in a sizable boost in economic output and incomes in the North and a smaller boost in the ROI.’ However, this research and analysis was published in 2015 before Brexit. In 2018 Dr Kurt Hubner collaborated with Dr Renger Van Nieuwkoop to publish research entitled ‘The Cost of Non-Unification: Brexit and the Unification of Ireland’ which showed that over seven years, the unification of Ireland could benefit the country by €23.5 billion. The Irish Government should carry out its own cost benefit analysis in relation to the status quo and reunification.

The challenge facing the Irish Government or any economist trying to predict the financial benefits and costs of reunification is best explained by Gunther Thumann when he outlines all the information available. Germany is still not able to say definitively the cost of unification.

Perhaps more surprisingly estimates of the costs of unification continue to differ significantly even years after the event. For instance, data published by the IFO Dresden, the University of Halle and Klaus Schroeder FU Berlin 25 years after Re-Unification put net transfers per annum (over the period 1991-2014) at EUR68 billion (IFO), EUR54 billion (Halle) and EUR83 billion (FU), respectively.”

In 2017 the Joint Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement published its report entitled ‘Brexit & the Future of Ireland: Uniting Ireland & Its People in Peace & Prosperity’. That report is the first report by a Dáil or Senate Committee on the steps required to achieve a United Ireland as stated in articles 2 & 3 of the constitution and as provided for in the Good Friday Agreement. The recommendations of the report should now be implemented by the government as a matter of extreme urgency.

Despite the unanimous adoption of these recommendations in July 2017 by the Joint Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement, none of these key recommendations have been carried out by the government to date.

We would recommend that the issue of the economic impact of a referendum on a new agreed Ireland would be included as part of the 2019 National Risk Assessment.

 

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Research report with Senior economist at the German desk of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) during German reunification showing Northern Ireland has near balance budget in unification scenario

Northern Ireland’s Income and Expenditure in a Reunification Scenario

One of the key recommendations in the 2017 Joint Committee report was to ascertain the true level of income and expenditure for Northern Ireland. In 2018 I compiled a research report with Gunther Thumann, the Senior Economist at the German desk of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) during German reunification. Our report shows that Northern Ireland starts on a near balanced budget in a unification scenario. The full report can be accessed throught the link above.

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Executive Summary

The first ever report to look at the issues, policies and planning required for the peaceful unity of Ireland and her people by a committee of the Dáil or Seanad was written by Senator Mark Daly and adopted unanimously in 2017 by the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement. This report was entitled ‘Brexit & the Future of Ireland Uniting Ireland & its People in Peace & Prosperity’.
One of the key recommendations of that report was to ascertain the true level of the income and expenditure for Northern Ireland.
There are few economists in the world with first-hand knowledge and experience of Reunification. Gunther Thumann is one such individual; he worked as a senior economist at the German desk of the International Monetary Fund at the time of German reunification. This provided him with the analytical understanding of the complex economic developments as they happened. In the second half of the 1990s, he had several opportunities to talk privately with Chancellor Helmut Kohl about his assessment of the politics of German Re-Unification.
On the 14th of June 2018 Senator Mark Daly proposed to a meeting of the Joint Committee on the implementation of the Good Friday Agreement that he and Gunther Thumann compile a report on the true income and expenditure of Northern Ireland in a reunification situation. They have compiled this research which also analyses Ireland’s place in the world in various global indexes and its performance since independence.
Senator Mark Daly worked with Gunther Thumann and together they have examined the information available. This information shows that, in fact, the current reported deficit for the Northern Ireland budget could come close to a balanced budget in a re-unification scenario. Today, people take German Unification for granted but, as Thumann observes, at the time in 1989/90 it was far from certain as to what the outcome would be as a result of the falling of the Berlin Wall.
“I am amazed how many Germans these days seem to take Re-Unification for granted. We should not forget that the developments that started in 1989 could have turned out very differently: Russian tanks might have intervened in October-November 1989; the German political leadership might have pursued a less rigorous solution; the Allied Powers might have opposed Re-Unification; frustration among east Germans (“progress too slow”) or west Germans (“costs too high”) might have gained the upper hand. But perhaps we should look at it differently: The fact that people take Re-Unification for granted reflects its success.”
For the purpose of this research, Thumann has given a brief which has been included in full at the end of this research as to the timeline of events in German Re-Unification. The outline of what could have happened and his conclusions and the lessons for Ireland in its unification process are also set out.
The core lesson for Ireland in its re-unification process is that the outcome is something that can only be achieved by hard work, careful planning and implementation. As John Bradley in his paper ‘Towards an All Island Economy’ presented at Queens University Belfast pointed out “The extreme importance of strategic economic planning…………….policy errors or policy neglect seldom goes unpunished”.
Congressman Brendan Boyle commissioned the United States Congressional Research Service to look at the income and expenditure for Northern Ireland. They produced a report entitled ‘Northern Ireland Budgetary Issues’. The United States Congressional Research Service report breaks down Northern Ireland’s expenditure into identifiable expenditure, non-identifiable expenditure and accounting adjustment.
Thumann and Daly have looked at the Congressional research report and make the point that included in identifiable expenditure in Northern Ireland 2012-13 Social Protection budget is pensions accounting for £2.8 billion. These would initially be the responsibility of the British Government as the pension liability was accrued while Northern Ireland was part of the United Kingdom.
Congressman Boyle’s report explains, non-identifiable expenditure of £2.9billion includes Defence Expenditure and UK Debt Interest. These would not be a liability of a new unified Ireland. Thumann explains that not all the accounting adjustments figure of £1.1billion would be applicable in a reunification scenario. Also the convergence of the public service numbers between the north and the south would bring a saving of £1.7billion per annum in the current budget expenditure of Northern Ireland.
Taking the above adjustments and savings into account the cumulative figure is £8.5 billion. With the reported deficit for Northern Ireland is at £9.2 billion therefore the current income and expenditure figure for Northern Ireland comes near a balanced budget in a reunification scenario. This is of course before taking into account the likely potential for growth in Northern Ireland following unification as happened in East Germany following its reunification and to eastern European countries on their accession to the EU.

 

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Research Report “Brexit and the future of Ireland, uniting Ireland & its people in peace & prosperity”

‘Brexit and the Future of Ireland: Uniting Ireland & Its People in Peace & Prosperity’

This is the first ever report by a Dail and Senate Committee on the issue of Uniting Ireland and its People in Peace & Prosperity for the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement. Please see below the link to this report. The all-party committee adopted the report unanimously, along with its 17 recommendations. I have begun working on these recommendations with appropriate experts in their fields to ensure progress.

Cover as Image

The report for the Joint Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday
Agreement has seven sections;

Contents

Section 1 : Brexit & its impact on Ireland

Section 2 & 3 : Precedent of German Reunification for Ireland & Economic Modelling of Unification

Section 4 : Brexit and the Future for Ireland

Section 5 : Good Friday Agreement

Section 6 : Referendum as Provided for in the Good Friday Agreement

Section 7 : Constitutional & Legal Changes Before & After a Referendum

Annexes

‘We were, therefore, left with only one choice, a policy of seeking unity in Ireland between Irishmen. Of its nature this is a long-term policy, requiring patience, understanding and forbearance and resolute resistance to emotionalism and opportunism. It is not the less patriotic for that’

Summary of Recommendations

Section 1 Recommendations

The Irish government must negotiate for Northern Ireland to be
designated with special status within the EU and for the whole island
of Ireland to have a unique solution as part of the Brexit negotiation.

If current EU funding programmes cannot be protected then the
eligibility of Northern Ireland for receipt of EU Structural funds and
other funding schemes and mechanisms must be clarified as a matter
of urgency, to help underpin the peace process.

The Report on the All-Ireland Economy: compiled in 2016 by Peadar
Tóibín TD for the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Jobs, Enterprise and
Innovation in the light of Brexit should be updated.

Any passport controls between Ireland and the UK should be along the
same basis as for people traveling between these islands from 1939 to
1952. There should not be a return to passport controls on the borders
between the North and South of Ireland.

Given the likely impact on certain categories, including women, in border
counties and employment in these areas there is a need for impact
analysis on these sectors of society

Further research into the income and expenditure for Northern Ireland
should be carried out

Section 2 Recommendations

Welcome the declaration agreed to by the European Council on 29 April
2017 which provides for Northern Ireland automatically becoming part of
the EU in the event of a future united Ireland.

This declaration, known in Brussels as ‘The Kenny Text’, is similar to that
of Commission President Jacque Delors in January 1990 on the issue of
German Unification ‘East Germany is a special case’.

Section 3 Recommendations

It is recognised that World Trade Organisation rules and a hard border
would have a detrimental impact on Ireland North and South & Further
impact assessment is required on the economic impact of reunification.

The Committee urges that the matter of EU funding for Northern Ireland and
the border region remains high on the agenda and an expeditious solution is
found for successor programmes after 2020.

Section 4 Recommendations

The establishment of a New Ireland Forum 2 is recommended to set a
pathway to achieve the peaceful reunification of Ireland.

Establish an international task force with experts in security so that plans to
meet any risks may be devised and implemented.

Fears and concerns of the Unionist community need to be examined,
understood and addressed comprehensively by all stakeholders in advance
of any referendum.

The legacy issues in society outlined by Senator Frances Black and the
intergenerational impact of the troubles in terms of mental health
consequences and substance abuse needs to be addressed
Section 5 Recommendation

Explore potential solutions to resolve disputes that may arise from the
implementation of the Good Friday Agreement, as recommended by High Court
Justice Kevin Humphreys.

Section 6 Recommendation

Lessons from referendums need to be learned to ensure that the Irish
government fulfills its constitutional obligations.

Section 7 Recommendation

The Government needs to carry out an audit in relation to the
legal and constitutional changes pre and post-unification

Submissions and Appendices

Section 1 Submissions 

‘Irexit’ submission by Ray Bassett

‘Brexit and the Border’ Taoiseach Bertie Ahern

‘Northern Ireland and EU Funding versus EU Contribution’  John Teahan

‘UN Human Development Index’ by the Oireachtas Library and Research Service

Section 2 Submissions

‘The European Parliament and German Unification’ by Marc Birchen

Section 3 Submissions

‘Modelling Irish Unification’ by KLC Consulting

Section 4 Submissions

‘Ireland and the UK from 1916 to Brexit’ by Martin Mansergh

‘Understanding the ‘Northern Irish’ Identity’ by John Garry and Kevin McNicholl

‘Threat of Violence’ Pat Finucane Centre

‘Counter Terrorism’ by Michael Ortiz, Obama security Advisor

Congressional Friends of Ireland US political support

‘Lessons learned by German Unification’ by Christian Tomuschat

Note on North South Border policy by TK Whitaker

‘Political Party positions on the Unity of Northern Ireland

‘The Process of EU membership following German Unification’ by Dr. Marcus Kotzur

RJN Security Council report on operation in Cypress

‘South Korea Unification Process’ by Marcus Nolan

‘General Brady and Articles 2 and 3 of the Constitution’ by the Oireachtas Library and Research Service

‘Irish Parliamentarian Attitudes to Irish Unification’ by Fr. Sean McGraw

‘Joint Sovereignty’ Oireachtas Research Service

Behaviour and Analysis poll results attitude to the future state

Red C poll results on the Unification of Ireland

‘End of the beginning, reflection on Brexit and prospects’ by Kevin Meagher

Section 5 Submissions

The Good Friday Peace Agreement

Section 6 Submissions

‘The reasons for the defeats of the 1980 and 1995 Referendums in Quebec on sovereignty’ by the Oireachtas Library and Research Service

‘Scottish Independence Referendum 2014’ House of Commons research paper

Section 7 Submissions

Every Treaty signed between Ireland and England

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Filed under 1st ever report by a Dáil or Senate Committee on uniting Ireland "Brexit and the future of Ireland, uniting Ireland & its people in peace & prosperity"