The question of whether Ireland should be united as one independent country has been around long before the partition of Ireland into two separate entities. However, recent developments such as Brexit has brought the question up again. This article explores six reasons why a United Ireland might now more likely than ever.
1. Northern Ireland will be pulled out of EU, even though they voted to stay
When the United Kingdom had a nationwide vote on whether they should leave the EU, the message was clear from Northern Ireland – they wanted to remain. Indeed, the majority of people in the north (56%) supported staying in the EU. This is the only part of the UK which will have to share a land border with the EU, so people are obviously very concerned about this and the potential impact on cross-border trade.
2. Increased border security looking likely
Since the Troubles, you might not have even known there was a border which divides Ireland. Currently, there are no checkpoints and hardly any signs that indicate you are moving from one side of the Irish border to the other. The only thing you might notice is the differing road signs. However, EU countries which share a border with non-EU countries are under a duty to set up a secure border. In addition, as one of the main propositions of the ‘Brexit Camp’ during their campaign was ‘tougher immigration’, it looks likely that the Irish border could become visible and checkpoints could be put in place. This will anger communities on the border who already experience difficulties even with the current ‘soft border’.
3. The Unionist Majority in Northern Ireland is now gone
The recent 2017 election in Northern Ireland was a historic moment; it was the first time in history that the Northern Irish assembly didn’t return a unionist majority. In addition, current trends indicate that this will be the case for the forseeable future.