Crunching the numbers for Irish unity

Posted By: November 23, 2016

 Anthony Neeson. Irish Echo.  November 22, 2016

Northern Ireland’s Finance Minister has called for an end to partition, saying that it is now time to talk about Irish unity.

Writing in the, Máirtin Ó Muilleoir said partition has been an “economic cul de sac for Ireland; north and south.”

His intervention will be viewed as significant as the Sinn Féin man holds one of the top economic portfolios in the Northern Ireland government.

“The North now lags behind the South on all growth indices: average wages south of the border are €37,000, but just €25,500 in the North. Economic growth rates in the South are estimated at 3.6 percent for 2017, but at just over one percent in the North,” Ó Muilleoir said.

“Along the border region in particular, the impact of partition was, and is still keenly felt. “

Mr. Ó Muilleoir said Northern Ireland’s economic potential is “held back by British government policies that are not designed with the interests of the North at heart.”

And he continued: “A prime example of this is the British government’s plan to drag the North out of the EU against the democratic wishes of the people.

“A united Ireland with a single, all-Ireland economy would not only end the duplication of services on an island of 6.4 million, it would also address the economic uncertainty created by partition.

“That would create an environment where business can thrive and grow.

“Marketing the island as a business destination is also difficult with partition, with two economies and tax systems. A reunited Ireland would be easier to promote on the global stage and, as a result, would act as a lever to attract inward investment.

“A recently published and peer-reviewed study, ‘Modelling Irish Reunification,’ by Professor Kurt Huebner from Vancouver University, found that within a short number of years, the economy of a reunified Ireland would be better than the existing two economies by approximately €35 billion.

“This is the latest in a series of serious and respected economic reports that has shown that Irish unity makes economic sense.

“It is time we began a serious discussion and dialogue about what that would mean, what it would look like and how to bring it about.

“It’s time to talk about unity.”