The road to Irish unity is far from straight

Susan McKay falls into the same trap as others who predict the imminence of a united Ireland (On the far side of borders, a new Ireland is taking shape, 9 ottobre). She fails to address the question of what form reunification would take.

Does she envisage the six counties and their 18 Westminster constituencies simply decanting into the Irish Republic, to be governed directly from Dublin? Or would she favour some kind of federation preserving the Belfast agreement and guaranteeing northern unionists a separate status with a say in their own affairs? These are the key questions that resulted in partition in 1918-20. No referendum could be fought today without answering them.
Alan Boyle
Emeritus professor of international law, University of Edinburgh

Susan McKay writes: “A new Irlanda will dismantle power structures on both sides of the border and rebuild them for the good of all.” This is meaningless – Ireland, new or old, does not do anything. Only governments do. Does she mean a Sinn Féin government?

If so, in dismantling power structures and rebuilding for all, it would be accomplishing something which no government, including Lenin’s and Mao’s, has ever achieved.
Henry Patterson
Ulster University

Good to have Susan McKay’s realistic analysis in a timely response to Colm Tóibín’s article (Colm Tóibín: will the Brexit fallout lead to a ‘united Ireland’?, 2 ottobre) the previous week. A clear majority of Irish people continue to support a united Ireland, as always. It is the divisive gerrymander of the border that is the “spectre” still haunting Ireland.
John McMillan
Bridgwater, Somerset




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