Monday, April 29, 2013

Joint Sovereignty?

At present a border poll for the reunification of Ireland would fail. A Protestant plurality currently exists. Even with demographic trends continuing, and with Protestants and Catholics reaching parity in numbers in around the year 2016, there will probably still be less than the 50% + 1 support required for a United Ireland. This is because a minority of Catholics would not currently vote for a United Ireland. Unionists who like to gloat about this need to be reminded that Catholic support for the status quo is at best fickle. It is not due to any emotional attachment to Britain. It is because they are of the opinion that they would be better off financially in the UK. Of course I do not agree, and I have made my economic arguments before and will continue to do so. The economic arguments in favour of unification are greater.

Of course as a Nationalist and Republican my desire is for the unification of my country. However, a green paper on how to achieve this or describing what a United Ireland would look like has not been produced. If the Irish people decided they wanted the country reunified in the morning what would happen? What way would the roads be painted? What type of road signs would be used? What would the education system, the health system and other public services look like? What would the tax system look like? How long would the transition from the status quo to a UI take?

And what is the strategy? Wait until there is a Catholic majority in the North? Wait until the Southern economy is booming again and then draw up a green paper, all the while facilitating the British strategy of creating a “Northern Irish shared future” identity? 
That is one option. Another is to push for joint sovereignty. Joint sovereignty could be used as a stepping stone and an interim measure to the ultimate goal of a United Ireland free from British Government control or interference. It is an alternative strategy, a strategy that can bring about transition gradually so that when a United Ireland passes in a referendum, most of the change required has occured. 

At the very least a debate within Nationalism needs to occur on whether this is a strategy worth pursuing. 


  1. Sorry for the delay with this post Enda, I've been wanting to reply but did my shoulder in!

    I think your 2nd last stanza is on the money. This is not something we can wait for the numbers and then start to think about what to do, we need to start making these changes right about now.

  2. The border poll should give people the option of joint sovereignty and the voter gets two boxes to cross. Both countries would then have to agree everything and set up joint military. However the last thing it needs is UN peacekeepers etc creating a situation that never ends like Cyprus.

  3. Friendly question from Irish Nationalist living in London, what proportion of Northern Irish Catholics would vote for a change of sovereignty? is their objective reliable stat's on this?. playing devils advocate here, but can't imagine any self respecting Unionist agreeing to joint sovereignty without agreement that it does not lead to UI.

    Would you reject joint sovereignty if it guaranteed that a united Ireland would never exist? Can't help feeling that a United Ireland could be seen by unionists as a reversal of the situation for the unionist tradition that the nationalist tradition now faces? is joint sovereignty not the end game?, happy to be shouted at here or educated if that's how you see it or ignored if I'm being really irritating :) Are we simply saying that London administrates NI when there is a unionist majority and Dublin administrates NI when their is a nationalist majority. Who's willing to enforce this pure form of democracy? that's a interesting question surely?,

    Can the Republic fund the north alone? does it want to? The Dublin government might feel happier to make a annual financial contribution to a joint sovereignty arrangement, but would no way match the British contribution, The Dublin contribution might just reach a billion euro's annually never mind a billion pounds. Understand the NI economy is getting stronger, but will need serious financial support for the medium term at least.

    I'm hoping you will approve this comment and engage with me on my concerns keeping in mind I would love to see a Joint Sovereignty NI, but would also love to see a serious nationalist debate on how unionists would view what is for them a major step.