UK Dismemberment: On N Ireland Joining Ireland

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in at 6/26/2016 04:29:00 PM
As in Scotland, leaving the UK is afoot in Northern Ireland after the UK referendum on EU membership.
For the UK, the ultimate consequence of deciding not to remain in the EU may be its dismemberment since its constituent parts were very much for staying in the EU. In recent posts, we've covered the cases for Scottish independence (a second one--this time hinging on whether to remain in the EU) and London independence. On the face of it, London declaring independence from the EU is most unlikely as the very heart of England. However, the Scots certainly will have a better chance for leaving the UK to remain in the EU. However, this story does not end there.

Northern Ireland may also wish to secede from the United Kingdom to remain in the EU. As a small trading--I can't seem to call it a nation--region, its economic interests would be better served severing ties on a suicidal UK hellbent on inflicting harm on itself. And so just as there are significant rumblings in Scotland, we have the same in Northern Ireland which voted solidly in the "Remain" camp (55.8%). I am particularly struck by the idiocy of border controls and tariffs being applied to movement and trade between Ireland and Northern Ireland after the Good Friday Agreement helped resolve these issues all those years go:
THE UK’S DECISION to leave the EU means Sinn Féin will press for a border vote in the North. Both Northern Ireland and Scotland voted to remain in the EU, but the leave campaign was able to convince Wales and England to leave the union.

“We have a situation where the north is going to be dragged out on the tails of a vote in England… Sinn Fein will now press our demand, our long-standing demand, for a border poll,” Sinn Fein’s national chairman Declan Kearney said after the UK as a whole had vote to leave the EU. Northern Ireland could now be faced with the prospect of customs barriers for trade with the Republic.

Under the Good Friday Agreement, the Northern Ireland Secretary can initiate a poll in circumstances where it was clear public opinion had swung towards Irish unity.The Republic would then vote on the matter.
Another Sinn Fein figure calling for release is Martin McGuinness:
Northern Ireland's Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness has called for a border poll on a united Ireland, after the UK has voted to leave the EU. Support for the EU is considerably higher in Northern Ireland than the rest of the UK. As the region shares a land border with the Republic of Ireland, it is unknown how the relationship between the two countries will be affected by Brexit.

Some politicians have speculated a physical border and passport control checks could be errected between the two, while others have questioned whether an effective border will have to be drawn around mainland Great Britain, thereby shutting off Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK.

Northern Ireland also receives considerable financial support from the EU in the form of so-called 'peace money' to fund projects aimed at supporting the region's peace process following the Troubles conflict.
Resembling Troubles-era Northern Ireland, the Democratic Unionists Party--pro-England and Pro-Brexit--will block any attempt to secede. This, of course, sets into motion the possibility of the Troubles erupting once more. Instead of religious divides, it would now focus on the question of Europe. With any consideration of a move to independence dependent on Unionist support, things look iffy. That the incumbent secretary of state for Northern Ireland, Therese Villiers, was a Brexit supporter does not bode well for parliament debating the cause:
Theresa Villiers, the Northern Ireland secretary and leave supporter, has rejected Sinn Féin demands for a referendum on the region’s position inside the UK after Brexit. As towns, cities and communities, such as Newry, that voted to remain in the EU absorb the Brexit shock, Villiers said there were no grounds to hold a border poll on a united Ireland. Theresa Villiers Theresa Villiers speaking to the press on Friday.

In a brief statement on Friday, Villiers said: “The Good Friday agreement is very clear ... There is nothing to indicate that there is majority support for a poll.” Under the rules set down by the 1998 Good Friday peace deal there cannot be a poll on Irish unity or remaining within the UK unless the majority of political representatives of both communities in Northern Ireland [Catholic Irish and their Protestant counterparts] demand it. Given the Democratic Unionist party’s lack of enthusiasm for a border poll it is unlikely the British government would grant one.
It's as though all the centripetal forces within the UK have been stirred at the same time. With England itself being as divided as it's ever been, things are not looking up for the state of the union.