Posted by: nancycurteman | April 20, 2019

Will Brexit Unify Ireland?

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Will Brexit Unify Ireland? This is a question  many people are asking. In recent years opinion on whether to unite the 26-county Irish Republic with the six counties of Northern Ireland has been about evenly split pro and con. With the advent of the Brexit vote, desire for unification has increased. For the majority of Irish, the dream of unity has become a possibility. Polling of Northern Ireland residents by LucidTalk found that desire for reunification with the Republic was greater (48%) than support for staying in the UK (45%).

In 1922 Ireland was split in two. The break-up eventually led to a period of unrest and violence known as “The Troubles.” The dispute was between the republicans, mostly Catholic, who wanted to unite with the Republic of Ireland and the loyalists, mostly protestant, who wanted to remain a part of the United Kingdom.  Thousands of people on both sides were killed with bullets and bombs. The Good Friday Agreement signed in 1998 was a step towards ending the violence.

Brexit has brought with it the fear of the creation of a hard border between Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland, a situation neither country wants. The possibility of the financial burden of border posts and physical checks on the 310-mile boundary  is driving a movement towards unification.

Many believe that if a vote was taken in the now 48% protestant and 45% Catholic country of Northern Ireland, the majority would support a united Ireland.

According to recent polls, 86% of people surveyed in the Republic prefer a united Ireland to a hard border. Sixty-two percent of people in Northern Ireland believe that Brexit makes a unified Ireland likely.

Unification would be a complicated process with many issues to resolve.

Will Brexit unify Ireland? We’ll have to wait and see.

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