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Should there be a united Ireland? Show more Show less
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The status of Northern Ireland has been the subject of intense debate and decades of violence known as the Troubles, which started in the 1960s. Though Northern Ireland has been at peace since the Good Friday Agreement in 1998, the question of whether Northern Island should remain in the United Kingdom or join the Republic of Ireland remains a source of contention. Should there be a united Ireland?

Northern Ireland should become its own independent country Show more Show less

Northern Ireland should abandon both British unionism and Irish nationalism in favour of becoming a sovereign state of its own.
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Neither Britain or Ireland have Northern Irish interests at heart

The governments in both London and Dublin view Northern Ireland as a burden. The best option would be to be independent instead.

Context

Both England and the Republic of Ireland do not care about the question of Northern Ireland. In 1972, the New York Times reported that many members of the British Parliament and general public do not care about Northern Ireland or "the Irish problem."[1] In 1998, the Baltimore Sun reported that while Dubliners wanted peace between Northern and Southern Ireland, Dubliners generally felt removed from the issues and violence in Northern Ireland. [2] In 2019, a YouGov poll found that 4 out of 10 Britains said they "don't care very much or at all" about Northern Ireland.[3] In 2020, YouGov found that 54% of Britains say "they would not be bothered either way" if Northern Ireland left the UK.[4] Since YouGov's 2019 poll, the percentage of Britains who said they would be upset if Northern Ireland left the UK dropped from 41% to 24%. Historically, the British media has not reported much on Northern Ireland, a problem that contributes to Northern Ireland's lack of support from the country it is part of.[5] Proponents for an independent Northern Ireland have surfaced on and off since the Partition. Such fringe political parties include the "Ulster Third Way"[6] or the "Ulster Independence Movement"[7] and appeal to Ulster nationalism and peace in Northern Ireland. None of these political parties have gained traction since the "Ulster Third Way" party was deregistered in December 2005.[6]

The Argument

The British government has long shown disdain for Northern Ireland and its interests. The British population has also shown disdain for Irish people and its history.[8] In a united Ireland, the crippling cost of administering the region from Dublin would ensure the same levels of disdain from Ireland. Northern Ireland would be best off going independent, so its government would truly care about its people. The conflicts in Northern Ireland—unionists vs loyalists or Catholics vs Protestants—are centered on Ireland and Britain, not on the unique identities and struggles of Ulster people.[9] Independence would allow people in Northern Ireland to govern themselves from Belfast, rather than London or Dublin. This would allow Northern Irelanders to move forward on the basis of a common Ulster identity rather than a Protestant or Catholic, Irish or British affiliation.[10]

Counter arguments

Even though Britain has historically shown disdain for Ireland and its issues, and Ireland has similarly not cared much for Northern Ireland, many people living in Northern Ireland nationally identify themselves as either British or Irish.[11] North Ireland relies on the relationship with the UK and Ireland.

Proponents

Premises

Rejecting the premises

References

  1. https://www.nytimes.com/1972/05/03/archives/britons-are-indifferent-to-ulster-crisis.html
  2. https://www.baltimoresun.com/news/bs-xpm-1998-05-03-1998123050-story.html
  3. https://www.yougov.co.uk/topics/politics/articles-reports/2019/11/11/four-ten-mainland-britons-dont-care-about-northern
  4. https://www.yougov.co.uk/topics/politics/articles-reports/2020/04/22/brits-increasingly-dont-care-whether-northern-irel
  5. https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/northern-ireland/2019/10/belfast-blindspot-how-britain-still-doesn-t-get-northern-ireland
  6. https://www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ulster_Third_Way
  7. https://www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ulster_Independence_Movement
  8. https://www.historytoday.com/archive/head-head/why-do-british-know-so-little-about-irish-history
  9. https://www.jstor.org/stable/25546634?seq=3#metadata_info_tab_contents
  10. https://www.ulsternation.org.uk/faqs.htm#how
  11. https://www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/People_of_Northern_Ireland

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This page was last edited on Saturday, 18 Jul 2020 at 20:19 UTC

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