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Within the Good Friday Agreement is the right to leave UK and join Ireland if and when the population of North Ireland so wishes.

And more people are so wishing.

The five most recent opinion polls taken in the North show similar results, with support for the North staying in the UK ranging from 45 per cent to 55 per cent, and averaging around the 50 per cent mark.

But the polls do show differences in support for a united Ireland (depending on the number of Don't Knows/Not Sures recorded in the polling). This doesn't mean the polls are wrong, it just shows the current situation is very fluid, and that there is a lot of "changing of minds", particularly on the pro-united Ireland side.

However, there is still a large rabidly unionist portion of the population, judging by the continued support for the DUP. And DUP has power in Stormont, the dead-locked Northern Ireland devolved government, which presumably would be the ones organising the referendum.

Also, if North Ireland joined Ireland now, there would be economic problems on both sides of the island. North Ireland's economy is propped up by large transfers from London, which Ireland could ill afford within the euro framework that prevents deficit spending. Also, with the large economic difference, the result has large risk to be like the German unification, everything in the North gets bought up by the southerners, leading to long term problems and resentment.

Both of these problems are likely to become less pronounced if North Ireland goes through a period of economic growth with North Ireland for all practical purposes within the EU. Being a border territory with access to both EU and UK would be a good foundation for that. Of course, if political actions are necessary to take advantage of the situation, the Stormont needs to stop being dead-locked.

by fjallstrom on Tue Sep 10th, 2019 at 09:37:37 PM EST
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