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A more refreshing debate about Ireland’s future has just started

We are considering a border survey within the next ten years, and reunification could happen within 20 years. I believe events are going to move much faster than any of us can ever imagine. Just look at Brexit, who could have predicted that five years ago?

Brian O’Neill can be right or wrong. But we need more than just speculation. A new debate has sparked in the Irish Times. Prof. Pete Shirlow tries to develop the potential of what is in sight, and he tends to be speculative.

The January 2020 general election poll at the University of Liverpool in Northern Ireland found that when asked what was the most important topic for respondents, only 5 percent said they had constitutional issues, while more than 80 percent said it was education, health and Work decided and the economy.

These are the very people, dragged by a barbaric conflict, who listen daily to commentators and politicians arguing about constitutional and legacy issues, but never about jobs and investments. The reality in these people’s lives is an increasing inter-community connection and interdependence across the island of Ireland. But commentators and politicians rarely choose to speak to this reality because they are caught in the binary framework of the constitutional question.

These debates in Northern Ireland are not based on data and facts. This is an intellectual space that is increasingly permeated with rhetorical devices and refuses to deal with evidence in a way that reflects caution and impartial positioning.

Counter Prof. Brendan O’Leary

Demographic change is turning cultural Protestants into an electoral minority. Unionists with a capital U are already a political minority. The maintenance of the Union therefore depends on the approval of the Cultural Catholics, whose opinions on this Union are more volatile and more hostile than those of the Protestant heritage.

Will Northern Ireland enjoy the best of both worlds and thrive in Barniers and Boris’ novel invention? Possibly, but this amazing “front stop” looks precarious; It might be difficult to stabilize in the midst of political polarization around two simpler options.

“Scrapping the log” is the goal of the DUP. The obvious alternative is Irish reunification within the EU. To delete the protocol ”is the aim of the DUP. The obvious alternative is Irish reunification within the EU.

Admittedly, Brexit got off to a breathtaking start in Dover and Belfast. The thinking of the DUP is in transition, to say the least. But is “the Irish Sea frontier” becoming part of the normal, tired of the old binary? It doesn’t matter to call the jury. Convincing evidence that could lead to litigation was not collected.

Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Spolight publisher; Political Editor BBC NI; Editor of the Current Affairs Committee of BBC Radio 4; Editor of Political and Parliamentary Programs, BBC Westminster; former London editor of the Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London

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