Northern Ireland's Finance Minister has called for an end to partition, saying that it is now time to talk about Irish unity. Referring to partition as an “economic cul de sac for Ireland; north and south,” Sinn Féin politician Máirtin Ó Muilleoir called for Irish reunification in an opinion piece on Irish news website TheJournal.ie, stating, “The North now lags behind the South on all growth indices: average wages south of the border are €37,000 [$39,300], but just €25,500 [$27,100] in the North. Economic growth rates in the South are estimated at 3.6 percent for 2017, but at just over one percent in the North.”
“Along the border region, in particular, the impact of partition was and is still keenly felt,” Ó Muilleoir said.
His intervention will be viewed as significant as the Sinn Féin man holds one of the top economic portfolios in the Northern Ireland government.
Ó Muilleoir declared Northern Ireland’s economic potential is “held back by British government policies that are not designed with the interests of the North at heart.”
And he continued: “A prime example of this is the British government’s plan to drag the North out of the EU against the democratic wishes of the people.
“A united Ireland with a single, all-Ireland economy would not only end the duplication of services on an island of 6.4 million, it would also address the economic uncertainty created by partition.
“That would create an environment where business can thrive and grow.
“Marketing the island as a business destination is also difficult with partition, with two economies and tax systems. A reunited Ireland would be easier to promote on the global stage and, as a result, would act as a lever to attract inward investment.
“A recently published and peer-reviewed study, ‘Modelling Irish Reunification,’ by Professor Kurt Huebner from Vancouver University, found that within a short number of years, the economy of a reunified Ireland would be better than the existing two economies by approximately €35 billion [$37.1 billion].
“This is the latest in a series of serious and respected economic reports that has shown that Irish unity makes economic sense.
“It is time we began a serious discussion and dialogue about what that would mean, what it would look like and how to bring it about.
“It’s time to talk about unity.”
Ó Muilleoir’s party, Sinn Féin, yesterday released a new video questioning the claim that the Republic of Ireland can’t afford Irish unity, citing the same study.
This article first appeared in the Irish Echo. For more stories, visit their website here.