Unification: consent or dual consent?

Interesting thoughts from Martin Mansergh on what it might take to effect a democratically determined unification of Ireland:

This is largely written in reply to an article by Frank Millar a few weeks ago suggesting that such an outcome depended upon consent within both communities. Danny Morrison was one of the first to challenge this premise.

Speaking about the attitudes of the minority Catholic community Mansergh says:

“They have almost all accepted, however reluctantly, that, if there is to be peace now and peaceful change perhaps in the future, the question has to be decided by a majority of the people of the North in the first instance, as has been the formal constitutional principle in one form or another going back to 1920, from which unionists until now have been the beneficiary. The Ulster Unionist Party and loyalist parties also accepted that in 1998, and it was endorsed by a substantial majority of the people of the North.”

On the mechanics of the process he points out:

“In reality, a border poll, resulting in a majority for a united Ireland, an event that is not a realistic prospect at present, could only be a first step in a much longer and more intensive process. Detailed negotiation would be required that would provide the essential guarantees needed on all sides to provide a workable, stable and harmonious unity.”

He concludes:

“The real poll would be one held North and South that ratified concurrently (or rejected) a negotiated agreement, leading to the enactment of consequential parallel legislation in the Westminster and Dublin parliaments. Consent is sufficient to put a united Ireland on the table. Parallel consent North and South (and parliamentary legislation) is required to bring it into being.”

Discover more from Slugger O'Toole

Subscribe to get the latest posts to your email.

We are reader supported. Donate to keep Slugger lit!

For over 20 years, Slugger has been an independent place for debate and new ideas. We have published over 40,000 posts and over one and a half million comments on the site. Each month we have over 70,000 readers. All this we have accomplished with only volunteers we have never had any paid staff.

Slugger does not receive any funding, and we respect our readers, so we will never run intrusive ads or sponsored posts. Instead, we are reader-supported. Help us keep Slugger independent by becoming a friend of Slugger. While we run a tight ship and no one gets paid to write, we need money to help us cover our costs.

If you like what we do, we are asking you to consider giving a monthly donation of any amount, or you can give a one-off donation. Any amount is appreciated.