Ireland & Scotland : Compare & Contrast
Written by WeegieFifer on 1 July 2021
Sovereignty, sharing it, and the effects of Brexit, from an Irish point of view
A few months back, Grassroots Oban organised a meeting with Dr Paul Gillespie of University College Dublin. Dr Gillespie is a former foreign affairs editor for the Irish Times. His is an academic and analyst working in the field of Irish, Scottish and UK issues:
- sovereignty, sharing it, and the effects of Brexit
- Constitutional Futures after Brexit, joint research by Univ College Dublin, Univ College London, Queens Univ Belfast
- possible shape of unification referendums on island of Ireland
- overall with Scottish perspectives, joint research with Centre for Constitional Change at Edinburgh University.
You can listen to Paul here:
And just to give you an idea of what he covered:
Scotland and Ireland Now and the Drivers of Constitutional Change?
- dual sovereignty crisis external with EU
- internally by elements of UK
- now coming to ahead stoked by brexit
- analysing scenarios in his work
- the drivers of change in context Brexit
- possible scenarios for constitutional change in Uk
- what’s going on in Unionism and Unionists throughout UK but particularly in NI; the need in Ireland to understand this more clearly
- asymmetry of power between EU and UK was clear in NI negotiations about the border. UK is now engaging in disruptive activity about that now.
Where UK / Ireland futures intersect
- bringing NI out of EU opens up debate on unification of ireland
- if devolution becomes dysfunctional and also given leaving EU then unification becomes a preferred option over devolved power.
- small citizens assembly were in in 2015 in NI asking for constitutional views, including alternate shaped for a unified Ireland. That is being replicated in Dublin shortly.
- Borders politics in Ireland is going to impact hugely on Scotland in any independence negotiations
Potential unification from Eire’s point of view
- its been rather abstract, tokenism historically
- now made concrete post Brexit
- pace of events may be quite rapid now. Sein Fhein drive that agenda in Eire and they want a Unification preparatory approach made for that with citizens assemblies, even a ministry for unification. Other parties have adopted a more gradualist shared Ireland approach, repairing Good Fridat Agreement institutions, prior to any discussion about unity.
- there is an awareness in Ireland that the Irish situation may be affected by dynamics and events in Scotland.
- interim report from UCL available on their website
- referendums, borders and EU membership are increasingly mutual concerns for Scotland, NI and Eire.