An Irish novelist claimed that some Protestants in Northern Ireland regarded the Republic as a “very strange and foreign place”.
Magician author Colm Toibin also questioned whether southerners would want “sectarian hatred” of Northern Ireland and “basket” economics and politics if a United Ireland vote is taken.
Speaking on RTE Radio 1’s Brendan O’Connor show on Saturday, Toibin argued that the thesis of a “united Ireland solution” had not been properly reflected.
“Anyone who spends time in Protestant or Presbyterian Northern Ireland realizes that there are people who really see the Republic as a very strange and foreign place and they don’t want to, I mean they really don’t want to , to be in his grip, “he said.
âAnd we have to take that into account. The nice thing about the Good Friday deal is that it included both / and, so you could be both British and Irish, âhe said.
“So what would you say to someone whose identity was entirely British, who saw Scotland as their hinterland or their continent, in a way, sayingâ¦ you’re going to have to be ruled by Dublin?
“And they’ll say, ‘Well, I don’t want that,’ but the whole point of our politics over the last few decades has been to say that if you don’t want it, we will work out a constitutional arrangement in which your desires can be somehow represented.
“So this United Ireland solution seems to me to be too quick and easy and kind of thoughtless.”
In 2017, the journalist and essayist won the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, an American Lifetime Achievement Award that celebrates the power of literature to foster peace, social justice and global understanding.
During the interview, the author then posed a rhetorical question to those who live in the Republic of Ireland and who advocate a vote of unity.
“How much more tax would you voluntarily pay to fund Northern Ireland?” Because someone has to finance it, âhe added.
âOn a practical level, do we want to have their [Northern Irelandâs] sectarian hatreds here below and the hopeless case which is their economy and the hopeless case which is their policy. . . and do they want the basket case ie. . . the ordinary day-to-day operation of the HSE, for example?