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Irish Unity will create new opportunities and prosperity for all - Pearse Doherty TD

17 November, 2020 - by Pearse Doherty TD

Pearse DohertySinn Féin spokesperson on Finance Pearse Doherty TD has said that Irish Unity makes sense, and will create new opportunities and new prosperity for all people across the island.

The Donegal TD was speaking as he announced that Sinn Féin will publish a new discussion paper, Economic Benefits of a United Ireland, on Friday.

Teachta Doherty said: “Economic Benefits of a United Ireland is a confident and well-researched document, which is part of Sinn Féín’s contribution to the growing debate around a referendum on Irish Unity, and the increasing demand for a United Ireland.

“The threats posed by Brexit and Covid-19 have created new challenges. A United Ireland offers the best opportunity to tackle these issues in a way that economically advantage the people of the island of Ireland.

“Our document examines the adverse economic impact of partition since its imposition 100 years ago, which has reduced the six north-eastern counties and the southern border counties to the status of a peripheral economic region.

"This has limited the economic potential of this region and of the whole island economy.

“The North is the slowest growing economy on these islands. The labour market is characterised by jobs that are lower paid and less secure than in the Irish state or in Britain. Some 20% of workers earn less than a basic living wage.

“In addition, the wasteful competition and division arising from partition undermines the fortunes of both sides of the border region. The result is an incoherent and unfulfilled economic development.

“There are also tax and economic inefficiencies resulting from partition. Between 23,000 and 30,000 people routinely cross the border to work. 

“Through their employment, these workers create output and value in one jurisdiction and pay into the public finances of that jurisdiction in income tax.

"However, in returning home, they are using the public services and infrastructure of the area where they live but don’t work. The state they live in does not benefit from their economic activity or tax revenue.

“When the Gross Value Added per Capita for the island as a whole is calculated as a percentage of the EU 15 average, every region of the North falls below every region of the South. The North achieves just 75%.

“Economic Benefits of a United Ireland also tackles the issue of the British subvention for the North and the affordability of Irish Unity. The real figure for the subvention is at most £6bn and closer to less than half that.

“Of the £6bn just over half - £3.5bn - is spent on pensions. The British government accepted during the Scottish independence debate in 2014 that the pension rights of Scottish workers have been accumulated by citizens over the years. 

“Liability for the payment of the pensions in the North in the event of unity will clearly be part of a wider negotiation in the event of a United Ireland but there is a clear precedent that having paid into their pensions, northern citizens should expect those payments to still be paid by London. Consequently, the final subvention cost could be as low as £2.5bn.

“Economic Benefits of a United Ireland is an exciting contribution to the conversation about a new Ireland - a shared Ireland. It reveals an island economy capable of expanding its economic potential, creating new jobs, better paid jobs, building a better standard of living of all its citizens and first class public services, including a health service for everyone.

“Irish Unity makes sense and will create new opportunities and new prosperity for all our people.”

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