An international academic report has for the first time spelled out the potential economic benefits of unification both North and South, with a 35.6 billion euro boost to the island’s economy for the first eight years.
The study of reunification by two prominent academics indicates a long-term boost to the North’s economy of at least 4% and up to 7.5%. The 26 Counties would enjoy a more modest boost of between 0.7% and 1.2%.
The study involved a number of researchers led by Dr Kurt Huebner (pictured), director of the Institute for European Studies at the University of British Columbia.
The report comes as an embarrassment for the coalition government in Dublin, who recently claimed the opposite was true, and without any economic basis.
Earlier this month, the 26-County government minister Jimmy Deenihan, responded negatively when asked on a television talk show if his government could “afford a united Ireland at this moment in time”. The junior minister responded with a sheepish “well no, really”, to the delight of the unionists present.
But the Modelling Irish Unification study, launched at the Harvard Club in Manhattan, examined three unification scenarios, using economic models developed at ETH Zuerich. These models identified a number of harmonisations which would take place as a result of unification, such as tax, trade, transport, currency and productivity.
“While these effects occur in a static global economic environment, under ideal political conditions, they underline the potential of political and economic unification when it is supported by smart economic policy,” said Dr Huebner.
Sinn Fein MEP for the Midlands North West Matt Carthy welcomed the study.
“In my view, this Report is an important contribution to the debate on Irish Unity and is in line with the view held by Sinn Fein that a united Irish Economy will deliver economic growth and prosperity across this island.
“While opponents often claim that we cannot afford to be united, the simple reality is that we cannot afford to be partitioned. The human price of partition is too high to pay.
“A united Ireland is achievable, affordable and deliverable. We would all be better off economically, socially and politically in a United Ireland.”