The land of Ireland for the people of Ireland
by: Burcu Tan
Michael D. Higgins invested in potatoes, because someone said he'd be Dublin his fortune.
Ireland has been known to be created as an independent state as a result of a conflict, a beautiful ending to difficult times. It has been called "one of Europe's biggest economic successes in the final decade of the twentieth century" by many country leaders. However, Ireland failed surviving the 2008 world economic recession, becoming one of the few countries suffering the blow even after a decade.
United Ireland - 2016
It was no surprise when many of the Northern Irish voted for a yes in the referendum held in 2016 for Northern Ireland, which was a territory of the United Kingdom from 1801 to 2016, to be a part of the Republic of Ireland to form United Ireland. Along with many British, they believed it was time for a unified country with identical cultures to be born, which was then believed to help with the financial crisis the Republic of Ireland was facing. This resulted in an amendment of the Belfast Good Friday Agreement, which had stated that "that Northern Ireland would remain part of the United Kingdom until a majority of the people of Northern Ireland and of the Republic of Ireland wished otherwise. Should that happen, then the British and Irish governments are under "a binding obligation" to implement that choice."* The agreement between Sinn Féin and SDLP (Social Democratic and Labour Party) to an electoral pact in May 2015’s Westminster general election helped Ireland get on the road for the inevitable trajectory to freedom. “I shall always hope that some day there will be a united Ireland.”** said Winston Churchill, not forgetting to stress the fact that this could come about only with the consent of Northern Ireland. The Irish of the North and the Republic were free to make their decision on the fact that a united country could bring political and financial stability; as well as having full control over their then economic situation. The citizen were all aware of the fact that it was time for a merge in powers, especially after the budget control program German Chancellor Angela Merkel had come up with a year before the referendum; enough time to analyze how the recovery could work if the unification were to happen.
*"Good Friday Agreement." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc, 19 May 2015. Web. 4 June 2015. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Good_Friday_Agreement>.
**Lysaght, Charles. "Winston Churchill: ‘I Hope There Will Be a United Ireland’." The Irish Times. The Irish Times, 26 Jan. 2015. Web. 4 June 2015. <http://www.irishtimes.com/culture/heritage/winston-churchill-i-hope-there-will-be-a-united-ireland-1.2076998>.
Economic Recession - 2008
With the world's terrible corruption due to the 2008 economic recession, Ireland had been one of the countries that was hit with the never-ending suffering. With over 40% chance of bankruptcy, Ireland survived a major blow in a time interval of about a decade and a half.
Its approval of the Fiscal Pact created by German Chancellor Angela Merkel to agree on committing to stricter budgetary rules, such as reducing their budget deficits to less than 0.5% of gross domestic product was a sigh of relief, considering its budget to be 9% of their GDP only about 10 years ago, a rate significantly higher than Greece and Spain's budget deficit.*** Ironically, Irish ministers encouraged the emphasis of Ireland being at a completely different situation than either countries while Dublin's rates were higher than Athens'; a rate the Irish finance minister Michael Noonan was not courageous enough to admit. The acceptance of the pact came along with the fear that the European Union would cut the bail money, which is estimated to have been over €190 billion in only a matter of two years after the 2008 recession. With the involvement of IMF, Ireland had started to recover with negotiated discounts; however, the most important factors that were involved in the complete restoration of the Irish economy were the privatization of certain government-led companies, stricter budgetary rules [as Merkel had ordered], and the inspection of the Central Bank of Ireland. This not only has lowered the chance of bankruptcy of Ireland, which was over 40% in March 2010, but also has helped with the unemployment rates thanks to the well-educated workforce and a functioning administration. Along with this, American companies have shown a great interest in the country; Apple and Facebook, the two of the biggest corporations in the world had decided to build their headquarters in Dublin, as well as Intel having its first launch of chips in Ireland.
***Pauly, Christoph. "Ireland Still Faces Problems in Overcoming Debt Crisis." SPIEGEL ONLINE. N.p., 4 June 2012. Web. 5 June 2015. <http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/ireland-still-faces-problems-in-overcoming-debt-crisis-a-836758.html>.
Poverty - Whose fault is it?
With the deadly economic recession in 2008 came a heightened rate of unemployment, with an increase of over 10% in the people in consistent poverty status. To quote the Reuters story: "Ireland was the worst performing economy in the eurozone in the third quarter apart from Greece, which no longer publishes seasonally adjusted figures, marking a stunning reversal of fortune from the second quarter, when it was the second-best in class after Estonia, official data on Friday showed."**** This really impacted on the poverty level of the country, forcing Irish in deprivation to consistent poverty.
The Europe 2020 Strategy, adopted by the European Union to provide support to countries in need of assistance in 2010, had focused on three important types of economic growth to improve the Irish economy. These include the smart growth; which has the purpose of developing an economy based on the generation workforce and innovation, the sustainable growth; which is to promote a more resource efficient and competitive economy, and lastly, an inclusive growth that would foster a high-employment economy delivering social and territorial unity. Philip Inman, an economic correspondent and an editor in The Guardian, had given an example to compare the Irish economy: "Think of the Irish economy as a cake. The government has managed to cover the top with fresh cream, but inside the mixture is still half-baked, soggy and slowly sinking."***** With the help of Merkel and the European Union, Ireland as a country worked together to throw the cake away and start over with better ingredients.
Clarke, Liam. "Northern Ireland Says 'yes' to a Border Poll... but a Firm 'no' to United Ireland." BelfastTelegraph.co.uk. INM, 29 Sept. 2014. Web. 5 June 2015. <http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/northern-ireland-says-yes-to-a-border-poll-but-a-firm-no-to-united-ireland-30622987.html>.
"Good Friday Agreement." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc, 19 May 2015. Web. 4 June 2015. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Good_Friday_Agreement>.
Inman, Philip. "Nice to See EU." The Economist. Guardian News, 3 May 2015. Web. 5 June 2015. <http://www.economist.com/news/britain/21650381-marginal-constituency-northern-ireland-two-nationalist-parties-hail-closer-links-irish?zid=310&ah=4326ea44f22236ea534e2010ccce1932>.
Inman, Phillip. "Ireland's Problems Are Far from over." The Guardian. N.p., 16 Dec. 2011. Web. 5 June 2015. <http://www.theguardian.com/business/economics-blog/2011/dec/16/ireland-problems-eurozone-crisis>.
"Ireland Country Profile - Overview." BBC News. BBC, 26 May 2015. Web. 5 June 2015. <http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-17473476>.
"Irish Vote Yes in Fiscal Pact Referendum." SPIEGEL ONLINE. N.p., 1 June 2012. Web. 5 June 2015. <http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/irish-vote-yes-in-fiscal-pact-referendum-a-836483.html>.
Lysaght, Charles. "Winston Churchill: ‘I Hope There Will Be a United Ireland’." The Irish Times. The Irish Times, 26 Jan. 2015. Web. 4 June 2015. <http://www.irishtimes.com/culture/heritage/winston-churchill-i-hope-there-will-be-a-united-ireland-1.2076998>.
Moriarty, Gerry. "Martin McGuinness: United Ireland ‘is Within Our Grasp’." The Irish Times. The Irish Times, 7 Mar. 2015. Web. 4 June 2015. <http://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/martin-mcguinness-united-ireland-is-within-our-grasp-1.2079149>.
Mulraney, Frances. "Gerry Adams Announces Sinn Fein Call for United Ireland Referendum." IrishCentral.com. Irish Central LLC, 8 Apr. 2015. Web. 5 June 2015. <http://www.irishcentral.com/news/politics/Gerry-Adams-announces-Sinn-Fein-call-for-United-Ireland-referendum.html>.
"North in ‘united Ireland Vote by 2016’ | Irish Examiner." Irish Examiner. Irish Examiner Ltd., 30 Jan. 2012. Web. 5 June 2015. <http://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/politics/north-in-united-ireland-vote-by-2016-181985.html>.
"Number of People in Consistent Poverty in Ireland Doubles Since 2008." Social Justice Ireland. N.p., 21 Jan. 2015. Web. 5 June 2015. <http://www.socialjustice.ie/content/policy-issues/number-people-consistent-poverty-ireland-doubles-2008>.
Pauly, Christoph. "Ireland Still Faces Problems in Overcoming Debt Crisis." SPIEGEL ONLINE. N.p., 4 June 2012. Web. 5 June 2015. <http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/ireland-still-faces-problems-in-overcoming-debt-crisis-a-836758.html>.
Social Justice Ireland. "Ireland and the Europe 2020 Strategy: Employment, Education and Poverty." Social Justice Ireland. Active Link Web Exchange Project, 23 Jan. 2015. Web. 5 June 2015. <http://www.socialjustice.ie/sites/default/files/attach/publication/3713/2015-01-23-irelandandeu2020reviewfinal.pdf>.
Social Justice Ireland. "Number of People in Consistent Poverty in Ireland Doubles Since 2008." Social Justice Ireland. Activelink Web Exchange project, 21 Jan. 2015. Web. 5 June 2015. <http://www.socialjustice.ie/content/policy-issues/number-people-consistent-poverty-ireland-doubles-2008>.
Walayat, Nadeem. "Bankrupting Ireland in Economic Depression Announces Policy of Quantitative Cheesing." The Market Oracle. Market Oracle Ltd., 14 Nov. 2010. Web. 5 June 2015. <http://www.marketoracle.co.uk/Article24281.html>.
****Inman, Philip. "Nice to See EU." The Economist. Guardian News, 3 May 2015. Web. 5 June 2015. <http://www.economist.com/news/britain/21650381-marginal-constituency-northern-ireland-two-nationalist-parties-hail-closer-links-irish?zid=310&ah=4326ea44f22236ea534e2010ccce1932>.
*****Inman, Phillip. "Ireland's Problems Are Far from over." The Guardian. N.p., 16 Dec. 2011. Web. 5 June 2015. <http://www.theguardian.com/business/economics-blog/2011/dec/16/ireland-problems-eurozone-crisis>.