He also claimed that “the tectonic plates are shifting”, that there was “no longer a majority in Northern Ireland for either unionism or nationalism”, and instead there was “ground there is a growing understanding of people who want to talk about it – young people in particular – and we want to talk to them ”.
Irish Foreign Minister – and Deputy Head of Fine Gael – Simon Coveney, who is 49, has suggested a much shorter timeframe, saying he would like to see a united Ireland during its “political life”.
Mr Varadkar said north-south trade “is how we can overcome the pandemic and the effects of Brexit and together develop the economy of the whole island more effectively”.
Meanwhile Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Michael Martin, seen as more moderate on the reunification issue, nevertheless insisted that his Fianna Fail party remained committed to a united Ireland.
Mr Martin wants to achieve this through “shared dialogue” and has been angered by calls for the United States for a border poll, which have included advertisements in the Washington Post and The New York Times, which have attempted to stir up nationalist sentiment by saying a failure to call a referendum would leave “a divided Ireland at the mercy of the British government”.
Then there is Irish President Michael D Higgins, the son of an IRA intelligence officer, who has said there are no “symbolic obstacles” to possible reunification but seems to have trouble. comfortable discussing the issue, saying: “Much work remains to be done in creating the conditions under which you could come to a mature decision that could be accepted by all participants.
The rise of Sinn Fein
With Stormont’s election coming up in May next year and Dail’s election in 2025 or earlier, it may be Sinn Fein who has the biggest say in the matter if he wins the more seats in both.
Sinn Fein, formerly known as the political wing of the IRA, now leads opinion polls both north and south of the border, and has the same number of seats in Dail as the Fianna Fail coalition (and more than Fine Gael), having garnered the most votes in the 2020 Irish elections. be able to form a coalition government next time.
In Stormont, Sinn Fein has only one seat less than the DUP, having won only 0.2% less of the vote than the Unionist party in 2017. If the current trend continues, the Ireland of the North will have its first prime minister from Sinn Fein within a few months.
Michelle O’Neill, Vice President of Sinn Fein and current Deputy Prime Minister of Stormont, is convinced that the protocol and its consequences have pushed people against Brexit.
She said the people of Northern Ireland have a “very difficult choice” and must decide whether they “want to be part of an inward-looking Britain on Brexit or an inclusive Ireland-facing Brexit. ‘outside”.
But Sinn Fein’s recent popularity is based on its national socialist policies, not its nationalist credentials, and polls have consistently shown that residents of the island of Ireland currently do not wish to unite.
The most recent survey of life and time in Northern Ireland, carried out annually by Queen’s University Belfast and the University of Ulster, found that 53% of voters in Northern Ireland preferred to stay in the UK. United, while only 30% wanted reunification. Even 17% of northern Catholics said they wanted to stay in the UK.