David Trimble, one of the architects of the Good Friday Agreement, has insisted talk of an ‘all island’ economy has had a ‘destabilizing effect’ across Ireland and ‘stoked up’ trade unionists’ fears.
r Trimble, a former UUP leader, last night commented on the release of research claiming the notion of an ‘all island’ economy in Ireland is a ‘fiction’ and an ‘illusion promoted for political purposes “.
The study, which highlights the differences between the economies of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, was conducted by Dr. Graham Gudgin, senior economic adviser at the London-based think tank Policy Exchange.
dr Gudgin was Special Adviser to the First Minister of Northern Ireland – Mr Trimble – between 1998 and 2002.
dr Gudgin’s report claims that despite decades of relative peace since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998, the economies of the two territories are disparate and poorly integrated.
He claims that differences between the two economies will “undermine any tendency towards Irish unity”.
dr Gudgin also insists that the Northern Ireland Protocol “is not politically stable and is unlikely to last in its current form”.
Amid Brexit, the EU and UK have drawn up the Northern Ireland Protocol, an international agreement that will ensure smooth post-Brexit trade between Ireland and Northern Ireland, even though Northern Ireland is no longer part of the EU.
It also meant customs controls on goods being transported from Britain to Northern Ireland.
Despite agreeing to the protocol, the UK government now wants it to be renegotiated and even shredded entirely.
David Frost, who stepped down as the UK’s chief negotiator with the EU on the Northern Ireland Protocol last December, also claims in the report that the emergence of the concept of an ‘all-island’ economy met the political needs of the EU and Ireland.
“From their perspective, the logic was obvious,” Mr Frost said. “If they could accept that after the Belfast Good Friday Agreement the newly opened border has led to significant economic integration and that this may now be disrupted by Brexit, it would be easier to keep Northern Ireland within the EU legal framework. ”
dr Gudgin says in his report that just 4 per cent of goods and services produced in Northern Ireland cross the border into the Republic, while 16 per cent go to the UK.
But Northern Ireland’s economy is not as international as that of the Republic.
Of the £67.1bn (€78.1bn) total sales of goods and services generated in Northern Ireland’s economy in 2020, just £10.3bn will grow, according to the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency exported beyond the UK. Northern Ireland’s annual sales to the UK, meanwhile, total £10.9 billion.
From its exports of goods and services beyond the UK, the Republic of Ireland is by far the most important market for Northern Ireland, accounting for £4.1 billion of the £10.3 billion.
Ireland’s total exports of goods and services reached a record €451 billion last year. Goods exports to the UK totaled €14.4 billion, while Northern Ireland accounted for €3.7 billion in goods exports.
https://www.independent.ie/business/talk-of-all-island-economy-sharpens-fear-of-unionists-david-trimble-41723565.html All-Island economy talk ‘stokes fears of unionists’ – David Trimble