In the past Unionism in Ireland was an ideology which favoured the continuation of the political union between the islands of Ireland and Great Britain. Since partition in 1921 and the separation of the Irish Free State from the United Kingdom as a Dominion, and its subsequent emergence as an independent state, Unionism in Ireland has mostly focused on maintaining the place of Northern Ireland within the United Kingdom.
The political relationship between England and Ireland dates back to the 12th century Norman invasion, which incidentally began with an invitation from the Irish King of Leinster Dermot McMurrough, who requested English assistance in regaining his throne. In the Act of Union of 1800 the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was created. In 1922 twenty-six counties of Ireland gained independence from the U.K. as a U.K. Dominion and were christened "the Irish Free State". In 1949 this Dominion became a Republic and left the Commonwealth. The remaining six counties in the north constituted the country we know as "Northern Ireland", which has remained part of the "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland".
Today Unionism is overwhelmingly a Protestant supported political phenomenon, concerned with the governance of and relationship between Northern Ireland and Great Britain. In the Irish Republic there is little to no support for Northern Unionists who would advocate the Republic sacrificing her independence and rejoining the UK, in fact the mere thought is ludicrous, and those in the South who would support the continued union of Great Britain and Northern Ireland may be viewed by many Irishmen as unpatriotic.
Today most Unionists belong to one of various denominations of Protestantism. Nationalists are mostly of a Catholic background. However, these are generalisations as it has not always been the case, as there have been both Protestant Republicans and Nationalists, and Catholic Unionists, albeit constituting tiny minorities within their respective traditions.
I'd like to see not a short term solution to the long term problem of Unionism V's Nationalism on the island of Ireland, but a permanent solution to this long term problem, and in this thread I posed a very difficult question to my fellow Protestants on this board, the question being: Shall there ever come a time, when you, the Protestant people of Northern Ireland, shall cease to view consenting to a united Ireland as "Surrender"? I elaborated with the personal view that I was "in favour of a united Ireland, if it was brought about via exclusively peaceful means, and if there there were steadfast assurances and copper-fastened guarantees built into any future reunification agreement, that in the event of persecution, discrimination, alienation, and marginalisation of the Protestant, (ex) Unionist people in a reunified Ireland, the British government would have the right to intervention".
Those are my words, and I'll stand by them. In this thread I want to pose an equally difficult question to Irish Catholic Nationalists and Republicans north and south of the border, so as to lend equilibrium to the search for a permanent solution to this age-old territorial, political problem:
Shall there ever come a time, when you, the Nationalist and Republican people of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, shall cease to view the country we know as "Northern Ireland" as an illegitimate political entity, a statelet, and refrain from viewing and referring to it as the "occupied six counties"?
The Good Friday Agreement which was ratified with very high support in referendums north and south of the border communicated to the world that the great majority of people on this island did not support the armed campaign of the PIRA. The fact that here in the north we are witnessing the very surprising and unprecedented phenomenon of many young Catholics converting to Unionism suggests that they see some inherent value in the sustainment of the political union of Great Britian and Northern Ireland. Perhaps they recognise that two countries on one island has its social and economic advantages in terms of employment and social mobility?
If all Nationalists and Republicans gave their support to the sustainment of the Union we'd have a solution, but that would of course mean Nats and Reps having to abandon their political principles, values and ideals. A tall order. Similarly, if Unionists came around to the concept of peaceful Irish reunification, and chose to enter a united Ireland of their own volition, with safeguards and assurances built into any future reunification agreement, equally; we'd have a solution.
But this one is for the Nationalists and Republicans. State your case. You can't do any worse than evade the question the way some Unionists did in my previous thread on the question of consent to Irish reunification.