United Ireland is closer than ever

THE prospect of a united Ireland is closer than it has ever been but it’s not inevitable, the high-profile Killarney Economic Conference heard this Friday.

Former First Minister in the Welsh Assembly, Carwyn Jones, addressed the issue during the course of an engaging event in the Brehon Hotel where Brexit, the future of Northern Ireland and challenges facing family businesses were among the topics for discussion.

Shadows on the wall: Ronan McCrea, Professor of Constitutional and European Law at University College London in converstion with Dr Katy Hayward, Reader in Sociology, Queens University Belfast

Referring specifically to a united Ireland, Mr Jones remarked: “There are still some issues that people need to see resolved. It’s closer than it’s been but I don’t think we’re in a position where people would vote for it in Northern Ireland”

He added: “On the question of whether the Republic could want or afford the North, I don’t think there would be a choice emotionally. The reality is that if there was a vote, it’s inevitable the people would want to see a united Ireland which was always a core part of the establishment of the State in the 1920s”
Speaking at the conference, Family Business Network chief,  John McGrane, called for the creation of a Department of Family Business with a senior minister at the helm.
During a discussion on the challenges facing family businesses in Ireland and the UK, he said the introduction of such a position in the coming years would be helpful.
“A minister for family business in Ireland is exactly what most families would gain most benefit from in terms of having their voice understood and driving the resources of government and our taxes towards the benefit of securing long-term strength in family businesses in every part of the country,” he said.
Other topics for discussion in the afternoon session included sustainable rural development, German and Irish relations and the future of the Good Friday Agreement with former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern.

Pictures: Valerie O’Sullivan. Click on individual images for details

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