Hain: NI is a dependent economy

New York’s Irish Echo has a remarkable interview with Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain.

"In future decades, it is going to be increasingly difficult to look at the economy of north and south except as a sort of island of Ireland economy," he said. "We are deepening north-south cooperation in a number of areas."

Hain acknowledged the seriousness of the economic challenges faced by Northern Ireland, where some surveys have suggested that up to 60 percent of all employment is dependent upon the state.

"The Northern Ireland economy, though it is doing better than ever in its history, is not sustainable in the long-term," Hain said. "I don’t want the Northern Ireland economy to be a dependent economy as it is now, with a sort of UK, ‘big brother’ umbrella over it. It needs to be much more self-sufficient, so that’s what we’re trying to do." (Irish Echo)

Hain’s tough approach to public spending in the north is certainly consistent with this thinking, which is not a million miles from my own argument on the north’s choice between dependency and democracy:

The alternatives for the north, ultimately are British dependency or Irish democracy. Ireland cannot replicate British patronage, but that patronage is not ultimately a good thing for the north’s economy or its democracy.

The Republic can be a model for and ultimately a partner in a functioning economic and political system in a way Britain cannot.






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