×

Ireland’s Rocky Road to Unity

Can Demographic Shifts Undo a Hundred Years of Separation?

Police and unionist protesters in Belfast, December 2013 Mariusz Smiejek / VISUM / Redux

In the wake of the Brexit crisis, the idea of a united Ireland has returned to the political agenda. Politicians in both parts of a divided country believe that Irish unity is a credible prospect over the coming years, whether they find that prospect welcome or deplorable. Sinn Féin, the main nationalist party in Northern Ireland, has called for a post-Brexit referendum on Irish unity, stressing the risk of economic disruption for a region that voted against Brexit by a wide margin. Leading unionist politicians have also warned that a border poll may become unavoidable, although they still hope to carry the day in the event of a vote.

But if the idea of Northern Ireland joining up with its southern neighbor now seems plausible, that stems from a different factor altogether—long-term demographic change, without which a vote in favor of Irish unity would be impossible to imagine.

Loading, please wait...

Related Articles

This site uses cookies to improve your user experience. Click here to learn more.

Continue