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Could a united Ireland really happen?

Email sent: Feb 13, 2020 1:19pm

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This week Sinn Fein, which campaigns for unification, won the most first-preference votes in the republic’s election. Although Brexit has taken the north out of the EU, it voted to stay. The possibility of a united Ireland is real, and growing
February 13th 2020 Read in browser
  The Economist this week  
  Highlights from the latest issue  
  Our cover this week looks at the real, and growing, possibility of a united Ireland. The idea holds a romantic appeal far beyond a small corner of north-western Europe. The Irish diaspora includes more than 20m Americans. Parties to ethnic conflicts across the world have long found common cause with the north’s Catholics. Source of pubs, poets, playwrights and too many Eurovision songs for anyone’s good, Ireland has soft power to rival a country many times its size. For many years, unification was never more than a Republican fantasy. But something has changed. This week, Sinn Fein, which campaigns for unification, won the most first-preference votes in the republic’s election. Although Brexit has taken the north out of the EU, it voted to stay. Northern Ireland’s census in 2021 is likely to confirm that for the first time Catholics, who tend to look to Dublin, outnumber Protestants, who tend to look to Westminster. The republic has also become more welcoming as the influence of the Catholic Church has faded. And the Good Friday agreement, which brought peace to the north, sets out a path to unification. The island of Ireland needs a plan.
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¬† Boris Johnson, Britain‚Äôs prime minister, gave the final approval to continue HS2, a high-speed rail link between London and northern cities. The project was on hold after the costs rose above ¬£100bn ($130bn). Mr Johnson also announced other ambitious transport plans outside London, such as road improvements, 4,000 zero-emission buses and ‚ÄúMini Holland‚ÄĚ schemes to promote bike lanes in town centres.
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