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ARINS podcast episode 14: Making Sense of a United Ireland, Should it Happen, How Might it Happen?

01 September 2022

In this month’s episode, host Rory Montgomery and Brendan O’Leary, Lauder Professor of Political Science, at the University of Pennsylvania, discuss Brendan’s latest book Making Sense of a United Ireland, Should it Happen, How Might it Happen? published today. 

The discussion explores demographic, electoral, and political changes, slowly and steadily shaping Northern Ireland. Should these slow, steady changes accelerate referenda on the future of Northern Ireland? 

O’Leary counsels against premature calls for referenda arguing that it would be inappropriate to hold a referendum in Northern Ireland where there is not sufficient evidence that a majority in Northern Ireland would be likely to vote for a united Ireland. Referenda should not be called until such point that it is clear that there has been a shift in opinion.  
 

The ARINS podcast goes live on the first Thursday of each month and episodes are available on SoundCloudSpotify and Apple Podcasts.

O’Leary counsels against premature calls for referenda arguing that it would be inappropriate to hold a referendum in Northern Ireland where there is not sufficient evidence that a majority in Northern Ireland would be likely to vote for a united Ireland. Referenda should not be called until such point that it is clear that there has been a shift in opinion.  

O'Leary calls for timely preparation and detailed deliberation by the Irish government in the event of successful referendums north and south. He advocates for a series of processes including a standing constitutional all party forum and for systematic evaluation of difficult questions by way of deliberative forums on small dimensions of the momentous questions of Irish reunification.  To avoid being unprepared in advance of a British government decision to initiate a referendum at any time O'Leary champions the case for the Irish government to create a ministry for unification. A ministry would support efforts seeking to shape arrangements and create models and mechanisms to better determine how a united Ireland might successfully operate. O’Leary makes sense of it all from government ministries to ideological mindsets.

About the series 

This podcast series provides evidence-based research and analysis on the most significant questions of policy and public debate facing the island of Ireland, north and south. Host Rory Montgomery, MRIA, talks to authors of articles on topics such as cross border health co-operation; the need to regulate social media in referendums, education, cultural affairs and constitutional questions and the imperative for good data and the need to carry out impartial research. New episodes are released on the first Thursday of every month and can be found on our SoundCloud channel or any podcast platform.

About the project 

ARINS: Analysing and Researching Ireland North and South brings together experts to provide evidence-based research and analysis on the most significant questions of policy and public debate facing the island of Ireland, north and south. The project publishes, facilitates and disseminates research on the challenges and opportunities presented to the island in a post-Brexit context, with the intention of contributing to an informed public discourse. More information can be found at www.arinsproject.com.
ARINS is a joint project of The Royal Irish Academy, an all-island body, and the Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies at Notre Dame's Keough School of Global Affairs.

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