€20bn for Irish Unity dismissed as ‘just wrong’ at Oireachtas Committee – Rose Conway-Walsh TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Public Expenditure, Rose Conway-Walsh, has welcomed the dismantling by academics giving evidence at the Good Friday Agreement Committee of the widely reported €20bn cost of Irish Unity.

Teachta Conway-Walsh said, “The claimed €20bn cost of Irish Unity was dismissed as ‘not even a worst-case scenario, they are just wrong’ by Professor John Doyle from DCU.

“Instead, he estimated that the first-year cost would be €2.5bn. That is 2 percent of the current annual general government expenditure.

“This figure also included increasing state pensions in the North to the levels in the South.

“Professor Séamus McGuinness and Dr Adele Burgin from the ESRI made it clear that cost is not a barrier to Irish Unity. Irish Unity can be an economic opportunity north and south, and that static measurements overlooked the likely benefits.

“What is needed is proper planning. The onus to lead that planning is with the government and the Oireachtas but should involve experts, civil society and the public as a whole.

“I welcome the suggestions by the witnesses that the Irish government establish a cross-party Oireachtas committee that is empowered to produce a Green Paper.

“This would provide economic certainty for all the people of Ireland about what a future united Ireland could look like and how it would work.

“Buy-in from all government departments would be required to ensure that the Green Paper researched all of the key issues crucial to a future prosperous united Ireland: the economy, the health and education systems; social welfare and political structures, etc.

“The witnesses called for this to be done to provide the necessary information and structure for public debate and the work of a citizens’ assembly.

“This was the concluding session of an official report on the economics of Irish Unity by the Good Friday Agreement Committee.”

Professor John Doyle’s report, Public Finances, the Northern Ireland Subvention, and the fiscal context for a United Ireland, can be read here.

(Meeting begins at 31:00 minutes.)