United Ireland The 'Only Winning Scenario' After Brexit - Report

The "only winning scenario" for Northern Ireland after Brexit is a United Ireland, a report has suggested.

The Costs of Non-Unification- Brexit and the Unification of Ireland report predicts that both Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic will suffer economically once the UK leaves the European Union.

Three potential outcomes are laid out in the study: a hard Brexit, in which all of the UK leaves the single market and the customs union, Northern Ireland remaining within the single market and customs union, and the unification of Ireland.

It found that a hard Brexit would reduce Northern Ireland's GDP by 10.1 billion euro (£8.8 billion) from 2021-25.

The second option, remaining in the single market and customs union, would prompt a GDP dip of 3.8 billion euro (£3.3 billion), according to the report.

However, a united Ireland would see Northern Ireland increase its GDP.

"If political actors nevertheless prefer a hard Brexit, or if they are willing to accept a hard Brexit for overarching political reasons, then they accept willingly high negative economic costs," the study details.

It was carried out by Canadian firm KLC Consultants for US-based Irish American organisation KRB Inc.

It comes as negotiations intensify over whether the UK and EU will agree a backstop plan, resulting in Northern Ireland remaining within the customs union after Brexit. The issue has stalled recent talks.
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Presenting the report at the Europa Hotel in Belfast on Wednesday 07 November, one of the authors, Dr Kurt Hubner, said the Brexit referendum has created enormous change.

"Since the referendum the whole picture has changed enormously, the macro economic situation has shifted.

"We already have huge opportunity costs and now with the way we tried to develop those scenarios, it is surprising that the unification one is the only one that would produce positive effects.

"Whereas with a hard Brexit the losses are already piling up."

Sinn Fein Vice President Michelle O'Neill and Ulster Unionist Steve Aiken were among those who attended the launch.

Mrs O'Neill described it as "compelling evidence that could not be ignored".

"This report, and particular economic modelling, exposes the hard evidence that reunification would provide a massive boost to the entire island," she said.

"In the words of the report, unification is the only option with positive net effects."

Mr Aiken, however, said he was skeptical of the new research.

"A future they say of about 10 billion euro over the space of a decade is absolutely miniscule and is well within the margin for error," the South Antrim MLA said.

"I can only presume when they continue to put data into the model, they will suddenly realise something we have all known all along- that unification is not an answer and would be a net detriment to Northern Ireland."


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