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A history of Ireland - 2031

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 Who would have thought things could go so wrong so fast for the Emerald Isle. Ever since the accession to the EU and the free money topped with a low tax base has seen it the ‘Celtic Tiger’ grow very quickly since the 1980′s.

The 2008 financial crash, felt so badly at the time, left only a small long-term scar in the property market. 

However, Brexit can be seen as the real game-changer. No fault of the Irish, but their pesky neighbours left the EU at the same time as the Corona virus brought the world leaders together, even more so than climate change action had already been doing. 

Initially, there were upsides to Brexit. Funds left the City of London for Dublin, which competed more with Luxembourg. The EU was generous in settlements with the Irish, keen not to have them follow the British example. 

But the destruction of the Good Friday accord, which both Dublin and Brussels had long felt was a key block to Brexit, brought a sea of woe to the islands. 

Nationalists demanded a border poll over what were minor points of economic friction caused by the new border that the EU insisted on to annoy the UK and to stick slavishly to it ‘free market’ policy. The border poll was close, but the appeal of the EU, distance from London and perceived benefits of being a united Isle won a close poll in 2024. 

The Unionists were of course furious. They found backing too in the UK, dismayed at what the Government had long told the public was a conspriacy to break-up the Country by the EU as revenge for Brexit. The long fall-out with the EU over the corona virus vaccines debacle lived long in the memory and the anti-EU English in particular were soon happy to gather in pubs and meeting halls to provide funds for their exiled Unionist bretheren. 

So for the late 2020′s we saw the return of the troubles, this time fed by UK nationalists emboldening provo terror. The Irish state was not prepared and this time there was no British armed forces or MI6 to help defeat the uprising. Whilst returning to the UK remained unpopular, demands for statehood remain strong to this day and the rise of car-bombings in Dublin has turned the old republicans strongly against the protestants – division over identity is worse than ever and sectarianism lives again. 

Of course, all of this has been overshadowed by the new world order post Covid -19 which since 2022 has seen minimum tax rates force Ireland to raise its corporate taxes to 20%. Now the pressure is on to raise them further. With each rise, the fake HQ’s in Dublin of the US tech companies shrink, moving to the UK or mainland Europe or even disappearing altogether with Tech corporates run from their San Francisco HQ’s direct. The Irish financial services industry has suffered the same fate, losing business to London and Luxembourg. With less money to go around, the Celtic Tiger economy has stalled just as the money is needed for security and policing as never before. 

The EU has proven a false friend too. Ireland is one of the richer states, with Eastern Europe still suffering after the virus episode, there are no big allocations for Ireland. Indeed, many EU leaders are highly critical of the crackdown’s in Belfast and Londonderry post the border poll and have put huge pressure on the Irish Government to back down.

But backdown to where? There is no sunny uplands to view from this point. The Island is one country but dis-united and the economy struggling and still cut off from Europe. The only way forward is to press on with integration, repressing the orangemen until time heals the wound of the border poll and the economy and people adjust to the falling GDP. Perhaps the emmigration now rampant again will see the worst of the troublemakers decamp to Glasgow and Liverpool.  


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