'You dream too much or will live to 100': Taoiseach receives mixed messages on United Ireland

'You Dream Too Much Or Will Live To 100': Taoiseach Receives Mixed Messages On United Ireland
The United Ireland debate is always divisive, and public correspondence to the Taoiseach on the matter is just as mixed. Photo: PA Images
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James Cox

The United Ireland debate is always divisive, and public correspondence to the Taoiseach on the matter is just as mixed.

Just this week, British Labour Party leader Keir Starmer said the prospect of a referendum on Irish unification is “absolutely hypothetical” and “not even on the horizon”.


As there is a good chance he will be the next British prime minister, this drew plenty of criticism.

The issue of Irish Unity has shifted recently, and is not just a priority for Sinn Féin.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar recently said he believes there will be a United Ireland in his lifetime.

If Sinn Féin do end up in government it will be one of their main issues, but work is likely to continue on moves to a Border Poll regardless of what parties are in power after the next general election.


However, there will be many complex issues to consider beyond economic and identity problems.

These complexities were highlighted in three emails sent to the Department of the Taoiseach, seen by BreakingNews.ie after a Freedom of Information request.

In one, sent on January 5th, 2023, the author argued that the ongoing government deadlock in Stormont meant governing on an "all island basis" was the best option.

However, they added: "In the ordinary course of events, realistically, the all island Ireland is miles away and on no account whatsoever should this question be put to decision by any Border Poll any time soon".


The author went on to argue that a Border Poll would be pointless without the logistics of what a United Ireland would look like agreed, pointing to how the Brexit vote turned out for the UK, "lest we repeat the Brexit referendum in Britain that asked people to make a momentous decision on either no facts or just falsehoods".

"We might consider having a referendum on an all island Ireland only when we thoroughly understand what sort of all island Ireland is being proposed... not one moment sooner. Anyone who seeks to have such a poll or referendum now cannot be serious about the future of this island and it is only a spurious device that seeks to secure something else."

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said he believes there will be a United Ireland in his lifetime.

The author went on to point to the housing crisis as something that should take priority over a Border Poll.


It finished by "wishing our governments well in their deliberations".

Various stakeholders were CC'd in the email including Tánaiste Micheál Martin, Green Party leader Eamon Ryan, Labour leader Ivana Bacik, UK foreign minister James Cleverly, DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson, UK Northern Ireland secretary Chris Heaton-Harris, Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald and United States Special Envoy for Northern Ireland Joe Kennedy.

An email on September 8th, 2023, appeared to be a response to Mr Varadkar's comments on seeing a United Ireland in his lifetime.

The subject title was: 'You dream too much.' The email read: "United Ireland in his lifetime. Good Day, You dream too much old chap. Either that, or you will be the first human to live one hundred years!!"


A third email, dated September 12th, again directly mentioned Mr Varadkar's comments on Irish Unity.

The author said they proudly identify as both Irish and British.

On a personal level, they said they would have no issues with a United Ireland. "I have no issues if the country should become united because I know it would be done sympathetically to those of my background."

However, they went on to express concerns that the island of Ireland could see more violence like it did during the Troubles.

"Even if the majority on a Border Poll was overwhelmingly in favour of unity, there would still be a percentage who would be violently opposed to it and that would create a reverse set of circumstances whereby what was a British problem, shared by Ireland would then become an Irish problem which would be as difficult to overcome as the dissident problem of today.

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"Irish lives would still be lost in the name of a cause and the people who would carry out the unlawful acts in such a scenario would be as unlikely to change their views as those of the hardline republicans who are currently keeping the security situation on edge."

The author added: "The sectarian hatred which exists in Northern Ireland is caused by community division which is created by separate schooling."

They argued that schooling children together, regardless of religious background, would "heal prejudices".

The email concluded: "It would be delightful to imagine an Ireland without prejudice, but calling for unity now or advocating it just deepens the divide. Only when the politics of Northern Ireland have adjusted to remove orange and green from voters' minds when they tick boxes or enter their numerical preferences will it be time to put the question to the people."

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