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Dublin: 14 °C Thursday 18 April, 2019
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Both Ireland and Northern Ireland would be (financially) better off reunified

€35 billion better off, apparently.

Image: Billy Stickland/INPHO

BOTH IRELAND AND Northern Ireland would significantly benefit from reunification, a new report suggests.

The report, Modeling Irish Unification, is published by KLC Consulting in Vancouver, British Columbia and was written by economist Dr Kurt Hubner.

Launching today in Dublin, the research is based on the models of unification seen in Germany in the late 20th century and post-partition Korea.

Three unification scenarios were presented, with the most aggressive estimating a €35.6 billion boost in an all-island GDP in the first eight years of unification.

It found that there would be long-term improvement in the Northern Irish economy as a result of the removal of “currency, trade and tax barriers” which it says currently impede the country’s economic growth.

At the same time, the Republic would benefit from barrier-free access to the Northern Irish market.

“Our modeling exercise points to strong positive unification effects driven by successful currency devaluation and a policy dependent industrial turn-around,” said Dr. Hubner.

While these effects occur in a static global economic environment, under ideal political conditions, they underline the potential of political and economic unification when it is supported by smart economic policy.

The political unification of the country would, the report says, ideally happen after economic unification to reduce uncertainty.

However, it does not make any calls for political integration, saying that isn’t even necessary, citing the creation of the Common Market.

This is less the heroic assumption as political transitions costs are not necessarily negative, particularly in the case where economic unification is a democratically legitimised event. Political unification outside of transition, however, is generally understood to be a more efficient form of government.

“This is evident in theory that supports harmonisation of functions of government, like tax collection, legal order, and tax-funded operations of political machinery.

“The removal of duplicate government services on the island would lead to greater efficiencies, synergies, and economy of scale savings.”

The report says that two lessons can be drawn: first that any unification would require “careful and reflective public policies” and second, that “securing and improving the workforce will lessen the cost of unification and attract FDI”.

Read: Alex Salmond told us why a united Ireland is as inevitable as Scottish independence

Read: Would you like to see a United Ireland? People north and south had their say tonight

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