The kind of unity Ireland needs isn’t about territory – it is about people

Keeping Northern Ireland in the union has long relied on Catholic consent but Brexit will change that fact

There is no doubt that the supporters of Brexit, avowed unionists all, have done more to advance the cause of a united Ireland than the IRA ever managed in 30 years of terrible violence. The simplest way to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland, after all, is to have no border at all.

Northern Ireland voted against Brexit and will be very deeply and adversely affected by it. And the European Union has quite explicitly – and quite remarkably – stated that Northern Ireland can automatically rejoin the EU at any time after Brexit takes effect if it agrees to a united Ireland. In this, Northern Ireland is already different from Britain: its exit from the EU is a return ticket.

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