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Should there be a united Ireland?
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The Northern Irish people want to be part of the UK

Northern Ireland has a right to self-determination and the majority of people there want to remain British
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The people of Northern Ireland, like all people, have a right to self-determination.

The Argument

A cardinal principle under international law, the political will of the inhabitants of a territory should be the key determinant of a country’s statehood. In the case of Northern Ireland, demographic data suggests protestants and those of British backgrounds still outnumber Catholics and those of Irish backgrounds. Elections, therefore, always show more support for unionist parties and candidates than nationalists. This shows that the Northern Irish people want to be part of the UK and it would be undemocratic and a denial of the right to self-determination to deny them this.

Counter arguments

Northern Ireland was a gerrymandered territory which was demographically engineered to create a unionist majority. Unlike an area with a recognised culture and history dating back before 1921 such as Ulster, Northern Ireland’s borders were drawn up so as to guarantee support for unionism in the region for as long as possible. While self-determination is important, it should only apply to areas that were not created in such an arbitrary way. To create a territory with the specific purpose of it including a majority for one political view is gerrymandering and if this is allowed, any number of small communities should exercise their own right to self-determination.


[P1] Northern Irish people have the right to self-determination [P2] The majority of Northern Irish people support being part of the UK [P3] Therefore, a united Ireland would deny Northern Irish people of this right

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] As a gerrymandered territory, Northern Ireland does not have the right to self-determination


This page was last edited on Friday, 17 Jan 2020 at 10:44 UTC

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