Suggestions that a £25 billion financial boost would follow the reunification of Ireland have been branded “fantasy economics” by unionists.
In a new report – produced by the University of British Columbia in Canada – academics suggest that the removal of currency, trade and tax barriers would lead to increased GDP and other long-term benefits.
However, the independence of the document has been called into question due to the involvement of San Francisco organisation KRB.
“The agent for this organisation also happens to be the head of Friends of Sinn Fein in San Francisco and its president is described as someone who has ‘worked diligently for the unification of Ireland,’ the DUP’s Gordon Lyons said.
“This report is 84 pages of Gerry Adams-style economics and has the same level of credibility.
“It is based on a number of conveniently beneficial assumptions, including that the Republic of Ireland could seamlessly fund the same level of subvention as Northern Ireland currently receives from HM Treasury.”
“We know nothing about the kind of healthcare which would be delivered in this green-tinted utopia. The practical difficulties of how to persuade the people of the Republic of Ireland to assume an extra £9 billion per year of debt or persuading the people of Northern Ireland to abandon the NHS are conveniently ignored by the authors.”
The East Antrim MLA added: “It was commissioned by ‘KRB – a San Francisco Bay area-based non-profit social welfare organisation’. It is little wonder that Sinn Fein representatives have been lining up to praise the report given it has been bought and paid for by republicans.
“The people of Northern Ireland have become aware of the need to stand against Sinn Fein attempts to rewrite history. It would seem necessary also, however, to guard against their attempts to rewrite economics.
“Such is Sinn Fein’s desperation for economic credibility that they have to resort lauding reports commissioned by their own supporters.”
The document, Modelling Irish Unification, was authored by Dr Kurt Hubner and Dr Renger Herman Van Nieuwkoop. It was officially launched in Belfast on Wednesday.
Steve Aiken, the UUP’s South Antrim Assembly candidate, also slammed the report.
“Some of the models quoted include German reunification and potential Korean reunification. With the greatest respect to the Republic of Ireland, its economy is not comparable to the powerhouse that was West Germany, or the success story that has been South Korea,” he said.
“The notion that a united Ireland would see £25 billion of economic gains if only the border was to be removed is fantasy economics of the highest order. It was a minister in the Republic, Jimmy Deenihan, who said ‘Ireland cannot afford a united Ireland’.
“The Ulster Unionist Party is in no doubt that a prolonged period of sustained peace and political stability is what is required to help rebuild our economy rather than Irish unity.”