British-Irish relations and lessons for an independent Scotland

Published: 9 April 2014
The Irish President is making an historic official visit to the UK (April 8-11). President Michael D Higgins’ state reception is seen as a further example of the co-operation and closer relations between the UK and the Republic of Ireland.

Research Fellow Dr Nicola McEwen has been exploring those British-Irish relations as part of her ESRC Future of the UK and Scotland work. She has produced insights to inform the referendum debate and the outcome: if Scotland and rest of the UK need to develop relations as two sovereign states.

Dr McEwen explores British Irish relations in a paper published in February 2014, A Partnership of Equals? Insights from Ireland for Scottish-UK relations after independence and in an article originally published in the Scotsman in September 2013, UK-Irish Bond May Stretch to Scots

Writing today in the London Evening Standard, Melanie McDonagh discusses the implications of the visit as a way forward for Scotland, arguing that Scottish independence could follow an Irish model, with strong economic and social ties. She notes that 'if the Irish model were followed by an independent Scotland, there wouldn’t be that much for England to be afraid of — there’d still be a flow of bright, articulate Scots coming down here to run things. There’d still be all the cultural and historic ties.' This sentiment was echoed by The Guardian's editorial page on Monday, 'The Scottish referendum, like the history of British-Irish relations, is a reminder that nations and states can evolve as well as endure'. Allan Massie also weighed in on the state visit in a piece in The Scotsman.

Image credit: World's largest Irish flag, by John Hoey



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