- Posted August 20, 2014 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Interview: The Irishman
I’m in Dublin searching for an Irish perspective on the Scottish Referendum and that led me to meeting up with Daryl Bolger for a few (several) pints at the famous Mulligan’s pub in Dublin’s city center.
Bo Brennan: So, can you give me your full name and what you do here?
Daryl Bolger: Yeah, I’m Daryl Bolger and I work in the strategy department at Dublin Airport Authority. I do thing like the balance scorecard for the company and things like that. All sorts of higher level stuff so I wouldn’t be in the day-to-day running of the company.
BB: Have you been keeping up with the Scottish Referendum?
DB: As much as I can. It’s hard…because I got sick of it after a while. This person said this and that person said that and the Labour shadow minister said this. I’ve been keeping up with the polls as much as I can though.
BB: So do you think people in Ireland, in general, are keeping up with the referendum?
DB: I think so. They know it’s on but they might be a bit ignorant to some of the issues around it. We know it’s there, but some of the debates, like the pound, the NHS [Ed’s Note: National Health Service, the UK’s universal healthcare service], the oil money, the border…I think people are just unsure because none of those issues have been settled on.
I think people are following it because we’re independent of the UK for almost a hundred years now and we like to see countries [become independent], be it Scotland or other countries around the world like Kosovo or the Palestinian cause. It’s just because we fought for so long, so we always keep an eye on it. They’re our Celtic cousins too; there’s a strong bond there. Whenever we play rugby, we always look forward to when the Scots came over and vice-versa.
BB: Do people think that the way Scotland is achieving independence more preferable than the way the Republic did it?
DB: Well, obviously, war is never preferable in any scenario, but if you ask people if they would have waited until 2014 and done it in the ballot, or would they have done it in in 1916-1922 and most people would have taken 1916. It’s a 2014 solution and we had a 1916 solution. It’s a different world. We are one of the first countries to break away, so there wasn’t much of a precedent.
BB: If Scotland does vote to be independent, what implications does that have for Ireland and Northern Ireland?
DB: I’ve been trying to think of this and I can’t see anything changing. Obviously, agreements would have to be renegotiated—things like the common travel area between the UK and Ireland. Honestly though, I can’t see anything changing… [Scotland] will probably be allowed in the common travel area. They’d be allowed to keep the pound, I’d imagine. They’ll have a decision on the EU. If they weren’t in the EU, that would be problematic, but not nearly as problematic as if England voted ‘yes’ on that referendum. If England left the EU, it would be much more problematic for Ireland than if Scotland voted to be independent.
BB: Do you think there will be any long term impacts specifically on Northern Ireland?
DB: I think most people A) accept the situation and B) realize that if it did come back around there would need to be some serious issues dealt with there. You might see people pushing for a referendum but I just don’t see it.
BB: Do you think if there is a referendum in Northern Ireland there would be violence?
DB: Yeah, there would be some. The propaganda [for a Northern Ireland referendum] would be a lot fiercer than it is there. It seems pretty respectable over in Scotland, bar one or two off-the-cuff remarks. I don’t know if you would see that in Northern Ireland, which is reasonable, because people would’ve had fathers, sisters, mothers who had died on both sides. That didn’t happen in Scotland.
I think there would be a push for it but I don’t think it would happen soon…probably from Sinn Fein [Ed’s note: the Irish Republican political party] and maybe the Alliance party [Ed’s note: a liberal, non-sectarian party in Northern Ireland] would join in.
BB: So, do people here in the Republic think about a reunion with Northern Ireland?
DB: I don’t think so. It comes up and I think it would be a long-term goal for a lot of people. Certainly, the major political parties would have that as one of their major goals but very few people think it’s going to realistically happen.
BB: If you had a vote in the referendum, what would you say?
DB: If I was a Scot living in Scotland, I’d vote yes. I can see why people wouldn’t because of the issues I said earlier—the pound, NHS, the border control, the EU, oil. Alex Salmond has, I’m pretty sure, ruined his chances of winning this referendum just by not getting those questions answered. I don’t see why you wouldn’t want to be independent. Why would you want someone in another country making decision for you?
They’re proud people, the Scottish. I think as an Irish person as well, because it took us so long and we fought so hard for [independence], I can’t get my head around why you wouldn’t want to be independent. Why wouldn’t you want someone in your capital, who you voted for, making decisions for you?