Baronger's Scribblings

Monday, February 07, 2005

Northern Ireland: Demographic issues.

I've been thinking about the various demographic crunch that faces the first world. Recently we had a post in Megatokyo's forums that dealt with Northern Ireland, but dove-tailed into this problem. I know that Israel faces a similar situation but I hadn't really given Northern Ireland much thought.

The Catholic population of Northern Ireland is increasing at a faster rate then the Protestants growth rate. The Catholic church's emphasis on no birth control and large families has to have an effect sooner or later on demographics. Since Northern Ireland is a democracy, this will give the advantage to the larger population. As an aside; I've always wondered if this has been the goal of the Catholic's church's policies from the beginning.

The IRA is seen as the main aggressor now because they are the anti-government forces. If this flip occurs it will be interesting to see what happens. I predict that the orange faction which is going to lose power will become the main aggressor after the demographic flip. They will see themselves as losing power and fear Catholic retribution so will rapidly increase their violent activities.

Hopefully, they will be a point of equilibrium where both factions have about equal populations. I don't see it happening though. Once a group has power they are extremely reluctant to give up that power. My prediction is we are either going to see mass emigration of Protestants out of Northern Ireland once the flip occurs or an entrenchment and escalation of the violence.

As for GB pulling out of Northern Ireland. I believe the stated reason for them being there in the first place is that the majority of the population of N. Ireland want to be a part of the Kingdom. With the population flip, this argument might be turned on its head. At that point unless there are more advantages to remaining with Britain for the Irish loyalists, things are going to get sticky.

The only advantage I see would be economic, and with the way the British economy is going, I don't see the majority population of the future voting to stay in the union. Especially since at about that time the UK like most European countries is supposed to have an inverted pyramid demographic. This is a situation I hadn't really thought about when I was thinking about the coming population crunch of the first world.

Of course a solution would be to encourage immigration of Indian Protestants to Northern Ireland. Right now I see immigration from the third world as a solution to the various first world population crunches. It's why I support immigration in the United States. But the question is how would the IRA react to this sort of tactic?

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