A UNITED Ireland would boost the island’s economy by billions, a report has found.
The study, commissioned by KLC Communications in Canada, estimated if the North and South of Ireland were unified in eight years time Ireland’s GDP would grow by £25.4billion.
The research cites the unification of East and West Germany in 1990 as one basis for its claims.
“German unification was and still is an expensive undertaking in its own right,” project director Professor Kurt Huebner of the University of British Columbia’s Institute of European Studies told The Irish Post.
“However, if one would try to calculate counterfactual costs, it is probably an excellent investment.”
The advantages of unification would be seen on both sides of the border but mainly felt in the North of Ireland, according to Prof Huebner.
“The Republic of Ireland would benefit quite a lot, but the benefits would be mainly accrued by Northern Ireland,” he said.
“And that’s not really a surprise, because if you compare the two entities, then Northern Ireland is obviously the less developed economy.”
Research revealed that the North of Ireland would benefit by coming under the Republic’s corporate tax rate – which, at 12.5 per cent is much lower than Britain’s 20 per cent.
Obliterating the trade barriers between north and south would also see significant boosts for both parts of the island and help the rate of growth in the North.
The report cited “currency, trade and tax barriers” as reasons for the North of Ireland’s slow economic growth.
In 2015, Financial services firm Ernst and Young reported that the rate of growth in the Republic’s economy was three times faster than that of the North.
The report also drew a comparison between Ireland and Korea, another country split into North and South.
“Korea is an interesting example in so far as political agencies in the South for a while tried hard to learn from the German experience, mainly in the way how to avoid fatal mistakes,” Prof Huebner said.
The border in Ireland has been in place for 95 years, since the Partition of Ireland in 1921.
The research, conducted between August and November of 2015, comes just weeks after Sinn Féin called for a vote on a united Ireland should Britain leave the EU in 2016.