Irish Independent

United Ireland guide: Just like on ‘Room to Improve’, it will all work out in the end

- FIONNÁN SHEAHAN

We don’t see a reason to change the flag. We don’t want to change the anthem. We don’t want a role for the king. And we won’t be joining the Commonweal­th. A united Ireland will be what we have at the moment, just bigger, according to the views of voters in opinion polls.

What about the 800,000 people who identify as British in Northern Ireland?

To assuage their concerns, the Government of Ireland is preparing a PR campaign guide to a united Ireland. Here’s the rough draft…

Frequently asked questions from our wee unionist cousins on being forced kicking and screaming into a united Ireland:

How will this work?

We’re not sure, but we see a united Ireland like an episode of Room to Improve: an excessivel­y ambitious extension to a rundown house that will run way over budget, but will be fine in the end if enough money is thrown at it.

Who will be in charge of delivering it?

Dermot Bannon.

Will the flag change?

Yes, We’re going to buy a load of flags from the Ivory Coast, so the colours will symbolical­ly change to orange, white and green.

Any other changes to symbols?

No, big decisions take a long time here, just look how long it took to agree to a new host for

The Late Late Show.

What concession­s will be made to welcome folk from Northern Ireland?

Patrick Kielty presenting The Late Late Show.

Will my children have to speak Irish?

Better yet, we guarantee they won’t be able to speak Irish. It will be compulsory for them to learn it for 14 years in school, by the end of which the only sentence they’ll be able to string together in Irish will be asking to go to the toilet.

Will a united Ireland be joining the Commonweal­th?

No, we’re scarred enough from losing to New Zealand in the Rugby World Cup every four years, so we don’t want to be humiliated by South Sea Islanders at the Commonweal­th Games too.

Will there be a role for the king?

What does he do?

He’s the head of state. He’s a distinctiv­elooking elderly gentleman, who dresses in tweed, lives in a big house at the end of an avenue, has no real powers and gives morality lectures to the nation.

I think you’ll find we have that base covered already.

Do I have to support my county’s Gaelic football team?

We don’t recommend it if you’re from Tyrone, Armagh or Derry, as there’s fierce antipathy south of the Border towards Ulster football, with the blanket defence, fouling and puke football. Just decide whether you’re shouting for Dublin or Kerry in the All-Ireland final every year.

How about supporting Mayo?

No, this process is traumatic enough for you. It would be cruel to put you through that.

Will GAA stadiums continue to be named after figures from nationalis­m?

That’s not a problem. Once you pay the price for it, the GAA will allow you to put any name you want on a stadium. With a seven-figure cross-border “grant”, Casement Park in Belfast will become ‘King Billy Stadium’, Páirc Esler in Newry will be renamed ‘Páirc Uí Paisley’ and Brewster Park in Enniskille­n will change to ‘Carson’s Ground’.

Will I still be allowed to support Rangers?

Everyone south of the Border primarily supports British football teams, despite the bleating from the League of Ireland crowd. It’s mostly Liverpool or Manchester United, so your team, Queens Park Rangers, is grand too.

Will I have to attend Roman Catholic mass?

Not necessary at all, as few enough of us do either. We just get the kids baptised so they can be given money for the holy communion and we can have a day out.

Will I be entitled to housing?

Yes, you can join the waiting list. Another 800,000 won’t make a difference, as it is never going to reduce anyway.

Will I be entitled to healthcare?

Yes, you can join the waiting list. Another 800,000 won’t make a difference, as it is never going to reduce anyway.

How do you plan to educate people south of the Border about the cultural difference­s with the North?

The BBC Northern Ireland reality TV show

Give My Head Peace will be broadcast on RTÉ to give viewers south of the Border an accurate depiction of typical life in the North.

Will BBC Northern Ireland continue to be in existence?

At the rate things are going, RTÉ will be bankrupt pretty soon, so we’ll need the BBC as our national TV station.

Any other cultural inter-connection?

A Protestant family from Ballymena will join the cast of Fair City, taking over McCoy’s pub. Within a year, the daughter will be kidnapped and locked in a box by Ciaran, the mother will have an affair with Paul, breaking up the marriage and the father will be assaulted by Carol. None of that is sectarian, it’s just what happens to everyone in Carrigstow­n.

Will the Northern Ireland Assembly sit at Stormont in a united Ireland?

No, so that’s no change. Besides, we already have a parliament that rarely sits and nobody quite knows what it does. It’s called the Seanad.

What’s the difference between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael?

Let us know if you find out.

‘Do I have to support my county’s Gaelic football team?’ ‘We don’t recommend it if you’re from Tyrone, Armagh or Derry, as there’s fierce antipathy south of the Border towards the blanket defence in Ulster football’

 ?? Photo: Andres Poveda ?? Patrick Kielty presenting ‘The Late Late Show’ will be among the concession­s to welcome people from Northern Ireland.
Photo: Andres Poveda Patrick Kielty presenting ‘The Late Late Show’ will be among the concession­s to welcome people from Northern Ireland.
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