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State of confusion

This is a brief user's guide to Irish political life. The capital of Ireland is Dublin. It has a population of a million people, most of whom will be shopping in Newry this weekend and will pay in euros, the currency of the South.

Under the Irish Constitution, the North used to be in Ireland. But after a disastrous 30-year campaign of murder by the IRA for Irish unity the Republic of Ireland voted overwhelmingly to ensure the North is now definitely in the UK.

Belfast is the capital of Northern Ireland. It has a population of half a million, half of whom have houses in Donegal.

Protestants are in favour of the Border, which generates millions of pounds in smuggling for Catholics, who are opposed to the Border. Travel between the two states is complicated because Ireland is the only country in the world with two M1 motorways. The one in the North goes west to avoid the south and the one in the South goes north to avoid the price of drink.

We have two types of democracy in Ireland. Dublin democracy works by holding a referendum and then allowing the Government to judge the result. If the Government thinks the result is wrong, the referendum is held again.

Belfast democracy works differently. It has a parliament with no opposition, so the government is always right.

Ireland has three economies -- northern, southern and black. The black economy is in the black. The other two are in the red.

Paul O'Sullivan
Address with editor

Irish Independent