The latest census figures for the Six-County State (Irish Times July 17) puts the population of the Six Counties at 1,810,900, while the other three counties of Ulster have a combined population of 204,803 giving a nine county Ulster a total population of 2,105,803 out of an All-Ireland population of 6,399,152. What this means is that Ulster accounts for 32.91% or one third of the total population of Ireland. In practical terms for unionists this means that under the proposals for a Federal Ireland contained in the Éire Nua programme a nine county Ðáil Uladh would have considerable clout within a New Ireland along with the regional assemblies which come a level below that.
The Éire Nua proposals allow for the maximum devolution of decision-making to the four provincial parliaments - with the exception of overall financing, defence and foreign affairs. Key areas such as health, education, social and economic development etc would be under the control of regional assemblies all elected according to local majorities. This would be real empowerment for all sections of the people within the nine counties of Ulster unlike the present arrangement where the people of the six counties exist as a mere region within a highly centralised British state while Donegal, Cavan and Monaghan are relegated to the margins of the 26-County state both politically as well as economically.
As we approach the centenary of the 1916 Rising Éire Nua would harness the power inherent in the population growth and turn it to the advantage of the people of all four provinces creating in turn a truly democratic All-Ireland Republic worthy of ideals set out in the 1916 Proclamation.