The idea of the six-counties remaining under the undemocratic control of Westminster rather than re-uniting with its own hinterland makes less and less sense in a fluid, rapidly changing situation but beyond that Bernard's notion of an 'independent Northern Ireland' is utterly ludicrous. Leaving aside the poisonous sectarianism that would inevitably cripple ANY six-county political system, the north is not in a position to stand on its own in a manner say as that proposed for Scotland, not even remotely. But if we were to re-join the rest of our country and achieve a real measure of independence a new situation would emerge.
His notion the European Parliament would dare challenge the British sovereign claim is fanciful in the extreme but shifting the problem to Europe will not in itself change a thing regardless, the reason being it would still ignore the democratic will of the Irish people. Talk of the six-counties having a right to self-determination is simply a way to circumvent that will and another way of saying Britain and Unionism should be allowed to dictate the parameters of Irish democracy and must first agree to Irish reunification.
But why should that be the case and why should a small minority be granted veto power over the vast majority? Protection for minorities is one thing and to be encouraged but this is something entirely different and basically an attempt to reason away the historical context of how we arrived at this point to begin with. Those who argue the virtues of such a position willingly submit the democratic rights of the Irish people to an occupying power and it's schemes to subvert genuine self-determination in order to control our country.
No matter the passage of time the historical fact remains Britain has occupied Ireland, in whole or in part, for centuries and has done so against the express wishes of the people who live here. You can't get around that simply by ignoring it or moving the goal-posts. Irish Unity, as the only truly democratic model, needs examined at this point, despite the refusal of naysayers like Bernard to countenance such an arrangement under any circumstances. It's time for fresh thinking if Ireland is to progress, either that or remain stuck in the time-warp that passes for politics in our still-partitioned land.