The concept of nationalism is on its last legs, according to former Derry footballer and current barrister Joe Brolly.
The island of Ireland has the opportunity to co-host Euro 2028, alongside the United Kingdom. A redeveloped Casement Park would be the only Northern Ireland stadium capable of meeting UEFA’s requirement to host matches.
The bid has put a fresh spot light on the delays and complications the project has faced. While Brolly believes that mistakes made while engaging with local residents are the root of the current issues, he also thinks that the failure to modernise the GAA facility while new soccer and rugby stadiums have been build is reflective of long standing divides in Northern Ireland.
However, he thinks the situation is quickly changing. Speaking as part of an interview with Sheahan for OTB AM, Brolly discussed the concept of nationalism.
"I think that 'nationalism' as a concept is dying anyway," Brolly said. "Ireland is in a sort of very strong federation of 27 states.
"All together, of the 48 European countries and dependancies, 45 of them are either in the European Union, European free trade areas, like the Scandinavian countries or are applying to join the EU.
"There are are only three outside. Belarus, Russia and now the United Kingdom."
— Off The Ball (@offtheball) March 30, 2022
Brolly believes that how Brexit has been viewed by Scotland recently is an example of the decline of nationalism.
"The Scots are trying to disassociate themselves from this," Brolly said. "They never voted for Brexit. We see where that nationalism brings you, that xenophobia.
"We see it in Russia, in Belarus. We are seeing it in England. In Ireland, I think the people are happy to be Europeans now."
While the two countries are not yet ready for unification, Brolly believes that nationalism in both the Republic and the North is dying.
"Increasingly, of course we go and cheer the team on when they are playing rugby," Brolly said. "We cheer the team on when they play their big soccer games.
"But, the concept of nationalism, I think it's dying. It is dying. I think it is dying in the North a well, I believe. We are seeing through Brexit how ridiculous it is."