NEWLY-RELEASED documents reveal that the British Government considered moving the population of Hong Kong into the North of Ireland at the height of the Troubles.
Unveiled by the National Archives, the plans suggested that a new “city state” be built between Coleraine and Derry on the north coast in the 1990s.
The file, named “Replantation of Northern Ireland from Hong Kong”, was billed as a solution to the Troubles, when it was first put forward in 1983.
The rather unique idea came from a British university lecturer, Christie Davies.
Prof Davies, a sociology expert at Reading University, said that the move would revitalise the stagnant economy in the North of Ireland.
One Foreign Office employee, David Snoxall, said at the time “the arrival of 5.5million Chinese in Northern Ireland may induce the indigenous peoples to forsake their homeland for a future elsewhere.”
However, the proposal was all a light-hearted joke among the civil servants of the 1980s – though some people fell hook, line and sinker for the report when it emerged this week.
It prompted Mr Snoxall to go live on air on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this morning (July 3), saying: “It was a spoof from start to finish.”