Friday, March 1, 2024

Now is the confirmation that we are not coming back

Republican Michelle O’Neill is the new First Minister of Northern Ireland, the first time in history that Our own – the party which is the political arm of the IRA – leads Ulster in a “power-sharing” Government. O’Neill took his seat in the Stormont Assembly after two years of political vacuum marked by tensions with Brexit and the unionist boycott

“Yes a historic day,” said Michelle O’Neill, 47, daughter of an IRA political prisoner who decided to take political action. “As senior minister for all, I am determined to lead positive change and work with other political forces for progress. in our societies, in a spirit of respect, cooperation and equality”.

“Today we open the doors to the future,” declared O’Neill upon taking office, dressed in stark black. “This is a moment for equality and progress, a new opportunity to create hope and grow together (…) Today is the confirmation that we will never go back.”

The recent agreement between the British Government and the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which boycotted the formation of the Stormont Assembly in 2022, requesting the lifting of trade barriers created between Great Britain and Northern Ireland After Brexit, it finally allowed a return to normal politics in Ulster.

Jeffrey Donaldson, leader of the DUP, the second most voted force in May 2022, has decided to keep his MP seat in Westminster and hand over the position of deputy chief minister to a woman, Emma Little-Pengelly, a 44-year-old lawyer. In the distribution of powers, the unionists also put their former leader Edwin Poots as Speaker of the Stormont Assembly.

For more than two decades, Sinn Féin has occupied the role of co-pilot in Northern Ireland, with special reference to the tandem formed by Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness (known in their time as “laughing brothers” because of their peculiar relationship that allowed a decade of stability).

Despite the desire for cooperation expressed last week by the leader of the DUP, the formation of the Government and the distribution of portfolios caused last-minute tensions that brought to light the division that continues among the unionists. The premier Rishi Sunak For his part, from London, he celebrated the constitution of the Stormont Assembly as “a positive step to restore the institutions of Northern Ireland.”

The president of Sinn Féin, Mary Lou McDonald, warned that his party’s ascension to the helm of Northern Ireland puts the island’s unity “within reach.” A recent poll in The Irish Times however revealed that support for unity (30%) is quite far from staying in the UK (51%) among the Northern Irish.

The same poll confirmed that the historic divide continued in Ulster with 40% of voters identifying themselves as “nationalist”, 40% as “unionists” and 20% as “non-aligned”. The increase in support for Sinn Féin happened mainly at the expense of the Social Democratic and Labor Parties, in a process comparable to what happened in the last decade in Scotland when the Scottish National Party (SNP) pulled traditional voters. of the Labor Party.

“I don’t think there will ever be a union chief minister in Northern Ireland,” he predicted. Jon Tong, professor at the University of Liverpool. “The unionist state is over, although that does not mean the end of the union. What is surprising is the high level of popular support achieved by Sinn Féin, which still resists recognizing Northern Ireland as a political entity. “

World Nation News Desk
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