Sat. Mar 2nd, 2024
Reignition of debate on reuniting Ireland as former political wing of IRA gains power

Northern Ireland has reached a resolution to its two-year impasse, paving the way for a conflict that has been ongoing for over a century. On the first Saturday of February, Michelle O’Neill from the nationalist Sinn Féin party was named as the new head of government in Northern Ireland. Sinn Féin advocates for Irish reunification and is a party that was once associated with terrorism through the IRA. While they received the most votes in the May 2022 election, they were unable to form a government due to opposition from unionist parties.

In order for a government to be formed in Northern Ireland, legislation requires members from both nationalist and unionist parties. The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) received the second most votes in the 2022 election but refused to form a government and boycotted the National Assembly for two years due to their opposition to post-Brexit trade rules. However, after much negotiation, an agreement was finally reached, resulting in a transfer of £3 billion from the British government to public services in Northern Ireland. With O’Neill leading the new government, a nationalist holds the top position in the Northern Irish Executive for the first time since Ireland’s partition in 1921.

Recent news reports have brought attention to O’Neill’s family background and her connection with Sinn Féin and the IRA. Her father was once a member of IRA and later became a councilor for Sinn Féin while her cousin was killed by UK Special Air Service (SAS) during his membership in IRA. Despite this history, O’Neill has expressed her belief that there should be a referendum on Irish reunification within ten years. She stated that this would be beneficial for both economics, society and politics and would allow Northern Ireland to play an important role on a global scale

By Editor

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