In the United Kingdom, local elections will be held on May 5, with the Northern Ireland legislature (Stormont) re-electing. Surveys have consistently assumed this for several months
For the first time since the partition of the island of Ireland a century ago, the Sinn Féin faction will be the largest in New Stormont.
It also means that for the first time, Michel O’Neill, Sinn Féin’s Northern Ireland chapter chair and deputy chairperson of the party, will have a Catholic leader in the Belfast government on a power-sharing basis between the communities.
Sinn Fein, the largest political force in the anti-British Catholic movement in Northern Ireland, highlighted the question of the unification referendum in his platform in Belfast on Monday night. The document states that the British and Irish governments will have to set a date for a referendum on the unification of the island of Ireland after next month’s elections.
Now is the time to talk about the future.
On the Election Show, Michelle O’Neill said: As an Irish republican, he wants to see Ireland as a united country.
He added that it would be irresponsible for the Irish and Northern Irish governments not to take action to prepare plans for the reunification of the island of Ireland.
Michelle O’Neill mentioned it too It does not see that it is impossible to hold a referendum on reunification before the end of the current decade.
The 1998 Good Friday Agreement on the Northern Ireland settlement would allow for such a referendum to be called if opinion polls showed that a majority of the population in Northern Ireland supported the unification of the island of Ireland. In this case the referendum may be initiated by London by the then Secretary of the British Government for Northern Ireland at his own discretion, but a referendum must also be held on unification in the Republic of Ireland.
Northern Ireland is not part of Britain, which consists of the union of England, Scotland, and Wales, but together they make up the United Kingdom under the rule of the British Crown. As a result of the reconciliation process launched by the 1998 agreement, the two largest forces in the British Protestant movement, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and Sinn Fein, are involved in governing Northern Ireland, forming a unity government entirely unimaginable in previous decades. However, there are still regular flashes between the two political forces, and this has led to the collapse of the sectarian government on several occasions.
One major difference is that Sinn Féin is committed to the UK’s membership in the European Union, while the DUP is a radically EU skeptical movement. In the 2016 referendum on the UK’s EU membership, a slim majority of 51.89 percent of national voters voted to leave, But in Northern Ireland, nearly 56 per cent of voters voted to stay.
In Scotland, another referendum on secession is also on the agenda, especially since the EU referendum six years ago, in which 62 per cent of Scots voted for further EU membership. Scottish Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish National Independence Party (SNP) leader in Scotland, has said several times that the EU referendum result made another Scottish independence referendum necessary, as Scotland was “withdrawn” from the European Union by London, despite its clearly stated intention to remain. Scotland had already held a referendum on independence in 2014, but by that time 55 per cent of participants were still voting to keep Scotland out of Britain.
Cover image source: Charles McQuillan / Getty Images
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