In Northern Ireland, the narrow path to reconciliation

In Northern Ireland, the narrow path to reconciliation

Wednesday, December 23, marks the centenary of the Government of Ireland Act, the first in a series of annual dates celebrating the year 2021 in Northern Ireland. In addition to Brexit, this agenda has prompted many northern Irish people to ask themselves about the future of their province.

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Belfast is run by government egg shops. Because celebrating the centenary of Northern Ireland is tantamount to celebrating the victory of the Unionists affiliated with the United Kingdom. It is also a reminder of the failure of the Republicans, who still have a dim view of the partition of the Emerald Islands. Festivals do not focus on the history of the province, but on sports or gastronomy, the division is minimal.

Old divisions remain in Belfast

“More and more young people are being drawn to the extremes, and the divide will never disappear.”Kevin McNicol, who studies the subject at the University of Belfast and the University of Edinburgh, observes. In the vicinity of Belfast, where the Union Jack floats, the squares are painted blue, white, and red. Residents sticking to the crown are Community Healthcare and Pound Sterling “British”.

On the other side of the walls that divide the city, we “Irish” : We still study Gaelic in these Republican districts. Proudly displaying green, white, and orange. In the eyes of Kevin McNichol, only frustrated middle-class seniors have a more moderate outlook on their elected officials who left the province without government from 2017 to 2020.

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“Our education is divided, we do not play the same sports, we do not go to the same leisure centers … it’s not surprising that the division exists”. Luke Patterson confirms. At the age of eighteen, this high school student from Belfast intended to study political science, and did not consider himself to be British or Irish.

“Our traditional parties, the DUP and Sinn Fin, are institutionalizing divisions for political purposes. He is sorry. I see our members ruling with a little common sense. “

Declares itself “Northern Irish”: Minority Attitude

Coming from a mixed family – Catholic mother and Protestant father – Luke does not hesitate to declare himself “Northern Irish”. And to believe in a reconciliation. An attitude he still knows in the minority.

In this centenary celebration, the young man calls out his wishes “A Conversation”. “It is important to reflect on the past century and recognize our great achievements: the successes of peace agreements, scientific expertise, and innovation. He explains. It’s not so much about the party as it means living in Northern Ireland. “

Luke Patterson is a member of the Alliance, a central-liberal party that became the third political force in the province in the December 2019 elections, when the major parties lost from 7.9 percent to 16.8 percent. The same is true of two students, Fiona Rhea and Anna McLaughlin. “Disappointed” And “Disappointed” Through politics, they do not participate in celebrations, they claim, and they are proud “Northern Irish”.

Do not trust your convictions to anyone

You should look at the number of police officers deployed at each major monument. I’m afraid to go there. ”, Admit Anna. “I place my hope in the cultural and progressive arenas of Belfast, Fiona adds. Here, many associations are fighting to include everyone beyond racism. But our country still has a long way to go to find its identity. “

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Both are expected to be politically motivated and act reminiscent of conflict, which will help move the lines of dissent. Now, Anna agrees not to reveal her convictions to anyone. “Don’t enter your last name, avoid certain neighborhoods and some bars … these are the rules you learn at a very young age not to be attacked.”, Informs the young woman.


Born in Northern Ireland a hundred years ago

January 21, 1919. Declaration of Irish independence and the beginning of the Irish War of Independence after decades of high tensions.

December 23, 1920. To end the conflict, the British government enacted Irish government law, creating two parliaments on the island, separating the six northern counties and the Republic of Ireland.

December 6, 1921. Anglo-Irish treaty ending the conflict. It recognizes Northern Ireland
To decide not to be part of Ireland. A commission was set up on December 8 to determine the exact course of the border.

1969-1998. 3,500 people died as a result of “trouble” between Protestant Unionists and mainly Catholic Republicans. In 1998, the “Good Friday Agreement” ended the conflict.

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