After two years of stalemate, Northern Ireland is set to rekindle a conflict that has been going on for over a century. On the first Saturday of February, Michelle O’Neill from the nationalist party Sinn Fein was appointed as the new head of government in Northern Ireland. Sinn Fein stands for the reunification of Ireland and is a party that was once the political arm of the terrorist group IRA.

Despite winning the most votes in the May 2022 election, Sinn Fein failed to form a government due to opposition from the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) over post-Brexit trade rules. However, an agreement has finally been reached which led to £3 billion in funding being transferred from the British government to public services in Northern Ireland.

With O’Neill at the helm of this new government, a nationalist holds the top position in Northern Ireland’s executive for the first time since its partition in 1921. A recent report by CNBC drew attention to O’Neill’s family background which reflects a connection between Sinn Fein and IRA. Her father was a member of IRA and later became a Sinn Fein councillor while one of her relatives was killed by UK’s Special Air Service (SAS) during their fight against terrorism in 1991.

Macdonald expressed his desire for referendum on island’s reunification within ten years but both British government and unionists allies are unhappy with this prospect. They believe that focus should be on everyday issues rather than constitutional issues.

By Editor

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