Sinn Fein calls for united Ireland debate after historic election win -Breaking
© Reuters. Michelle O’Neill, Sinn Fein deputy leader, and Mary Louise McDonald, party leader, speak with media at Meadowbank Sports Arena count center, Magherafelt (Northern Ireland), May 7, 2022. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne
By Amanda Ferguson
BELFAST (Reuters). Sinn Fein, an ex-political wing of Irish Republican Army (IRA), hailed their first victory at a Northern Ireland Assembly elections as a “defining point” and demanded a debate about a united Ireland.
Sinn Fein was 27-24 seats ahead of the pro British Democratic Unionist Party, with two remaining to declare. This made it the first Irish nationalist party that became the largest devolved assembly.
Today is a significant day of transformation. Michelle O’Neill from Sinn Fein Northern Ireland said that it was a “defining moment” in politics and in the lives of people. Michelle O’Neill is the leader of Sinn Fein, which secured 29% of the first-preference votes compared to 21.3% for the DUP.
She stated that there must now be an honest debate about the party’s aim to unify the territory with Republic of Ireland.
As the British government has discretion over the matter, and it is possible that years from now, the referendum to quit the United Kingdom will be held.
The symbolic significance of the event is immense, as it ends a century-long dominance by pro British parties that were supported mainly by the Protestant population.
DUP was a prominent proponent for Britain’s departure from the European Union. This is partly due to the DUP’s role in post Brexit talks between London and Brussels, which resulted trade barriers between Northern Ireland (and the rest of the United Kingdom).
Nicola Sturgeon (Scottish First Minister) is leading a campaign against the United Kingdom. In a Twitter post, NYSE:, she was the first person to congratulate Sinn Fein. It was hailed as a “truly historic” result.
Although the biggest party is entitled to nominate a candidate as First Minister in Northern Ireland’s compulsory power sharing government, it could take months due to disagreements with DUP.
O’Neill answered a journalist’s question about her expectations of becoming the first Irish-nationist First Minister in the area.
Jeffrey Donaldson, DUP leader, said that his party will not join government until the protocol for Northern Ireland’s trading with the UK after its departure from the European Union is completely overhauled.
Campaigns by the DUP focused on promises to remove what they call a “border in the Irish Sea”.
Donaldson indicated that he would listen to the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s speech on the subject next week, before making his next decision.
Brandon Lewis, British minister for Northern Ireland said in a statement that he urged the parties to establish an executive committee as soon as they can.
Sinn Fein, which was active in fighting for Northern Ireland’s position within the United Kingdom during the three-decade-long conflict over Northern Ireland’s status inside the United Kingdom ended with a 1998 ceasefire. Sinn Fein has been long ignored by both the Irish and British political elites.
It has since reinvented itself and has become the most beloved party in Republic of Ireland. This is where its campaign on daily issues like healthcare costs, the cost of living, and other important topics has made it a success.
In the Northern Irish election, it followed a similar pattern. It focused more on economic issues than Irish unity in order to appeal to middle ground voters.
According to demographic trends, the election will be dominated by pro-British Catholic Protestant parties that would soon be eclipsed eventually by Catholic Irish nationalist parties that favor unifying the Republic of Ireland and the north.
All candidates for union won slightly more votes together than any nationalists during Thursday’s election.
Cross-community Alliance Party achieved its highest ever vote with 17 votes as it seeks to become a third pillar in the political system.