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An upset in Ulster

A surge in republican turnout causes an upset in Northern Ireland

After a foolish gibe about crocodiles, the first minister gets bitten

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Readers' comments

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JoannePaxton

Could the new tabloidesque 'Economist' be less openly pro-Tory / biased? I don't automatically fall in love with Ruth because she's L and I am G, that's not how politics work. I am opposed to her ideology and economic policies and her working class roots supporting the Anglo establishment. england still rules over or is ruled by, depending where Tory DUP talks are/go (frankly the DUP is not ideologically worse or more xenophobic than UKIP and they are at least as xenophobic and prone to lying about expenses or pet projects as the tories. But socially speaking they are tribal and rooted in the XVIIth century. No probs there. But they have not evolved since. Darwin, Marx, Freud, Keynes and the Vienna/Chicago economists as well as neo-liberals. neo-cons have passed them by. Their leader happens to be someone who had a slim majority and called a snap election which he/she/it (OK, she) lost and NI is without government and with england being clueless it is even without a functioning Stormond.

guest-ajeaswnl

the only answer to the problems of norther ireland would be a condominium (a joint sovereignty over Northern Ireland by the UK and the republic of Ireland).

JoannePaxton in reply to guest-ajeaswnl

I do not follow your 'answer'. The only reasonable one would be doing a Germany, absorbing the most fragile, less developed 6 counties which the constitution of Ireland (as that of West Germany) already provides for. The UK can do what Mrs. Thatcher did regarding German reunification, go and share sour grapes with whoever happens to be presiding France, resign herself, ignore the French and get along splendidly with the New much enlarged Germany. The UK had troops in West Germany and I presume it still has some in all its former colonies but that's no reason to make england think it has a saying in Ireland's affairs, it doesn't. The UK does and neither the SNP-ruled Scotland nor the anti-corbyn Labourites-ruled Cymru are in the colonial business. Not any more.

egyptophile

A dilemma for England. Ulster may finally break with England and refuse to join Brexit. Scotland will do the same.
Who knows even Wales may be tempted as well.
Can little old England go it alone?!
There may be more crocodiles in the British swamp than the English have bargained for!

right wing social democrat

Instead, one could constitute the north of Ireland as a British Irish condominium, with every person on attaining 16 years of age able to opt to become a British or an Irish citizen.

And, to vote, as the case may be, for the Parliaments in either Dublin or London ... As well as for their local government ...

One could make it that the Irish citizens be subject to the Irish criminal law, and the British citizens be subject to the British criminal law, with the commercial law of the EU applying to business and commerce ...

J Worthington

This whole protestant vs Catholic population figure is dubious. How many Protestants/Catholics actually regularly attend? Likely a small minority on both sides. The real winner of the 21st century was agnosticism.

Aidan 1974

I'm not sure where all the United Ireland comments are coming from below. There is no serious discussion about it in the Republic and Sinn Fein are nearly as toxic in the south as Gert Wilders is in The Netherlands. For a united Ireland the Republic would have to vote 'For' which unless you held it after everyone's had a few pints on 17th March would be unlikely to pass in the foreseeable future.

Aidan 1974 in reply to great uncle clive

that may be your view - but they've morphed from whatever they were into a pretty well established "alternative for Ireland" / anti establishment / (and clearly Nationalist) party with a significant minority, who when people say negative things about them on talk radio shows, manage to jam the switchboards with people saying the opposite. They engage in alternative truths and do character assassinations on people who take action against them.

They're also the biggest non-Government party in the Republic at the moment, so effectively the opposition. They're not going to go away any sooner than the Front National in France or the Brexiteers (they're not a party either, they've just managed to take control of one) in the UK.

I've no intention of voting for Sinn Fein in a million years but the arrogant betrayal of the GFA compromise by the English means that the current constitutional compromise is dead. I hope to see more policy papers from Irish think tanks and parties on how we integrate the NHS to customs to schools.

We have to reasonable and immediately start planning on how we integrate NI.

guest-ajoiwnin

If you have some time at a local library and look up the history books, the Irish Republican movement, Sinn Fein and the IRA of Southern Ireland has a repugnant history of being involved with the Nazis and also the country had Waffen SS migrate there after the war and many SS were feted by Irish society. The Dublin government are not sure what to do with the last know statutes of Nazis, such as Sean Russell, some of the last Nazi monuments left in Europe, the rest of Europe has removed all public monuments to Nazi's.
Oliver Flanagan, a notorious anti-semite, used his maiden speech in the Dáil, on 9 July 1943, to urge the Dublin government to "rout the Jews out of this country". The year is 2017, yes is it 2017 and who is travelling north as Dublin's foreign affairs minister, non other than Flanagan's son, Charlie Flanagan. Southern Ireland has a repugnant past history of Nazi's, the Dublin government is a compete joke and is completely hopeless , the place is repugnant sickening mess of a society and nothing has changed since the 9th of July 1943 has it ?

guest-nonoson in reply to guest-ajoiwnin

thats genius: pick some fuckwit's sopeech in 1943 and on the basis of that condemn a whole country 80 years later. Condemn his son too, because obviously its not racist to say that anti-semitism is hereditary.
Russell is reviled in the republic, rightly so.
Can we kind of not decide our future based on ancient anecdotes?

Wamboin

The issues here are complicated. As things stand currently, people in Britain have in general no sympathy for or understanding of the unionists, although the Conservative Party has benefitted over the years from a political alliance with them in Westminster. In addition, the Republic of Ireland is, now, very different from what it was: note the lack of support, in referenda, for distinctively Catholic causes. As a result, it is not clear that anyone in Britain, a few Protestant sectarians apart, really has any emotional concerns about a United Ireland. However, there are grave problems posed by history. The English were worried in 17c about Catholicism as a political threat, and a political-cum-religious ideology was developed - which one finds, say, in Daniel Defoe - which lived on among some of the Northern Ireland unionists. There were, then, the problems of England having imposed a terrible colonial regime on the Irish, and of the large-scale settlement of what became the unionists in the northern part of Ireland, who after the division, imposed their domination in a miserable way on the Catholic population (but in large measure because they were scared about what the result would otherwise be). In the face of all this, power sharing and a porous border look the way to go: over time, there is every reason to suppose that, in the end, no-one will care any more about the issue of political division. If one jumps to the present setting, it would seem as if the issues are straightforward: the Unionists are still numerically in a majority in the North, but over time this is not likely to continue. They need to be accommodating - here they are simply in the wrong over the Ash for Cash affair, and the Nationalists demands completely reasonable - and to get back to cooperation of a kind which will set up the kind of society that, in the future when they are a minority, they will desperately need.

derek5

The Irish island should be one country.
Those worried to live there should be offered legal protection aiming at equal treatment like any other Irish citizen and the UK (rather England) should help them to resettle if they wish to do so.
Clean and modern solution; and case closed.

lvnv99 in reply to derek5

The solution is to respect democracy and the will of the majority and the majority do not wish to be united with the Republic of Ireland. Irish-Americans who hypocritically complain about land "stolen" from the Irish while simultaneously living on land stolen from Native Americans should butt out. Clean and simple solution; case closed.

Lugh in reply to lvnv99

@ lvnv99 "Irish-Americans who hypocritically complain about land "stolen" from the Irish while simultaneously living on land stolen from Native Americans should butt out."
.
Isn't it going to get messy when you also exclude English living on land stolen from the Celts, and so on?

homocidalmaniac

It is morally repugnant for Ireland to be divided by an artificial border based on religious values and the only satisfactory manoeuvre, is for the two Irelands to reunite. Once again British idiocy continues to haunt all of us. It has only been with the theft of other countries resources that they have actually managed to acquire a semblance of wealth. Without it, they would probably be lumped together with other third world states. The country has been so poorly governed for centuries, resulting in a citizenry, mostly unfit to complete the tasks required of a civilised nation.

tjfob

When Ireland was partitioned in 1926 the north was 67% Protestant and 33% Catholic..so, the Protestants had control of the gov't, the land, the jobs , the constabulary and, when needed like during the Troubles, the English military, basically consigning Catholics to second-class citizenship ...now, the demographic is 41% Protestant to 40% Catholic...the political winds have shifted and it would seem that in the near future the Catholics will assume the political power that has long eluded them...then we'll see how the Protestants, and England, react to being the minority party and the subsequent loss of their many first-class privileges....and that's before the inevitable drive to be reunited with Ireland..that's when the s**t really hits the fan!

bennfuji in reply to tjfob

Is it actually true, I wonder, to assume that 'England' is opposed to Northern Ireland being 'reunited with Ireland'? Is there any polling evidence of relevant opinion in England or in England/Scotland/Wales?

Spectacularj1 in reply to tjfob

I don't think anyone in Westminster would ever admit it, but I think the British government concluded long ago that Northern Ireland is far more trouble than it is worth. At this point I seriously doubt they would adamantly oppose reunification.

great uncle clive

Would it be correct to say ? This is the first time in 200 years that Ulster has lacked a unionist majority government
..
If as a result of Brexit , Ulster reunites with Ireland remaining in Europe , the whole Brexit foolishness will have been gloriously worthwhile

guest-njoonjj

"Sinn Fein further accuses Mrs Foster of wasting hundreds of millions of pounds in her handling of a green-energy initiative, which has become known as the “cash for ash” affair."
That large sums of public money have been wasted on the scheme seems beyond doubt. That Ms Foster was the minister responsible when the scheme was set up is certain.
Sinn Fein have been careful not to accuse Ms Foster of anything. They have merely said that she should step aside while the matter is investigated.
It is surprising the Sinn Fein seem to be mare careful in their use of language than The Economist

twoprofs

The DUP also has to consider that perhaps many unionists voted for the opposition as a way of registering their displeasure with (a) the DUP's support of Brexit and (b) the DUP's fraud, waste, and abuse of public funds in the cash-for-ash mess. It is not a simple matter of "more" Sinn Fein supporters turning out, but a serious backlash by Unionist voters too against their own politicians who do not deserve their support.