Destination Unknown – What’s next for Northern Ireland?

4 mins read

Northern Ireland has been through it all over the years. However as times are changing and citizens are trying to move away from the past and live in the present, there is always one thing holding it back.

For the past two years Northern Ireland has been without a sitting government in Stormont. Decades have went by and the idea of petty politics has always prevented a prosperous nation from growing. January 9th 2017, the then Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland, Martin McGuinness, resigned from his position causing the collapse of the power sharing government. Two years on, and nothing has changed. Two secretary of states later, James Brokenshire and currently Karen Bradley, and nothing has changed.

A nation that is continuously caught in the net of the past will never be free to grow.

Arlene Foster – DUP leader, Theresa May – PM and Martin McGuinness – Sinn Féin. Credit: The Independent.

As the same old “us v them” arguments persist, the never-ending ‘all party’ talks have resulted in zero progress. But what exactly are they not agreeing on? An Irish Language Act, it sounds simple, but for some it’s a case of identity. In 2018 a deal was to be signed on Valentine’s Day, how romantic, however the terms were leaked. When grassroots unionists realised that the DUP had agreed to Sinn Féin’s suggestion of the language act, the so-called deal was scrapped and the stalemate continues.

It is simply a case of “we can make a deal tomorrow, it’s just them who won’t agree.” It is arguably one of the worst government stalemates in the U.Ks history. A secondary issue, which, may I add is extremely important, is equal marriage. Unlike the rest of the UK and Ireland, equal marriage has not been legalised causing a lot of unrest within society from both sides of the debate. Like many other countries Northern Ireland is facing a suicide epidemic, homelessness is on the rise and education funds are being stretched too thin. The difference is, a nation without a government is a nation without legislation and without legislation we have no change.

It always seems to end in the same fashion, in order to please one side you must upset the other. Compromise is the key term in all of this mess.

The Good Friday Agreement is 21 years old this year and has evidently failed. It is beyond time to move forward and make Northern Ireland the county that it can be. So what’s next? With the largest party being the DUP, who prop up Theresa Mays government and also strongly support a hard Brexit, if a government was to be formed, Brexit will have a lot to say about what happens next.

With constant debate about a backstop, hard boarders and potentially the reunification of Ireland the future of Northern Ireland is unknown. The only thing I hope for the future at this point, is that whatever is decided, that it is decided peacefully. There has to be something better than this.

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