Drama and hyperbole tend to wrap around events in the North that might be routine elsewhere. Still, this week’s elections have the potential to fundamentally change the political dynamic.
It must be accepted from the outset that good governance is important to the vast majority in the North. For the first time since the island was divided, there is talk of a nationalist majority. Such a shift would be remarkable. But what is even more important for those who pull the levers of power is that the interests of all voters are represented and respected.
For here the much vaunted ‘hands of history’ dropped the ball to uphold and protect the spirit of the Good Friday Agreement. The agreement was transcendent because it would protect equality for all. The principle of “consensus” would restart the political machinery bogged down by sectarianism and distrust.
As difficult and divisive as the decades that followed were, the peace endured.
sense fine, if remarkably consistent opinion polls prove reliable, is on the cusp of being the best-supported party on either side of the island. A degree of generosity and understanding must now be shown from the outset if power-sharing is to have any chance of succeeding.
With greater power comes greater responsibility for Sinn Féin.
A united Ireland is a legitimate aspiration. But it must be a common and agreed one. In the short term, trust and inclusion must be considered.
It is time for the DUP to admit that the very Brexit, which it fought for – against the will of the majority in the north – made the protocol necessary. That’s why it confuses so many to insist it must go now, and that Stormont collapsed earlier this year to further his cause. It may march to the commanding beat of its own drum, but the music changes for all over time.
The vast majority of people in the north just want to be able to enjoy peace, prosperity and stability. Flags, banners and labels have been used to divide and conquer for generations.
Respect for democracy, universal suffrage achieved only after protracted civil rights campaigns, counts far more than any atavistic tribal affiliation.
The Alliance Party’s Naomi Long hit the mark when she said in the recent televised debate: “Whatever the protocol and its difficulties, we cannot stop having a government just because people don’t like certain aspects of politics. “
Much attention has been paid to who holds the position of First Minister. Maybe that’s understandable. Nationalists in the North can rightly claim that they have spent generations coming to power.
So you know too well what it means to be on the fringes. Should they emerge as great winners, their first great test will be to demonstrate a willingness to serve all communities fairly and not give in to shallow triumphalism.
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/editorial/as-sinn-fein-grows-so-does-its-responsibility-to-all-41607977.html As Sinn Féin grows, so does its responsibility to everyone