Time to restore Queen Elizabeth’s legacy of good relations between these islands

After a turbulent week, the United Kingdom with King Charles III. a new head of state and, in Liz Truss, a new prime minister – developments that offer an opportunity to reframe relations with Ireland after Britain’s unresolved exit from the European Union and return to the high point that marked Queen Elizabeth’s successful visit to followed that country in 2011.

he Queen’s death after an extraordinary 70 years on the throne has brought fond memories of that visit, during which she brought relations between the Republic and the United Kingdom to a point unequaled in the long and troubled relationship between these islands.

Since the week of that visit, and after the UK voted to leave the EU – particularly as its exit affects Northern Ireland – relations have been thrown back.

The Conservative government, formerly led by Boris Johnson and, as of last week, Liz Truss, has shown little sign of willingness to engage constructively to address concerns about the Northern Ireland Protocol negotiated with the EU as part of the Brexit process.

In addition, and as a result of Brexit, deeper questions about the future of the UK are being raised in Ireland and also in the UK – particularly Scotland. These are questions some believe may be accelerating now in the wake of Queen Elizabeth’s death.

In the United States, Mary Lou McDonald, chairwoman of Sinn Fein, last week and before the Queen’s death, again raised the issue of uniting North and South Ireland, which she described as an act of political vandalism. Ms McDonald, who many expect to become the Taoiseach after the next election, expects the question to be asked by referendum within a decade.

While the issue of a united Ireland is generally well received in the Republic, there is understandably far less support for the prospect in Northern Ireland.

In fact, there doesn’t seem to be much urgent demand for such a seismic constitutional change anywhere on the island. In any case, as columnist Sam McBride writes this week, it would also be a mistake to think that Queen Elizabeth’s death will inevitably hasten the end of the United Kingdom.

Indeed, the outpouring of sadness and sorrow in the UK following the Queen’s death – and the royal pomp and ceremony surrounding subsequent events, not least the succession of King Charles – was such that support for the monarchy and the union could be strengthened, at least initially.

Much will depend on the style and nature of the new sovereign when he takes the throne.

However, it would be foolish to state unequivocally that the turbulent events of the past week will have no long-term consequences for these islands. The discussion was already underway. For some, this debate will now be of greater urgency; for others the opposite will be the case.

More importantly at this stage, the new UK government acts to resolve the Brexit impasse and restore the good relations between the two islands that the late Queen Elizabeth was so successful in fostering.

https://www.independent.ie/opinion/editorial/time-to-restore-queen-elizabeths-legacy-of-good-relations-between-these-islands-41979353.html Time to restore Queen Elizabeth’s legacy of good relations between these islands

Fry Electronics Team

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