Towards the reunification of Ireland?

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Towards the reunification of Ireland?

Almost a century ago, in 1921, at the end of the War of Independence, which led to London’s capitulation to Irish nationalists, Ireland was divided into two parts. Ireland gained independence as a free state, culminating in the proclamation of the Republic in 1948, which was ratified by London in 1949.

But at the time of independence, the North, which was partly populated by British residents, chose partition.

On the scale of history, this shouldn’t really be surprising. The British, who, like a victorious colonial minority, had settled in the north of the country, did not intend to become a minority in the new state. We can call this the British imperialist logic. So, as we said again, they bet on the score.

PARTITION

The breakup of Ireland was part of the post-revolutionary political system, and caused a real tragedy in the 20th century – what has been called the period of “troubles”.

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But a century has passed, the demographics have evolved, and as we learned in 2022, Catholics, in other words the Irish, now outnumber Protestants in Northern Ireland – Protestants, in other words, including the English, now Are a minority.

Certainly, current terminology dictates that we use religious terms rather than national terms to talk about these populations, but this involves making a concession to the British, who thus neutralized the meaning of the term Irish. , as if it applied freely to all the inhabitants of the island, independent of the historical Irish people, who were thus diminished in their faith.

By the way, this is the same logic that allowed Canada to turn Quebecers into simple “Francophones” – but I will return to this question another time.

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And I come back to the essential point: at the end of a two-year political crisis linked to the terms of Brexit, the Irish managed for the first time to elect a nationalist Prime Minister, a member of Sinn Féin. This is Michelle O’Neill. Elected in 2022, he eventually assumed office. Sure, she is playing the “restraint” card, but she has still announced her intention to hold a referendum within ten years to ensure the reunification of Ireland, which would be the natural vocation of the island. Naturally, the northern British are already opposed to it, and London officially refuses to hear about it.

Demography

But demography makes history and, in the medium and long term, may lead to the only natural outlet in the country’s history. If Ireland manages to re-unify within 10 to 20 years, we can say that Irish independence will have been completed – as if the rebellion that began in Easter 1916 would have taken more than a century to achieve the country’s complete liberation. It may have taken time.

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We will learn a simple lesson from this: history lasts a long time and the history of people goes through many turning points. The struggle for independence, then to recapture its entire territory, may last for many decades, even more than a century, but it may only succeed unless the nationalists give up, when Till they do not surrender.

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