The Republican and nationalist Irish party Sinn Fein wants to organize a referendum in the next ten years to unite the British province of Northern Ireland and the EU country Ireland into a single country. “We have to win the heads and hearts of the People,” Party leader Mary Lou McDonald said in London on Tuesday.
In the next decade, there will be a constitutional change. According to polls, there is currently no majority for a united Ireland in Northern Ireland. Proponents hope that Brexit and demographic developments will play into their hands.
In the Irish parliament in Dublin, McDonald’s Sinn Fein is the largest opposition party. In Northern Ireland, the party won the election a few weeks ago, with Vice President Michelle O’Neill at the helm.
This means that O’Neill has the right to become prime minister. However, she must form a unity government with the conservative and Unionist Party DUP, which wants the closest possible ties with Britain. However, the DUP refuses to form a government if the Northern Ireland protocol, which the British government had negotiated with the European Union in the context of Brexit, is not changed.
“It is shameful that the DUP is holding our people hostage,” O’Neill said. The power structure between the two camps, which was carefully balanced with the Good Friday Agreement of 1998, should ensure peace and stability in the former civil war area. Unionists, however, do not feel connected to Britain by the protocol.
“The protocol works, ” McDonald said. “What’s not working is Brexit.”