Belfast has a record: the vice-leader of the Sinn Fein, Michelle O’Neill, it’s the new one prime minister of thenorthern Ireland And the first Republican head of government. It was officially appointed today, after an agreement was reached in recent days to unblock it political stalemate and return to the formation of a local government of national unity, among the republicans of Sinn Fein and the DUP unionists. The most disruptive news is that it is the first pro-Irish nationalist politician which leads the fourth largest nation in the United Kingdom.
The new executive was formed on the basis of the results of the latest elections in the “province” of the Kingdom, now led by the first exponent of the republican team, while the number 2 in the government is a representative of the DUP. “This is a historic day and represents a new dawn” commented the prime minister to her parliamentary colleagues. O’Neill emphasized her position as an Irish republican, but promised “genuine and honest cooperation and engagement” with those of the British or unionist tradition. “This is an assembly for everyone: Catholics, Protestants and dissidents” assured the new prime minister.
The nomination of O’Neill by the National Assembly is intertwined with other political-institutional issues of crucial importance: in fact it occurs with the resumption of power sharing in Northern Ireland, after the DUP unionists – who left Parliament and the Belfast executive in 2022 to protest against the trade agreements taken from Great Britain with the European Union after the Brexit – they reached an agreement with London. The participation of the DUP is a necessary condition for the formation of a government in Northern Ireland, as foreseen by the Good Friday arrangements which put an end (in 1998) to thirty years of civil conflict between Catholics and Protestants, precisely with the “power sharing” rule.