World Northern Ireland discreetly celebrates its centennial on post-Brexit

02:10  03 may  2021
02:10  03 may  2021 Source:   rfi.fr

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En Irlande du Nord, des graffitis révélateurs de tensions post-Brexit. C'est dans ce contexte que la province britannique fête son centenaire. tension background

© Peter Morrison / AP in Northern Ireland, revealing graffiti of post-Brexit voltages. It is in this context that the British province celebrates its centenary.

Northern Ireland celebrates Monday, May 3, the 100th anniversary of its creation and attachment in the United Kingdom. An anniversary not really happy: on the one hand, because of the health restrictions and on the other hand, because North Irish society remains deeply divided between loyalists and nationalists.

with our correspondent in London, Claire Digiacomi . The centenary of Northern Ireland intervenes in a difficult period for the country, where Brexit has awakened community tensions. The province was shaken at the beginning of April by riots: in Belfast, Derry and other cities, scenes of burning cars and clashes with the police. At least 88 policemen were injured.

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The atmosphere is therefore not at the party but rather to the restraint for this hundredth anniversary because the deep divisions that have been shaking the territory for decades, between supports and opponents of attachment in the United Kingdom, have been revived recently. Especially because of the

Brexit . The government wanted to avoid establishing a physical frontier between the Republic of Ireland, a member of the European Union, and Northern Ireland. Customs controls have therefore been put in place in the North Irish ports. A maritime boundary, in short, between the province and Great Britain, experienced as a betrayal by unionists (also called Loyalists) who support membership in the United Kingdom.

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It is in this context that the Prime Minister, Arlene Foster

, was forced to resign early last week. His party, unionist, is divided and deeply fragile. This could open the way, in the future, to the republicans favorable to a reunification with Ireland.

One Centenary Source of Divisions

Peace is fragile and a gap separates the population from this British province, as shown in this report of our corresponding to Dublin,

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In his small hardware in the heart of the Loyalist Belfast, Jack sells dozens of products dedicated to the centenary. "Mugs, pines, flags ... to celebrate the 100 years of our country. We have planned little parties, games for kids, stuff to eat our fanfares will play, "he explains.

Nothing official, COVID requires. And then everyone does not celebrate the centenary: Muiread, for example, Irish nationalist, commemorates it.

"It's terrible for us," she comments. Ireland should have stayed Ireland. The English took advantage of the famine to send settlers, take our homes and win the majority. But we never wanted to be English. Faced with the temptation of reunification, is it the last major anniversary for Northern Ireland? Not sure, esteem Katy Hayward, sociologist at the Queens University of Belfast. "What did we expect from the North to hold a hundred years old? We are getting closer to a majority in favor of reunification, she says. But that does not want to say that it will arrive tomorrow. The score, it was a process, it did not happen at once. It is an extremely complex subject: in comparison, the Brexit is fun. According to the latest polls, only one in three Northern Irish vote for reunification in case of referendum.

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Northern Ireland lives to an unlikely centennial .
Few expected Northern Ireland to reach its hundredth birthday. When it was born in May 1921, it had a provisional feel. The Government of Ireland Act, under which it was set up, established linked parliaments in Belfast and Dublin, but the second had already been overtaken by events and never sat. Devolution, paradoxically, came to the one part of Ireland that had always vehemently opposed it. © (Getty Images) The 1920 Government of Ireland Act, as well as creating separate northern and southern chambers, established numerous all-Ireland bodies through which the two were eventually supposed to come together.

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