Okay so those of you who read my posts on a regular basis know that I stay away from politics here because, quite honestly, that would mean a heck of a lot more research and probably half of you would find that unfollow button to get away from me. But this was one I felt I really needed to write. So please, if you don’t like what I have to say then feel free to let me know. I’m always open to hearing different views and opinions, and I strongly believe that everyone’s beliefs and opinions have the right to be heard.
I think this post will be going live on Sunday 5th March, however I’ll be writing a little every day this week so we’re starting today on Monday, and I just wanted to bring you up to speed. And it’s going to be in separate parts because even what I wrote tonight (Monday) was too long for one big post.
On Thursday 2nd March, Northern Ireland will once again take to the polling booths in order to sort out our shambolic government. For anyone who’s unaware, let me give you a rough breakdown about what goes on in ‘The House on the Hill’ as we locals refer to it.
The Troubles in Northern Ireland were predominantly based on whether or not Northern Ireland should be ruled by Westminster, or the Republic of Ireland. Now don’t get me wrong, partition of the island happened back in 1922, but it seems some people just can’t accept that and move on. From this, the IRA (Irish Republican Army) was established with the aim of reuniting Ireland under one independent government. Of course, the unionists retaliated with the UDA (Ulster Defence Army), whose aims were to protect unionist communities from attacks by republican paramilitaries. At one time, the organisation supported an independent Northern Ireland, but has mostly favoured remaining part of Britain – even threatening to fight the British in order to do so. So, as you can see, both sides decided to resort to violence to sort their problems.
Lots of stuff then happened that I won’t go into because while it’s interesting I’m sure you don’t really care, except that the USA provided the IRA with ammo (funny that sounds familiar…) and then stopped when they saw what their weapons could do in the hands of terrorists (the attack on the twin towers). Eventually the leaders of the IRA realised that violence wasn’t going to get them anywhere and so they entered politics as Sinn Fein. Similarly, several men moved from the UDA or UVF (Ulster Volunteer Force) into the DUP (Democratic Unionist Party). So that’s the basic history.
Now, Northern Ireland have their own small government in Stormont (The House on the Hill) where we have a First Minister and Deputy Minister leading the assembly with equal standing and powers. They represent the largest parties and are also both sides of the community – Unionist (people who want to remain part of the United Kingdom) and Nationalist (people who want Northern Ireland to join with the Republic of Ireland to form a united Ireland). This is where my story really begins (and it’s only taken me 500 words!).
I’m not entirely sure what went on back in November/December 2016, but something came to light that was bad news for Arlene Foster, the First Minister and representing DUP, and there were multiple calls for her to either step aside and allow an inquiry, or to step down all together. Now note at this stage, this isn’t the first time our First Minister has been asked to step aside to allow an inquiry, and normally this happens without a problem! Interestingly, our First Ministers (as far as I’m aware) have all been from DUP. Sinn Fein made it extremely clear they were unimpressed with her handling of the situation, and from the start of the new year the majority of us could see there were going to be problems.
I can’t remember the date, but I was on the phone with my mum when i got the ping from BBC News letting me know that Martin McGuiness (our Deputy First Minister, and representing Sinn Fein) had handed in a letter of resignation. Sinn Fein were given a week to name their new leader, however they refused. This then meant that, as our government only had one leader, Westminster were to reinstate a form of Home Rule and the people of Northern Ireland were to have yet another election.
So I think that’s you up to date! I’m going to end part one here and leave it open to any questions. As I said before, I can’t claim to know much about politics, however I will do my best to answer any questions you may have!