The Sinn Féin, Irish I Am Kiss Me You Must Baby Yoda Shirt political showcase for decades of a paramilit organization that used bombs, executions and terror in his struggle, first became the last week in the political force most voted in the Republic of Ireland. A victory with profound implications for the North and south of the island, but also for the United Kingdom. The triumph of Republican nationalists, as the left force, rival of the established power, encourages the reunification of the island. And ‘ Brexit ‘ makes even more desirable what so far seemed like a chimera.
30 years ago, the voices of Sinn Féin spokespersons were banned from the BBC. An actor dubbed the statements of his leader Gerry Adams. The effect was tragicomic. Only in 1994, after the ceasefire IRA, the British first heard Adams in original version. For the public, Sinn Féin was little more than a propaganda organ of republican terrorists in a conflict that cost more than 3,500 lives. The negotiations of the peace agreement, impossible without the Sinn Féin, gave him a political weight and a new status. In the north they shared government with the unionists. To the south, instead they remained a marginal force, laced by the bloody past. The two major Irish games of centre-right, which alternated in power, treated them as a “short-standing”. All this has changed in the polls.
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Irish politics had always been quite boring. Since the independence of Great Britain, almost a century ago, politicians from the Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael have been taking turns in the government. Nothing changed substantially in a very conservative society, where the elite, in a ‘ ménage à trois ‘ with the Catholic Church, made and dismanted his air. A poor country in which young people migrated massively. The economic boom in the 90, the ‘ Tigre Celta ‘ ended with the bursting of real estate bubble and bankrupt banks. The country’s bail-out cost 67,000 million euros supplied by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund. He fell in 2011 to the Fianna Fáil government, which was behind the mess.
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The austerity measures imposed over the next five years to remove the country from bankruptcy were impovershing citizens and deteriorating public services. The public expenditure was cut and taxes were increased. The economy of Ireland quickly recovered by attracting foreign investment with one of the lowest corporation tax (12.5%) and reduced wages. The Fine Gael has kept up to now this formula. The spectacular prosperity of Ireland, seen from the outside, has not benefited the population.
Last week, the voters, who gave the unexpected chiming by voting the Sinn Féin, sought solutions to the hardships of everyday life. Finish with waiting lists in hospitals, have a place to live, a safer occupation, a decent salary. “We are seeing a division, left, right, that in Ireland” was not there “, says Eoin O’Malley, professor of political science at the City University of Dublin. The voters have recently imported the fabulous macroeconomic data of Prime Minister Leo Vardkar, and much less the ‘ Brexit ‘, which did not count for anything in the campaign. Nor did they have the reunification of Ireland, which is nevertheless the existential objective of Sinn Féin. “I do not think this was on the agenda of the people”, says O’Malley. Both ‘ Brexit ‘ and reunification are nonetheless crucial issues in the future of the island.
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The Sinn Féin leader, Mary Lou McDonald, is trying to form a government. Whatever the final formula, the triumph of nationalists has implications for Ireland and also for the United Kingdom. Brexit will create an economic border in the Irish Sea, between Northern Ireland and Great Britain. For the north-Irish it will be easier to trade with the Republic than with the rest of the United Kingdom and Dublin’s dependence will make it more important to be part of their government. This all plays in favour of reunification.
McDonald speaks wisely for a referendum within the next five years. Maybe they are 10, but the former prime minister of Fianna Fail, Bertie Ahern, sees the “inevitable” consultation and Jonathan Powell, head of the team of Tony Blair, who led the negotiations of the Holy Friday Agreement, considers it “more and more possible”. The most responsible, for McDonald’s, is to initiate the preparations for this reunification, which is inspired by factors beyond its electoral triumph. “This choice influences the celebration of the consultation,” said the BBC, “but there is also Brexit and the” demographic change ” Irish I Am Kiss Me You Must Baby Yoda Shirt. The 2021 census should confirm that Catholic nationalists are first ever numerous than Protestants in Northern Ireland. And for McDonald’s “it is very irresponsible that politicians hide their heads underground”.