A new equilibrium in Northern Ireland: Can it last?

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Publication Date March 2024
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When the Windsor Framework emerged from the negotiations between the European Union and the British government in February 2023, Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) stood in firm opposition. For the DUP, the Windsor agreement and its contentious precursor, the Northern Ireland Protocol, undermined Northern Ireland’s standing within the UK. The party changed its stance, however, after striking an agreement with the British government in late January 2024. The deal led to the restoration of power-sharing in Northern Ireland, breaking the two-year impasse caused by the unionists’ refusal to enter the Northern Ireland Assembly, the region’s devolved parliament.

For the first time in Northern Ireland’s century-long history, a nationalist figure, Michelle O’Neill from Sinn Féin, assumed the position of First Minister. While the role is constitutionally on par with the Deputy First Minister post, O’Neill’s appointment carried significant symbolic weight in a region which was historically dominated by unionists and where symbols and identities held paramount importance. At the same time, the DUP’s acquiescence to a compromise over Brexit marked a watershed moment in a process that had divided Northern Irish politics and the unionist community. With the devolved parliament and government functional again, there appeared to be a semblance of equilibrium in Northern Ireland after a tumultuous couple of years.

Source Link https://www.cer.eu/insights/new-equilibrium-northern-ireland-can-it-last
Alternative sources
  • https://www.cer.eu/sites/default/files/insight_AS_nireland_1.3.24.pdf
Related Links
ESO Records
Cardiff EDC: Discussions on the implementation of the Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland, 2021- https://www.europeansources.info/record/infringement-procedure-by-the-european-commission-against-the-united-kingdom-over-breach-of-obligations-under-the-protocol-on-ireland-and-northern-ireland/
EPRS Briefings: April 2023: The Windsor Framework: A new way forward for the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland https://www.europeansources.info/record/the-windsor-framework-a-new-way-forward-for-the-protocol-on-ireland-northern-ireland/

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