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Apocalypse Watch: Sinn Fein On Speaking Terms With Queen

The end of the world must be near; Sinn Fein’s leader in Northern Ireland, an ex-commander of the IRA, is set to shake hands with Queen Elizabeth II.

Martin McGuiness, who serves as one of the two top officials in the arrangement that rules Northern Ireland in the United Kingdom, agreed on Friday to the meeting with the British Head of State.  And Sinn Fein, a political party that is based in Dublin but also holds 29 seats in the Northern Irish Assembly, agreed that the meeting was “’good for Ireland’ and ‘the right thing to do at the right time for the right reasons,’” in the words of Gerry Adams.

The partition of Ireland, under which the northern territories with a Protestant majority stayed in the UK while the rest of the island became independent, rankled bitterly with those who wanted — and want — a united Ireland. Discrimination by the Protestant majority against the Catholic minority in the north made things worse; at times the violence approached the levels of civil war.

Patient diplomacy, effective counterterrorism work and political reform in Northern Ireland gradually helped tensions to cool. Bombs still sometimes go off in the province, but overall Northern Ireland continues to move toward peace and even, sometimes, a bit of reconciliation.

Via Meadia congratulates everyone involved; the UK and Ireland are natural partners and as the bitterness of the past continues to fade we look forward to the continued development of a new and historically unprecedented relationship between the two countries.

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  • The Reticulator

    I understand the Queen’s visit to the Republic of Ireland came off well last year. When we were visiting Ireland (several weeks before her visit) there seemed to be some skepticism as to whether it was even a good idea. So maybe there has been a sequence of things that have been done right. I’m not sure what they are, though.

  • Stan

    It is part of a strategy to normalize the North, cement Sinn Féin as the natural party of Govt. in the North, and to help it continue its progress to natural party of Govt. in the south.

  • Ehud

    There has been a lot of hard work involved on both sides. I suppose there is also what David Goldman alluded to as well. The generation that fought are now old men. Everyone is tired of fighting now.

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