North gets Assembly again

One positive outcome of the UK elections is that a new energy has emerged to get the Stormont Assembly up and running again.Loss of seats by Sinn Fein and DUP for the London seats have seen how the people are annoyed at the lack of public representation in Belfast.
It has led to education and health cuts kicking in from civil servants implementing without any Northern politicians able to lobby and arrest various cuts.The Irish language act and other controversies are being set aside in the interests of public representation.

NI Assembly. Photo: Wikipedia

NI Assembly. Photo: Wikipedia

There is a slow process in gaining acceptance in having the Unionist community overcoming some Of their opposition to Irish language signage and recognition of the language.
We noted in the past few years that around Newry most street signs have been in Irish and this is seen also in other Northern towns where nationalists would be the majority in the area concerned
How this will work out elsewhere and having the option to use the Irish language more for public services could be a challenge for a while. There could be more to run on this but listening to DUP leader Arlene Foster there seems to be a softening of her approach and she has been in contact with Sinn Fein leader on the matter.Unlike in the past few years there is now a new willingness to talk and negotiate.

A new term has been brought in by both the Irish and British Governments which is a petition of concern, this is a mechanism whereby motions can be vetoed in the Assembly even if they have majority support.Smaller parties like the SDLP, Alliance and UUP are frustrated at how the bigger parties cannot reach a compromise in past few years.Now the mood is changing after the Westminster elections and a recent health service strike where frustrations have been building up.

The community in the north are being asked to get behind a new deal. The killing of a journalist last year, Ms. McKee after a shooting in a Derry riot, gave people a glimpse of how the bad times could return.The Brexit arguments in the UK election makes the political situation less stable and now that the withdrawal agreement is passed the practical implications for the North need to be looked at by the Assembly there. How will farmers be affected? Labour mobility should be unhindered, but the possibility of customs checks on the Irish. Sea is a step backwards from the current position. When the EU negotiations start this will be a big point of concern for the south too.

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