The situation is not entirely normal in Northern Ireland.

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Sligo, Irish Republic … 1985.

Parliament Buildings, often referred to as Stormont because of its location in the Stormont Estate area of Belfast, is the seat of the Northern Ireland Assembly, the devolved legislature for the region.”

Forced remarriage: Northern Ireland gets a government again, at The Economist

Both big parties fear the alternative even more than they dislike each other

NORTHERN IRELAND’S devolved government has been reborn. After many months of hard-fought negotiations, the biggest unionist and republican parties agreed on January 10th to go back into government together, creating a new element of hope in the often unforgiving politics of Belfast. Under heavy pressure from both the government in London and their own voters, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and Sinn Fein have agreed to revive the Belfast assembly, Stormont, which has been inactive for three full years.

I suspect that insofar as Americans think at all about the outside world, which is seldom, “divisions” pop into the conversation only with considerations of North and South Korea, and maybe vague recollections of East and West Germany.

Islands can be divided, too, as with the existence of two governments on Cyprus, one Greek (internationally recognized) and the other Turkish. Somehow I haven’t heard this topic arise at the pub lately.

Or, in Ireland, where Irish independence a century ago came at the cost of losing Ulster, one of four traditional Irish provinces as well as the one dominated by Protestants rather than Catholics, and which has remained under British control.

I’m not sure that many Americans, even Irish-Americans, are fully aware of the potential for unexpected consequences from Brexit, one of which is the British effectively reneging on decades of promises of eternal support for the Protestants in Ulster.

The most alarming development, from the DUP’s point of view, is that Northern Ireland’s union with Britain looks increasingly insecure. Mr Johnson’s withdrawal bill, which returned to Parliament on January 7th, draws a dotted line between the province and the rest of the country by providing for different customs arrangements in the two areas. The latest poll in Northern Ireland showed a tiny majority in favour of the reunification of Ireland. The Good Friday Agreement, which brought peace to the province, mandates a referendum on reunification when it is clear that a majority in the province wants one.

Social, economic and political conditions are weird everywhere, not only here in the USA. Is this why the planet is burning, or is the causation the other way around?

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