01 February 2024, The Tablet

DUP and Sinn Féin must make it work in Northern Ireland


The decision of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) to return to the devolved government of Northern Ireland is a significant breakthrough. It is the smallest details which cause the biggest headaches, and the obstacles to the DUP’s participation in the Stormont government have been hard to understand without sharing the Unionist mindset. Unionists do not wish to see the link between Northern Ireland and Great Britain weakened in any way because of an instinctive fear of being drawn towards a united Ireland, which would threaten their British – that is to say, Protestant – identity. Such fears tend to leave the rest of Britain – whose Protestant identity is no longer a live issue – unmoved. But it must be respected even if not shared.

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