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After two years of impasse, Northern Ireland has finally reached a resolution, paving the way for a conflict that is over a century old to be reignited. On the first Saturday of February, Michelle O’Neill from the nationalist Sinn Féin party was named as the new head of government in Northern Ireland. Sinn Féin advocates for the reunification of Ireland and is a party that was once the political arm of the terrorist group IRA. Despite receiving the most votes in the May 2022 election, they failed to form a government.

However, an agreement has now been reached leading to a transfer of £3 billion pounds from the British government to public services in Northern Ireland. With O’Neill leading the new government, a nationalist holds the top position in Northern Irish Executive for the first time since Ireland’s partition in 1921. A recent CNBC report brought attention to O’Neill’s family background, which reflects her connection between Sinn Féin and IRA, with her father having been a member and later becoming a councilor for Sinn Féin. Additionally, her cousin who was also an IRA member was killed by UK Special Air Service (SAS) in 1991.

Despite this new development, there are still concerns about constitutional issues such as holding a referendum on Irish reunification within ten years. While Arlene McDonald from DUP expressed her support for such a move and believes it is necessary for economic growth and social stability, both she and unionist allies are not pleased with this possibility. They argue that focus should be on day-to-day issues rather than constitutional matters.

In conclusion, while Northern Ireland has come closer to resolving its longstanding conflict through this agreement and new leadership change, there are still ongoing tensions regarding constitutional issues such as Irish reunification referendums.

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