The new British monarch, Charles IIIcontinues on Tuesday its tour of the four nations that make up the UKvisit North Ireland where he faces the challenge of establishing a complicated reconciliation and avoiding the threat of secession.
The government of Scotlandwhich the King visited on Monday, intends to move towards calling a new independence referendum, but armed resistance to the Crown ended centuries ago.
On the contrary, in North Ireland peace only dates from 1998 and remains fragile.
Northern Irish Unionists professed a reverent devotion to the late Queen Isabella IIbasis of its deep attachment to the British crown and to the membership of this region in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. A belonging that from the Brexit they feel it more threatened than ever.
Marina Reid, 54, a resident of Shankill Road, a Unionist area of Belfast, points to reports that have sparked anger in her community about a group of Republicans who celebrated the death of Elizabeth II on Thursday at the age of 96 with fireworks and songs. .
“It says a lot about the respect we receive from you in this time of mourning,” he told the AFP.
This information, which is being investigated by the Northern Ireland Police, are not representative of the overall response of the Republican community of Northern Ireland.
“I recognize that she is a courageous leader,” Sinn Fein Vice President Michelle O’Neill, who is set to become the region’s new Prime Minister, said of the late Queen.
And he hailed “the important contribution that Queen Elizabeth has made to bring about peace and reconciliation between the different traditions of our island and between Ireland and Britain during the years of the peace process”.
Protestant Unionists and Catholic Republicans clashed for three decades in a violent conflict that claimed some 3,500 lives and involved armed groups from both sides, as well as the British army.
After the Good Friday Peace Agreement of 1998, Sinn Fein, the former political arm of the Irish Republican Army (IRA), was legalized and in the last regional elections won for the first time history with the majority in Parliament regional autonomy.
The peace deal requires Unionists and Republicans to share power, so the Deputy Prime Minister must be from the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).
However, angry at the special provisions negotiated between London and Brussels in the context of Brexit, which impose customs controls between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom, the DUP has been blocking the formation of a government for months. .
Charles III meet local political leaders at Hillsborough Castle, in South Belfast.
You will receive the respectful condolences of Unionists and Republicans. But, with their accession to the throne, the latter see a little more closely their dream of leaving the United Kingdom to reunite with the neighboring Republic of Ireland.
The King will also attend a religious service, for Protestants and Catholics as well as other faiths, which will also be attended by the President, Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Republic of Ireland.
For the first time in 101 years of history, the population of a region that was historically a Protestant stronghold is moving towards a Catholic majority, as the next census should show.
Sinn Fein refuses to recognize the authority of the British monarchy in Northern Ireland and O’Neill was absent from the act of proclamation of the new king in Hillsborough.
For their part, the “trade unionists feel destabilized in terms of identity, destabilized about their place in the United Kingdom after Brexit”, he told the press. AFP Dierdre Heenan, political scientist at the University of Ulster.
“The Queen’s death is another blow to her confidence and identity. Of course, they will embrace the new king, but they are aware that this may cause an earthquake” in an already unstable region.
(With information from AFP)