Northern Ireland?

The north east of Ireland was partitioned nearly 100 years ago. It has had many names. Northern Ireland, Ulster, the Six Counties, Carsonia, up country and many other euphemisms the Irish use. Perhaps it is about time that the future inhabitants of the region should pick one name they can all agree on. We could present some ideas and let six formers and young people pick a name that suits us all. I would suggest Greater Tyrone. After all it was the banishing of Hugh O’Neill, the Earl of Tyrone, by Elizabeth I that was partially responsible for British immigration.

Better still we could reinstitute the Earldom as a representative of the monarchy. People from across the social spectrum could join as a family to sit as neutrals over the province.

At the moment we have some outsider from Westminster going to Belfast to sort things out when people don’t agree at Stormont. Would it not be better to have a Royal figure who can step in and make things happen? Obviously they would be trained from birth. They would have to experience Royal life in the UK and life in various parts of the province. They would receive instruction in various forms of religion. They would not even have to be Christian, just be able to appreciate both sides of the religious divide. If they could understand the different strands of faith and politics and are schooled and trained they would be ready to step in where necessary.

I believe this is vital for lasting peace. To have Westminster taking direct control when they have a bias is unhealthy. There are bonds that need to be created across the divide. Fortunately the children of the future are being schooled together and that is brilliant. They are no different to each other. Old soldiers could sit and settle their differences over a pint and promote peace in schools. In this way they can find truth and reconciliation, between each other.

But truth is relative and can only be shared by those who have suffered the horrors of war. You cannot have a real window into these things without being there. The television coverage of the Troubles, and other wars over the last 50 years, are only an impression through a lens, not the real truth. The History needs to be written, one that we all those involved in the Troubles can agree on.

Let us learn the lessons for the future of all our children. Let us be honest with each other at least, as the real truth cannot be understood by those on the side-lines. When we have learnt those lessons, we can export the principles of co-existence to places of conflict in other places.

We worked together for peace in the 1990’s. The future must be for the rivulets of blood, which have flowed separately to come together in a single stream. Unity for the province and new relationships with the rest of these islands. Whatever happens in Europe, the UK and Ireland are bonded in blood, geography and history and must be self-supportive to survive in an ever more dangerous world.

The future is bright. The future is ours. Unity happens between people, Government happens when areas are divided up for administration. If all people groups are understood, accepted and represented under the law, then the real unity is across all of our islands.

Then the only real border is the sea.

Conway-Laird (2017)

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