In early April, violence erupted again in Northern Ireland. Many British loyalist paramilitary groups dissatisfied with the Brexit agreement have withdrawn their support since the 1998 peace treaty, known as the Good Friday Agreement. In Terry, Belfast and elsewhere, young people from the Protestant, loyal side of Northern Ireland have built barricades and attacked police with stones and Molotov cocktails.
For us here in Sweden, issues can seem complex and difficult to understand, and simple descriptions of the media’s “conflicts” do not make things easier.
So what’s really going on, and why now? The proletariat has spoken to Gemma Weir, a pest control expert and representative of the Socialist Workers Party in northern Belfast.
How was the situation in Belfast last weekend?
– Significant silence than before. There has been some minor uproar, but many leading figures in the Unionists have called for the quiet to disregard the late Prince Philip, which may have contributed to people staying home.
Pictures and pictures showing police cars burning, what is behind the riot?
– Brexit has created a lot of tension. There are many young people who are isolated without a job due to Govt.
Ireland is in the European Union, but Northern Ireland maintains its trade agreements so as not to impose a rough border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, which is still part of the EU’s internal market. The EU border now passes through the Irish Sea.
Gemma explains many things Protestants are said to be threatened by their British identity, and many fear that with talk of a referendum on demarcation, they will cease to be part of Britain. She thinks this is understandable, but believes that the real causes of the riot are other factors as well.
– On the contrary, there is a lack of leadership among the trade unionists behind it. The working class is marginalized by the DUP (Democratic Unionist Party). Something they seem to have realized recently. Areas that were once “theirs” are no longer safe because many young people are frustrated and simply do not vote. People are frustrated.
How did the ruling parties function in Northern Ireland?
– Sin Fine and DUP have gone out and said people should be quiet. Some delegates actually walked out when the riots started because many of our members were on the streets trying to avoid violence and listen to what people had to say. But sectarianism and opposition feed the rulers on both sides, so there are no strong reactions.
You mentioned that your party members are trying to prevent violence and talk to the people, what is the long-term strategy of the Labor Party?
– To avoid further divisions, we want a discussion about the boundaries that all citizens can say. The working class is left to debate what is going on. Entrepreneurs and millionaires are asked for their opinions.
As an important issue Gemma Veer raises integrated school and housing facilities for Catholics and Protestants. Something desirable but unimplemented. Existing integrated schools are funded due to lack of interest among established parties.
– We work to build and anchor the party not only in the Catholic / Republican Party but in the working class as a whole. We now focus on our Solidarity Assistance campaign, which targets victims of the epidemic in the form of housing and unemployment.
To the question of a party Gemma Weir responds positively with caution, as the Catholic-dominated Labor Party could gain a place in the Protestant sections of the working class.
– I think it is possible. You have to be honest with people and be clear about what you want to implement for them and the community.
Gemma Veer believes it Relative peace continues and responsible politicians are involved in these areas. But people’s problems need to be taken seriously.
– It also depends on how the EU and the British government operate, but local policy is at least as important in avoiding local sectarian violence.
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