In a historic victory, the Irish nationalist Sinn Féin party won the most seats in Northern Ireland’s parliament for the first time ever. Sinn Féin is the former political wing of the IRA — the Irish Republican Army — and favors reunification with the Republic of Ireland. The party won 27 of 90 seats in the Northern Ireland Assembly, while the Democratic Unionist Party, which wants to remain in the United Kingdom, dropped to second place for the first time in decades with 24 seats. Democracy Now! with journalist and political activist Eamonn McCann, who says Northern Ireland was founded over a century ago so that “it could be guaranteed that there would always be a unionist majority.” That arrangement has now been shattered, he says, and the calls for Irish reunification are likely to increase if Sinn Féin wins government in the next election in the south. “The more the tide toward a united Ireland increases, the more alarmed the unionists will become,” says McCann. Democracy Now! speaks with Sinn Féin lawmaker Mairéad Farrell, who represents the Galway West constituency in the Republic of Ireland parliament and who says the party’s victory came after a “positive campaign” focused on people’s everyday needs.
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