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Journalist's death overshadows the Northern ireland elections

Both Theresa May, the british prime minister, and her irish colleague, mr Leo Varadkar attended the funeral of Lyra McKee, the 29-year-old journalist, who fell

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Journalist's death overshadows the Northern ireland elections

Both Theresa May, the british prime minister, and her irish colleague, mr Leo Varadkar attended the funeral of Lyra McKee, the 29-year-old journalist, who fell victim to a bullet avlossad of extremists from the New IRA.

his Funeral became a manifestation against the violence, and a rare opportunity for catholics and protestants to unite in grief. Eamon Martin, roman catholic archbishop for the entire island of Ireland, was the only one of all the dignitaries who called on politicians from both sides to find compromises.

the Funeral of Lyra McKee, who came from a catholic background, was held in a protestant church in Belfast and was led by both a catholic and a protestant priest. Political leaders from both camps participated in the ceremony, which was a manifestation against violence. Photo: Liam McBurney/AP

nordirländarna for yet another political battle in which very first local elections since 2014, which takes place on 2 may.

Valaffischerna can be seen everywhere in Belfast and signals which ethnic group is in majority in the different districts. The irish color of green candidates from Sinn Féin and the SDLP, parties that called nationalist or republican with mainly catholic voters. Or british red, white and blue for the DUP and bloody Sunday, the unionist parties are turning to protestants.

The two main parties are unionist DUP, which is also to some extent due to Theresa Mays conservative government in London and Sinn Féin, the nationalist party that was once the paramilitary organisation the IRA's political wing. Sinn Féin became the largest in 2014 in terms of the number of votes, but the DUP got the most seats.

should be about local issues such as garbage collection and urban planning so overshadowed, as usual, of the eternal stridsfrågan – whether northern Ireland shall continue to belong to Britain, as the opposition want, or become a part of the republic of Ireland, that the nationalists are fighting for.

The local political game are also affected in the highest degree of Brexitfrågan. In the referendum in 2016 voted 56 per cent of the nordirländarna to stay in the EU, but among those who voted for a secession were protestants in the majority.

the DUP leader, Arlene Foster, is now warning that if the republican Sinn Féin will be the largest in the elections, they will step up their demands on the republicans call for reunification with the republic of Ireland.

Maírtín Ó Muilleoir. Photo: Nicklas Thegerström

nationalists argue that a connection to Ireland is a way back into the EU after Brexit. Here's how to say Sinn Féin Maírtín Ó Muilleoir, former lord mayor of Belfast, to DN.

" We are voting for reunification and the day after, we are again in the EU.

He relies on the wording in the so-called good Friday agreement in 1998 put an end to the armed conflict in northern Ireland. It was, inter alia, by that certain issues were put in mothballs.

One of them was the idea that the whole island of Ireland would one day become a country, that the border would disappear, and northern Ireland become a part of the republic with Dublin as its capital. The question could be the subject of a referendum – here called ”border poll” – some time when the british nordirlandsministern thought that the time was ripe.

That is to say never, most of the protestants or unionists who see themselves as british.

has been constantly reminded about the question and got wind in the sails of the demographic development. Already today, are born more catholics than protestants in the region, and at the next census in 2021 is predicted for the protestant majority to be a thing of the past.

And now hope some of that Brexit can speed up the process of removing the border.

"I think maybe Scotland will go first, but then it becomes our turn," says Maírtín Ó Muilleoir.

We meet him in the Titanic Belfast, a museum and conference centre, which stands just where the ship with the same name was built. This includes a copy of the stairs where Leo DiCaprio kissing, Kate Winslets hand in ”Titanic”, and Ó Muilleoir be inspired to maritime metaphors.

" the Captain of the Titanic was blissfully unaware of the icebergs. In the same way it is with those who are at the helm in London, they sail towards unknown waters. But we can jump of the ship.

Sinn Féin is reunification with Ireland, the actual life-blood that sustains. The vast majority of the party's sympathisers are also convinced the EUROPEAN union-friends and voted against Brexit.

– Unfortunately, the majority in England to leave the EU. And if it all ends in a hard Brexit so accelerates the process towards the reunification of Ireland, " says Ó Muilleoir.

For the northern irish unionists is a ”border poll” a red line, and most would never take the word ”reunification” in his mouth. Ó Muilleoir is trying to reassure its critics:

– A reunion would, of course, have to take the time. Otherwise there is great risk of violence. A transitional period of ten years would be reasonable.

Ian Marshall is the first unionist from northern Ireland has taken place in the senate of the republic of Ireland's huvustad Dublin. Photo: Nicklas Thegerström

the unusual man. Protestant dairy farmer from south Armagh, one of the areas that suffered the worst of ”The troubles”, the 30 years of violence and terror until 1998. At the same time, he has, as the first northern irish unionists, has taken place in the senate in Dublin.

He has thus obtained an irish passport in addition to their british. He wants northern Ireland to remain british, and that Britain should stay in the EU – unlike most of the unionistpolitiker who voted in favour of Brexit.

"I think, in fact, yet to Brexit may not be of," says Marshall.

" Hopefully we can get a new referendum, where a vote on a new agreement with the EU. The option then becomes to stay behind.

to be called a traitor by many unionists in northern Ireland. He is a good friend of mr Leo Varadkar, Ireland's prime minister, who was the one who asked him to set it up as a senator.

at the same time, he believes not at all what the nationalists call the reunion.

– Say we hold a referendum in a few years, and that 53% will vote to remove the border and 47% against. How do we proceed then? We will return to division and violence.

– Sinn fein talk a lot about the ”border poll” right now, but it is mostly a way for them to create headlines and keep their most uncompromising supporters.

Ian Marshall would like to see the whole issue of the border at the green island could avpolitiseras, are not constantly regarded as a choice between green or orange, between catholic or protestant.

" I'd rather reconnect people than territories.

Photo: Nicklas Thegerström

is that all unionists are also brexitörer, and that the nationalists want to stay in the EU. But the reality is not always easy.

the neighborhood around the Newtownards road in east Belfast's protestant area, with plenty of the political murals that both sides in the conflict have traditionally used to mark the presence.

This draws the moms with their strollers in front of a wall where a soldier from the protestant guerrillas UFF looks down through the balaclava and with their automatic rifles aimed towards the viewer.

Linda McCracken, a middle-aged lady.

" I absolutely feel that britt and would never want to we left the Uk. But I actually have irish passport yet, mostly because it was cheaper, " she says.

In Brexitomröstningen abstained from participating, but in the regular election were the greens Linda McCracken.

Roisin O'connor grew up in a catholic home, but do not want to identify themselves as either nationalist or unionist. Photo: Nicklas Thegerström

the Social worker Roisin O'connor grew up in a catholic home, but do not want to define themselves as either unionist or nationalist.

" Neither Brexit or a reunion is especially important for me because I am an irish citizen. I would vote on a ”border poll”? Yes, probably, but I don't say on what.

Read more: Despite the suspension – Brexit divides nordirländarna

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