Far from being a failure on its centenary, Northern Ireland has been a resounding success

News Letter editorial of Tuesday May 4 2021:

Tuesday, 4th May 2021, 7:15 am
News Letter editorial

It was a damp and disappointing centenary of Northern Ireland yesterday.

There are a number of reasons for this, the most obvious of which is the incessant wet weather.

Also, obviously, there are still significant restrictions due to Covid that prevent any large public gatherings.

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Furthermore, the date itself, May 3 2021 is hardly embedded in the public consciousness. It marks 100 years since Northern Ireland was created, a legal anniversary that few people have in their heads.

There will be other opportunities this year to celebrate the creation of the country that so many of us love deeply.

But the low-key nature of the festivities cannot be blamed entirely on factors such as the pandemic.

Nationalists have made clear their dislike of Northern Ireland, and republicans have made clear their contempt for it — calling the Province a statelet at best.

This is not surprising, nor even the worst thing that could happen. After all, if an organisation supported decades of terrorism to destroy NI, it is relief that they now the only refuse to utter its name.

But even the tributes to Northern Ireland on its major milestone yesterday were somewhat disappointing. There was a huge emphasis on reconciliation, which of course we all want, but precious little rejoicing in the fact of NI.

Still, the public at large will not be put off their home country. Support for things such as our magnificent sporting teams — notably the Northern Ireland Women’s team recently — and our ambassadors and achievers and business leaders and famous faces will not go away.

Nor for the towns and countryside and the local spirit that make the place — which is why growing numbers of people identify as Northern Irish.

Far from being a failed state, Northern Ireland has been a resounding success.

Here’s to the next 100.

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Alistair Bushe