Sometime this afternoon, Saturday 3rd February 24, history will be made when Michelle O’Neill will become the First Minister of the Assembly in the north.
The 47 year old nationalist member of Sinn Féin, born in Fermoy in county Cork will take the mantle as she hopes to lead the Assembly forward.
Following nearly two years of no direct government, the DUP has finally agreed to come to the table, much of their dispute based around Brexit and the unionist
position to deny essential funding to services throughout the north. It is now an opportunity for power sharing for all sides and a chance to show democracy
This is the St Brigid’s Bank Holiday weekend which is not celebrated in the north, a holiday that was created to recognize the pain and suffering of the Covid pandemic.
It is poignant too that the Saint that we are celebrating, is a woman and that it should be a woman that leads the Assembly forward today.
She is not the first O’Neill to lead the north as Captain Terence O’Neill held the position as the unionist leader back in 1963 to 1969.
The unionist leader at the time was unable to bring any equitable treatment to the Catholics and he was forced to resign as he wrote in his memoirs,
he was ”wrecked by wicked men” he was referring to the late Ian Paisley and cohorts of the day.
We can’t dwell in the past, we must learn from history, so to everyone we wish them well going forward, today is another bence mark in the history
of this island and hopefully people can move forward together for a better future.