there may be a power-sharing government in the north, and the worst of the violence might be over, but the situation of the six counties is far from resolved. at the weekend there was rioting in East Belfast following a rally sponsored by Sinn Fein, but mostly it sounds like people are bored with it–drunk punks, basically. one of the people i’ve spoken with said that in previous times, whole families might go out to watch or participate in protests or rioting. definitely not so much any more.
part of the agreement of a few years back for power sharing is that eventually there will be a referendum held in both sets of counties (north and south) as to the question of unification. if the majority of both favor unification, then it’ll happen. right now, disposition in the north is such that a referendum held today wouldn’t result in unification. but, with the Protestant population holding steady or declining, and the Catholic population growing, it’s only a matter of time before things shift.