I will be a first minister for all’: Sinn Féin’s Michelle O’Neill marks historic moment for once unionist state (Rory Carroll, 3 Feb 2024, The Guardian)

The chamber’s ornate ceiling remained blue, red and gold, and Portland stone still held up the Stormont edifice, but the beaming Sinn Féin faces declared this was a historic moment for Irish nationalism.

Michelle O’Neill became Northern Ireland’s first nationalist first minister in a day of symbolism and pomp that restored devolved government and etched an epitaph on the tomb of what was once a unionist state.

The union endured – Northern Ireland remains part of the UK and a referendum on Irish unity is not on the horizon – but when the assembly nominated O’Neill at 2.33pm yesterday for republicans the countdown to potential unification ticked louder.

Once we faced no external threats our allies in South Africa, Northern Ireland and Israel had to settle their internal issues in favor of democracy.