HomeTop NewsSinn Fein Poised to Make Historic Gains in Northern Ireland

Sinn Fein Poised to Make Historic Gains in Northern Ireland

CARRICKFERGUS, Northern Ireland — The sun was setting over the tidy, red brick homes in a Protestant neighborhood outside Belfast when two candidates for Northern Ireland’s legislature came to knock on doors on a recent evening. It might as well have been setting on the pro-unionist dreams of the residents.

“It’s changed times now,” said Brian Gow, 69, as he contemplated the growing odds that the Irish nationalist party, Sinn Fein, would win the most seats in parliamentary elections on Thursday.

That would represent an extraordinary coming-of-age for a political party that many outside Ireland still associate with years of paramilitary violence. It would also be a momentous shift in Northern Ireland, one that could upend the power-sharing arrangements that have kept a fragile peace for two decades.

Yet for all of the freighted symbolism, Mr. Gow and his wife, Alison, greeted the prospect of a Sinn Fein victory with relative equanimity.

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