Finn McRedmond: Why should we expect Britain to mark the centenary of the Treaty?

Irish outcry over Westminster’s apathy towards the anniversary is myopic

October 20th, 2021: The British copy of the Anglo-Irish Treaty, which is in the UK national archives in Kew, went on public display for the first time at an event in the Irish Embassy in London to mark the centenary of the Treaty. Video: Enda O'Dowd

The centenary of the Anglo-Irish Treaty’s signing flew past in London without even a whimper, let alone a bang. For a nation whose diplomatic interests are currently shackled by the quirks of Northern Ireland, might this strike us as a little odd? It was, of course, the treaty that established this unique – and oftentimes hairy – constitutional arrangement.

The UK comes under frequent criticism for its disinterest in Ireland’s history and domestic politics. In the run-up to the Brexit referendum there was no shortage of voices in Dublin and Belfast pointing out the difficulties the Border might cause as Britain negotiated its exit from the EU. Westminster’s refusal to heed those warnings from across the Irish Sea became totemic of this indifference.

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