‘Irish Unification Of 2024’

The death of Queen Elizabeth II on September 8 2022 led to extensive commentary, discourse, and memes — the latter including a Star Trek: The Next Generation still referencing the “Irish Unification of 2024”:

The image was extremely common in Twitter threads about the reaction of Irish people to the death of the United Kingdom’s monarch. Real-life context in the meme referenced the partition of Ireland (críochdheighilt na hÉireann) in 1922 into the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland — and long-standing calls to reunify them into one country:

Brewing discontent in the north heightened over the course of 1920. That summer, unionist mobs in Belfast drove thousands of Catholic shipyard laborers, as well as Protestants who tried to support them, out of their workplaces. According to the Irish Times, these unionists feared “that IRA violence was creeping northward” and took umbrage at the “increasing economic prosperity of the Catholic middle-class,” as well as Sinn Féin’s recent election success. Faced with rising sectarian disagreements in the north, also known as Ulster, and continued violence in the south, the British government suggested a compromise that it hoped would end the war: namely, partitioning Ireland into two territories, each with their own devolved parliament. Both newly created entities would remain in the U.K.

Though Ulster unionists had previously rejected calls for home rule, they now became its most ardent supporters. Northern Ireland’s predominantly Protestant residents elected a unionist government, and on June 22, 1921, George V formally opened the Belfast-based parliament. Nationalists in the south, on the other hand, effectively boycotted the Dublin-based parliament, quashing any hopes that partition would bring the guerilla war to a close.

As former British prime minister Herbert Asquith observed, the Government of Ireland Act gave “to Ulster a Parliament which it did not want, and to the remaining three-quarters of Ireland a Parliament which it would not have.”

Queen Elizabeth II’s passing in September 2022 made the meme a bit more relevant, alluding to Ireland’s division and putative reunification. Searches for “Irish Unification of 2024” were popular on September 8 2022, presumably readers questioning whether the meme genuinely represented dialogue from Star Trek.

A September 2021 IrishPost.com article (“Star Trek: The Next Generation predicted Ireland would be united by 2024”) referenced the text on the meme, explaining:

Not content with alluding to the conflict in Ireland the episode, which first aired on January 26, 1990, even called on Patrick Stewart’s Captain Jean-Luc Picard to have a full-blown discussion about ‘The Troubles ‘with the Enterprise’s synthetic life form Data, played by Brent Spiner.

Discussing the merits and weaknesses of terrorism, Data actually cites Northern Ireland as one example of terrorism working.

More specifically, Data highlights the reunification of Ireland in 2024 as a demonstration of a conflict achieved their desired aim.

A Star Trek “wiki” hosted an entry titled “Irish Reunification of 2024,” also referencing an air date of January 1990:

The Irish Unification of 2024 was an event in Earth history taking place in Ireland. It resulted in the creation of a single unified country controlling the entire geographical island of Ireland. This unification came about due to the use of terrorism rather than peaceful acts to bring about political change.

A Star Trek meme referencing the “Irish Reunification of 2024” circulated across Twitter on September 8 2022, immediately following the death of Queen Elizabeth II. The meme originated with a 1990 episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, and it was spoken by the character Data. The clip can be viewed here.