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Conflict in Northern Ireland
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| Words: 2500 | Submitted: 21-Jan-2009
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DescriptionFour events in Ireland which have happened in the last hundred years have all had a huge impact on the conflict in Northern Ireland in different ways and have all been of great importance to Northern Ireland. They have been particularly important in shaping the views of today’s nationalist/Unionist are. They are:
Easter rising 1916 Civil rights march 1968-69Bloody Sunday 1972 Bloody Sunday 1972 Civil rights march 1968-69 Hunger strikes 1981
Ireland is a small country and has a population of 1.5 million. Yet despite this small number, the north and south of Ireland have been in bitter conflict with each other which has been going on for decades. This is mainly due to the main difference in the beliefs of the people. The two main groups in Ireland are the Republicans and Unionists. The Republicans/ Nationalist mostly made up of Catholics in the south belief that Ireland should be free of British rule and that the North and south of Ireland should be united within itself and have no connections with Britain. These people want to see an independent Ireland with its own laws, government and sense of ownership. However the Loyalist/Unionists mostly made up of Protestants in the north believe that the North should maintain the union of United Kingdom. This group believes in being loyal to the crown and abiding by the laws and rules of Britain. Because of these different beliefs within the people there has been much hatred between the two groups in Northern Ireland and as a result of this up to 3000 innocent people have been killed over the last 36 years.
There are many different political groups within the two sides, which have many different views on how the problems should be solved. In Northern Ireland (Ulster) the majority of the population is Nationalist, however a small minority are loyalist. The three main political groups for the nationalists are the SDLP (Social Democrats and Labour party), Sinn Fein and IRA (Irish republican army).
The IRA is an extreme paramilitary group which beliefs that peace can only be obtained by violence and killing. This group has mainly been responsible for the killing of thousands of civilians. This group believes that the only way to stop British presence in Ireland and get their views across is to use force and aggression. After the Peace process of 1998 a small splinter group known as the ‘Real IRA’ was made. These were members of the IRA which were opposed to the Good Friday agreement and so split and formed there own group.
Sinn Fein is one of the political parties that agree with the use of violence and what the IRA do. This group however does not get involved in the killing but elects candidates such as Gerry Adams to represent and put forward there views on what they believe to be right.
The other main Nationalist party is the SDLP. Their main objective is also to have a united Ireland however unlike the other two groups it is fiercely opposed to violence and believe it is not the best way to reach an agreement. These moderate nationalists also want an independent Ireland, therefore they support the aims of the hard-line nationalists but they are opposed to the way they go about this. The hard-line nationalists use violence and the moderate nationalists think it is not right. They believe that they should start going about it in a more peaceful way to ensure peace. The SDLP is the most restrained and diplomatic out of the three groups and the one that encourages peace the most.
Like the nationalist the unionist have many individual organizations within themselves that put forward their own political opinions. The UDA/UVF (The Ulster defence association and the Ulster volunteer force) are illegal groups whose main objectives are vengeance against the IRA. They also like the IRA use brutality and have been responsible for the murder of many innocent people.
The two groups of the unionist which take a similar approach to things but by no means want to achieve less are the UUP( Ulster unionist party) and the orange order. The UUP defends the interests of Northern Protestants. The Orange Order named after the 17th century protestant king, William of Orange take things on a public scale and organize marches to celebrate the tradition of the Protestant community. The orange marches are a remembrance of the 1690 defeat of Catholic King James by Protestant Prince William of Orange at the Battle of the Boyne. The members of the Protestant Orange order parade to province-wide rallies. These two groups are much more restrained than the final group the DUP (The Democratic Unionist party). This parties main focus is to stop the IRA from expanding and want to stop them.
These following four events which have happened in the last hundred years in my opinion have all had a huge impact on the conflict in Northern Ireland in different ways and have all been of great importance to Northern Ireland. They have been particularly important in shaping the views of today’s nationalist/Unionist are. They are:
Easter rising 1916 Civil rights march 1968-69Bloody Sunday 1972 Bloody Sunday 1972 Civil rights march 1968-69 Hunger strikes 1981 Omagh bombing 1998
Easter rising 1916
The first event I have chosen to talk about is Easter rising 1916. In my opinion this event has been very fundamental in shaping the views of the nationalist and unionist. The fact that this event took place 6 years before the partition in 1921 indicates that the Easter rising played a big part in the fight for freedom on the part of the nationalist. The main objective of the Easter rising was to achieve political freedom and an Irish republic. It was an event that provoked much anger and hatred between the two sides.
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