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Explain why Unionist fears have grown since 1921.

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Introduction

2. Explain why Unionist fears have grown since 1921. Sinn Fein represented a vote for complete independence - a dramatic change and this is when the fear set in with the Unionists. They did want to be a part of the Republic and have to be ruled by Catholic ways. The Unionists knew that whatever the Catholics wanted, it would always overrule the Protestants and so they would never be heard and could never really voice their opinions at elections etc. During 1920 and 1921, the IRA made many raids over the border to the North and often attacked local Protestants - this was part of the ongoing 'war' between the two countries. These attacks scared the Protestants that were mainly also Unionists, as they didn't know when the next attack was going to happen or what to be prepared for. The Protestants blamed the IRA attacks and removal of their homes on the Catholics. All this cause rioting and violence obviously scared the Unionists, even if they were responding by fighting back. After the Civil war (1918-1921) and the partition of North and South, the 'Irish Free State' (the Republic) ...read more.

Middle

were having an equal amount of say in the government. As the Unionists opposed this sharing the government, it failed after only 5 months. They were scared of power sharing with the Catholics because they knew that the Catholics could introduce their laws to the Protestant Unionists. The leaders from the British government and from the Republic decided that conflict in the north couldn't be solved unless a peace plan was made. In 1985 the 'Anglo-Irish Agreement' was signed by the British and Republic. This means a joint committee was set up by the governments to decide matters such as justice and laws in the north. Although the Unionists has claimed the interference of the north in their government since the partition in 1921, the British were allowing the government of the Republic to have a say in the running of the north. This did not go down well with the Unionists, as the south officially could have a say in their government and the running of their country. Talks in the 1990's prevailed in the 'Downing Street Declaration'. It planned to achieve cooperation between the UK and he Irish Republic by limiting terrorism and working together for peace. ...read more.

Conclusion

This was a risk for the Unionists and people doubted whether the IRA would do as they had promised. The Unionists wanted reassurance from Britain due to the fact that Sinn Fein joined the peace talks without surrendering any weapons. This need for reassurance show a hint of fear in the Unionists. Shortly after, the Good Friday Agreement was signed on the 10th April 1998. Even though all parties signed the agreement, the Unionists may still have feared the agreement on letting out prisoners and ex-terrorists. However, this agreement signalised for a new beginning as written on page 1 of the Good Friday document. (Highlighted in the booklet). Very simply, the Unionists believed (and still believe) in the union of Ireland and the UK. This means for them, they are almost another English country. Although they would have some power over their own affairs, the British parliament in London would have the final control. This, they believe would protect their interests in Ireland against the Catholic majority in the country. All the events since 1921 and with all the legislation passed, much of it shows two things: it allows for the weakening of United Kingdom control over Ireland, and is moving towards more influence for the Catholics in Ireland. The two things the Unionists do not want. ...read more.

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