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How far are Unionist and Nationalist views in Northern Ireland the product of history rather than of recent events? Events in Ireland's history have generated violent conflict

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Introduction

History GCSE Coursework How far are Unionist and Nationalist views in Northern Ireland the product of history rather than of recent events? Events in Ireland's history have generated violent conflict which has scared communities and left deep politcal divisons to the present day. The conflict within Ireland started many years ago in more recent times, and has been reffered to as "the troubles". The original troubles began with the difference in religion when Henry VIII made himself Head of the Church of England and by the 1570's Britain had become a Protestant country. Britain had little control over Ireland, with the Irish following a Gaelic way of life and having their own separate culture, language, and now religion as Ireland remained a Catholic country. Britain had little control over almost all of Ireland because it was difficult to travel to Ireland to carry out laws, there was only one area, known as 'The Pale', that was completely under British control. However, by the 1600's Britain began to get more involved with Irish affairs as Ireland continued to allow other Catholic countries such as France and Spain to launch attacks against Britain. Britain began to take away land from the Catholic Irish and giving the land to Protestant settlers from England and Scotland in an attempt to unite Ireland with the UK and gain more control, eliminating possibilities of attacks. ...read more.

Middle

All of these groups believe in a united Ireland. Individual events such as the Battle of the Boyne in 1690 and the Penal Laws passed in 1697 to 1727 have reinforced the differences between the Unionist and Nationalist beliefs. The Battle of the Boyne ensured that Protestants were in control of the North as King William defeated James II along the south bank of the River Boyne. Penal Laws were passed to oppress Catholics living in Protestant areas. These laws, passed in 1675, discriminated strongly against Catholics as Up until recently, Catholics are still discriminated against as the best jobs and best housing is given to Protestants. Judges are Protestant, so Catholics were not always equal before the law. PENAL LAWS SEE WEBSITE and created bitterness. The Easter Rising, I think, is a major source of bitterness in Ireland's history that has fuelled this conflict since it happened in 1916. By 1914, Ireland was close to a civil war. Nationalists had been promised Home rule by the autumn of 1914, but the Unionists were determined to stop Ulster being ruled by and all-Ireland parliament. Both sides had private armies and were smuggling arms from Germany, tension was building as Ireland was close to a civil war. The First World War temporarily brought an end to the problems, as Nationalists agreed that the problem of Home Rule could wait until the end of the war, which they did not expect to last long. ...read more.

Conclusion

Attempts were made for a new power sharing assembly for Ulster, but these failed. In July 1972, Secretary of State William Whitelaw granted special category status to all prisoners convicted of terrorist related crimes. This meant that prisoners of war did not have to wear prison uniforms or do prison work and they were allowed extra visits and food parcels. In 1976, plans were announced abolish special category status, enraging prisoners, they began a blanket protest and a no wash protest, later known as the dirty protest. Prisoners of war would remain naked except for a blanket and excrete on the walls of their cells, refusing to wear a prison uniform and carry out prison work. The dirty protest ended with the death of Bobby Sands, who had been on hunger strike for 66 days. As Nationalists were proud of the hunger strikers, riots and violence erupted onto the streets of republican areas, and several people were killed. The continuation of the violence, with 'tit for tat' killings on both Nationalist and Unionist sides, have allowed the issue to stay alive with no agreement on Ireland's future. Specific acts of violence such as the 1983 Brighton Bombing, have exacerbated the division between Ulster and Eire, when I think that Unionist and Nationalist views are more a product of recent events, with its history the beginning of the division. This is because a lot has happened in the last forty years, with all of the events stemming from the hatred and disagreement between the Nationalists and Unionists which has been present since the 1820's. ...read more.

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