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How successful has the peace process in Northern Ireland been?

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Introduction

History question 2 Max Carter 11EB How successful has the peace process in Northern Ireland been? In this answer I have been set the task of investigating and analysing how successful the British Government has been at solving the troubles in Northern Ireland since 1972. The peace process started first started in1974 when the power sharing idea was set up. It was made up of Brian Falkner - leader of the Unionists, Gerry Filt - the SDLP leader which was a moderate nationalist party which mainly consisted of Catholics, the alliance party Oliver Napier, The British PM - Edward Heath and the Irish Liam Cosgrave. They all came together and met at Sunningdale on 6th December to negotiate an agreement for the council of Ireland. They also united to try to get a successful framework for the new government at Stormont. They devised an agreement named the Sunningdale Agreement but the most controversial parts of it were the Irish council, the reform of the RUC and the and the Northern Irish police force. The agreement took place on 1st January 1974 and was led by Falkner and Gerry Filt. However it immediately ran into problems when an Industrial strike which was known as the 'General worker's Strike' occurred. In this petrol workers and power station worker went on strike. Also the executive of the agreement resigned and so the Sunningdale agreement only lasted five months until May 14th before it folded in. I will now try to explain these problems. ...read more.

Middle

Also the British PM helped to reduce the IRA violence and the cross border co-operation helped her with this. Many Nationalists turned from Sinn Fein to SDLP after feeling they now had a means to get support from the Republic's Government to air their grievances. However there were a few problems with this agreement, because the agreement accepted Partition (division of Ireland) Sinn Fein rejected it. Some unionist parties (UUP and DUP) thought that because Loyalist paramilitaries clashed with the RUC, they thought it was a betrayal. Finally the extremists who were also known as terrorists continued terror campaigns of violence and this was both Nationalist and Unionists sides and not just one or the other. This source shows this: 1887 - An IRA car bomb kills eleven people and injures over sixty at a Remembrance Day service in Enniskillen. A single loyalist gunman kills three mourners at an IRA activist's funeral. This just shows how bad they can be as killing someone at a funeral is showing no remorse or respect to the mourners who would be finding things hard enough with one dead let alone four. Also letting off a car bomb at a remembrance day service is very wicked as that is the service to remember the people who died fighting for the way the country stands today. Moving onto attempt three, the next step in the process was the Downing Street Declaration of 1993. Max Carter 11EB This third initiative was agreed between British Prime Minister John Major and Taoiseach Albert Reynolds. ...read more.

Conclusion

For the first proper time, the North and South were beginning to properly communicate and co-operate with each other. The dream finally had started to look as if it was becoming a reality! The only problem with this agreement was that lots of weapons were decommissioned. Some saw this as good though, as if the peace process were to continue then the paramilitaries had to disarm and put a permanent end to violence. In Ireland today this still remains one of the key problems facing Northern Ireland. In conclusion I feel that the last initiative - The Good Friday Agreement (1998), made the largest impact on the peace process. I think this because there was just one slightly bad thing and many thought this flaw to be good anyway because the decommissioning of weapons meant an end to violence. I also believe this made the most impact because both sides had begun to start communicating and co-operating with each other. Both the North and South overwhelmingly accepted the agreement and this is why I feel this made the largest impact. But, another key impact was made with the 1973-74 power-sharing executive. This was because it provided a framework for the future of Ireland and for the first time in decades, the Nationalists were given a chance to say what they thought about it all and how they wanted to country ruled. This paved the way for the peace agreements. Overall I feel that 'The Good Friday' agreement was the largest impact as when Sinn Fein and IRA joined the process, there was practically no terrorist violence and so to an extent, the peace process was well on its way and working. ...read more.

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