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ireland coursework

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Introduction

During this unit of work I have been studying the continuing conflict between the Catholics and Protestants in Ireland. Today, Ireland is partitioned into two parts; the southern part, Southern Ireland also known as EIRE or the Irish Republic, and the Northern part, Northern Ireland also known as ULSTER, which is governed by London and is part of the United Kingdom. Ireland was partitioned in 1921. There was, and still remains, a lot of violence in Northern Ireland between the Catholics and Protestants and the aim of this essay is to research its origins. Following the partition, the problems continued in Ireland. History is a long-term cause of the conflict between Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland. This conflict began in 1169 when King Henry the second conquered Ireland. The moment England took over the ruling of Ireland, the problems arose and the conflict began. Another long term cause of the conflict began in 1600 when Protestants from Britain were given land which was taken away from the catholic Irish. Catholics were penalised by harsh penal laws in the 16oo's and 1700's. These laws offended the Catholic population, who were not allowed to:- * Speak the Gaelic language * Own horses or weapons * Attend Catholic church * Have an education * Vote or become councillors or MP's * Join the army or the navy The impact of all these laws were strikes, peace marches, violence and the Catholics not being able to defend themselves against the protestants as they were not allowed weapons due o the penal laws. ...read more.

Middle

The assembly plan to continue their work in Belfast as soon as the political parties such as Sinn Fein persuade the IRA to hand over some of its weapons. In 2005 the IRA agreed decommissioning. There are many issues which divide the two communities. Some of these issues are religious issues, for example during the Reformation of the 16th century Britain became Protestant while Ireland remained Catholic. In the 17th Century British settlers brought the Protestant religion to Ireland. Some Ulster Protestants believe today, as their ancestors and in the 17th century, that the Catholic Church is a wicked organisation that wants to take over the rest of the world. Furthermore, the protestant preachers, like Paisley, are the latest in a long line of clergymen who have mixed religion and politics. He says that the Protestant way of life will be threatened in a United Ireland. Ever since 1922 the Dublin government have tried really hard not to pass laws that Catholic priests disliked. Divorce is illegal in the Republic. Many Protestants resent this and fear similar catholic laws in a united Ireland. The churches have great power over education in both parts of Ireland. Many of the factors that have caused the conflict are long term. For example, the Penal laws discriminated against the Catholics. The laws meant that Catholics were denied land and jobs so consequently they were in a worse financial situation that the protestants. ...read more.

Conclusion

Tommy Kirkham, a spokesman for a political group representing the loyalist Ulster Defence Association said "they are easy to put up but very, very hard to take down. It's not just the wall but the barriers in people's minds because people have been separated and segregated from birth here. But I do hope they come down at some point in the future." This speech that Tommy made to the newspaper reporters shows that it isn't just the peace lines that segregate the two communities, it is also the mental barriers, the beliefs that they have been brought up with since birth that separates them. Both articles agree that the peace lines and segregation within the two communities in Ireland is not a good idea and is holding the two communities apart, away from any sort of peace arrangement. My conclusion therefore, is that the situation in Ireland is improving as the violence and conflict is coming to a halt, yet the relations between the Catholics and protestants are getting worse which shows that conditions are only slightly better, and are only just beginning to improve, but also, whilst improving violence, the changes maybe scarring peoples minds against the opposite community. I feel that the only solution to the segregation is education. If young children are taught not to hate the other community in school, and more mixed schools are built in Ireland, the hatred may begin to die down through the next generation, as young children will be learning to get along with other people from the opposite community, which, in my opinion, will lead to racial harmony in both communities, and through the whole of Ireland. ...read more.

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