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Modern World Study- Conflict in Ireland

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Introduction

Modern World Study- Conflict in Ireland Ireland is divided by two religions that have been fighting for hundreds of years, Catholics and Protestants. Catholics want the whole of Ireland to be an independent state and most of them are nationalists, but Protestants generally want Ireland to stay in control of the United Kingdom, they are unionists. Throughout the fighting over who should rule Ireland there have been many great events in the last century between the two religions, probably the most famous and significant being the Easter Rising in 1916, the deployment of British troops in 1969 and Bloody Sunday on 30th January 1972. On the Morning of Easter Monday, 1916 about 1250 revolutionary Nationalists started a rebellion in Ireland, and set out to capture the most prominent buildings in Dublin, including The General Post Office. Many Catholics including Patrick Pearse and James Connolly, who were two of the main instigators thought that fighting and dying for England was unacceptable. They thought that the only way to gain an independent state was to start using violence. Patrick Pearse stated that "The day is coming when I shall be shot, swept away, and my colleagues like me. Shot like the others. We'll all be shot." Which shows he thought that it was an almost suicidal mission, but he carried on anyway. I think that he was hoping that the British would get too scared, especially with the War going on, and just give in to what they wanted, but the British in fact became even less willing to back down. James Connolly said that the British Government was "a government that even whilst it is calling us to die for it, refuses to give a straight answer to our demand for home rule." He joined Patrick Pearse and together they and thousands of other loyal nationalists planned to take over Dublin and declare Ireland an Independent Republic in Easter 1916. ...read more.

Middle

Protestant Unionist Prime Minister, Terence O'Neil wanted to modernize the society and economy of Northern Ireland and he wanted to improve the way that Catholics and Protestants regarded and treated each other. He broke with the past by making links with the Irish Republic and the Catholics of Northern Ireland, which could have been a step forward to improving the situation of Catholics and Protestants hating each other, but Protestants feared that he was encouraging the Catholics to demand equality with them and they would lose out. They formed groups to defend protestant interests and held rallies. A lot of violence stemmed from this and the UVF made shootings and attacks on Catholics. The Catholics thought that the O'Neil reforms were moving too slowly and weren't going far enough, but the Protestants thought that he was going too far. They thought this because he was trying to help the Catholics with issues such as their bad housing, which is what protestants were scared would happen before. They thought that this meant the Catholics would rise and take over. In America there were civil rights movements starting against equality and discrimination at the time that this was going own. Catholics saw this and spoke out themselves, about what they were going through, and they were soon intituled to free speech, free association, freedom of belief and the right to be free of discrimination in work and social life. The Catholics saw that civil rights was the freedom and rights of every day citizens and what they should be allowed to do. Civil rights protesters used peaceful methods, like marches and sit-ins to get their message across in a peaceful way without the use of violence. In 1967 the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association (NICRA) was set up. It's aims were - Equal voting rights - An end to Gerrymandering voting districts - Laws against discrimination by local governments - Fair allocation of council housing - The scrapping of the special powers act - The disbanding of the B specials They were only prepared to use peaceful methods to get what they wanted. ...read more.

Conclusion

This angered the Northern Ireland Catholics, as they wanted to be free from Britain, and British rule. The Protestants, however, that live there wanted to have their own government, but were still happy to be ruled by the United Kingdom again, as they wanted to be a part of it. The Catholics in Southern Ireland had the same reaction as the ones in Northern Ireland, as they too wanted an independent country, and the rest of the world were disgusted that a peaceful, civil rights march could turn out so vicious and appalling. Bloody Sunday was a turning point in that helped shaped the course in Irish History because although it brought about loads more violence again, it brought in direct rule. I think that Direct rule, still would have been introduced without Bloody Sunday, but it just sped things up, like Easter Sunday did with the partition. I also think that the violence would have happened again soon even if Bloody Sunday hadn't occurred, as another march or protest could set it all off again. Out of these 3 significant events that have formed the route of Irish history throughout the last century, I would say that Easter Sunday was the most important. It is very hard to distinguish, which had more better points than the others and in the end they are all pretty equal. I think that the Easter rising did the best job of making Ireland better, as it separated it out into two parts, the North and South, which many people had wanted, and it solved a lot of problems. The deployment of troops was also very important, although I don't think it was as important, as it lead to internment and without that Bloody Sunday wouldn't have happened. Bloody Sunday was important because it brought about direct rule. Although each event helped Ireland in the end, they involved a lot of violence, discrimination, abuse and destruction. All three events increased the hatred between the Catholics and Protestants, and obviously Britain, but helped the country as a whole. ...read more.

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