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Northern Ireland.

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Introduction

Northern Ireland. Introduction. The Northern Ireland issue is a very distinct from all the other British political issues, (Law and Order, Race and Ethnicity and the Economy) because: 1. It has produced a new set of political parties and a new and completely distinct party system and political culture 2. In Northern Ireland there is only one issue, this overrides all the others, i.e. the border between northern and southern Ireland. 3. The issue has not and cannot be solved using conventional methods of politics. 4. It has given rise to more than 30 years of armed paramilitary struggle. What is the problem? "A DOUBLE MINORITY CONUNDRUM" The population of Northern Ireland consists of two minorities of different types of people, divided by two linked issues: 1. Protestant ~ Unionists, wanting to stay with the UK. 2. Catholic ~ Nationalists, wanting to leave the UK to unite with the rest of Ireland. Why can it not be resolved? In Northern Ireland there are 1.5 million people, in the Republic of Ireland there are a further 2.5 million people. The Republic of Ireland is mainly catholic whereas 0.5 million in Northern Ireland are catholic. Both peoples want the right to decide what happens to them as they feel they are the majority; Protestant Unionists in Northern Ireland believe they ...read more.

Middle

3. The Atkins initiative was a series of talks that came about but achieved little; they were the result of two issues: Military failure - Lord Mountbatten, cousin to the Queen was murdered; bombed in his own private boat whilst sailing around Southern Ireland. - Warren Point Massacre, in which 18 soldiers were killed. - Airey Weave, war hero and conservative MP, good friend of Thatcher was blown up in the House of Commons car park. Political challenge. Republicanism, (belief the Ireland should be united by force) formed the political challenge, the IRA and Sinn Fein began to move toward a policy of "BULLET AND BALLOT", using the elections as a show of support for their cause. This began in 1980 with a hunger strike whereby Republican prisoners claimed they were prisoners of war and therefore should be treated as such, i.e. not wearing prison uniforms. These actions continued and climbed to prisoners living in blankets after refusing to wear prison uniforms and smearing their cell walls with faeces. The more organised hunger strike that followed showed the IRA and Sinn Fein through the fact that Bobby Sans was elected whilst in prison that they could use the support as a propaganda technique and therefore considered standing. ...read more.

Conclusion

* British realisation that they would not remove the terrorist threat by military actions alone. * A deterioration between British Tory opinion and Irish Unionist opinion, as the Unionist proved their ability to only ever say NO the British became more willing to offend Unionist opinion. * The change in economic situation meant that Northern Ireland were no longer an economic asset at all. * Southern Ireland became more prosperous and secular, Catholicism became a less prominent feature of society as attitudes were relaxed on; contraception, divorce etc, therefore there is less reason to oppose the Peace Process. * The involvement of international powers, USA, EU and much more support for Peace Process from other institutions. Threats to the Good Friday Agreement. * Weapons decommissioning- deadlock between Loyalists and Unionists- trust in the IRA seems unlikely- General John De Castelain announces decommissioning was taking place and therefore the Peace Process continues. * When David Trimble lost his seat as head of the PSA 3 members of the Alliance re-designated themselves to Unionist- therefore confidence in the Peace Process. * Policing in Northern Ireland was to be changed under the Patten report, e.g. the RUC becomes the Police Service of Northern Ireland, and despite protest from the Unionists this is planned for May 2002. ?? ?? ?? ?? HELEN BARLOW UNIT FOUR - 1 - ...read more.

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