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Northern Ireland - What are the main differences between the beliefs of the Republicans/Nationalists and the Loyalists/Unionists?

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DRAFT History coursework: Northern Ireland Question 1 What are the main differences between the beliefs of the Republicans/Nationalists and the Loyalists/Unionists? "Throughout history, the island of Ireland has been regarded as a single national unit. Prior to the Norman invasion from England in 1169, the Irish had their own system of law, culture and language and their own political and social structures. Following the invasion, the island continued to be governed as a single political unit, as a colony of Britain, until 1921...Between the years 1916 and 1921 Irish nationalists waged a combined political and military campaign against British occupation. In 1920 partition (dividing Ireland into two sections- the 26 and six counties) was imposed by a British act of parliament."[http://www.sinnfein.ie/history] The Nationalists (also known as Republicans) and the Unionists (also known as Loyalists) represent two different religions, the former supports the Catholic religion and the latter supports the Protestant religion. As well as holding a different religion they also have different political views, for example, the Unionists wish to remain part of the U.K, while the Nationalists seek independence and wish to rule as an independent Ireland. ...read more.


They were created to fight the IRA and have been responsible for the murder of many Catholics. The Unionist parties which do not use violence are the UUP, DUP and the Orange Order. From 1968 there has been unrest in Northern Ireland, due to the differences in religion between the parties and how the Irish people view they should be governed, which has resulted in many deaths. In the years 1968-94 over three thousand people in Northern Ireland were killed in political violence and many more were injured. The Unionists wish for only people in northern Ireland to have a say on what goes on , but the nationalists wish for the majority of Ireland to decide in the future of Ireland. The Nationalists parties ie Social Democratic and Labour Party are supported mostly by Catholics. They wish for the whole of Ireland to be united but are opposed to the violence of other groups such as the IRA. The IRA are opposed to British presence in Ireland and have killed large numbers of British soldiers and Irish police officers also setting off many bombs which have killed people in both mainland Ireland and England. ...read more.


The Democratic Unionist was founded in 1971 by Ian Paisley and have taken many working class supporters away from the UUP, its tough views has called for the destruction of the IRA. The Orange Order established in1795 named after William of Orange is the biggest unionist party in Northern Ireland today. It organises regular marches to celebrate the traditions. In conclusion, the main difference between the Nationalists and the Unionists has caused Ireland to be divided into two. This division is primarily due to the English interference in Ireland in the 1600's. Further to this the issues around how the Irish people wish to be governed is paramount to the continuing conflict. This has resulted in a division between the Catholics (Nationalists) and Protestants (Unionists). The two groups have failed to resolve their problems, resulting in the deaths of both Catholics and Protestants. In my opinion the British government should give the people of Northern Ireland what they want, by recalling their military forces. However, I acknowledge that there are two opinions held by the people of Ireland and so the conflict may never be resolved. Word count: 895 1 ...read more.

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