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Since the Good Friday Agreement in 1998 there has been a relative period of peace in Northern Ireland. What problems will need to be overcome to create a lasting peace in Northern Ireland? How likely peace will be achieved?

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Introduction

Question 3 In this answer I am going to discuss that since the Good Friday Agreement in 1998 there has been a relative period of peace in Northern Ireland. What problems will need to be overcome to create a lasting peace in Northern Ireland? How likely peace will be achieved? Furthermore I will discuss: general background, history and religion, politics, decommissioning, paramilitaries, policing and security and marches. I will then conclude with how likely peace will be achieved. The Good Friday Agreement was set up to reach peace in Northern Ireland and reaches a suitable solution for Catholics and Protestants. Previous attempts at creating everlasting peace have included: direct rule in 1972 and 1973-74, the Anglo Irish Agreement in 1985 and the Downing Street Declaration in 1993. However all these methods have failed so far. Finally in 1998 they tried creating lasting peace in Northern Ireland with the Good Friday Agreement. In May 1998 a referendum was held, the people of Republic and Northern Ireland were asked if they accepted the terms of the Good Friday Agreement. They were furthermore asked if articles 2 and 3 could be removed. The results were overwhelming as 94% in the Republic and 71% of Northern Ireland accepted it. In my opinion this was a great step forward in the campaign for peace. The main terms of the Good Friday Agreement were that a new Northern Ireland assembly would be set up containing 108 members. All key decisions would require consent of both communities in the province. Furthermore a north south council of ministers would be set up. ...read more.

Middle

On Saturday 10th September 2005 Northern Ireland saw its worst rioting in a decade. A 700 person mob clashed with police on the streets of Belfast. The rioting consisted of petrol bombings, setting cars on fire and loyalist paramilitaries shooting at police. "The rioters intended to kill and it is lucky we have no dead police officers" said Sir Hugh Orde, the chief constable. All this ferocious rioting has come as a result of police trying to re-route a protestant march that takes place every year. The police attempted to re-route the marches to avoid confrontation with the Catholics. However this sparked a huge frenzy with masked Protestants violently attacking police. The reason that the marches cause confrontation is because they are celebrating victories over the Catholics. One of the most famous battles won is the Battle of the Boyne where many Catholics were massacred. Therefore the Protestants celebrate their victory by holding annual marches each year down Catholic streets. Many Catholics feel threatened and offended by this and each year the police do their most to try and prevent commotion or violence occurring. The chief constable Sir Hugh Orde blamed both major loyalist paramilitary organisations the UDA (Ulster Defence Association) and UVF (Ulster Volunteer Force) for exploiting the violence. He furthermore added that the decision to re-route had been made because the marches had 'become illegal' and 'fundamentally breached'. In my opinion with these sort of paramilitary groups achieving lasting peace in Northern Ireland seems unlikely in the foreseeable future. It is November 27th and still the St Andrews agreement has not yet been concluded. ...read more.

Conclusion

Following the events and problems Northern Ireland has been involved with, I believe that Northern Ireland can achieve peace assuming that more effective methods have to be put in place as previous methods have failed miserably in some cases. Furthermore the solutions in the past have failed and possibly new methods have to be given a chance. Maybe relieving the pressure on the government and especially the RUC would be the answer to the ever growing problems Northern Ireland faces on day to day bases. The decommissioning process helped aid the peace talks as both parties felt like they were 'giving an inch or two' and this enabled the St Andrews agreement to be on the right tracks. This is by far the closest and most promising position Northern Ireland has been to achieving peace. Previous attempts at peace have failed, for instance internment and other peace talks such as the Sunningdale agreement, this leads me to believe that new methods must be tried if Northern Ireland is ever going to get anywhere. Moreover I do think that the St Andrews agreement can achieve lasting peace in Northern Ireland. Although the St Andrews agreement has been promising with comments from Gerry Adams suggesting that this might be the answer. Selective history however is a major factor in the way of reaching everlasting peace. In my opinion if both parties would ease off a bit and give the RUC and the government time then they can fully concentrate on the negotiations regarding peace in Northern Ireland. This will enable the peace talks to really start to begin. Michael James history coursework question 3. ...read more.

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