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The Irish Question

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The Irish Question Question 1: Recent violence in Ireland is based around whether the north of Ireland should stay part of the United Kingdom or be part of a united Ireland that is independent from the United Kingdom. Both sides, the Unionists and Nationalists feel strongly for their cause and are willing to go very far in order to achieve their goals. This has led to many violent conflicts occurring in the last century which still continue to this day. In order for the violence to stop and peace to be brought to Ireland the governments of the countries involved have proposed several agreements, the Sunningdale Agreement in December 1973, The Anglo-Irish Agreement in November 1985 and The Good Friday Agreement in 1998. These agreements all have the same aim, to bring peace to Ireland whilst also agreeing with each of the parties involved's wishes. Each of the Agreements share similarities and differences. Many of the similarities are down to the fact that each concurrent agreement is built upon the previous one, hoping to be an improvement. Many differences occur due to significant events that have occurred close to the time of the Agreement's creation. The first Agreement produced by the British and Irish governments was The Sunningdale Agreement in December 1973. This was the first time the two governments had come together to attempt to solve the upsurge of violence in Ireland which had culminated in Bloody Sunday on January 30th 1972 where thirteen unarmed men were shot dead by members of the Parachute Regiment during a Civil Rights March in Derry. Previous to this the IRA (Irish Republican Army) had staged six month bombing campaign which consisted of 304 bombings, many aimed at British Soldiers. The British government then responded by introducing Internment to Northern Ireland by which any suspected IRA member could be imprisoned without trial. This brought about a great uproar in support for the IRA by Catholics throughout Ireland. ...read more.


Both of these groups wanted peace and were willing to use their influence to ensure its achievement. The Good Friday Agreement also took place after successive talks between each of the groups where ground had been made without confrontation. This was a good platform for the peace talks to take place and also would improve their success rate considerably. Both The Sunningdale Agreement and The Anglo-Irish Agreement took place after Bloody Sunday and the hunger strikes respectively. These were not exactly the best basis for the peace talks to take place after. Many people differed in their views on why the Sunningdale and Anglo-Irish Agreements were produced. Some believed they were half-hearted attempts by the British Government to cover up for mistakes such as Bloody Sunday and the trouble-provoking hunger strikes. This may be one of the main causes for the total unsuccessfulness of the first two agreements. The Good Friday Agreement was the only one produced during a relatively peaceful period in Irish history. Neither of the two groups could be particularly cynical about it as they could not see any false reasons for it. Both the The Sunningdale Agreement and The Anglo-Irish Agreement were looked upon by the Nationalist community with anger and resentment, particularly The Anglo-Irish Agreement described by James Molyneaux, the previous leader of the OUP as 'unworkable' and by Gerry Adams as a 'fudge'. Both sides saw it as an ill-prepared and thought out quick attempt at fixing the problems within Ireland and had made their minds up that it was not to be successful. Question 3: The first ever political action taken for Irish Nationalism was taken in 1912 when Parnell and Redmond's Liberal party managed to pass an act in Parliament for Home Rule. This did not come without massive opposition though. It coincided with a fierce rise by Ulster Protestants who felt that the new Irish Government would favour Catholics. ...read more.


subversive of our civil and religious freedom, destruction of out citizenship and perilous to the unity of the empire, we... men of Ulster, loyal subjects of his gracious majesty King George V... do hereby pledge ourselves to defend our cherished position of equal citizenship in the United Kingdom, and using all means to defeat the present conspiracy to set up a Home Rule Parliament in Ireland. Source E: Eamonn McCann on the Ulster Power Workers Strike, 1974: There were 12-hour electricity blackouts, a complete shutdown of gas supplies in some areas, no petrol, and food shortages. In the countryside Protestant farmers blocked the roads with tractors and felled trees. Source F: Ian Paisley, November 1985: The hearts of Ulster have been stricken with the deepest sorrows. Mrs Thatcher tells us that the Republic have got a say in this province. We say never, never, never. We are prepared to lay down out lives for Ulster. I never thought I would live the see the day when 1912 was repeated. Source G: James Molyneaux: I think the Anglo-Irish Treaty is unworkable. Source H: Gerry Adams: I think the Anglo-Irish Agreement is a fudge. It's not going to make the problem go away. Source I: The Penal Laws, 1697-1727: 1) No Catholic may bequeath his lands as a whole but must divide it amongst his sons. But if one of these son becomes Protestant he will inherit the whole estate. 2) No Catholic can buy land or lease it for more than 31 years. 3) No Catholic shall be allowed to vote or become a member of Parliament or a town councillor. 4) No Catholic shall join the civil service. 5) No Catholic may be a solicitor or lawyer. 6) No Catholic may join the army or the navy. 7) No Catholic may possess a horse of greater value that �5. Any Protestant offering that sum may take possession of a horse of his Catholic neighbour. 8) Catholics keeping guns are liable to a whipping. 9) Catholics may not receive higher education or take professional jobs. Source J: Ian Paisley: ...read more.

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