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The ongoing conflict in Northern Ireland

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Introduction

The ongoing conflict in Northern Ireland is in general between two main groups. Nationalists and Unionists or Catholics and Protestants. Unionists form the majority of the population in Northern Ireland. They are for the most part protestant and see themselves as British. They advocate Northern Ireland remaining part of the United Kingdom. On the other hand Nationalists make up an ever increasing amount of the population of Northern Ireland and are almost without exception Catholic. They see them selves as Irish and support the uniting of the whole of Ireland. The politics of Northern Ireland reflect the overlapping of opinions of the population of two nations Ireland and the United Kingdom. The two sides of this conflict are the direct opposite of each other. The unionists see see Ireland as their home as they have occupied it since the 1600' but still consider themselves British while the Nationalists feel that the British are an occupying army fell that Ireland as a whole Island should govern itself. The partition of Ireland in 1921 was seen for the most part by Catholics/nationalists as a temporary measure and that in time the whole island of Ireland would be united and Independent from Britain but what happened was the differences between the two states grew after the partition. The 1937 constitution cited the whole of the Island of Ireland as national territory and gave the Roman Catholic Church a special position in the constitution. ...read more.

Middle

were in favour of the agreement. The Good Friday Agreement was a watershed in the politics of Northern Ireland an agreement that many doubted would ever be possible but even though the agreement has been agreed and signed implementation has proved to be an altogether different task and has been met with a number of stumbling blocks along the way most notably police reform and the issue of decommissioning. "Within the UUP, policing reforms and the early release of paramilitary prisoners are measures seen as politically and morally wrong particularly given the reluctance of the IRA to fully abandon its weaponry" (Tonge, Jonathon and Evans Jocelyn 2002 pg 63) Paramilitary decommissioning is a major stumbling block on the road to the re-establishment of government structures in Northern Ireland. There are problems with hard-line nationalists and Unionists in relation to this. The two different branches of paramilitary organisations in Northern Ireland feel threatened by each other and feel if they gave up their arms they would be in fact increasing their vulnerability. Nationalists and Unionists feel that their violent actions are justified by their beliefs and that they have a right to use armed forces to protect their beliefs. The Ira have constantly refused to decommission their weapons in February 2002 the Northern Ireland assembly was suspended because the IRA had refused to decommission their weapons. ...read more.

Conclusion

the introduction of a new police force would mean that "all sections of community would have faith in a new policing force" (www.bbc.co.uk/news) but in fact neither side of the conflict was happy with the proposed reforms. The Unionists felt that these changes were too radical and on the other hand that nationalists felt that not enough was to be done to solve their problems. A recommendation of the report was to recruit more Catholics but despite the changes in the force most Catholics saw the police force as a source of their persecution in the past and saw them as their enemy. Catholics in Northern Ireland were not inclined to become a member of the PSNI because it reminded them too much of the persecution that they and their ancestors suffered at the hands of its predecessors the RUC. Sinn Fein remained vehemently opposed to the new police service and refused to sit on any policing boards. A number of Key recommendations of the Patten report were not implemented in the new police force of Northern Ireland. The control of the force still came from Britain and officers were not giving enough powers. A number of members of the RUC who were responsible for serious crimes against civil rights have risen to top positions within the PSNI. In general the nationalist community have not been happy with the reforms in the police force in Northern Ireland. ...read more.

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