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There are two main political parties; Unionists and Nationalists. Let's look at the unionists to start with. Unionists is said to be a belief in the continuation of the 1800 Act of Union so that Northern Ireland

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Introduction

Irish History Assignment History coursework A. There are two main political parties; Unionists and Nationalists. Let's look at the unionists to start with. Unionists is said to be a belief in the continuation of the 1800 Act of Union so that Northern Ireland remains part of the U.K. and Britain. Unionists want to be under British rule and they would identify themselves as British. Unionists are mostly protestant. Nationalists generally want a united Ireland. Most Nationalists support the Good Friday Agreement. They look for independence. Nationalists are mostly Catholics. Nationalists would identify themselves as Irish. There are divisions within nationalists and Catholics. Let's look at the differences within nationalism. There are two main parties, SDLP and Sinn Fein. Let's start with the SDLP. The SDLP, one of the two main nationalist parties in Northern Ireland was formed on 21st August 1970 by Stormont MP's. SDLP is short for Social Democratic and Labour Party. Its first leader was Gerry Fitt who resigned in 1979 and was replaced by a very well known John Hume who was a Nobel peace prize winner. The present leader is Mark Durkan. Until recently the party represented the majority of nationalism, but now it is Sinn Fein who has the majority of nationalism votes. The SDLP get the majority of their votes from more middleclass and older people. They believe it is important for young people to become involved and they believe young people can carry the world forward and make the seemingly impossible, possible. ...read more.

Middle

Sinn Fein is now prepared to accept working with British. Now let's look at the differences within unionists. There are two main parties within unionism. These are the DUP and the UUP which sometimes can be identified as the OUP. First let's look at the UUP. The UUP was formed in 1905. Its first leader was Colonel Edward Saunderson. It is the more moderate of both unionist parties. Like the SDLP it has a new leader at present; Reg Empey is the new leader, who recently took over David Trimble. The UUP is mainly a protestant party. UUP is short for Ulster Unionist Party; or as it's sometimes known as OUP is short for Official Unionist Party. The UUP say they keep the interests of the people of Northern Ireland at the heart of British politics. They say they will ensure Northern Ireland remains British. They believe British-ness is a living, organic relationship with our fellow citizens in the rest of the UK. The UUP supports the 1988 Good Friday Agreement. It also supports power sharing with SDLP and Sinn Fein. They were prepared to sit in government as decommissioning was happening and not after it. The UUP are also prepared to work with Sinn Fein which is a big change. They believe the PROVO'S must be disbanded. The UUP's attitude towards the south is that they want gradual cooperation but no involvement in government of Northern Ireland. ...read more.

Conclusion

In the past Sinn Fein would have used violence to achieve their goals but now have become more like the SDLP in that they are more or peaceful means. They are now both prepared to work with the British to get a united Ireland. Sinn Fein receive the majority of nationalist votes, from mainly the young generation. In conclusion to the differences within unionism the UUP are the more moderate group which no longer represent the majority of unionists and the dup is the more extreme group. The UUP are prepared to share power with nationalists as do the DUP but the DUP have very different views and they will not share power as easy as the UUP. The DUP would be more inclined to use violence but like Sinn Fein are now using more peaceful methods. The UUP have always like the SDLP used and supported peaceful methods. The DUP will not sit with Sinn Fein until they are absolutely positive the IRA are disbanded and decommissioning has occurred. The UUP however are will and have sat with Sinn Fein as decommissioning was occurring. Now both nationalists and unionists are using peaceful methods. Their differences are becoming blurred. As the situation between republicans and loyalists politics are evolving too. At the moment and hopefully to come the more extreme groups on both the nationalism and unionism side who were more supportive of violence are on the ascendant. ?? ?? ?? ?? Ciara Loughran History Coursework 11x 06-04-06 ...read more.

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