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What are the chances for lasting peace in Northern Ireland in 2004?

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Introduction

Modern World Study: Northern Ireland What are the chances for lasting peace in Northern Ireland in 2004? 1: What are the main differences between the beliefs of the Republicans/Nationalists and the Loyalists/Unionists? The Republicans (or Nationalists, as they are also known) are basically the pro-Irish side of Ireland. They believe that the British government should hand Northern Ireland back to the Republic's control and the Britain deserves no political control. Republican extremists (such as the IRA) use extreme violence to achieve their goal of a United Irish Republic, and have been in the news after exploding car bombs and such like. Nationalist moderates use political, legal, peaceful methods but have the same aim. Unionists/Loyalists have the opposite aim, i.e. to keep Britain 'in the loop' of Northern Irish politics. They are the pro-English side of Ireland. Paramilitary Unionists (like the UFF, the UDA and the UVF) are rarely on the news lately, at least compared to Paramilitary Republicans, possibly because of the more 'extrovert' nature of splinter groups like the Real IRA. The political Unionists are law-abiding but, again, have the same goal as their paramilitary counterparts. Nationalists' main beliefs are that Britain has no part in the rule of Northern (or the Republic of) Ireland, and the boarder between Northern Ireland and Eire should not exist. Political moderate Nationalists think that the above only applies politically, i.e. ...read more.

Middle

The controversy was still raging twenty-six years later when in January 1998, when the British Prime Minister Tony Blair announced a new inquiry into the events. Bloody Sunday was tragic for those involved. Its importance in terms of conflict lay in how it affected views and attitudes. It was a propaganda victory for the Republicans. The reaction outside the United Kingdom was one of outrage. Funding for the IRA from the United States increased. In Dublin, the British Embassy was burned down. These events also strengthened the argument of the hard-line Republicans that defending their communities was no longer enough. They said that the IRA had to go on the attack to get the British out of Ireland. The Republicans would feel greatly upset and angry with the British, and therefore the Unionists for Bloody Sunday. It is my belief that the main reason behind violent Republican actions, possibly the soul reason, is the slaughter of 13 innocent, peaceful protesters on Sunday 30th January 1972. Indeed, the Nationalists are so sure that Bloody Sunday was a conspiracy and homicide that even Peter Taylor (a journalist known for his work on the problems in Northern Ireland) says that "To this day it is difficult to convince Nationalists [otherwise]". The Unionists may believe that it was perfectly acceptable to nullify a possible threat to the people and may get slightly irritated at the Nationalist rants of conspiracy. ...read more.

Conclusion

This was called the Good Friday Agreement. However, the Agreement was only the beginning. Crunch time would come along with a referendum to be held in May. The people of both Eire and Ulster were asked whether they accepted the Good Friday Agreement. The people of Eire were also asked whether they would allow Ulster to be removed from the constitution. The result in Eire was overwhelming in favour - 94%. In Ulster, while not so high, was still largely in Favour of the Good Friday Agreement, standing 71% for. This was certainly a breakthrough, and a moment in history for Ireland and her problems. More progress made by the Good Friday Agreement is that since it was passed, there have been no bombings or killings by fundamentalist groups such as the IRA or the UVF. However, the politicians in Eire, Ulster and England still cannot decide who should own Northern Ireland or indeed what to do with it. This disagreement is a major problem that needs to be rectified before total peace can be achieved. Another problem is the marching season, which still happens today, and is annually a cause of disruption between Catholics and Protestants. For peace to work either the marches should stop, or be moved to a different location, otherwise annual fights will break out between these two groups of people. Joe Rawson 14/09/2004 - 1 - ...read more.

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