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What was the chance of peace in Northern Ireland prior to the good friday agreement?

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What Was The Chance Of Peace In Northern Ireland Prior To The Good Friday Agreement? Prior to the Good Friday Agreement there were many suggested solutions to how the problems in Northern Ireland would be solved. The two main problems that they faced in Northern Ireland were direct rule and the sectarian violence. From the amount of peace talks and negotiations between the feuding factions one would have thought that peace was imminent, however up until the Good Friday Agreement there were no developments taking Northern Ireland in to a more peaceful situation. The first attempts at peace began in 1973 at Sunningdale. The proposal for Sunningdale was to create a devolved power sharing Government in Northern Ireland with the power shared between the Nationalists and the Unionists. In all of the peace talks there have been five groups involved. The first two groups were the British and Irish Governments, they backed all of the proposals at Sunningdale due to necessity even though the British Government at the time wanted to keep Northern Ireland in the UK to please the Unionists and the Irish Government wanted a united Ireland, but by peaceful means. ...read more.


People were optimistic when the British and Irish Governments set up new proposals in 1982. They attempted to coax the political groups in to cooperation, in return for a return of power to a devolved administration and a Northern Ireland Assembly. The Nationalists, Republicans and the Unionists all had the opportunity to enter the Assembly, however only the Unionists joined along with the Alliance party. Both of the other two groups boycotted the assembly giving no support whatsoever. This made hopes for peace in the near future look bleak as with the Nationalists and Republicans pulling out of the Assembly it further separated them from the Unionists making them less likely to come to any kind of agreement. Two years later hopes rose again thanks to the New Ireland Forum, which was suggested by the Nationalists. As the Nationalists were the ones associated with the IRA who were causing most of the sectarian violence it looked well on their part as it showed they were willing to try for a peaceful political alternative. ...read more.


The British Government needed to push the Unionists towards the talks but also lets them warring groups decide between themselves when they did get to talking, not ruin the chances of peace for another few years like Thatcher had. Finally, they also needed to convince the Republicans that they were neutral and not pro-Nationalist as the Republicans were reluctant to trust the British Government as they had the same views as the Unionists. The Irish Government needed to do the same but vice versa as the Unionists were also reluctant to trust them due to their original views being the same as the Nationalists and Republicans, without the violence of course. In conclusion there was very little hope for peace prior to the Good Friday Agreement as the factions were moving further apart all the time also with their lack of trust of the Governments involved chances looked even slimmer. If all of the groups could make the changes that I mentioned then they would be in a situation to begin peace talks, but there would still be many obstacles to face before they came to any kind of agreement. Dan Bloomfield 101 Politics Ian Levinson ...read more.

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