• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Why has it been so Difficult to Bring Peace to Northern Ireland?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Why has it been so Difficult to Bring Peace to Northern Ireland? The political situation in Northern Ireland has always caused concern. Numerous factors, strengthened by historical events have contributed to the complex arguments surrounding Northern Ireland. History has caused severe conflicts in religious views, which have lead to cultural differences between the people of Northern Ireland. Other factors behind the conflict include the struggle for political power, violence and extremism, the rise of leaders and individuals, and foreign intervention. This essay will examine the way these factors have built up over time, causing violence and conflict in Northern Ireland today. This essay will also examine why, given its history, the Irish question cannot seem to be solved. The Catholic rebellion of 1641 and the Cromwellian revenge 1649 were the first examples of the use of violence and the divisions between the Protestant and Catholic religions. They enforced the feeling amongst both sides that neither could be trusted. It set the agenda for the harsh treatment of Catholics throughout history for example the Penal Laws. Although the continuance of this kind of hatred has coloured the attitudes of its people, history itself cannot be blamed. The blame lies more with the way the two sides have used Ireland's history to enforce their arguments. ...read more.

Middle

In the General election of 1918, the Home Rule Party was defeated and Nationalists voted for the more extreme Sinn Fein. War followed. The Irish Volunteers became the IRA. The war of Independence saw the rise of Michael Collins leading IRA attacks on police working for the British. This period saw the rise of extreme Unionists. They attacked Catholics in Ulster. In an attempt to stop the war, the British partitioned Ireland. The Anglo-Irish Treaty ended the fighting. Ulster, which was predominately Protestant, stayed governed by Britain. Southern Ireland became the Irish Free State. Northern Ireland has not always been so troubled and between 1922 and 1968 some degree of peace was achieved. Partition however did not produce a trouble free Ireland. Sectarian hatred had led to division in education which in turn led to a lack of understanding of opposing cultures. Pupils learned a biased history. Churches encouraged support for political parties. Lack of understanding caused further hatred. Peace depended on whether compromises in political views and culture could be made. There were sporadic terrorist attempts made by the IRA but these received little support from the Nationalist community. During the 1960's Ian Paisley became a key individual opposing Prime Minister O'Neill's, attempts to unite Protestants and Catholics. ...read more.

Conclusion

Most Unionists were not convinced. David Trimble was elected as First minister. There was difficulty in implementing the Agreement. Trimble's Unionists refused to enter the new assembly. They argued that due to a failure to start decommissioning, Sinn Fein should be excluded from office. Sinn Fein argued that they had said they would try to influence the IRA and nothing more. Lack of communication had again led to a stalemate being reached. The IRA felt that if they started to decommission their weapons they would have nothing to fall back on. After many arguments, the IRA has finally begun decommissioning. In conclusion, although there are still many obstacles to peace, in comparison to events in history, the Good Friday Agreement was an important step forward. Of the factors behind the conflict, I believe the use of violence and extremism to be the most important as this has led to resentment and bitterness amongst the Irish people. Had the conflict simply been a political struggle, the solution may have been clearer. Violence has caused distrust and division in Northern Irish society today. Another important factor is religion. It may nowadays not be as important as political views but it has led to division in schools and housing, leading to cultural differences. Although religion has been used almost as a tool in creating a division in Ireland. As Stephen Michael, a Protestant preacher said: "Protestantism is a political identity now." Samantha Donoghue The Irish Question ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Northern Ireland 1965-85 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Northern Ireland 1965-85 essays

  1. Northern Ireland Essay

    The USA were shipping and supplying the IRA with loaded weapons, which would play a big key part in the worse of the violence. So this now meant that the IRA support increased with the backing of the USA. Also there is prejudice for jobs, housing, votes and rights causing tension, which comes from the opposing religion.

  2. What are the main differences between Republicans / Nationalists and Unionists / Loyalists?

    After the fiasco at the Battle of the Bogside, a series of bomb explosions increased tension further. In April O'Neill resigned as Prime Minister after he didn't gain enough support for his latest '1 man, 1 vote' campaign. In order to try and stop the chaos, the British government sent

  1. Irish History

    Even so the UDR was itself almost entirely Protestant and did little to improve Catholic confidence. In Nationalist areas the IRA was increasingly seen as the only 'army' able to defend the Catholics. The IRA was able to claim that the presence of British troops showed that Ireland was still not independent.

  2. The following events have all helped shape the course of Irish history in the ...

    If this was the case they would want justice. If the army had opened fire for no reason then the Catholics would want revenge for their suffering. Many more Catholics would have joined the IRA to fight back and do something about the attacks.

  1. The History of Conflict in Ireland.

    But the hub is Belfast, where you see the worst violence. Once the conflicts spread to Belfast you got the beginnings of what were called "no go" areas. That is where people barricaded into their own areas to make sure that the forces of law and order could not enter.

  2. To what extent does the "Good Friday Agreement" represent a turning point for the ...

    In May 1997 a new British Prime Minister was elected: Tony Blair. Blair appointed Dr. Mo Mowlam as Northern Ireland Secretary. This woman would have an important role to play throughout the peace process; both nationalist and unionist politicians admired her talent and ability to negotiate.

  1. Conflict in Ireland

    The Unionists seemed to accept the Declaration although they were cautious about it. The Nationalists however, did not accept the Declaration, in particularly Sinn Fein. The anticipated cease-fire didn't happen and the death toll continued to rise. It was not until 1994 that a cease-fire came into action but as

  2. What were the short and long term effects of the hunger-strikes in Northern Ireland?

    Adams told prisoners: 'We are tactically, strategically, physically and morally opposed to a hunger-strike'30. Despite the recommendations of the outside IRA leadership the hunger-strikers continued in their protest. The Dublin Government "practically begged"31 the Thatcher administration for concessions for the hunger-strikers.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work