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Why has it Proved so Difficult to Create a Lasting Peace in Northern Ireland?

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Why has it Proved so Difficult to Create a Lasting Peace in Northern Ireland? There has been sectarian violence and civil unrest in Northern Ireland for centuaries, all of which has grown from the historical and religious divisions between the two groups: Catholics and Protestants. Many attempts to curb the conflict and bring peace to Northern Ireland have been made but have only been successful in part and violence remains to this day. The first official attempt to stop violence in Northern Ireland was the Sunnigdale Agreement in 1974 which stated that any government in n.Ireland had to have a 50:50 ratio of protestants to Catholics. This was the fist attempt at forming a powersharing executive. However, although the catholics were enthusiastic about the proposals the Unionists were not, so the Ulster Unionist Council (UUC) ordered a strike. The whole of Northern Ireland came came to a standstill and attempts at powersharing failed. The Unionists had also learnt that by striking they could get thier way. ...read more.


After this, US Senator John Mitchell tried suggesting that a return to ceasefire was the best option but Major wouldn't settle for anything less than permanent decomissioning. The IRA werent prepared to decomission again and returned to violence. On Febuary 9th 1996 the IRA bombed Canary Wharf killing two people to show their disagreement with decomissioning. The divide between the two sides in Northern Ireland has stemmed from problems a lot older than these agreements and any of the parties involved. The divide began during the 1500s after King Henry 8th attempted to impose English colonialism on Ireland, Elizabeth 1st then began to supress Irish Catholics. The Irish Catholics began to hate the protestants who had settled on the rich land and conflict began. Oliver Cromwell punished the Catholics for rising against the protestants in 1649 whereas his successor James 2nd was a Catholic so punished the proestants in the siege of Londonderry. William of Orange came to the aid of the protestants in 1690. ...read more.


Civil rights marches in 1968, Orangeday and siege of Derry Marches in 1969 caused further tension which resulted in the IRA killing a British soldier and 10 civilians in 1971 after internment was introduced. Because of the IRA's dislike for the British becoming increasingly involved in N.Ireland, they launched a bombing campaign targetting Dublin, Monaghan, Guilford, Woolwich and Birmingham killing and injuring civillians. The Government introduced the Prevention of Terrorism Act which meant prisoners could be detained without trial for seven days. This resulted in the hunger strikes of 1980s and those who died (eg Bobby Sands) were considered matyrs. In 1984 IRA members palnted a bomb under Margaret Thatcher's room in her hotel during the Tory Party Conference in Brigthon. The bomb killed four people but left Thatcher uninjured. By 1985 the huge unrest and increase in frquency of violent acts and bombings led to the leaders of Britain and Ireland meeting to discuss the situation- this resulted in the Anglo-Irish Agreement. The most recent, and well known, attempt at bringing peace to Northern Ireland has been the Good Friday Agreement in 1998. ...read more.

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