The history of the northern ireland crisis

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Also known internationally as the Northern Ireland conflict[18] [19] [20] [21] it is sometimes described as an " irregular war " [22] [23] [24] or " low-level war ". The conflict was primarily political and nationalisticfuelled by historical events. Increasing tensions led to severe violence in August and the deployment of British troopsin what became the British Army 's longest ever operation.

Some Catholics initially welcomed the British Army as a more neutral force than the RUC, but it soon came to be seen as hostile and biased, particularly after Bloody Sunday in The security forces of the Republic of Ireland played a smaller role.

Republican paramilitaries carried out a guerrilla campaign against British security forces as well as a bombing campaign against infrastructural, commercial and political targets.

At times, there were bouts of sectarian tit-for-tat violence, as well as feuds within and between paramilitary groups of the same stripe. The British security forces undertook both a policing and counter-insurgency role, primarily against republicans. There was some collusion between British security forces and loyalist paramilitaries. The Troubles also involved numerous riots, mass protests and acts of civil disobedienceand led to increased segregation and the creation of temporary no-go areas.

The word "troubles" has been used as a synonym for violent conflict for centuries. It thus became the focus for the longest major campaign in the history of the British Army. The British government 's position is that its forces were neutral in the conflict, trying to uphold law and order in Northern Ireland and the right of the people of Northern Ireland to democratic self-determination.

Nationalists regarded the state forces as forces of occupation or partisan combatants in the conflict, while Unionists tended to support the locally recruited RUC.

The British security forces focused on republican paramilitaries and activists, and the "Ballast" investigation by the Police Ombudsman confirmed that certain British officers colluded on several occasions with loyalist paramilitaries, were involved in murder, and furthermore obstructed the course of justice when claims of collusion and murder were investigated.

The Troubles were brought to an uneasy end by a peace process that included the declaration of ceasefires by most paramilitary organisations, the complete decommissioning of the IRA's weapons, the reform of the police, and the withdrawal of the British Army from the streets and sensitive Irish border areas such as South Armagh and County Fermanaghas agreed by the signatories to the Belfast Agreement commonly known as the "Good Friday Agreement".

One part of the Agreement is that Northern Ireland will remain within the United Kingdom unless a majority of the Northern Irish electorate vote otherwise. Although the number of active participants was relatively small, the Troubles affected many in Northern Ireland on a daily basis; their impact sometimes spread to England and the Republic of Ireland, and, occasionally, to parts of mainland Europe. Peace lines, which were built in Northern Ireland during the early years of the Troubles, remain in place.

InScottish and English settlersknown as planterswere given land escheated from the native Irish in the Plantation of Ulster. Anglican dominance in Ireland was ensured by the passage of the Penal Laws that curtailed the religious, legal, and political rights of anyone including both Catholics and Protestant Dissenters, such as Presbyterians who did not conform to the state church, the Anglican Church of Ireland.

As the Penal Laws started to be phased out in the latter part of the 18th century, there was more competition for land, as restrictions were lifted on the Irish Catholic ability to rent. With Roman Catholics allowed to buy land and enter trades from which they had formerly been banned, tensions arose resulting in the Protestant " Peep O'Day Boys " [53] and Catholic " Defenders ".

This created polarisation between the communities and a dramatic reduction in reformers among Protestants, many of whom had been growing more receptive to democratic reform.The Troublesalso called Northern Ireland conflictviolent sectarian conflict from about to in Northern Ireland between the overwhelmingly Protestant unionists loyalistswho desired the province to remain part of the United Kingdomand the overwhelmingly Roman Catholic nationalists republicanswho wanted Northern Ireland to become part of the republic of Ireland.

Colonizing British landlords widely displaced Irish landholders. Unlike earlier English settlers, most of the 17th-century English and Scottish settlers and their descendants did not assimilate with the Irish. Instead, they held on tightly to British identity and remained steadfastly loyal to the British crown. Of the nine modern counties that constituted Ulster in the early 20th century, four— AntrimDownArmaghand Londonderry Derry —had significant Protestant loyalist majorities; two— Fermanagh and Tyrone —had small Catholic nationalist majorities; and three— DonegalCavanand Monaghan —had significant Catholic nationalist majorities.

Induring the Irish War of Independence —21the British Parliamentresponding largely to the wishes of Ulster loyalists, enacted the Government of Ireland Actwhich divided the island into two self-governing areas with devolved Home Rule-like powers.

It also allowed Northern Ireland the option of remaining outside of the Free State, which it unsurprisingly chose to do. Thus, in Northern Ireland began functioning as a self-governing region of the United Kingdom. Two-thirds of its population about one million people was Protestant and about one-third roughlypeople was Catholic. Well before partition, Northern Ireland, particularly Belfasthad attracted economic migrants from elsewhere in Ireland seeking employment in its flourishing linen-making and shipbuilding industries.

The best jobs had gone to Protestants, but the humming local economy still provided work for Catholics. Moreover, by restricting the franchise to ratepayers the taxpaying heads of households and their spouses, representation was further limited for Catholic households, which tended to be larger and more likely to include unemployed adult children than their Protestant counterparts. Those who paid rates for more than one residence more likely to be Protestants were granted an additional vote for each ward in which they held property up to six votes.

Catholics argued that they were discriminated against when it came to the allocation of public housingappointments to public service jobs, and government investment in neighbourhoods.

The divide between Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland had little to do with theological differences but instead was grounded in culture and politics. Catholics by and large identified as Irish and sought the incorporation of Northern Ireland into the Irish state.

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The great bulk of Protestants saw themselves as British and feared that they would lose their culture and privilege if Northern Ireland were subsumed by the republic. They expressed their partisan solidarity through involvement with Protestant unionist fraternal organizations such as the Orange Orderwhich found its inspiration in the victory of King William III William of Orange at the Battle of the Boyne in over his deposed Catholic predecessor, James IIwhose siege of the Protestant community of Londonderry had earlier been broken by William.

Despite these tensions, for 40 or so years after partition the status of unionist-dominated Northern Ireland was relatively stable. Ian Paisleywho became one of the most vehement and influential representatives of unionist reaction.

Article Contents. The Troubles Northern Ireland history. Print print Print. Table Of Contents. Facebook Twitter.Northern Ireland.

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One of the most contentious and defining conflicts of the twentieth century and one whose impact is still felt today. What caused it? The origins of problems in the region stretch centuries back to the Anglo-Norman intervention of Ireland inwhen England first laid roots in the area.

Despite some intermingling of the English and Irish population, the two were never completely united. As a result, two disparate populations, with differing interests, found themselves living in a small island side by side.

His break from Rome placed him at loggerheads with Catholic Europe and introduced religion into Irish politics for the first time. It was swiftly put down and those involved were executed. All the while, plantations were being established throughout the country. Lands occupied by Irish landowners were confiscated, especially in Munster and Ulster.

The Troubles

They were distributed to colonists, commonly known as planters, who came in large numbers from England, Scotland and Wales. The plantations altered the demography of Ireland. Large Protestant English communities were created, whose identity was at odds with the Roman Catholic Irish inhabitants. The Battle of Drogheda maintains particular resonance. In SeptemberCromwell laid siege to Drogheda, a town on the East coast of Ireland, which had been garrisoned by a coalition of Roman Catholics, Confederates and Royalists in their quest to expel the English from Ireland.

By the late seventeenth century, against a backdrop of battles and disputes, which further mired relations between the two populations, the position for Catholics was incredibly compromised. Even for those seemingly unaffected by the laws, the fact that ultimate control of their land lay in the hands of Westminster was a mockery.

The first sounds of Irish nationalism were being made. After all, the mood was ripe for unrest, with both America and France already experiencing revolution in the latter half of the eighteenth century. As a concession, the penal laws were relaxed. But this did not extinguish opposition; in a rebellion broke out in Ireland, organised by the United Irishmen, a revolutionary republican group, who had been inspired by the revolutions of France and America.The birth of Northern Ireland in was a bloody one, which was accompanied by widespread communal violence Hennessey The increased conflict from until the beginning of the twenty-first century, was by far the worst seen in Western Europe since the Second World War Tonge 1.

The aftermath of the First World War resulted in a number of uneasy ethnic and religious compromises during the creation of Northern Ireland McGrattan 3. On the surface, the Northern Ireland conflict is religious, as the opposing communities have used the terms Catholic and Protestant to describe themselves Ganiel and Dixon However, the historical roots of the Northern Ireland crisis run much deeper.

The terms, Catholic and Nationalist, and Protestant and Unionist, are interchangeable. However, for this essay, when discussing the politics of Northern Ireland, the terms Nationalist and Unionist shall be used.

For religious based commentary, the religious labels of Catholic and Protestant will be used. The conflict in Northern Ireland is most easily understood as being between two main groups Dixon 2. The second group comprises of the remaining forty percent of the population and are known as Nationalists Dixon 2. The Nationalists are overwhelmingly Catholic and view themselves as being Irish, and wish to be part of a united Ireland Dixon 2.

In most accounts, the inability of the Northern Ireland government to reform itself led to increased frustration among the Catholic population, which later spilled over into violence Farrington The older and deeper roots of the conflict in what was to become Northern Ireland lie in the seventeenth-century plantation of the northern province of Ulster Hennessey 1. Ulster is a nine county ancient province, in which six of the counties form what is now known as Northern Ireland Tonge Land in Ulster, previously held by the Catholic Irish natives, was now colonised by Protestants from England and Scotland Hennessey 1.

In the historical debate between Nationalists and Unionists there is some dispute over which group has first claim to Northern Ireland Dixon 2. In the sixteenth century, England became Protestant while Ireland remained Catholic and somewhat rebellious Dixon 2. Inthe conquest of Ireland was completed and inthe plantation of Ulster began Dixon 3.

The Catholic Irish were evicted and Protestant settlers were established in present day Northern Ireland. The eviction of the Irish led to a period of bloody conflicts. Inthe Catholic Irish population rose up against the Protestants, resulting in the deaths of many Dixon 3.

In the period between andCromwell bloodily triumphed over the Irish Dixon 3.

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From the s onwards, the Irish Nationalist population instead looked to the Irish Free State to improve their situation McGrattan 3. This state of affairs was compounded by the fact that Unionists were also a minority on the island of Ireland and, therefore, feared that any small-scale political or institutional change could increase the chances of a radical reconfiguration of the status quo McGrattan 3.

The outbreak of the Second World War widened these divisions, as the government remained neutral while Stormont participated in the Allied campaign McGrattan A constitutional movement for Irish Home Rule developed at the end of the nineteenth century which succeeded in winning considerable land reforms for the Irish, but the outbreak of the First World War saw a failure to achieve implementation of the Home Rule for Ireland Dixon 3.

Northern Ireland Timeline

The Unionists throughout Ireland, mainly Protestant descendants from the plantation, led resistance to home rule for they feared Catholic domination in an all-Ireland assembly Dixon 3. Nationalists, on the other hand, saw the communal violence in Northern Ireland as evidence of a program directed against the Catholic population Hennessey This view shaped Northern and Southern nationalist interpretations of Ulster unionism, which was interpreted as seeking a permanent Protestant ascendency over the Catholic community Hennessey This resistance led to a new divide between the Nationalists and Unionists Hennessey 1.

Various events, in the mid to late s, are viewed as being important staging posts on the road to the crisis of and Farrington However, according to Farringtonit is only in hindsight that we can see these events as staging posts on the road to crisis. The attacks by the police on a civil rights march in Derry in October and again by loyalists just outside Derry in January are also highlighted as possible triggers Bew The subsequent deployment of British troops on the streets of Northern Ireland in August is also depicted as a point of no return Bloomfield Sadly, the death toll was to continue to rise up to the signing of the Good Friday Agreement between political parties on 10 April in Belfast Paterson In fact, the conflict in Northern Ireland has not been, nor will it ever be, a holy war Mitchell 1.

Simply, Northern Ireland can be seen as a place where the British and Irish nations overlap and their co-nationals, being British Unionists and Irish Nationalists, aspire to be part of two separate states Dixon 2. This was found to be particularly true in regards to the Protestants in Northern Ireland, as the role played in economic inequality decreased under the industrial and economic programmes of modernisation Hickey Religion remains one of the central dimensions of social difference in a conflict which is constituted by many factors Mitchell 1.Political separation of Northern Ireland from the rest of Ireland did not come until the early 20th century, when Protestants and Catholics divided into two warring camps over the issue of Irish home rule.

The history of Northern Ireland can be traced back to the 17th century, when the English finally succeeded in subduing the island after successfully putting down a number of rebellions.

See Oliver Cromwell ; Battle of the Boyne. Much land, especially in the north, was subsequently colonized by Scottish and English Protestantssetting Ulster somewhat apart from the rest of Ireland, which was predominantly Catholic. During the s the north and south grew further apart due to economic differences.

In the north the standard of living rose as industry and manufacturing flourished, while in the south the unequal distribution of land and resources—Anglican Protestants owned most of the land—resulted in a low standard of living for the large Catholic population.

the history of the northern ireland crisis

Most Irish Catholics desired complete independence from Britain, but Irish Protestants feared living in a country ruled by a Catholic majority. In an attempt to pacify both factions, the British passed in the Government of Ireland Act, which divided Ireland into two separate political entities, each with some powers of self-government. The Act was accepted by Ulster Protestants and rejected by southern Catholics, who continued to demand total independence for a unified Ireland.

Following a period of guerrilla warfare between the nationalist Irish Republican Army IRA and British forces, a treaty was signed in creating the Irish Free State from 23 southern counties and 3 counties in Ulster. In the Irish Free State became an independent republic. Although armed hostilities between Catholics and Protestants largely subsided after the agreement, violence erupted again in the late s; bloody riots broke out in Londonderry in and in Londonderry and Belfast in British troops were brought in to restore order, but the conflict intensified as the IRA and Protestant paramilitary groups carried out bombings and other acts of terrorism.

This continuing conflict, which lingered into the s, became known as "the Troubles. Despite efforts to bring about a resolution to the conflict during the s and 80s, terrorist violence was still a problem in the early 90s and British troops remained in full force.

More than 3, people have died as a result of the strife in Northern Ireland. A serious attempt to bring about a resolution to the conflict was made in when British and Irish prime ministers Margaret Thatcher and Garrett Fitzgerald signed the Anglo-Irish Agreement, which recognized for the first time the Republic of Ireland's right to have a consultative role in the affairs of Northern Ireland. However, Protestant politicians who opposed the Agreement were able to block its implementation.

Further talks between rival Catholic and Protestant officials and the British and Irish governments occurred during the early s.

the history of the northern ireland crisis

Then, in late Aug. This made it possible for Sinn Feinthe political arm of the IRA, to participate in multiparty peace talks; hitherto Sinn Fein had been barred from such talks because of its association with the IRA and its terrorist tactics. On Dec. Negotiators for Sinn Fein pushed for a British withdrawal from Northern Ireland; Great Britain countered that the IRA must give up its weapons before Sinn Fein would be allowed to negotiate on the same basis as other parties.

The issue of IRA disarmament would continue to be a sticking point throughout the negotiations.

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In late Feb. The talks were to be held in three phases involving the political parties of Northern Ireland, the Irish government, and the British government.The following is a Northern Ireland timeline and an overview of the Irish influence on civilization. However, many Irishmen felt that Home Rule did not go far enough. Protestants in Ireland, especially those in Ulster, were worried that the Parliament would be mainly made up of Catholics. The Bill was defeated. Their aim — to free Ireland from British rule and gain independence for the whole of Ireland.

Home Rule was to become law in Home Rule with Partition. Home Rule would be introduced in the South but six predominantly Protestant counties in the north would stay a part of the United Kingdom.

This solution is largely the cause of the problems in Ireland that exist to this day. Nationalist remain committed to the idea of a united free Ireland, while Protestants are unwilling to accept anything less than partition.

They became known as the Irish volunteers. British forces poured into Dublin including gunboats that fired on the rebels from the river Liffey. The fighting lasted five days and caused more than deaths and 2, injuries. The rebels were forced to surrender.

Fifteen executions were carried out, the remainder, including Michael Collins, were imprisoned. Two parliaments were introduced, one in Dublin to serve twenty-six counties and one in Belfast to serve six northern counties.

The twenty-six counties were known as the Irish Free State and were given a measure of independence. The government of these counties was known as the Provisional Government. The six northern counties were to remain part of the United Kingdom but they would have their own parliament, the Stormont.

A Council of Ireland was set up to oversee measures common to both parts.The island of Ireland is divided into two parts. Northern Ireland, in the northeast, is a part of the United Kingdom. The Republic of Ireland is an independent country. A conflict between the two main religious groups, the Protestants and the Catholicshas been going on for over four hundred years. In the second half of the 20th century violent clashes between the two groups killed over 3, people. Towards the end of the century a new peace agreement was signed that was expected to bring peace to Northern Ireland.

The land is hilly, with low mountains, plains and valleys.

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It has many lakes, or loughsembedded in the landscape. The climate is influenced by the sea. Summers are cool and windy, winters are mild. Rain falls throughout the year. Half of the people are Protestants. They are descendants of Scottish and English settlers who came to the area in the 17th century.

The two groups live separately in their own neighbourhoods. Northern Ireland's capital is Belfast, a city of aboutUnemployment is higher than in other areas of Britain. In former times the production of linen and shipbuilding were the two traditional industries.

In the past decades manufacturing has decreased mostly because companies feel they are not safe on the island. Farming still plays a major role in Northern Ireland.

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Pigs and chicken are raised for meat and eggs. Dairy farms produce milk and fish are caught in the waters around Northern Ireland. In about B. Celtic tribes invaded Ireland.

the history of the northern ireland crisis

They founded 5 kingdoms on the island. Although the Romans did not take control of Ireland their influence was very strong. The Irish probably used Roman coins and the language spoken in parts of Ireland may have been influenced by Latin. In about A. Saint Patrick brought Christianity to the Irish population. He set up churches and other missionaries.


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