The troubles in Northern Ireland
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The troubles in Northern Ireland
Many people only have a limited idea about what these infamous “troubles” in the North of Ireland really were. Hopefully this article will shed some light on the matter. In the past the vast majority of violent acts and attitudes of discrimination towards minority groups have been based on blacks or the Jews, often leaving religious wars to the olden day Europe. However according to research “ the Troubles in Northern Ireland represent one of the most modern examples of religious, ethnic and political conflict”. This originated mainly from competition for the possession of land and jobs between the catholics and protestants occupying northern Ireland at the time and eventually grew to become downright terrorism. This article will elaborate a bit more on the euphemism known as “The Troubles”. Ireland is divided into two and consists of 32 counties. The southern part is called the Republic of Ireland and consists of 26 counties. The remaining 6 counties form Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland is a part of the United Kingdom. The Troubles mainly took place in the north of Ireland.
Ireland as a country is not that big but surprisingly very few people in the South or the Republic of Ireland know much about the happenings during the Troubles in the north. From research it would seem that the Republic of Ireland kept well away from it all and many Irish people are still very sensitive on the topic. From this it can be gathered that, even though the Troubles are officially over, the memory of it still remains very much alive in Irish minds. Many passersby who were approached during research refused to answer, saying that they had no opinion on the matter. It could be gathered by their responses that it was an uncomfortable topic for them to discuss. As stated earlier, The Troubles primarily centers on the conflict in Northern Ireland. The conflict was between protestant and catholic communities. It is actually quite tricky to define the troubles because there are so many different opinions. Both the catholic and the protestant communities define the Troubles very differently.
An approached passerby quoted “ a protestant might view the conflict during the Troubles as an attempt to make sure that Northern Ireland remained a part of Great Britain. On the other hand, a catholic may see the Troubles as either a struggle to unite Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland or a movement to bring equality to Catholics”. History of The Troubles
From 1921 to the early 1960’s, protestant leaders ruled Northern Ireland both politically and socially. The catholics were in the minority during this time. This political and social control by the protestants led to resentment and anger from the catholics. In the 1960’s, the catholic anger and resentment added onto the economic problems at the time e.g. unemployment led to a mass protest by the Catholic community, including marches for freedom and equality. These protests mark the start of the Troubles in Northern Ireland. In 1969 British Army forces were called in to Northern Ireland to ensure stability and safety in the country. In the years that followed, Violence and terrorism continued. Two main paramilitary groups were formed, the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF). The IRA’s main aim was to bring to an end British control over Northern Ireland and to unite all of Ireland while the UVF tried to maintain British dominance of Northern Ireland. Thousands of people, both bystanders and participants were killed during the fighting between the different parties.
The Troubles affected the lives of everyday individuals and bystanders as they went on with their daily routines. Citizens were often brought to military check points, bomb searched, and many lost their lives in bloody & gruesome ways during the years of the conflict. It was an extremely difficult time for the inhabitants of Northern Ireland. Catholics and protestants had to be extremely careful and keep their beliefs and religion hushed to avoid confrontation and trouble from the opposing religious group. Houses and cars would be set on fire and people could even be shot if they were thought to be proclaiming their views too publically. They kept to themselves, living in housing estates where the vast majority were of their own religion and sending their children to separate schools. According to our research, even though the Troubles are officially over, it is still very much divided in Northern Ireland and protestants and catholics still don’t mix all too much, even if it is only a question of habit. The end of the troubles
Throughout the period of the Troubles, attempts were constantly being made to bring peace to the North, but these were often met with skepticism from the media and the public in general . But finally, after years of seesawing between violence and peace, the Belfast Agreement was signed in 1998 to ensure equality in Northern Ireland. The agreement included the formation of catholic/protestant institutions, dual partnership for both communities, and a power sharing government. This was a huge milestone as it marked a commitment to protection and peace for the people in Northern Ireland.
The Troubles paint a picture of how intolerance and prejudice lead to civil war, affecting an entire nation and causing divisions among its inhabitants. Many of the answers received was while interviewing passersby on the streets of Dublin was that there would never be “ 32 states of a united Ireland”. Many of them thought that there were more important issues at large such as the unemployment and steadily declining economy and that the conflict should be put to rest and the more pressing problems should be dealt with…and one must agree.