The Trouble with Violence in Northern Ireland

716 Words3 Pages
In the past century we have experienced a vast majority of violent acts towards minority groups such as blacks, Jews, homosexuals and others. According to BBC the Troubles of Northern Ireland represent one of the latest examples of religious, ethnic, geographic and political conflict. The Troubles started in the late 1960s and it is considered by many to have ended with the Belfast Good Friday Agreement of 1998. After more than 30 years of civil conflict, peace had finally been achieved. However, random violence acts have continued since then. How did the Belfast Good Friday Agreement end the Troubles in Northern Ireland and how is the country today? The island was divided into Northern Ireland and The Republic of Ireland in the 1920s. Northern Ireland was created through demographic compromise, which is a part of the United Kingdom. Many theories have developed over time, but no exact theory has yet to describe the complex struggle of the “Troubles”. The Troubles that broke out in the late 1960s had roots going back many decades lasting until 1998. The society has for many years been strictly divided between Unionists/Protestants, who want Northern Ireland to remain a part of the union with Great Britain and Nationalists/Catholics, who do not want this union. During the nineteenth century a series of movements attempted to overrun the union. Some of the movements, such as the Repeal Movement in the 1840s and the Home Rule Movement from the 1870s were congressional, but there were also movements dedicated to overthrow the union by using physical force, like the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB). The union would most likely been repealed by a Home Rule Act if it had not been for the interruption of the First World War. Durin... ... middle of paper ... .... Importantly, President of the United States Bill Clinton took an active role, appointing US veteran senator George Mitchell as chair of the negotiating process that concluded in the Good Friday Agreement. Negotiating with Sinn Fein was unpleasant for many unionists. Ian Paisley’s Democratic Unionist Party viewed the whole process as unacceptable. Nevertheless, the Good Friday agreement marked a significant shift in Northern Ireland’s political landscape. The Ulster Union Party (UUP) and Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) agreed to accept power sharing with former members committed to the peace process. All members who signed the agreement supported the “consent principle”, which meant that any change in Northern Ireland’s constitutional status would happen if majorities voted in favor in separate elections held at the same time on both sides of the border.
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