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Northern Ireland: The Troubles

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Presentation on theme: "Northern Ireland: The Troubles"— Presentation transcript:

1 Northern Ireland: The Troubles

2 Northern Ireland: The Troubles
Since 1969, the provincial death toll has grown to about 3500 in an area whose population is only about 1.6 million. A comparable relative death toll in America would be about 560,000. The British have imposed an Emergency Powers Act (EPA), the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) and maintain a military force of about 18,000, supporting the RUC police force of 12,000. The RUC forces are reported to maintain 161 fortified bases, with the British army occupying 135 military bases. Belfast, alone, houses 56 military installations. Armored convoys and armed foot-patrols are common in Nationalist areas, even during cease-fire periods and army "forts" loom above the normal landscape, while helicopters hover incessantly overhead all day, every day.

3 Northern Ireland: The Troubles
How did Northern Ireland descend into the cycle of violence that marked the period known as the 'Troubles', and what was done to find a solution?

4 Northern Ireland: The Troubles
Unionists/unionism – people who want to keep the union with the United Kingdom, for Northern Ireland to remain part of the UK Nationalists/nationalism – people who want the island of Ireland to be united, a United Ireland. For NI’s union with the UK to end. Loyalists – unionists who use violence Republicans – nationalists who use violence Sectarian – a prejudice act due to religion/belief

5 Northern Ireland: The Troubles
After the partition in 1921 – the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) dominated NI elections, with a 2/3 Protestant majority in the country. Discrimination did occur to Catholics – police harassment, voting restrictions, exclusion from public service appointments. Political and social issues were almost boiling over

6 Northern Ireland: The Troubles
Political Parties • Alliance Party of Northern Ireland • Democratic Unionist Party • Northern Ireland Women's Coalition • Social Democratic and Labour Party • Sinn Féin • Progressive Unionist Party • Ulster Democratic Party • Ulster Unionist Party • United Kingdom Unionist Party • Northern Ireland Unionist Party

7 Northern Ireland: The Troubles
Paramilitaire • Irish Republican Army • Provisional IRA • Official IRA • Continuity IRA • The Real IRA/32-County Sovereignty Movement • Irish National Liberation Army • Direct Action Against Drugs • Ulster Defence Association/Ulster Freedom Fighters • Ulster Volunteer Force • Loyalist Volunteer Force • Red Hand Defenders/Orange Volunteers

8 Northern Ireland: The Troubles
Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association (Nicra) founded in 1967 – campaigned for civil rights for catholics such as the allocation of housing and the voting system. The IRA - whose stated aims was the defence of the Catholic minority - had remained largely inactive during this period. It had abandoned its last campaign of violence in 1962. In 1969 the more militant Provisional IRA (PIRA) broke away from the Offical IRA – unlike the civil rights marchers, they were prepared to use violence.

9 Northern Ireland: The Troubles
IRA, Irish Republican Army Formed in 1969 as the clandestine armed wing of the political movement Sinn Fein, the IRA is devoted both to removing British forces from Northern Ireland and to unifying Ireland. The IRA conducted attacks until its cease-fire in 1997 and agreed to disarm as a part of the 1998 Belfast Agreement, which established the basis for peace in Northern Ireland. Dissension within the IRA over support for the Northern Ireland peace process resulted in the formation of two more radical splinter groups: Continuity IRA (CIRA), and the Real IRA (RIRA) in mid to late 1990s. The IRA, sometimes referred to as the PIRA to distinguish it from RIRA and CIRA, is organized into small, tightly-knit cells under the leadership of the Army Council. 1 (Irish prejudiced) 2 (Irish prejudiced)

10 Northern Ireland: The Troubles
In the middle was the British Army. Its various attempts to control the PIRA, such as house-to-house searches and curfews, only served to drive more recruits into the ranks of the paramilitaries. Policing the country was fast becoming an impossible task, and as a result the British Army had adopted increasingly aggressive policies.

11 Northern Ireland: The Troubles
Then on 30 January 1972, the army deployed the Parachute Regiment to suppress rioting at a civil rights march in Derry. 13 demonstrators were shot and killed by troops ‘Bloody Sunday’ was a turning point in the troubles in many people’s eyes. Support for the paramilitaries, on both sides, was falling. After this there were queues of people to join the IRA and bloodshed resulted


13 Northern Ireland: The Troubles
Over the next decade, a variety of peace initiatives were suggested, tested and ultimately defeated. Though the violence and bloodshed continued. An important event in the 80s was the hunger strikers – efforts by IRA prisoners to be recognised as political prisoners and not terrorist criminals. The hunger strike of 1981 was led by Bobby Sands. During his strike, he was put forward for the vacant Westminster seat of Fermanagh South Tyrone - and won. Dirty protests also occurred. The British PM Margaret Thatcher refused to make any concessions. Sands died on 5 May ‘81. Another prisoners would die before the strike was called off.

14 Northern Ireland: The Troubles
The government acted with The Anglo-Irish Agreement between Britain and The Republic of Ireland, signed in November It set-out 4 main things: NI would remain independent of the Republic as long as that was the will of the majority in the north. Gave the Republic a say in the running of the province for the first time Power could not be devolved back to Northern Ireland unless via power sharing. Scrapped the Republic’s claim to NI in their constitution – fully scrapped in 1999 The violence of Northern Ireland's paramilitary groups still had more than 10 years to run and NI remained a divided society. But the 1985 agreement was an important point on the road to the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, and the eventual end to violence in the province.

15 Northern Ireland: The Troubles
Statistics…. 3500 people have died over the past 30 years due to the troubles. Republicans are responsible for 60% of these deaths, loyalists for 28% and the security forces (police and British army) for 11%. 93% of the killings have occurred in NI 2,000 of these were innocent civilians – that is not related to a paramilitary group or security force 40,000 people have been injured


17 Northern Ireland: The Troubles
Northern Ireland is a deeply segregated society Segregation occurs in: Housing area Clubs and pubs Schools Jobs Football teams Shops Map….


19 Northern Ireland: The Troubles
Peace in sight In the early 1990s negotiations took place between political parties and the British and Irish governments. After several years of talks IRA and loyalist ceasefires held and in 1998 the "Good Friday" agreement was signed. It set up a power-sharing executive, with ministerial posts distributed by party strength, and elected assembly. The deal was backed by voters in referendums in Northern Ireland and the Republic, which scrapped its constitutional claim to the north.

20 Northern Ireland: The Troubles
Fragile future? Problems remain as devolution has been suspended several times since it began. It was last suspended in October 2002 over allegations of a republican spying ring at Stormont. The case against the accused later collapsed and one of the defendants was revealed to be a British agent. He was found shot dead in April 2006. In September 2005 the arms decommissioning body confirmed the IRA had put all its weapons beyond use. But Unionists said they remained sceptical without any photographic proof. A deadline has now been set by the government for the Northern Ireland Assembly to resolve its differences and resume power-sharing by 24 November 2006.

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