Sunday, April 30, 2006

History of Northern Ireland

History of Northern Ireland. This is a brief (and unsatisfying) history of Northern Ireland from 1922 to the present. Northern Ireland continues to have groups which argue for reunification with Ireland, groups which support the current status, and others which want a Northern Ireland independent of both Ireland and the United Kingdom.

Wikipedia notes, "Northern Ireland is one of the constituent countries of the United Kingdom. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland all have systems of devolved government though Northern Ireland's devolved Assembly has been suspended. It is situated on the island of Ireland, consisting of six north-eastern counties and is the only part of the United Kingdom with an external land border (with the Republic of Ireland). It was created by the Government of Ireland Act, 1920."

From the site:

Northern Ireland became independent from the remainder of Ireland after years of fighting between Catholics and Protestants. Ireland was partitioned in 1921 under the terms of the Government of Ireland Act 1920 between six of the nine Ulster counties in the northeast (forming Northern Ireland) and the remaining twenty-six counties of the south and west (forming the Irish Free State in 1922). When the latter achieved dominion status, the six Northern Ireland counties, under the procedures laid out in the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921 opted out, and so remain as part of the United Kingdom.

The conflict in Northern Ireland stems from a history of British rule, historical animosity between Catholics and Protestants, and the various armed and political attempts to unite Northern Ireland with the rest of the island. "Nationalist" and “republican” groups seek a united Ireland, while “unionists” and “loyalists” want Northern Ireland to remain part of the United Kingdom. After decades of violence by both republican and unionist paramilitaries, most notably the Irish Republican Army (IRA), the British and Irish governments negotiated an IRA ceasefire in 1994, which was followed by the landmark U.S.-brokered Good Friday Agreement (GFA) in 1998.

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