Peace in Northern Ireland
In Northern Ireland there are two main groups of people with different
views and opinions on Ireland and its future. The two main groups are
the Republican/Nationalists and the Loyalist/ Unionists. Within these
groups there are a wide range of views, some extreme and some
The republicans are a mainly Catholic majority and wish to see a
united Ireland in the future. One of the republican political parties
is Sinn Fein. Sinn Fein is an extreme party who has been linked with
the IRA (Irish Republican Army). The IRA is an illegal paramilitary
organisation who uses violence to oppose British presence in Ireland
to make their views clear. From the IRA the splinter group called the
Real IRA has formed and they continue to use illegal weapons even now.
A more moderate Republican Party is the Social Democratic and Labour
Party, who do not use violence to show their views.
The Loyalists have a mainly Protestant majority and wish Northern
Ireland to remain part of the UK. The Ulster Unionists (UUP) is a
non-violent unionist party, which was set up in the late 19th century
to defend the interests of Northern Protestants. The Ulster Defence
Association/ Ulster Volunteer Force (UDA/UVF) are on the other hand
violent Loyalist groups who were set up to fight back against the IRA,
like the IRA the UDA and the UVF are both illegal paramilitary groups.
There have been many events in Irelands history, which have helped to
shape the views and opinions of those who live there. The two events
which I have chosen to illustrate this are the Plantations of the 17th
century and the Partition of Ireland, 1920-21.
The plantations of the 17th century helped towards shaping the views,
mainly of the Catholics in Ireland. The plantations gave English
Protestants land that had belonged to the Catholics. The native
Catholics were forced to leave their land as the Protestants came. The
Protestants were "planted" mainly into the county of Ulster, which
makes up Northern Ireland. In the county of Ulster the Protestants and
Catholics remained strongly separated. Both sides kept their
religions, the Protestants kept their English language and from the
very beginning of the conflict between republicans it has not been
purely about religion. It has been about political and economic power
as well, which has helped to add to the problem that we see in Ireland
The partitioning of Ireland was another turning point in its history.
Ireland was separated into Northern Ireland and the Republic of
Ireland, Northern Ireland being ruled by Britain.
Ireland was partitioned after the start of The War of Irish
Independence in 1919. The fighting intensified in 1920 and the British
government lost control over much of southern Ireland, although in the