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Research Paper On Major Peace Achievements And Agreements In Northern Ireland Since The Beginning Of The "Troubles." Includes Citations And Works Cited

1188 words - 5 pages

Since 1966 the words Northern Ireland have conjured images of violence and bitter sectarian division. During that period the six counties that make up Northern have witnessed a depressing display of death and injury as Catholics and Protestants fought each other. Between 1966 and 1998 a total of 3,636 people were killed and ten times as many were injured as the conflict spread beyond Northern Ireland's borders onto the British mainland (Anderson 23). Most of the victims were innocent civilians. Despite this legacy of violence and mistrust, remarkable steps been taken recently towards achieving peace. Since 1997 a fragile ceasefire has held among the main paramilitary groups while the Good Friday Agreement of April 10, 1998, offers the best hope of a lasting end to the violence. However, many are quick to doubt this agreement for they have seen these come and go before, usually with little help. However, a few have actually made a difference and brought a brief but sweet respite to the violence. Three major events that lead to a break in the conflict were the Peace People movement, the Peace Initiative of '93, and the Good Friday Agreement in 1998.For a few brief months in 1976, a peace movement called the Peace People broke out in Northern Ireland that looked like it was going to change the country for the better. Betty Williams and Mairead Corrigan organized a series of peace marches throughout Northern Ireland (McCann 99). They started the movement after three children of Corrigan's sister were killed after a car being chased by the security forces veered off the road killing the three young children (McCann 99). Catholics and Protestants marched together through the heart of Belfast and other trouble spots (McCann 100). Tens of thousands of men and women turned out in support. It was the largest non-violent demonstration in the history of the country and was so influential that Williams and Corrigan won the Nobel Peace Prize that year (McCann 101). However, that would be the beginning of their downfall. Williams decided to keep her 38,000 pounds sterling share of the prize money rather than use it to help the movement (McCann 101). That devastated Corrigan and the two grew apart while the movement quickly began to crumble (McCann 101).It wasn't until another case of innocent children dying in 1993 that another attempt at peace was made. On March 20 an IRA bomb killed two children, Jonathan Ball and Tim Parry (Anderson 121). Reaction to the deaths lead to the formation of Peace Initiative '93, aided by Colin Parry, the father of one of the victims (Anderson 101). Supporters set off on a peace walk from Manchester, England to Warrington, Northern Ireland where two pairs of tennis shoes, symbolic of the two young boys, were placed at the town's River of Life memorial (Anderson 103). The Warrington bombing was a key point in the IRA's mainland bombing campaign but it caused a shift in the focus of violence away from the province and later led to...

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