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Northern Ireland Conflict
Dátum pridania: 21.06.2006 Oznámkuj: 12345
Autor referátu: olushka
Jazyk: Angličtina Počet slov: 4 070
Referát vhodný pre: Gymnázium Počet A4: 13.5
Priemerná známka: 3.02 Rýchle čítanie: 22m 30s
Pomalé čítanie: 33m 45s
There are two sides to the religion debate. While both Protestantism and Catholicism are forms of Christianity, the beliefs surrounding how society should be structured can lead to political conflict. Catholicism is a very closely-knit religion. One of the key elements of the belief is in the emphasis placed on prayer and sacraments. The individual who administers these sacraments becomes of the utmost importance, which results in the creation of the priesthood. This suggests a social order where the leaders have significant control over the systems of a society. Protestantism in contrast is based much more loosely. It is composed of several forms of Christianity, including Anglican, Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist and the Church of Ireland. The appeal is much more direct - one where the minister prepares parishioners to meet God directly. Protestants fear that if Ireland is united, Catholicism will consume their faith. Religion is often downplayed as a cause of the conflict in Northern Ireland because Western pluralistic societies do not place as much emphasis on the importance of religion in daily life.

The question then becomes how does one find a solution to a conflict that is so multifaceted? Belfast child psychologist Morris Frazer indicates that what Northern Ireland is now faced with is "a generation of children who have lived with fear, have been taught to hate and who now aspire to kill." (Morrissey and Smyth 2002). Here in lies the starting point to resolution - education. It has become clear that in order to implement a peace agreement between Protestants and Catholics, and to make positive progress towards a bi-national state, a bottom-up approach must be used. There are a few key things that must be taken into consideration by all sides. The first is that violence is not now, nor will it ever be, a successful bargaining tool. Further to that is the idea that a peace agreement cannot end at the absence of direct violence. Progress must be made towards a model of positive peace. In order to achieve this, negotiations must consider the positions of the minority - Catholics in Northern Ireland and Protestants in Ireland as a whole. No one groups' rights can be infringed upon.

This would lead almost naturally to the idea of a bi-national state. Civil Rights´ MovementBombings, shootings and countless other acts. Will the violence ever end? Will peace and stability ever come? These were the questions that for most of Northern Irelands history best described prospects for a solution. For generations unionist and nationalist communities had been separated as well as isolated from each other, turning to demonstrations of community strength to meeting with each other in negotiation and cooperation. For the most part, the earliest attempts at peace attempted to make only mechanical political solutions. These only reinforced the already opposing relationships. Relative calm followed the Ireland Act of 1949, which created the Republic of Ireland in the south. But that changed after Northern Ireland's Catholics organized a large demonstration protesting discrimination in voting rights, housing and unemployment in 1968. Hunger StrikesBoth the Irish Republican and British sides experienced breakthroughs in the 1980s that would help to prepare the ground for the peace process. A prison hunger strike in 1981, during which ten republicans died, gave a huge and unexpected boost to republican politics when hunger striker Bobby Sands was elected to the British parliament. The propaganda campaign around the hunger strikes started the Sinn Fein involvement in electoral politics and community action.

It was this event that started a transformation. This was the beginning of Sinn Fein's ascendancy over the IRA. This was the beginning of a shift in emphasis from a military strategy to a primarily political one, and a lowering margin of victory on which the Republican outlook was focused, from the absolute principle of the right of the Irish people as a whole to self-determination towards ensuring that the immediate interests of their core base of support were sufficiently represented in and by British state institutions. In taking their seats in the Irish Parliament and later in local councils in Northern Ireland, Sinn Fein was explicitly recognizing institutions set up under partition and thus implicitly recognizing the partition of the country itself. Peace ProcessAnglo-Irish AgreementWhen Republicans did engage in a peace process contacts like nationalist John Hume were to be important. With the additional support from sections of Irish-America this cooperation with 'constitutional' nationalism became the pan-nationalist alliance. This connection acted as the go through which Republicans were able to ease their movement from a confrontational approach to a placatory one. The role of intermediaries was to become very important in the peace process.

During the late 1980s contacts were made and a network of connections developed. But at this stage the contacts were largely secret and unfruitful, a reflection of both the pariah status of Republicans and the distance between their stance and that of other political actors. In the Anglo-Irish Agreement of 1985 the main parties began to participate in efforts to create a democratic peace. The search for peace had always been overwhelmed by the violence that reinforced separation. The British government's negotiation and signing of the Anglo-Irish Agreement with the government of the Republic of Ireland in 1985 marked some developments that were to be important for the peace process. The Agreement brought the British government closer with the government of the Republic of Ireland. This was also significant for moving away from viewing Northern Ireland as a purely domestic matter for the British government. The introduction and maintenance of the Agreement was achieved against the express wishes of Ulster unionists. This was an indication of the declining power of the Unionists in Northern Ireland. Unlike the Power-sharing Assembly of 1974, Unionists failed in their attempts to wreck the Agreement. Such a failure also indicated that the British government was prepared to face down Unionist opposition.The current peace process began in April 1993 when John Hume, leader of the SDLP, and Gerry Adams, leader of Sinn Fein, met to discuss the future of Northern Ireland. An idea of determination for the people of Ireland was a major priority.

And they hoped these discussions would lead to a historical agreement between the British and Irish governments. A key element of this discussion was that Britain should be willing to allow the people of Ireland to decide their own political future. This meant that they had to accept the possibility of a united Ireland. Furthermore, they were to call on Britain to declare it had no selfish, political, strategic, or economic interest in Northern Ireland. SF in past years had shown some signs that they wished to peacefully and democratically reach a political settlement in Northern Ireland. Through their coming together, Hume and Adams signalled a change in the Nationalists approach to the Northern Irish situation which would, eventually, entail Republicans being willing to abandon violence. In this approach, Nationalist leaders hoped to appeal to a much larger percentage of the nationalist community and to the Irish people of the Republic. Violence had reduced support for the Nationalist cause in the Republic of Ireland. The task of SF would be to convince the IRA that they could achieve their political aims without the use of paramilitary force. Joint Declaration For PeaceThe discussions between Hume and Adams would be the driving factor to talks between the British and Irish governments. In June 1993 both governments came together to discuss the future of each governments relationship to Northern Ireland.

For six months, both governments would try to reach a compromise. The main debate focused on the question of self-determination. In the end the British government could not accept self-determination for the people of Ireland as a whole. On 15 December 1993 the Joint Declaration on Peace was released. To Republicans, the declaration was not seen as a solution to the conflict between the two communities. The document claimed to create a structure in which a peaceful political settlement could come about. Both British and Irish governments knew that no democratic process could be influenced by violence. It was also known that if the talks were to produce any lasting settlement the process would have to be as inclusive as possible. It was considered essential that Loyalist and Republican paramilitary groups should be encouraged to enter into cease-fires. While politicians had struck a compromise, paramilitary groups had not. Republicans spent some time seeking clarification on the Joint Agreement. Only when they felt the agreement would allow them to pursue their objectives politically would they consider a cease-fire. Loyalist violence was a response to Republican violence, but it was also a sign of their insecurity regarding their relationship with the British government. Although unionists were in the majority in Northern Ireland and the document would only allow a united Ireland to be achieved by majority consent from the Northern Ireland population, unionists no longer felt they help the power.
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