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Streda, 5. októbra 2022
Nothern Irisch Conflict
Dátum pridania: 21.06.2006 Oznámkuj: 12345
Autor referátu: olushka
Jazyk: Angličtina Počet slov: 3 111
Referát vhodný pre: Gymnázium Počet A4: 10.9
Priemerná známka: 2.94 Rýchle čítanie: 18m 10s
Pomalé čítanie: 27m 15s
Hope Proves FalseIn June 1999, the peace process stalled when the IRA refused to disarm prior to the formation of Northern Ireland's new provincial cabinet. Sinn Fein insisted that the IRA would only give up weapons after the new government assembled; the Ulster Unionists, Northern Ireland's largest Protestant party, demanded disarmament first. Consequently the new government failed to form on schedule in July 1999, bring the entire process to a complete halt.Sinn Fein, Over to YouAt the end of Nov. 1999, David Trimble, leader of the Ulster Unionists, relented on the "no guns, no government" position and agreed to form a government before the IRA's disarmament. If the IRA did not begin to disarm by Jan. 31, 2000, however, the Ulster Unionists would withdraw from the parliament of Northern Ireland, shutting down the new government.New Parliament Is SuspendedWith this compromise in place, the new government was quickly formed, and on Dec. 2 the British government formally transferred governing powers over to the Northern Irish parliament.

But by the deadline Sinn Fein had made little progress toward disarmament, and so on Feb. 12, 2000, the British government suspended the Northern Irish parliament and once again imposed direct rule.A New BeginningThroughout the spring, Irish, British, and American leaders continued to hold discussions to try to end the impasse. Then on May 6 the IRA announced that it would agree to put its arms "beyond use" under the supervision of international inspectors. Britain returned home rule powers to the Northern Ireland Assembly on May 30, just three days after the Ulster Unionist Party, Northern Ireland's largest Protestant Party, again voted in favor of a power-sharing arrangement with Sinn Fein. On June 26, 2000, international monitors Martti Ahtisaari of Finland and Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa announced that they were satisfied that a substantial amount of IRA arms was safely stored and could not be used without detection. However, while the IRA did allow for the inspection of some of its arms dumps, the months limped by without any real progress on disarmament.

Caught in the middle was David Trimble, who was accused by his fellow Protestants of making too many concessions to the Republicans. On Oct. 28, 2000, he was nearly ousted by his own party, a move that surely would have spelled the end for the Good Friday Agreement. But Trimble survived, pledging to get tough by imposing sanctions on Sinn Fein.StalemateInto 2001, Still No Major ProgressThrough the first months of 2001, Catholics and Protestants remained at odds, especially over the establishment of a neutral police force in Northern Ireland and IRA disarmament. In early March 2001, the IRA unexpectedly initiated a new round of talks with Northern Ireland's disarmament commission, but no real progress was made.Trimble ResignsShortly before Britain's general election on June 7, Northern Ireland's first minister David Trimble announced that he would resign on July 1 if the IRA did not start disarming. The announcement helped bolster his position among his constituents, and Trimble managed to hold on to his seat in the British Parliament. However, his pro-British Ulster Unionist Party fared badly overall. In the weeks that followed, the IRA took no steps to dismantle its arsenal, and Trimble resigned as planned.

Violence Renewed as Marching Season BeginsThe fragile peace process faced another crisis in mid-June when sectarian violence broke out again in Belfast. The clashes began after a group of schoolgirls and their parents were stoned by Protestant youths as they left a Catholic primary school. In what was deemed the worst rioting in several years, rival mobs hurled gasoline bombs, stones, and bottles and set fire to cars. The violence coincided with the start of the annual "marching season" when Protestant groups commemorate past victories on the battlefield against the Catholics.IRA's Offer to Disarm RejectedOn Aug. 6, 2001, the commission responsible for the disarming of paramilitary forces in Northern Ireland announced that the IRA had agreed to a method of permanently placing its weapons arsenal beyond use. Although the commission did not disclose any details or indicate when disarmament might begin, Britain and the Republic of Ireland hailed the plan as a historic breakthrough. Protestant leaders in Northern Ireland were less enthusiastic and rejected the proposal as falling too short of action.

On Aug. 11, Britain's secretary of state for Northern Ireland, John Reid, suspended the power-sharing government for one day, a move that allowed Protestant and Catholic politicians six more weeks to negotiate before British authorities would be required to call for new elections to the assembly. (In the event of new elections, moderate David Trimble stood little chance of being reelected, since Protestants as well as Catholics have become increasingly opposed to the Good Friday Agreement.) The IRA withdrew its offer to disarm on Aug. 14, but veterans of the process were confident that the matter remained on the negotiating table.Northern Ireland Government Suspended AgainWith some small progress having been made on policing and arms decommissioning, Britain suspended the devolved government again on Sept. 22, creating another six-week window for the parties to resolve their differences.

UUP leader David Trimble criticized the move, and on Oct. 18, the three remaining Ulster Unionist cabinet ministers resigned, in an attempt to force Britain to impose direct rule again indefinitely. However, on Oct. 23, the IRA announced that it had begun to disarm, and it appeared that the peace process had once again been rescued from the point of collapse. Guns and explosives at two arms dumps were put beyond use. Trimble regained his position as first minister in the power-sharing government in a vote rerun on Nov. 6, after narrowly losing his reelection bid in the initial vote a few days earlier. Mark Durkan, who succeeded John Hume as leader of the largely Catholic SDLP (Nov. 10), was elected deputy first minister. IRA Scraps More WeaponsOn April 8, 2002, international weapons inspectors announced that the IRA had put more stockpiled munitions beyond use. British and Irish leaders alike, who expressed the hope that Protestant guerilla groups would also begin to surrender their weapons, welcomed the move. However, in mid-June British and Irish political leaders called for emergency talks to try to stem the rising tide of violence that had been ongoing in Belfast for several weeks.

Police believed that Protestant and Catholic paramilitary groups in direct violation of standing cease-fire agreements were organizing the nightly outbreaks of firebombing and rioting. The street disturbances continued into July, and a 19-year-old Catholic man was shot—the first death caused by sectarian violence since January. IRA Members Arrested in ColombiaThe call for talks also came hard on the heels of a BBC report concerning three IRA members who had been arrested in Aug. 2001, in Bogota, Colombia. According to the BBC, one of the men involved in the weapons activity was Brian Keenan, the IRA representative charged with disarming the guerilla group in Ireland. The three Irish guerillas were accused of testing new weaponry and teaching bomb-making techniques to Colombian rebels. They were scheduled to go on trial in Colombia in July. Also in July, during the annual Orange Order parade through Portadown, Northern Ireland, Protestant supporters of the Orangemen hurled stones and bricks to protest the ban on marching down Garvaghy Road, past a Catholic enclave in the town.

Throughout Northern Ireland, members of the Orange Order march to celebrate the military victory of Protestant King William of Orange over the Catholics in 1690. Two dozen police officers were injured and several people were arrested.IRA Apologizes for DeathsOn July 16, 2002, the IRA issued its first apology to the families of the 650 civilians killed by the IRA since the late 1960s. The apology was released several days before the 30th anniversary of the IRA's Bloody Friday attack on July 21, 1972, which left 9 people dead and some 130 injured. During the attack in Belfast, 22 bombs exploded during a period of only 75 minutes.Trimble Threatens to Resign AgainIn late Sept. 2002, First Minister David Trimble announced that he and other Unionist leaders would force the collapse of the Northern Ireland Assembly by resigning unless the IRA disbanded by Jan. 18, 2003.

The ultimatum came under pressure from hard-line constituents within the Unionist Party, following a number of incidents (including the trial of IRA guerillas in Colombia on weapons-related charges) that pointed to continued IRA military activity.Britain Suspends Home-Rule Government AgainBy early October, the situation had deteriorated, with Trimble threatening immediate mass resignation unless the British threw Sinn Fein, the IRA's political wing, out of the Assembly. The discovery of an alleged I.R.A. spy operation within the Northern Ireland Assembly was the last straw. Britain's Northern Ireland secretary, John Reid, suspended the power-sharing government on Oct. 14, 2002. It was the fourth time the British government had had to take back political control of Northern Ireland since the Northern Ireland Assembly came into being in Dec. 1999. On Oct. 30, in response to the British move to impose direct rule again, the IRA suspended contact with the arms inspectors who were overseeing the disarmament of Northern Ireland's guerilla and paramilitary groups.

The Council on Foreign relations has estimated that Protestant paramilitary groups have been responsible for 30% of the civilian deaths in the Northern Irish conflict. The two main Protestant vigilante groups are the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) and the Ulster Defense Association (UDA). Strongest during the 1970s, their ranks have diminished since then. While Protestant paramilitaries have observed a cease-fire since the IRA declared one, none of these groups has made any moves toward surrendering their weapons as stipulated by the Good Friday Accord. Showdown in 2003In March and April 2003, negotiations were again underway to reinstate the Northern Ireland assembly. But Sinn Fein's vague language, weakly pledging that its "strategies and disciplines will not be inconsistent with the Good Friday Agreement caused Tony Blair to challenge Sinn Fein to once and for all make a clear, unambiguous pledge to renounce paramilitary for political means."

According to the New York Times (April 24, 2003), "virtually every newspaper in Britain and Ireland has editorialized in favor of full disarmament, and the Irish government, traditionally sympathetic to Sinn Fein, is almost as adamant about the matter as London is." In Nov. 2003 legislative elections, the Ulster Unionists and other moderates lost out to Northern Ireland's extremist parties: Ian Paisley's Democratic Unionists and Sinn Fein. The prospect of power-sharing between these antithetical parties looked dim. Deadlocked in 2004An effort to revive the deadlocked powersharing negotiations was broached in March 2004 by Tony Blair and Ireland's Bertie Ahern, who announced, "The elections were in November, this is March, we must move on."

In Sept. 2004, another round of talks, aimed at ending the impasse, broke up with no significant progress. A $50 million bank robbery in Dec. 2004 was linked to the IRA, although Sinn Fein has denied the connection. Sinn Fein's growing acceptance as a political organization suffered a severe setback as a result, putting power-sharing negotiations on hold indefinitely. Evidence of the IRA's criminality as well as its continual refusal to give up its weapons has strained its relations not only in Northern Ireland and Britain but in the Republic of Ireland as well.Violence and Vigilantism in 2005The brutal murder on Jan. 31, 2005, of Belfast Catholic Robert McCartney by the IRA, and the campaign by his five sisters to hold the IRA accountable, further diminished the IRA's standing, even in Catholic communities that had once been IRA strongholds.

The IRA's subsequent offer to kill the men responsible generated further outrage. Instead of inviting Northern Irish political parties to the White House—the custom for the past several years—the U.S. invited the McCartney sisters instead. Real Hope in July 2005On July 28, the IRA stated that it was entering a new era in which it would unequivocally renounce violence: The statement said that IRA members have been "instructed to assist the development of purely political and democratic programs through exclusively political means," and that "all I.R.A. units have been ordered to dump arms" and "to complete the process to verifiably put its arms beyond use."Delays in 2006In Feb. 2006, the Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC), a watchdog agency monitoring Northern Irish paramilitary groups, reported that although the IRA "seems to be moving in the right direction," dissident republican paramilitaries are still engaged in violence and crime.
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