University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Northern Ireland Conflict
Transforming Conflict Containment to Conflict Settlement in Northern Ireland with the Power of Communication
POLS 4600 – International Relations
The territorial conflict between United Kingdom’s Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland dates back to the 1960s between the Unionists and the Nationalists, and focused on the constitutional status of Northern Ireland. The Unionists and overwhelming protestant majority wanted Northern Ireland to remain with the United Kingdom, while the Nationalists and minority Catholics wanted to become part of the Republic of Ireland. Issues between the British and Irish date back to the 1600s, and the Northern Ireland conflict directly relates to those past issues. The idea for solving this issue was to ascend politics over violence, but this was not easily achieved. Differences between Unionists and Nationalists led to 3,600 deaths and around 50,000 injuries. The 1968 Northern Ireland Parliament was dominated by the Unionists for over fifty years. The attempts to solve the social and political problems, like institutional discrimination against Catholics, were too slow for the Nationalists and too quick for many Unionists. The scale of disorder led to a spill over in Britain, which ultimately led them to intervene to Northern Ireland with troops in 1969 in order to restore order. Following that incident, In 1972 British decide to suspend the Northern Ireland parliament, and impose Direct Rule from London. All of these tensions were slowly increasing the Northern Ireland conflict to its boiling point. These tensions developed between Unionists and Nationalists because of their differences. The Unionists were protected by the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF), and generally wanted Northern Ireland to stay with The United Kingdom. The Nationalists were mainly Catholic and were the minority. The Nationalists wanted a United Ireland, and were intended to reunite it through the Irish Republican Army (IRA). The heart of the conflict lies in the constitutional status of Northern Ireland. Although religion was present, this was not a war over religion, but rather a territorial conflict. My Research will focus on comparing the Anglo-Irish Agreement of 15 November 1985 to the Belfast Agreement of 10 April 1998. The Anglo-Irish Agreement failed to end the political violence in Northern Ireland while the Belfast Agreement seems to be calming the conflict down. There are certain detailed features that will help explain why the Anglo-Irish Agreement failed, and how the Belfast A...