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Explain To Me : Ireland's 20th Century History

A country I find intriguing is Ireland. For some reason, it reminds distinctively of Bahrain (perhaps my readers could point out why ?) so I had thought it would be fair to post an essay about Ireland in the 20th Century.

Ireland's British problem (or Britain's Irish problem) has been a dominant theme of United Kingdom politics between 1914-1922 and since 1969 (refer to The Troubles). In September 1914, a political solution to British-Irish relations seemed to have been made.

A Home Rule Act, granting limited self government, was passed by the Westminster Parliament but was suspended for the duration of the First World War. However, by 1922, Ireland was partitioned between Northern Ireland and the Irish Free State.
The Easter Rising,of which Eamon de Valera was a leader in.(Image not mine)

The latter was a state within the British Empire with internal self-government. These political developments occurred mainly because of the effects of a failed armed rebellion (known as the Easter Rising) against British rule made by extreme Nationalists in Dublin in 1916,

From the founding of the Irish Free State to the creation of the Republic of Ireland in 1949, some Irish politicians attempted gradually to weaken the links with the British Empire. The most notable (and perhaps controversial) was Eamon de Valera.

From 1932 to 1937, he severed many of these links. In 1937, he introduced a new constitution that created an independent republic "in all but name". In addition, he laid claim to Northern Ireland as part of a united Ireland. In 1949, Ireland became a fully independent sate outside the Commonwealth.

Northern Ireland did receive Home Rule. From 1921 to 1972, it was dominated by the Ulster Unionist party (Ulster being the traditional name for the region that comprised of Northern Ireland). This party was predominantly Protestant and discriminated heavily against Catholics, who were seen as Nationalists who wanted a united Ireland.

By 1968, Catholic civil rights (coinciding with the American Civil Rights era) had become a major issue in Northern Ireland politics. It sparked off a Protestant unionist reaction that led to major sectarian violence in 1969.
A textbook scene of The Troubles. Bombings were common occurrences.

The British government first sent troops to Northern Ireland in 1969 in an attempt to maintain law and order. In 1972, the British government suspended the Northern Ireland Parliament and ruled the area directly from London.

From 1969 to 1998, Northern Ireland was badly affected by political violence. The Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) and Loyalist paramilitary groups engaged in guerrilla warfare and sectarian murder. Successive British governments, both of the Labour and Conservative parties, have attempted to find a political solution.

Attempts to involve both Nationalists and Unionists in government failed. In 1985, a new attempt was made with the Anglo-Irish (Hillsborough) Agreement (actual document here), signed under the Thatcher era, which involved co-operation between the British and Irish governments.

By the 1990s, attempts to solve the conflict in Northern Ireland involved a fusion of previous attempts at a political solution: co-operation in government between political parties within Northern Ireland and co-operation between Britain and Ireland.

Whether a permanent political solution is to be found, will depend on an end to political violence and the disarming of armed paramilitary groups.

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