Why was Ireland under British rule?

Ireland: An island is fighting for independence


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Ireland: An island is fighting for independence

April 18, 1949 is a historic date for Ireland. At that time the island - with the exception of a few parts of the northern province of Ulster - was granted independence from the United Kingdom of England. Although the Northern Ireland conflict has not yet fully settled, the peace process has been on the right track since 1998.

In order to understand the Irish struggle for independence, it is necessary to take a look at the history of the country. Around 500 BC Settled by the Celts, Ireland was Christianized from 432 AD under the leadership of St. Patrick. He brought the Catholic faith into the country until today, a deeply rooted and unifying element of all Irish.

Subdued by England

The close ties that Ireland has with England began in 1172 with the submission of the Irish princes by Henry II. Soon the Irish were oppressed in their own country and were not allowed to interfere with the English. Religious disputes followed in 1534. Henry VIII had renounced Rome and with the Anglican state church established his own religion, which was close to Protestantism. From now on the Irish were discriminated against because of their Catholic denomination.

Several uprisings ended unsuccessfully and, from 1607, led to the resettlement of abandoned land in Ulster with Protestant settlers from England. The origin of the tensions that continue to this day in Northern Ireland. The oppression lasted for centuries under the rule of the United Kingdom, with Ireland officially annexed in 1800.

Aspirations for autonomy

From the middle of the 19th century there was renewed resistance to the British occupation forces. Any attempts at autonomy, however, were suppressed by the British and demonstrations were suppressed. The Easter Rising of 1916, after the failure of which the leaders were executed, gained notoriety.

The IRA is forming

In 1918 the newly established Irish Parliament (= Dáil) declared the independence of his country. Without success. The Irish Republican Army (= IRA) was founded out of the resistance against the English. It was intended to terrify the world with attacks and terror, especially in the 80s of the 20th century.

Divided land

The first attempts at rapprochement were made in 1922. The British proposal: Ireland should be divided into the Free State of Ireland and Northern Ireland. However, this treaty was controversial and there can be civil war-like clashes between opponents and supporters. The decision was repeatedly postponed by the Second World War, but a large part of Ireland was finally given independence in 1949.

The Northern Irish had to vote in a referendum on whether they wanted to belong to the Republic of Ireland or Great Britain in the future. As expected, the Protestant majority of Northern Ireland voted for England and ensured that the existing gap between the two parts of the country widened even further.

Radical resistance

While the Irish welcomed their independence and celebrated with euphoria at first, resentment grew in Northern Ireland, where the Catholic minority was systematically disadvantaged. From 1966 the Catholics first demonstrated peacefully against this injustice. When a demonstration was bloodily suppressed in 1968, more radical means were used. The IRA, founded in the 1920s to protect militant Catholics against attacks by Protestants, was reorganized.

"Bloody Sunday"

In 1969 London tried to contain the violent riots and sent 5,000 soldiers to Northern Ireland. But the disputes escalated more and more. The conflict reached another sad climax on January 30, 1972, which would later go down in history as Bloody Sunday. 14 people were killed when British police officers opened fire on the participants of a civil march in the city of Derry for unexplained reasons (see also link article).

The peace process is getting underway

After numerous attacks by the IRA in the 1980s, British Prime Minister John Major and Irish Prime Minister Albert Reynolds made another attempt to resolve the conflict in 1993. For the first time there were official talks between the British government and Sinn Féin, the political arm of the IRA. The new government under Prime Minister Tony Blair pushed the peace process forward even more decisively. After intensive discussions and a 36-hour marathon of negotiations, in which US President Bill Clinton took part, the so-called Good Friday Agreement was signed on April 10, 1998.

The Good Friday Agreement

The agreement created numerous institutions, including a Northern Irish assembly and a cabinet of twelve ministers. Further outcomes of the agreement: Northern Ireland will remain part of the United Kingdom until the people decide to unite with Ireland. The Republic of Ireland removes its right to Northern Ireland from the constitution.

More than 3,200 victims

A referendum was held in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland on May 22nd of the same year - the prerequisite for the agreement to enter into force. The result was surprisingly positive. 85 percent of the entire Irish population supported the referendum, increasing hope that peace is indeed within reach. The sad result: to date, more than 3,200 people have fallen victim to the Northern Ireland conflict.

Nic 04/15/2004

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