The Troubles of Northern Ireland

Published: 2021-06-29 07:04:01
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The Troubles of Northern IrelandBy: Aubrey Evely11 May 2016 The Troubles is a time of conflict in the history of Northern Ireland. It is a time that is marked with religious sectarianism and contesting point of views on remaining with Britain between Protestant unionists and Catholic nationalists. It is marked with decades of fighting, guerrilla attacks and loss of life that spread across Northern Ireland and into Britain. But there is more to it and Northern Ireland and this time of religious struggle than this simple description. To understand what the Troubles was about one must look back on the history of this country. One must see how this came to be from the initial introduction of sectarianism from the British and leading up to the Troubles of today. Looking into the history you will see the violence, segregation, and turmoil that did not just exist for over almost fifty years, but that it was an ongoing issue that many lived through for centuries. You will see accounts of loss of land, denial of religious freedom and religious persecution, silencing voices and acts of protests and civil rights movements both peaceful and violent. You will see the progress and recession of attempted agreements to resolve the issues, how they affected the community for better or worse over time, and what the outcome for the future of Northern Ireland will be looking at the past and current actions.The Troubles ended during the late 20th century (1969-1997) but have a beginning that stems from centuries prior and can be traced back to the early 1600s with Scottish and English Protestant settlers had begun settling in “plantations” in the area known as Ulster after securing land in Ireland since the 1300’s. This was done at the behest of King James the First, who had just become King of England. These individuals were sent to these newly acquired counties to assure these areas would be more inclined to favor with the King and to create a foothold in Ireland to assure the subjects residing in Ireland were loyal to King James. (Ireland 2016) These new land owners were given decrees by the King to not hire any Irish workers or tenants. They needed to therefore have these subjects brought over from Scotland and England to take on the needed jobs in the counties. This assured that the increasing population continued to keep loyalties to the crown. (Lenihan 2007) This obviously angered the Irish as not only was their land taken from them but they were being forced out of homes and land. This also brought about another issue aside from the loss of home and land. With Scottish and British immigrants and workers coming to Ireland they also brought their faith as well. Those who came to Ireland were Presbyterian and, with the newly acquired land being filled with those both loyal to the crown and the Presbyterian faith, this led to a large concentration that also willing to attempt to convert those around them. During this time the church sent Palladius as the first Bishop of Ireland to be the minister for those in Ireland who believed in Catholicism and Christ. The tension that this event brought escalated into several altercations between Irish Catholics and Scottish/English Protestants, the most notable being the attempted Irish Rebellion in 1641. This rebellion arose due to the ongoing fears and resentment the Irish Catholics had over the seizure of their land and rumors of a Scottish and English army acting against King Charles I because he was to give Irish Catholics leeway in practicing their religion for assisting in stopping a rebellion in Scotland. The Protestants saw this as the King being a tyrant and wanting to spread Catholicism, since the king was a Catholic. Initially this was not meant to be an action of violence and death as the orchestrator of this, Phelim O’Neil, wanted to seize positions of strength in the provinces of Ireland to use for negotiation with the crown for the betterment of Ireland. (Canny n.d.) They did not want to destroy the counties; they wanted to try to reverse the plantation giving the land back to the Irish and merely assure they had their voices and concerns heard and were met with equality. This rebellion lasted for seven months in 1641 and allowed the Irish to accomplish a few things. They gained two thirds Ireland and were able to create a self-imposed government known as the Irish Catholic Confederation, led by a Supreme Council, which allowed them to continue to organize against the English and Scottish attempts to reconquer the country.

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