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Irland. History, Parties and religion

Referat / Aufsatz (Schule) 2000 8 Seiten

Didaktik - Englisch - Landeskunde


Northern Ireland

History (brief overview)

12th century: Henry II claims Ireland

1609 Plantation of Ulster

1650 Cromwell's genocidal campaign

1690 Battle of the Boyne

1801 Irish Paliament abolished

1840 Great Famine

1916 Easter Uprising

1920 War of Independence

1921 Partition of the country

1968/69 Civil Rights Movement, first clashes between Protestant & Catholics

1969 British government sends troops

1972 Bloody Sunday

1980s Hunger Strikes of IRA men 1985 Anglo-Irish-Agreement

1993 Joint Declaration for Peace

1994 cessation of military actions/ Peace Agreement

1998 Good Friday Agreement

The Parties


UUP: Ulster Unionist Party; David Trimble (also First Minister)

DUP: Democratic Unionist Party; Ian Paisley

- want a state of Northern Ireland
- oppose to involve the Republic of Ireland in questions concerning NI
- unwilling to share executive power with non-Unionist parties


- want to unify the island of Ireland

SDLP: Social Democratic and Labour Party; John Hume

- accept that unity must await the support of the majority of the people in NI

- aims of Civil Right Movements

Sinn F é in (We ourselves); Gerry Adams, not involved in Peace Talks

- force is necessary to remove British presence

- refuses to condemn the IRA

The Paramilitary Organizations

IRA (Irish Republican Army)

- only force will remove British from Ireland

initially defenders of Northern Ireland's Catholic minority, later spread activities throughout NI, Britain & Europe

PIRA (Provisional IRA)

parted from the IRA, much more radical

UVF Ulster Voluntary Force

UDA Ulster Defense Association

RUC Royal Ulster Constabulary (paramilitary until 1970, then used by the British government as a state police to keep peace, but stories of mistreating)

History (detailed version)

12th century Henry II claimed and attempted to attach Ireland to his kingdom

only succeeded in a small area near Dublin ·Pale , as he tried to take over control from there, England became a threat to the Irish clans, then ruling

1609: Plantation of Ulster: military conquest had established English rule over most of Ireland except Ulster, Ulster clans fought against the army, but finally lost: leaders escaped, land given to British colonists; in 1703 less than 5% was owned by Catholics

Irish excluded from towns, banished to mountains and margins of the land

- introduction of foreign community _different language, culture, religion

next years: several rising, because the Irish didn't accept confiscation of the land

1650 genocidal campaign, in which O. Cromwell massacred Irish peasants or shipped them to America

1690 James II defeated by William of Orange at the Battle of the Boyne

- increase of hate between Catholics and Protestants

1801 Irish Parliament abolished, Irish language forbidden 1845 Great Famine (or Irish Potato Famine)

1845 - 1849 potato crop failed (almost completely ruined) because of blight

_ Irish were dependant on potatos (rural, poor), the fungus came from America and found good conditions, as the weather was unusually moist, cool weather the situation was really bad, one description of Mr Cummins: people: "famished & ghastly skeletons" on filthy straw in ragged horsecloth, their wretched legs hanging about, "what had been a man", "phantoms" "frightful spectres" with "demoniac yells" pestilence all around, a corpse half devoured by rats, corpses lying in the street

British governments actions to relieve the situation were inadequate, especially when in June 1846 the Liberals won the elections: reliance on Irish sources

Financial burdens thrown upon landowners, who then, as those couldn't pay the rent, simply had no money for them

All in all the British government spent £ 8 000 000 on relief

Irish farms exported high quality food to Britain, because the Irish couldn't pay for it

illustration not visible in this excerpt

This intensified the resentment of British rule among Irish people.

Demographic comsequences:

1 100 000 died

1 500 000 emigrated (more than half to the US)

to the US:

in "coffin ships" _shortage of food, foul water, lice, typhus, fever, death ended in "urban proletariat", the "most conquested and squalid slums" life with mortality, morbidity, insanity, criminality; reputation: ignorance, drunkness, vice, violence again religious conflicts ·discrimination by W.A.S.P.s "No Irish need apply"

to GB:

in nearly every city an Irish quarter, hotbeds of disease & poverty, unemployment this topic interests many artist _ songs, poems and books about it

1916 Easter Uprising (as a result of Home Rule Fights) _ Catholic Nationalists started a rebellion, British Army caught leaders and hanged them _ Birth of Irish Nationalism, as sympathy wih the IRA is caused

1918 Sinn Féin wins 73 out of 105 seats in the parliament but refuses to go to London, instead stay in Dublin, establish the Dail Eireann, an Irish parliament, and declare independence

War of Independence, finally ended M. Collins

illustration not visible in this excerpt

1921 partition of the country, in a way the beginning of the troubles the treaty was only accepted by 2/3 of the people in NI, the others didn't

1921-24 Civil War between those loyal to Britain and those who wanted a united Free State

about 50 protestants: control of local government, better jobs, housing, education, social years quiet services, but the Catholics didn't say anything, because there were a lot of jobs and a economic security

1968/69 influenced by Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Protests in the USA, the Catholics began fighting for civil rights (no discrimination in jobs, housing...)

these peaceful marches were attacked by militant protestants

1969 British government sent troops to protect Catholics and enforce order, but soon the Provisional IRA began campaign of violence against the British Army

-1972 occasional interventions of paramilitary groups

1972 Bloody Sunday (30th January) British soldiers killed 13 participants of a civil rights march, never an official apology this year 468 people dead

1980s hungerstrikes of IRA (to win sympathy)

1985 first sign of hope: Anglo-Irish-Agreement _ the Eire was given a say in NI affairs opposed by Unionists and the IRA · bombings throughout the continent during the years there are several peace initiatives, official, as well as private ones 1993 Joint Declaration of Peace (by English and Irish prime ministers)

underlines the self-determination of the people in Ireland Britain's position: neither opposed to Irish unity, nor selfish interest

August 1994 IRA: cessation of all military activities

October 1994 Combined Loyalist Military Command: the same

1994 Britsh government: Peace Agreement, if the paramilitary groups decomissioned their weapons

- solid hope

practically happened: roads were opened, release or transfer of political prisoners, reduction of military


1998 The Good Friday Agreement _ treaty of I, NI, GB, which declared the end of the NI conflict, but Sinn Féin didn't disarm, because they wanted to be part of the executive first (which the Unionists don't want)

since then the talks have been going on...

Religion in Northern Ireland

The Catholic Religion and the way it has changed


illustration not visible in this excerpt

-great influence on everyday life
-priest a figure of authority
-Sunday Mass as a sense of community
-A great sense of tradition
-Women: in the home, sinful to have children

The Role of Women

The Cobweb Curtain About 2 women who meet after 12 years

One: old fashioned, fits the cliche of a village woman, very superficial, hypocritical, sticks to tradition, conservative, avoids unpleasant situations, doesn't know what she wants

Two: a carrer woman, very direct, lives a modern life, doesn't like small talk and can appear rather cold and impolite

[Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten] The point is:

Whereas the 2nd has managed to break out of the suffocating life of the older generations, the 1st one is still in it, although she's obviously not too satisfied with this

Second Text:

About a housewife who fulfills all of the traditional role expectations and thinks in role patterns:

A lot of housework (this is not really work)

Upbringing of the children

Pushing the pram down the road while shopping

When she sits in a bar to have a drink and men make stupid remarks she leaves (=it's her fault)

Men think single woman who go to a bar are fair game _ no respect

Another Example of a modern woman:

Mary Robinson, elected president of Ireland in 1990, was a lawyer Her views of Ireland for the future (inaugural speech)

- Open, tolerant
- Change into a pluralist Ireland
- Ireland shall be an integrated part of Europe which is taken seriously and contributes to the community
- Friendship and love with Northern Ireland; mutual understanding of the two communities
- Social justice

The people

Extract from the book Cal by Bernard MacLaverty (summary of the book)

The book deals with a young Catholic man,called Cal, who is unemployed and now or then helps a friend who is in the IRA. One time he is the driver, when his friend kills a man. When he realizes he wants to get out. Later he meets the widow of the man they've killed, and falls in love with her.She's protestant. You can see, how their relationship develops without her knowing of his involvement in her husband's murder, as well as you can see how Cal hides from the police and the IRA.

In another text two extremist women are asked, about what they think of everything

1. Loyalist: complains that the Catholics get all the houses, the best jobs, new schools, new shops, ... in her opinion they draw too much state assistance money _ "They aren't loyal to the Queen but want to have money", they murder, kill, and throw firebombs and afterwards go to church, say some Hail Mary's and everything is okay again wants the army to intervene, wants the Catholics to leave

2.Republican sure the'll win, 'cause people believe they'll win, her cousin killed by the British Army (shot in the back), IRA aren't mindless terrorists, but young men, who care deeply about Ireland and only want to get rid of British occupation and exploitation

IRA will never give up, can't be defeated, must set an end to injustice The British are the terrorist, not the IRA

In an additional article we read was the statement, that there is hope, because you can see that cultural life and commercial life is reviving, so that life in North Ireland has gone back to normality.

Additional material:

Two articles, one from the Irish Examiner, one from the Boston Herald, judge yourself, how the situation in Northern Ireland is today!


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Titel: Irland. History,  Parties and religion