• The nationalism that is practiced
in northern Ireland is the Ulster
• The Ulster unionist party
dominates northern Ireland.
• Ulster nationalism is a name given
to a school of thought in Northern
Irish politics that seeks the
independence of northern Ireland
from the United Kingdom without
becoming part of the republic of
• Ulster nationalism represented a
reaction from within Unionism and
Loyalism to the uncertain position
offered to the union by the
Origins of Ulster
• Began in 1946 when W. F. McCoy (a former
cabinet in Government of Northern Ireland)
advocated the Dominion of Ulster unionist
• He felt that the uncertain constitutional
state of Northern Ireland made it vulnerable.
• The term Ulster derives from one of the four
traditional provinces; name is used to refer to
Northern Ireland within unionism and Ulster
• He wanted to use the Ulster nationalism as a
way to safeguard Northern Ireland's
relationship with the United Kingdom.
• Northern Ireland WAS an integral part of • As a result of the Good Friday Agreement
the United Kingdom, but under the terms of 1998, a new coalition government was
of the Government of Ireland Act in 1920, formed on Dec. 2, 1999, with the British
it had a semiautonomous government. government formally transferring
• In 1972, however, after three years of governing power to the Northern Irish
sectarian violence between Protestants parliament.
and Catholics that resulted in more than • David Trimble, Protestant leader of the
400 dead and thousands injured, Britain Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) and winner
suspended the Ulster parliament. of the 1998 Nobel Peace Prize, became
• The Ulster counties were governed first minister.
directly from London after an attempt to • The government has been suspended
return certain powers to an elected four times since then; it has remained
assembly in Belfast. suspended since Oct. 14, 2002.
• Northern Ireland WAS part of the
United Kingdom, but under the terms
of the Government of Ireland Act in
1920, it had a semiautonomous
• However, in 1972 after three years of
violence between Protestant and
Catholic, the United Kingdom
suspended the Ulster parliament
• The Good Friday Agreement of 1998
also known as the Belfast Agreement
was a major political development in
Northern Ireland peace process.
• As a result of the Good Friday
Agreement of 1998, a new coalition
government was formed on Dec. 2,
1999, with the British government
formally transferring governing power
to the Northern Irish parliament.
• Northern Ireland did not separate from
• Ulster was part of Catholic
the South until William Gladstone
Ireland until the reign of Elizabeth presented, in 1886, his proposal for
I (1558–1603) when, after home rule in Ireland.
suppressing three Irish rebellions, • The Protestants in the North feared
the Crown confiscated lands in domination by the Catholic majority.
Ireland and settled the Scots • Industry, moreover, was concentrated
Presbyterians in Ulster. in the North and dependent on the
• A rebellion in 1641–1651, brutally British market.
crushed by Oliver Cromwell, • When World War I began, civil war
resulted in the settlement of threatened between the regions.
Anglican Englishmen in Ulster. • Northern Ireland, however, did not
become a political entity until the six
• Subsequent political policy favoring counties accepted the Home Rule Bill of
Protestants and disadvantaging 1920.
Catholics encouraged further • This set up a semiautonomous
Protestant settlement in Northern parliament in Belfast and a Crown-
Ireland. appointed governor advised by a cabinet
of the prime minister and 8 ministers,
as well as a 12-member representation
in the House of Commons in London.
Ca t h o l i c a n d
P r o t e s t a n t
•C o mmu n i t i e s
When the Republic of Ireland gained • British troops were brought in to
separate them but they became a
Mo u n t
sovereignty in 1922, relations
target of Catholics, particularly by
improved between North and South
the IRA, which by this time had
• Irish Republican Army (IRA), turned into a full-fledged terrorist
outlawed in recent years, continued movement.
the struggle to end the partition of • The goal of the IRA was to eject
the British and unify Northern
Ireland with the Irish Republic to
• In 1966–1969, rioting and street the south.
fighting between Protestants and • The Protestants remained
Catholics occurred in Londonderry, tenaciously loyal to the United
Kingdom, and various Protestant
fomented by extremist nationalist
terrorist organizations pursued the
Protestants, who feared the Unionist cause through violence.
Catholics might attain a local • Various attempts at
majority, and by Catholics representational government and
demonstrating for civil rights. power-sharing foundered during the
1970s, and both sides were further
• These confrontations became known polarized.
as “the Troubles.” • Direct rule from London and the
presence of British troops failed to
• Mairead Corrigan and Betty • In 1997, Northern Ireland made a
Williams, founders of the Community significant step in the direction of
of Peace People, a nonsectarian stemming sectarian strife.
organization dedicated to creating • The first formal peace talks began
peace in Northern Ireland. on Oct. 6 with representatives of
• Intermittent violence continued, eight major Northern Irish political
however, and on Aug. 27, 1979, an parties participating, a feat that in
IRA bomb killed Lord Mountbatten itself required three years of
as he was sailing off southern negotiations.
Ireland. • Two smaller Protestant parties,
• This incident heightened tensions. including extremist Ian Paisley's
Catholic protests over the death of Democratic Unionists, boycotted the
IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands in talks.
1981 fueled more violence. • Sinn Fein, the political wing of the
• Riots, sniper fire, and terrorist IRA, won two seats in the British
attacks killed more than 3,200 parliament
people between 1969 and 1998. • Although the election strengthened
• Among the attempts at the IRA's political legitimacy, it was
reconciliation undertaken during the the IRA's resumption of the 17-
1980s was the Anglo-Irish month cease-fire, which had
Agreement (1985), which, to the collapsed in Feb. 1996, that gained
dismay of Unionists, marked the them a place at the negotiating
• A landmark settlement, the Good • The resounding commitment to the
Friday Agreement of April 10, 1998, settlement was demonstrated in a
came after 19 months of intensive dual referendum on May 22, 1998:
negotiations. the North approved the accord by a
• The accord called for Protestants to vote of 71% to 29%, and in the Irish
share political power with the Republic 94% favored it.
minority Catholics, and it gave the • In October, the Nobel Peace Prize
Republic of Ireland a voice in was awarded to John Hume and
Northern Irish affairs. David Trimble, leaders of the largest
• In turn, Catholics were to suspend Catholic and Protestant political
the goal of a united Ireland—a parties, an incentive for all sides to
territorial claim that was the raison ensure that this time the peace
d'être of the IRA and was written into would last.
the Irish Republic's constitution—
unless the largely Protestant North
voted in favor of such an
arrangement, an unlikely occurrence.
A New Coalition
• In Dec. 1998 the rival Northern Ireland • If the IRA did not begin the
politicians agreed on the organization and destruction of their weapons by Jan.
contents of the new coalition government, 31, 2000 the Ulster Unionists
but in June 1999, the peace process again
hit an impasse when the IRA refused to threatened to withdraw from the
disarm prior to the Assembly of Northern Northern Irish parliament, shutting
Ireland's new provincial cabinet. down the new government.
• Sinn Fein insisted that the IRA would • With the compromise , this
only begin giving up its illegal weapons government was quickly formed, and
after the formation of the new on Dec. 2, 1999, the British
government; Unionists demanded government formally transferred
governing power to the Northern
• As a result, the Ulster Unionists
boycotted the Assembly session that
would have nominated the cabinet to run • By the deadline, Sinn Fein had made
the new coalition government. little progress toward disarmament
• The nascent Northern Irish government =British government suspended
was stillborn in July 1999. parliament on Feb. 12, 2000, and
• By end of November, David Trimble, once again imposed direct rule.
leader of the Ulster Unionists, abandoned • In July 2001, after issuing one last
the “no guns, no government” position and
took a difficult leap of faith in agreeing
ultimatum to the IRA to begin
to form a government prior to Sinn Fein's destroying its weapons stores,
disarmament. Ulster Unionist leader Trimble
resigned his post as first minister.
A New Coalition
• Following Trimble's departure, the • The Council on Foreign Relations has
IRA offered another vague and estimated that Protestant
paramilitary groups have been
open-ended disarmament plan, only
responsible for 30% of the civilian
to withdraw it. deaths in the Northern Irish
• Oct. 23, days before Britain was to conflict.
suspend the Assembly, Sinn Fein • The two main Protestant vigilante
groups are the Ulster Volunteer
leader Gerry Adams dramatically
Force (UVF) and the Ulster Defence
announced that the IRA had indeed Association (UDA).
begun disarming. As a result, • Strongest during the 1970s, their
Trimble was reelected as first ranks have since diminished.
minister. • While Protestant paramilitaries
have observed a cease-fire since the
• British and Irish leaders hoped that
IRA declared one, none of these
Protestant paramilitary groups would groups have made any moves toward
also begin to surrender their surrendering their weapons as
weapons stipulated by the Good Friday
Britain Resumes Direct Rule
Of Northern Ireland
• Oct. 14, the British government • In Nov. 2003 legislative elections,
again assumed direct rule of the Ulster Unionists and other
moderates lost out to Northern
Northern Ireland, after the
Ireland's extremist parties: Ian
Unionists threatened to quit the Paisley's Democratic Unionists and
Assembly in protest of suspected Sinn Fein. Power sharing between
spying activity by the IRA. these antithetical parties was out of
• March and April 2003, negotiations • A $50 million bank robbery in Dec.
were again used to reinstate the 2004 was linked to the IRA, and
Northern Ireland Assembly. Sinn Fein's legitimacy as a political
organization suffered a severe
• But Sinn Fein's vague language,
weakly pledging that its “strategies • The brutal murder in Jan. 2005 of
and disciplines will not be Belfast Catholic Robert McCartney
inconsistent with the Good Friday by the IRA, and the campaign by his
Agreement,” caused Tony Blair to five sisters to hold the IRA
accountable, further tarnished the
challenge Sinn Fein to make a clear,
IRA's standing, even in Catholic
unambiguous pledge to renounce communities that had once been IRA
using the paramilitary for political strongholds.
Britain Resumes Direct Rule
Of Northern Ireland
• July 28, 2005, the IRA announced that
it was entering a new era in which it
would unequivocally relinquish violence,
give up its arms, and pursue its aims
exclusively through political means.
• Some Protestant groups, however,
continued to doubt the veracity of the
• In Feb. 2006, the Independent
Monitoring Commission (IMC), a
watchdog agency monitoring Northern
Irish paramilitary groups, reported
that although the IRA “seems to be
moving in the right direction,” dissident
republican paramilitaries are still
engaged in violence and crime.
• On May 15, Northern Ireland's
political parties were given six months
(to Nov. 24) to come up with a power-
sharing government or else sovereignty Provisional Irish Republican
would revert indefinitely to the British
An Agreement For A
• Shortly after parliamentary
elections in March 2007,
Gerry Adams, the leader of Rev. Ian Paisley
Sinn Fein, and Rev. Ian
Paisley, the head of the
Democratic Unionist Party,
met face to face for the first
time and hashed out an
agreement for a power-sharing
• The historic deal was put into
place in May, when Paisley and
McGuinness were sworn in as
leader and deputy leader,
respectively, of the Northern Gerry Adams
Ireland executive government,
thus ending direct rule from