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Northern Ireland

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Northern Ireland

  1. 1. Northern Ireland A journey…
  2. 2. Introduction <ul><li>Geography </li></ul><ul><li>Demography </li></ul><ul><li>History </li></ul><ul><li>Culture </li></ul>
  3. 3. Geography <ul><li>Northern Ireland is situated on the north-east of the island of Ireland but is one of the four counties of the United Kingdom, the others being England, Scotland and Wales. </li></ul><ul><li>It shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and the west. </li></ul>
  4. 5. Geographical features <ul><li>The centrepiece of Northern Ireland ’ s geography is Lough Neagh, at 151 square miles (391 km²) the largest freshwater lake both on the island of Ireland and in the British Isles. </li></ul><ul><li>There are also other lakes and rivers throughout the region, making the land very fertile for agriculture. </li></ul>
  5. 6. Geographical features <ul><li>The main mountain (or hill) ranges are the Sperrin Mountains and the Mountains of Mourne and in Antrim, on the north coast, there is the strange but beautiful Giant ’ s Causeway, featuring 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, a result of volcanic activity from 50 to 60 million years ago. </li></ul>
  6. 7. Counties <ul><li>Northern Ireland is broken into six historic counties. These were once the principal local government divisions but this system was abolished in 1972 and replaced with twenty-six local authorities. </li></ul><ul><li>The ‘ six counties ’ are Antrim, Armagh, Londonderry (Derry), Down, Fermanagh and Tyrone. </li></ul><ul><li>The main cities of Northern Ireland are the capital Belfast, Londonderry (Derry), Armagh, Lisburn and Newry. </li></ul>
  7. 9. Demography <ul><li>The population of Northern Ireland was 1,685,267 at the 2001 census. </li></ul><ul><li>It has a 99.15% white ethnicity. </li></ul><ul><li>Life expectancy at birth is 76 years for men and 80.8 years for women, among the highest in Europe. </li></ul><ul><li>45.57% belong to the Protestant or non-Catholic faith, 40.26% to the Catholic faith and 14.18% regard themselves as non-religious. </li></ul>
  8. 10. What do we call it? <ul><li>The name people give the region or province or country is often an indicator as to where their political allegiance lies. Even regarding it as a province of Ireland, a region of the UK or a separate country entirely can do this. Such is the complicated world of NI politics! </li></ul>
  9. 11. Names… <ul><li>Legally – Northern Ireland </li></ul><ul><li>Ulster – used mainly by Unionists and establishment (UUP, UVF, BBC Ulster, University of Ulster). Disliked by Nationalists as the Irish province of Ulster includes some of the Republic. </li></ul><ul><li>The North – used more by Nationalists as a reminder that they primarily belong to the island of Ireland and not the UK. See also ‘ the six counties ’ </li></ul>
  10. 12. Identity <ul><li>Unionists </li></ul><ul><li>have long been in the majority </li></ul><ul><li>see themselves as part of the United Kingdom and would like to remain that way </li></ul><ul><li>hold UK passports </li></ul><ul><li>predominantly Protestant </li></ul><ul><li>attend secular schools and have no real interest in Irish (or Gaelic) traditions </li></ul>
  11. 13. Identity <ul><li>Nationalists </li></ul><ul><li>see themselves as Irish and carry Irish passports </li></ul><ul><li>would like to see the island of Ireland united </li></ul><ul><li>predominantly Catholic </li></ul><ul><li>traditionally in the minority (but gap is closing) </li></ul><ul><li>attend Catholic schools, learn Irish and take part in traditional Irish games </li></ul>
  12. 14. Identity <ul><li>Republicans </li></ul><ul><li>a small and extremist sub-section of the nationalist community </li></ul><ul><li>willing to commit violence in order to achieve their aims of a united Ireland </li></ul><ul><li>led by groups such as the Irish Republican Army (IRA) </li></ul><ul><li>there were corresponding extremists on the Unionist side (e.g. UVF) </li></ul>
  13. 15. History and Politics <ul><li>The history of Northern Ireland is very complex and often tragic. </li></ul><ul><li>Between 1969 and 2004, over 3,000 people died and about 30,000 more were injured due to conflict and violence. </li></ul><ul><li>The roots of this conflict come from the history of Ireland and its relationship with the UK. </li></ul><ul><li>Many see it as a religious war, but it was not. Religion was what separated the two warring communities – the cause was, as ever, power. </li></ul>
  14. 16. A brief history… <ul><li>In the 12 th century. The lack of unity within the Irish tribal system led to the defeated Irish King of Leinster to seek help from the English. This resulted in the eventual arrival of King Henry II in 1171 and so the long relationship between Ireland and England had begun. </li></ul><ul><li>Over the next few centuries, a mixture of Norman-Irish laws and language emerged. </li></ul><ul><li>There were efforts to ‘ anglicise ’ the Irish but they were largely unsuccessful. </li></ul>
  15. 17. A brief history… <ul><li>In 1609, the Plantation of Ulster took place. This saw the colonisation of lands in Northern Ireland by Scottish and English Lords. They were all Protestant and all spoke English. This area had been the most Gaelic and the most rebellious to English rule for the previous centuries so the move was intended to put an end to this resistance. </li></ul><ul><li>This partly explains the division in Northern Ireland that we still see today. </li></ul>
  16. 18. A brief history… <ul><li>In 1800, the British and Irish parliaments passed the Act of Union which merged the two islands into the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Some Irish maintain that this law was only introduced in this country with bribery and vote-fixing! </li></ul><ul><li>The 19 th and early 20 th centuries saw a rise in Irish nationalism, with various attempts to change the Act of Union and introduce Home Rule for the Irish </li></ul>
  17. 19. A brief history… <ul><li>This rise in resistance to British rule became increasingly violent and led to the Government of Ireland Act (1920) and the Anglo-Irish Treaty (1921) which split Ireland into Southern Ireland and Northern Ireland, the region we know today. </li></ul><ul><li>There was a large Unionist (and Protestant) majority in the new Northern province. </li></ul>
  18. 20. Recent history… <ul><li>There were allegations of institutional discrimination by the state from within the Nationalist community. These allegations were regarding housing, security, voting and employment. </li></ul><ul><li>This led to the creation of the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association (NICRA) in 1967. </li></ul>
  19. 21. Recent History… <ul><li>The formation of NICRA led to resistance from within the controlling Unionist majority, which felt threatened and began to attack the peaceful demonstrations and marches. </li></ul><ul><li>The Provisional IRA was initially re-formed to protect the Nationalist communities from Unionist assault. </li></ul><ul><li>The British army was also initially sent to Northern Ireland to defend the Nationalist areas and keep the peace. </li></ul>
  20. 22. ‘ The Troubles ’ <ul><li>As the attacks on the Civil Rights protests became more violent, so did the response from the IRA. They began to target the British army and the Northern Irish police force (RUC) </li></ul><ul><li>This led to the policy of ‘ internment ’ , introduced in 1971, whereby the RUC arrested and imprisoned anyone from the Nationalist community who they suspected of involvement in violence or membership of the IRA. </li></ul>
  21. 23. ‘ The Troubles ’ <ul><li>Instead of ending the violence, internment caused further hatred of the security forces and the UK government. Furthermore, it mixed innocent young Nationalists with extremist Republicans in the internment camps. Previously peaceful and uninvolved young men now became active within republicanism. The period saw a jump in IRA membership. It was an unqualified disaster. </li></ul>
  22. 24. Bloody Sunday <ul><li>Another turning point in the period was Bloody Sunday. On the 30 th of January 1972, a peaceful Civil Rights protest against internment resulted in the British Army shooting and killing 14 unarmed citizens. Some of the victims were shot in the back, indicating that they had been running away. The army maintained that they were returning fire and that the dead men were carrying weapons but an inquiry found in 2010 that all of the dead were innocent of any wrongdoing. </li></ul>
  23. 25. Hunger Strikes <ul><li>The Republican prisoners in the Maze prison in Northern Ireland began a series of protests at the justice system and the failure of the UK government to recognise them as political prisoners. They began hunger strikes in 1981 and ten starved themselves to death. The UK government refused to negotiate and there was national and international alarm at what happened. The most famous prisoner was Bobby Sands and this period led to the emergence of Sinn Féin, the IRA ’ s political wing. </li></ul>
  24. 26. Attempts at peace <ul><li>The Sunningdale Agreement (1973) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A failed attempt to bring about a political settlement involving the Republic of Ireland and the UK government. It was opposed by the IRA and only half of Unionists supported it. In the end, it collapsed because of a strike by Unionist workers. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The Anglo Irish Agreement (1985) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Another attempt by the two governments to introduce power-sharing in Northern Ireland but with a ‘ consultative ’ role for the Irish Government. </li></ul></ul>
  25. 27. Eventual peace! <ul><li>Ceasefires </li></ul><ul><li>- As Sinn Féin became more popular politically in the region, they were more involved in the search for peace. There were talks, talks about talks, and at times, no talks! But all the time, throughout the late 80s and early 90s, the region was edging towards peace. </li></ul><ul><li>- The first ceasefire took place in October 1994 and although it failed, another one was announced in June 1997. </li></ul>
  26. 28. Post-ceasefire peace <ul><li>Belfast Agreement 1998 </li></ul><ul><li>- Self-government was restored to Northern Ireland through a power sharing executive </li></ul><ul><li>- Reduction in British Army presence </li></ul><ul><li>- A new police service was established </li></ul><ul><li>Progress has been slow but today there is peace within the region and former enemies are now sitting in Government together. </li></ul>
  27. 29. Culture <ul><li>Music </li></ul><ul><li>- Van Morrison – (b. 1945) Northern Ireland ’ s greatest and regarded as one of the greatest performers of the last 50 years. Albums like Astral Weeks , Moondance and songs like ‘ Brown Eyed Girl ’ have won him six Grammy awards and a large international following. His live shows can go on for hours and are often inspirational. Has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q6-dp6RkEY8 </li></ul><ul><li>- Stiff Little Fingers – punk band formed in 1977, who used their songs to be very critical of all paramilitary organisations and both governments. They expressed the frustration of the region ’ s youth at the pointless loss of life and the stubbornness of local politicans. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m2Gov4tTB7M </li></ul>
  28. 30. Culture <ul><li>Music… </li></ul><ul><li>- The Undertones – another punk band, formed in 1975, mostly famous for one of the great rock songs of the 1970s, ‘ Teenage Kicks ’ . http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oskM5XD_Yc4 </li></ul><ul><li>Their singer Fergal Sharkey had a semi-successful solo career a decade later </li></ul><ul><li>- Ash – the modern heirs to the rock crown of Northern Ireland, they found great success in their late teens. Formed in 1992, they have sold over 8 million albums worldwide. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SZGcNx8nV8U </li></ul>
  29. 31. Culture <ul><li>Literature </li></ul><ul><li>- The upheaval over the decades also found a voice in drama, novels and poetry. Poet Seamus Heaney won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995 and writers like Brian Friel, Paul Muldoon, Flann O ’ Brien have captured the feelings of loss, anger and frustration felt by the people in their works. </li></ul>
  30. 32. Culture <ul><li>Cinema </li></ul><ul><li>- Film has also been used to give insight into how the history of Ireland and Northern Ireland has had an impact on the people. Famous movies like In The Name Of The Father (1993), Some Mother ’ s Son (1996), The Boxer (1997), Cal (1984), Bloody Sunday (2002), Odd Man Out (1947), Hunger (2008) and Nothing Personal (1995) have all, in various ways, shown how ordinary individuals were pulled into the conflict, as well as reflecting and commentating on the decisions and actions taken by all sides. </li></ul>
  31. 33. <ul><li>Credits: </li></ul><ul><li>Brian, my teacher, from Cork (CEW) </li></ul>

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