Northern Ireland Conflict, peace settlement, Good Friday Agreement, The Troubles, reunification of Ireland, Unionist community, Sinn Fein, IRA Irish Republican Army
The peace settlement that was achieved in April 1998 results from a long period of negotiations, doubts and violent attacks from all communities. The inter-communal conflict of The Troubles had lasted for more than thirty years leaving a city and a country deeply broken. Historians agreed to define milestones that led to the Good Friday Agreement, the peace settlement that brought The Troubles to a close.
[...] Indeed, people were paying the cost of the war, many of them had lost siblings and were wondering when it was going to end. Both communities also had limited options as there was a continued alinement between London and Dublin over NI. Republicans understood that they could not defeat the British State and on the contrary, the British State understood that they could not defeat the Provisional IRA. People mostly saw the conflict as a stalemate at that point. Moreover, public opinion mattered in the conflict. [...]
[...] Considered as an ethnonational solution, it is what brought the conflict to a close. To understand how it managed to solve the conflict, we need to understand to what extent was this agreement different from the previous attempts. First, it did involve political representatives of the people from NI. The Sunningdale agreement as well, but in 1998, the political participation war far broader. It also involved representatives of all paramilitary groups, which was significant as the paramilitary violence was the most recurrent obstacle. [...]
[...] The main issue was that if a deal was available, every party had to be consistent with it; it was not easy as a deal inevitably include compromises from both sides. This first attempt at creating a peace process atmosphere started quite well until the Loyalists had been aware that secret talks also occurred between the British government and Sinn Fein. It led to an urge of Loyalist violence and they started killing even more people than the IRA were from 1990 onwards. [...]
[...] London: Prime Minister's Office, British and Irish Governments The Anglo-Irish agreement 1985; between the government of Ireland and the government of the United Kingdom. The Framework Documents; A New Framework for Agreement February 1995. A shared understanding between the British and Irish Governments to assist discussion and negotiation involving the Northern Ireland parties. The Sunningdale Agreement; Tripartite agreement on the Council of Ireland- the communique issued following the Sunningdale Conference, December 1973 Secondary sources Beggan, Dominic, and Rathnam Indurthy. “The conflict in Northern Ireland and the Clinton administration's role.” International Journal on World Peace, vol no pp. 3–25 Byrne, Sean, et al. [...]
[...] The first agreement to be proposed was the Sunningdale Agreement, in 1973. It provided the essence for the deal that was signed twenty-five years later, the Good Friday Agreement. It was an attempt at establishing a power-sharing Executive in Northern Ireland and a cross-border Council of Ireland. But, at that time, NI received no international help or support to implement this agreement. The strong sense of identity within NI was the main challenging element of the peace process that followed. [...]
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