The Deeply Divided Society of Ireland

1488 Words6 Pages
Northern Ireland has been, for as long as it has been a country, a deeply divided society. A society rife with ethno political conflict between the Nationalist Catholics (who want a united Ireland) and the Loyalist Protestants (who are loyal to “the crown” and thus wish to remain a part of the United Kingdom). This division cumulated in what is now known as “the Troubles”. This conflict has spanned over three decades, from (debatably) 1969 until the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998, and resulted in the deaths of over 3500 people and over 35,000 injuries (Cairns & Darby, 1998; Muldoon, 2004; Muldoon, Schmid, Downes, Kremer & Trew, 2005). What makes this division especially interesting is that there are no “visible” differences between the Catholics and the Protestants. These two groups are, for all intents and purposes, extremely similar with both being white, Christian, and European (Muldoon, 2004). However that is where the similarity ends as they are, and should be viewed as, distinct ethnic and cultural groups (Muldoon, 2004). Although religiosity undoubtedly plays an integral role in the conflict it spans much deeper than religion. This entire conflict is an accumulation of “historical, national, religious and economic factors” all of which have helped maintain this conflict over the years (Muldoon, 2004).
To really get to the heart of the conflict we must go back centuries. The contempt that the ethnically Irish (primarily Catholics) have towards Britain
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