Essay on The History of Conflict in Ireland

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The History of Conflict in Ireland

An American audience may find it difficult to comprehend the sense of history which is in the Irish conflict. It goes back to the 1920s when the island was partitioned, and Catholics in Northern Ireland believed that they were on the wrong side of that border, and believed that they had been done out of their political heritage.

But Protestants have a sense of history which goes back to at least the seventeenth century, where from the time of the plantation of Ulster at the beginning of the 1600s, they have had to look to their own resources to ensure that they remained in control in the north of Ireland because they'd lost control in the rest of Ireland.
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By the 1920s, the British political establishment decided it was time to get out of Ireland, militarily, politically, psychologically, but she could not get out of what became known as Northern Ireland because the Protestant majority there were convinced that they were British and they represented the majority.


So, the best deal that Britain could do in 1920 was to partition the island of Ireland, and make the northeast of Ireland into this new entity called Northern Ireland, and leave the rest of the country as a separate entity, which was still part of British jurisdiction but had a great deal more autonomy.

Britain had no real solution other than partition. Britain, I think, would have liked to have withdrawn from Ireland, because it had been such a cost, such a drain on its international reputation. But Britain felt it owed allegiance to its kith and kin in the north of Ireland, the Protestant majority, who considered themselves to be British. And this Protestant majority said they would fight to maintain the right to be British. The best solution was a qualified partition, because built into the Government of Ireland Act was the prospect that at some future date, the island could be united again.

So psychologically,
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