Unionist Voices and the Politics of Remembering the Past in Northern Ireland


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Photo: Getty. I was only four years old on 8 November , the day that an IRA bomb ripped the heart out of my hometown of Enniskillen, County Fermanagh. Of the eleven people killed by the blast, three were married couples, five were women, and six were pensioners. Sixty-three others were injured, including thirteen children, and a twelfth victim died in after spending thirteen years in a coma from which he never recovered.

All but one of the victims were civilians, there simply to honour the Enniskillen men — Catholic and Protestant alike — who had fought and died in the two world wars. I understand that the violence directed at the unionist community during the Troubles helped to stoke a defensive mentality, even if I have not suffered as they and others did. First, rejecting any compromise can sometimes make sense in a negotiation in which there is no firm timeline. Parties from both communities in Northern Ireland have often played hardball in circumstances in which the alternative to agreement was stalemate.

Thus, in this case, the alternative to compromise would not be stalemate, but a hard Brexit. Second, on the British side the decision on what compromises to strike will eventually be made by the UK government. Nor am I suggesting that May would do anything other than take strong account of unionist concerns. However, she will be negotiating in the interests of the UK as a whole, aware that her country has a profound interest in reaching an overall compromise.

In a negotiation, it generally falls to those sitting at the negotiating table to decide whether and how to cut a deal. Third, an insistence that one will never surrender is normally linked with a passionate belief in maintaining the status quo. However, the vote in favour of Brexit, whatever the outcome of the negotiations, will inevitably bring great change.

Does unionism’s right-wing have a political future?

A strong case can be made that the harder the Brexit , the more significant the change for Northern Ireland will be. A hard border on the island of Ireland, far from making the union more secure, would give momentum to the constitutional question as provided for in the Good Friday agreement. The talks were held at a location near Darlington, England, but failed to make any progress with a number of the main political parties choosing not to attend. These frequently took the form of a 'Day of Action' when measures were undertaken to disrupt day-to-day life in Northern Ireland.

The successes of these events were however often undermined by allegations that threats and intimidation were being used to persuade people to take part. Death Squad s A term used to describe paramilitaries groups. The term has been used in particular by Republicans as a label for Loyalist paramilitaries who engage in sectarian killings. The term is borrowed from the experience of certain Latin American countries where right-wing paramilitary groups carried out killings with seemingly little interference from government security forces.

Decommissioning Decommissioning in the context of the Irish Peace Process refers to the hand-over, or verified disposal, of weapons by paramilitary groups. The issue has proved to be a stumbling block during the whole process of trying to find a solution to the conflict in Northern Ireland. In reply Republicans have argument that there needs to be a complete 'demilitarisation' of the region.

DUP vs Sinn Féin: Northern Ireland politics explained

This was explained in terms of the removal of the security network which had been built up over twenty-five years since Those MPs from Northern Ireland who had been elected to Westminster had few opportunities to influence legislation which was dealt with separately by way of 'Orders in Council'.

This process meant that the opportunities for debate and analysis was greatly restricted. With the powers of local authorities also greatly curtailed, there was a lack of significant input from the people of Northern Ireland on issues related directly to them. This was termed the 'Democratic Deficit'. The party mainly attracts support from working-class Protestants.

Ian Paisley has been leader of the DUP since it was formed in Derry Derry, or Londonderry, is the second largest city in Northern Ireland and is situated in the west of the region close to the border with the Republic of Ireland. The original name of the city was Doire which in the Irish language means oak-grove or place of the oak.

The present city was built on the site of an abbey founded by Saint Columba in AD. Following the Elizabethan conquest of Ulster and the beginnings of the Jacobean plantation of the region, the name of the city was changed to Londonderry on 29 March Nationalists have always referred to the city as Derry. Before the beginning of 'the Troubles' most Unionists also referred to the city as Derry. Since the onset of the present conflict the name of the city has been a source of contention with Unionists using the official name. The official name of the city remains Londonderry and changes to the royal charter 10 April can only be made by the exercise of the Prerogative or by legislation.

In the city council voted to change the council's name from Londonderry to 'Derry City Council'. The request was agreed to and a Statutory Rule [ PDF ] was made on 11 April to change the name and this came into force on 7 May Some commentators have adopted a procedure of making a first reference to the city by its official name and each subsequent reference by the name Derry. Devolved Government Any government in Northern Ireland which has substantial legislative and executive powers delegated to it by the Westminster Parliament.

The Stormont Parliament - had wide ranging powers as did the power-sharing Executive of D'Hondt A system involving a mathematical model in which positions are shared out amongst different parties in the wake of an election with specific appointments made on the basis of proportionality.


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D'Hondt was introduced into Northern Ireland politics when it was used to determine the composition of the power-sharing executive envisaged under the Good Friday Agreement Diplock Court s In a committee headed by Lord Diplock was established by the British government to investigate possible changes to the legal procedures used in cases arising out the conflict. Its report was published on 20 December and amongst its recommendations was that such cases should be heard by a Judge of the High Court, or a County Court Judge, sitting alone with no jury. These proposals were adopted by the authorities in and such courts became known as 'Diplock Courts'.

Direct rule was imposed on Northern Ireland in March , was suspended during the operation of the power-sharing Executive of , and then reimposed until Thursday 2 December when powers were devolved to the Northern Ireland Assembly under the Good Friday Agreement.

During suspensions of the institutions of government in Northern Ireland, Direct Rule was reimposed on a number of occasions: from midnight Friday 11 February to midnight on Monday 29 May ; for 24 hours beginning at midnight on Friday 10 August ; for 24 hours beginning at midnight on Friday 21 September ; a fourth, indefinite, period of suspension began at midnight on Monday 14 October As civilian clothes were not allowed under the new rules the Republican prisoners wrapped a blankets around themselves - so started the 'Blanket Protest'.

The protest escalated into a 'Dirty Protest' in which prisoners refused to wash, refused to shave or cut their hair, and refused to use the toilets and instead began to smear their own excrement on the walls of their cells. The 'Dirty Protest' later gave way to a series of hunger strikes. Discrimination In the years after partition the Nationalist community in Northern Ireland alleged that it suffered unfair treatment at the hands of Unionist authorities at Stormont and in local government.

There were allegations of discrimination based on religion in a range of areas such as the provision of public housing, employment, and the manipulation of electoral boundaries. These allegations of discrimination were to be the catalyst for the emergence of the civil rights movement in the s.

See: Whyte, John. Contemporary Irish Studies. Manchester: Manchester University Press. In particular the decisions to enter Stormont and to support policing and justice in Northern Ireland. The document reiterated the fact that the British government had no "selfish strategic or economic interest in Northern Ireland" and, subject to the wish of a majority of the electorate, would introduce legislation enabling a United Ireland.

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Drumcree Since the district of Drumcree just outside the town of Portadown, County Armagh, has been the scene of a bitter dispute between local Nationalist residents and the Orange Order over a parade from a church service on the first Sunday of July. Dublin Bombs During 'the Troubles' Loyalist paramilitaries often extended their campaign into the Republic of Ireland.

On 1 December two people were killed and injured when two car bombs exploded in the centre of Dublin. On 17 May three separate bombs in different parts of Dublin exploded resulting in 23 people being killed and over injured. On the same day, just over one and half hours later, another Loyalist bomb exploded in the town of Monaghan, this killed five people and left over injured. Later responsibility for these attacks was claimed by the Ulster Volunteer Force UVF but allegations have also been made that they were assisted by members of the British security forces.

The purpose was to explore the possibility of all the parties becoming involved in a new round of inter-party negotiations. Little progress was reported from the meetings and they ended without any significant breakthrough. The particular sentence read: "All IRA units have been ordered to dump arms. So the instruction required IRA volunteers to return any arms they were holding to storage bunkers which were under the control of IRA Quartermasters. The unit was alleged to have been involved in a number of incidents in the early s when members of Republican paramilitary groups were killed in disputed circumstances.

These incidents led to controversy with Republicans claiming that the security forces were operating a 'shoot-to-kill' policy. Early Release Scheme As part of the Good Friday Agreement GFA prisoners belonging to paramilitary groups then on ceasefire were freed under terms known as an 'early release scheme'. As a result a committee was set up to consider this matter and it later proposed changes to the curriculum which were grouped under the title of 'Education for Mutual Understanding'.


  1. Unionist Voices and the Politics of Remembering the Past in Northern Ireland!
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  3. Unionist Voices and the Politics of Remembering the Past in Northern Ireland.

When Ireland declared itself a Republic on Easter Monday April 18 the description of the State became 'Republic of Ireland' the official name of the state did not change. In it was dropped as party policy. As a result of the attack 11 people were killed and over sixty injured.

Exclusion Order s The Prevention of Terrorism Act contained provisions to allow the authorities in London to exclude anyone from Great Britain England, Scotland, and Wales or Northern Ireland, who was suspected of involvement in paramilitary activity in Northern Ireland. Later these so called 'exclusion orders' were refined so that each case would be reviewed every three years.

In they were annulled and subsequently in allowed to lapse. Exiled One of the forms of 'punishment' used by paramilitary organisations on those they suspected of alleged misdemeanours was to force them to leave Northern Ireland.

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The people thus affected were said to have been 'exiled'. Extradition During the conflict the British government on occasions sought to extradite paramilitary suspects, mainly from Republican groups, who had fled chiefly to the Republic of Ireland but also to Europe or America. The issue however proved controversial and defendants often challenged their extradition on the grounds that they would not receive a fair trial under the British legal system.

Unionist Voices and the Politics of Remembering the Past in Northern Ireland Unionist Voices and the Politics of Remembering the Past in Northern Ireland
Unionist Voices and the Politics of Remembering the Past in Northern Ireland Unionist Voices and the Politics of Remembering the Past in Northern Ireland
Unionist Voices and the Politics of Remembering the Past in Northern Ireland Unionist Voices and the Politics of Remembering the Past in Northern Ireland
Unionist Voices and the Politics of Remembering the Past in Northern Ireland Unionist Voices and the Politics of Remembering the Past in Northern Ireland
Unionist Voices and the Politics of Remembering the Past in Northern Ireland Unionist Voices and the Politics of Remembering the Past in Northern Ireland
Unionist Voices and the Politics of Remembering the Past in Northern Ireland Unionist Voices and the Politics of Remembering the Past in Northern Ireland

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