The Truth About Northern Ireland Essay Research

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The Truth About Northern Ireland Essay, Research Paper For those that understand no explanation is necessary; for those that don t no explanation is possible. -graffiti on a peace wall in Belfast Prologue My interest in the conflict in Northern Ireland dates back to 1994, when Gerry Adams was granted a visa to visit the United States. The fact that Adams was granted a visa made news all over the world. Adams had previously been convicted of membership in the Irish Republican Army, which was considered by the U.S. State Department to be a terrorist organization. Up until the time that Adams was granted a visa the U.S. had a strict policy of not allowing persons with known affiliations to terrorist groups into this country. To me, however, Adams was not a terrorist but a

freedom fighter. You see I am the grandson of four Irish immigrants and had heard about the awful English my entire life. I distinctly remember helping my grandmother do house chores as a young child as she would sing an old Irish ballad Four Green Fields over and over again. When I was younger, I really thought that my grandmother used to have four green fields, one of which was stolen from her. It was not until I got much older that I realized the song symbolized the partition of Ireland. I had the chance to see Gerry Adams address the Washington Press Corps Luncheon on C-SPAN that spring, in 1994, and it left an indelible impression on me. My thirst for learning about the Troubles was developed. The thirst increased when there appeared to be a chance for peace that autumn,

when the IRA called a cease-fire. I tried to follow the news from Ireland the best I could in the local papers and read whatever books I could get my hands on. It was not until I undertook the task of writing this paper, however, that I came to realize the depth and complexity of the problems in Northern Ireland. I have tried to, despite of my upbringing, write this paper with an unbiased opinion. In attempting to see both sides of the issue, in Northern Ireland, my views on the subject have developed. In my youth I was strongly in favor of the Republican viewpoint, this was re-uniting Ireland by any means necessary. As I have studied this issue, I have become more moderate. Although I would eventually like to see the re-unification of the island of Ireland, I believe that the

time has come to explore means other than military action. I hope that the powers that be in Northern Ireland, Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland, can find a way to make The Agreement of April 10, 1998 work. Until there is peace on the island of Ireland, and even throughout the transition period after the new peace agreement catches on, I will be a more informed observer because of the research that I have conducted for this paper. The conflict in Northern Ireland originated more than four hundred years ago and has intensified since the late 1960 s. Understanding the conflict is a difficult proposition. Even top scholars, historians, political scientists, and sociologists can not agree as to what is really at the heart of the problem. Throughout the course of my research,

I have studied commentary from a number of social scientists, historians and political scientists. I have read interviews of the people affected by the problems, and by the people trying to effect change. I have examined as much data as I can get my hands on in an attempt to gain an understanding of what the causes are and how peace can be brought about. There have been various hypotheses developed that religion is the root cause of the problem, or that the nature of England s conquest of Ireland is the problem. There have been hypotheses made that four hundred years of hatred for each other is the real problem, and that the two sides will continue to fight each other no matter what peace proposals may spring up. There are opinions of scholars that believe the root cause of the