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Northern Ireland History - Essay Example

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Summary
Northern Ireland, one of the constituent countries of the United Kingdom, has been dealing with volatile political and social dilemmas for quite some time now, and continues to do so. Although the prospect of peace has been noted and determinably followed numerous times, all attempts have seemed to be to no avail…
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Northern Ireland History
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Northern Ireland History

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When discussing the history of Ireland, the 'peace process' is generally considered to cover those events which lead up to the 1994 IRA ceasefire, the end of most of the violence of The Troubles, the Belfast (or Good Friday) Agreement, and subsequent political developments. The history of Ireland in regards to the peace process as well as the ongoing battle and strenuous struggle for peace in the modern world is one of great detail and significant complexity.
The Good Friday Agreement was reached in Belfast on Friday, April 10, 1998; it was signed by the British and Irish (Republic of Ireland) governments and endorsed by most Northern Ireland political parties. The agreement said that Northern Ireland should remain within the UK so long as that was the wish of the people living there; but that the British and Irish governments would give effect to arrangements for a united Ireland if that should become the wish of the people of the province. The basic ideal of the plan is that it sets out a plan for devolved government in Northern Ireland on a stable and significantly exclusive basis, while also providing for the creation of Human Rights and Equality commissions. Such things as the early release of terrorist prisoners, the decommissioning of paramilitary weapons and other far reaching reforms of criminal justice and policing are also included in this agreement. The main provisions of the Good Friday Agreement are as follows:
The principle that the constitutional future of Northern Ireland should be determined by the majority vote of its citizens
A commitment by all parties to 'exclusively peaceful and democratic means'
The establishment of a Northern Ireland Assembly with devolved legislative powers
Creation of a 'power sharing' Northern Ireland Executive, using the D'Hondt method to allocate Ministries proportionally to the main parties
Creation of a North-South Ministerial Council and North-South Implementation Bodies to bring about cross-border cooperation in policy and programmes on a number of issues
Establishment of a British-Irish Council, composed of representatives from the governments of the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, the United Kingdom, Scotland, Wales, the Channel Islands, and the Isle of Man, to discuss areas of common concern
Conditional early release within two years of paramilitary prisoners belonging to organizations observing a ceasefire
Establishment of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission
A two year target for decommissioning of paramilitary weapons
The abolition of the Republic's territorial claim to Northern Ireland via the modification Articles 2 and 3 of its constitution
New legislation for Northern Ireland on policing, human rights and equality
Normalization of security measures, e.g. closure of redundant army bases
Police reform. Undertaken by the Patten Commission (1998-1999)
Equality of social, economic and cultural rights of all ethnic communities e.g. official recognition of the Irish and Ulster-Scots languages as equal to English (Wikipedia, 2006).
The executive of a new regional government, which should have been installed in April of 1999 under the terms of the Good Friday agreement, is instead held in a state of frozen animation. "Pro-British Unionist refused to sit in government with Sinn Fein, an Irish ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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