Themen: Origin of the conflict The conflict Solutions IRA Influence of the Brexit on the situation at the irish border
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• past and present • Potato Femine • Emigration • Celtig Tiger • social structure & multiculturalism
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Topic: Brexit Brexit and the Irish border Another big problem is the border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, because as opposed to Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland does not belong to Britain and therefore will not leave the EU. Following the Brexit, the Irish border will become an external EU border. In theory that means the return of a hard border. However, hardening the border could bring back a lot of trouble because it has been this border which was keeping the peace in Northern Ireland for 20 years. The border was first put up in 1920 by the British, who had ruled over the island for centuries. Although there had been lots and lots of protests against the British, not everyone was against the British regime. Consequently, the British divided the island into two states, based on its population. While most people in the south were Catholics, pro- independence and therefore called Nationalists, the majority of the population in the north was Protestants, pro-United Kingdom and therefore called Unionists. After separating the isle, Northern Ireland remained in the UK, whereas the South became more and more independent until they eventually became a new country: The Republic of Ireland. Within time, the two neighbors put up more and more customs checks along the border leading to...
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a trade war. By the late 1960s, things turned violent. In Northern Ireland, a civil war broke out between the minority of Catholics and the ruling Protestants. Nationalists like the IRA (Irish Republican Army), believed that Northern Ireland was meant to be part of the Republic of Ireland and not the UK. Unionists, who were supported by British troops, fought back, defending their membership of Britain. As violence became worse, Britain secured the Irish border by putting up military towers and screening every vehicle trying to pass through. Consequently the border was turned into a hard border. The violence lasted for 30 years, killed thousands of people and came to be known as the "The Troubles". In 1998, it all came to an end, thanks to a meeting between the Nationalists and Unionists Party leaders. They reached a compromise ("Good Friday Topic: Brexit Agreement"), which stated that Northern Ireland would remain in the UK. However, the population was now able to hold both British and Irish citizenships. That basically meant that the Nationalists could be part of Ireland, while the Unionists remained part of the UK. Following the deal, the hard border disappeared and so did the British military. In June 2016, British people voted to leave the European Union, although a great majority in Northern Ireland voted for Britain to remain in the EU. The negotiators now are confronted with four possible solutions with regard to the Irish border: 1. Bring back the hard border ➜ Isolation of the Nationalists in Northern Ireland 2. Leave Northern Ireland in the Customs Union and draw the border in the Irish Sea. → Separation from UK mainland Isolation of the Unionists from UK Having the EU control a part of the UK (regulations etc.) → Britain will not be able to form their own system 3. UK stays in the Customs Union → Betrayal of Brexiteers who specially wanted to gain back control over their own country 4. Have Ireland reunite Stay in line with the Good Friday Agreement Isolating Unionists in Northern Ireland from the UK (?)