North Ireland Religious Conflict


By: Ryanne, Rodrigo, Savannah

What started the conflict...

Protestant English rulers strengthen their hold on Catholic Ireland by seizing Irish land and giving it Scottish and English Protestants. That left many Irish in poverty. In the 1840's, potato crops failed and caused famine. Over a million Irish fled to other lands.


The conflict in Northern Ireland, which has killed thousands, and has political and religious roots that are centuries old.
In modern times the conflict is centered on opposing views of the area's status.
Some people in Northern Ireland, especially the mainly Protestant Unionist community, believe it should remain part of the United Kingdom.
Others, particularly the mainly Catholic Nationalist community, believe it should leave the UK and become part of the Republic of Ireland.

•During the 1100s, Ireland was a united country
•Subsequently it was conquered by England in the 1200s
•The Irish Catholics who stayed behind were given the less fertile land
•English landlords brought in Protestant Scottish and English settlers into the northern parts of Ireland and pushed out the local Catholic farmers
•Northern Ireland became predominantly Protestant
•King James II (Catholic) came to the throne and tried to defeat the Protestants
He failed and was defeated by King William of Orange in the Battle of Boyne in 1690
•Penal Laws were implemented against the Catholics by the Protestants to ensure that they had complete control of Ireland
–No Catholic can buy land
–No Catholic shall be allowed to vote
–No Catholic can join the army
–No Catholic may receive higher education

The Good Friday Agreement

The Good Friday Agreement was little short of an historic breakthrough. The 65-page document, signed in 1998, sought to address relationships within Northern Ireland; between Northern Ireland and the Republic; and between both parts of Ireland and England, Scotland and Wales.

Peace Process

As time went on both sides realized that violence could not lead to a solution in the conflict. The British and Irish governments tried to get political and paramilitary sides to the conference table. In addition, the IRA promised to end all violent activities. Finally, talks ended in a historic agreement signed on Good Friday 1998. The main points are:
  • The future of Northern Ireland should be determined by the people.
  • All political groups must share power in Northern Ireland
  • the creation of a northern Irish Assembly with law-making powers
  • Britain and the Republic of Ireland agree to a council that discuss the problems in Northern Ireland
  • All prisoners are to be released.
  • All weapons of paramilitary groups must be given up within two years.
  • The Republic of Ireland will not seek reunification with Northern Ireland.
  • The people of Northern Ireland agreed to accept the treaty and in June 1998 the newassembly was elected. However not everything went according to plan in the following years. Theparamilitary groups didn’t trust each other and when the IRA refused to give up its weapons the British government reimposed direct rule.
    Finally, after years of quarrel and disagreement, the IRA announced in 2005 that it would give up all of itsweapons. In 2007 the leaders of the Catholic party and the protestant Democratic Unions Party came to a historic agreement to share power in the Northern Irish government. The assembly got together again.
    In July 2007 the British government ended its military presence in Northern Ireland. The cooperation between the two groups is a sign that a lasting peace may finally have come to Northern Ireland.


•Before 1972
–Northern Ireland had its own parliament in Stormont
•Since 1972
–Northern Ireland has been ruled directly by the British parliament in London
–Northern Ireland is in charge of commerce, health and education
–Ministers are predominantly protestant

There has been a declining economy. There has been a lot of losses for businesses. The threat of violence meant that companies needed to spend money on security. NICRA put pressure on Northern Ireland to get rid of discrimination.

Rioting returns to N. Ireland

Essential question

How does religious conflict affect northern Ireland?