Irish Political History

Irish Political History

It is well known about the troubles in Ireland. For hundreds and hundreds of years, ever since the 1690s, there has been political unrest in Ireland. Many citizens of Ireland believed the entire country should stay under British rule or become a part of Britain effectively. However, there were many who disagreed and believed Ireland was better as one nation who governed themselves. The troubles raged on over the years and they were particular brutal in the 1900s onwards. Some would say, what does any of this have to do with Irish political history but, in truth, it is at the heart of all political history within the country. Even today, it remains.

Politics Unheard Of

For millions around the world, they knew very little about the troubles and only saw newsreels and what the media reported but many didn’t really understand the real crux of the problems. Ireland was basically separated with the majority of Ireland being the Republic but the North was quite unsettled. Battles raged on in the streets and in the political world too. There are everyday people who turned their back on all they knew to fight for a cause they believed in. from the late 1600s to 1916 and beyond, there were fierce political debates on the subject as to whether or not Ireland should stay within the UK or become a separate nation. There were fierce arguments for both and while Northern Ireland is technically a part of the UK today, there are many Irish men and women who will continue to say, that is far from the case.

Politics and the Independence War

It was in 1916 when the Easter Rising occurred and this saw politicians on both sides of the argument change the way they operated. Irish rebels attempted to seize control in Ireland and the British overthrew the attempt killing several rebels. However, in doing so, they made the rebels, martyrs for Irishmen and women everywhere. There was soon the fight for independence for Ireland and it raged for three years. It was when political activists Michael Collins and the IRA Party used this to help negotiate with the British. This was when the country became divided and was to be ruled under two separate governments. There were many politicians who wanted a unified Ireland under British rule and others who wanted a unified country without Britain. It was decided that Northern Island, a small part compared to the Republic, would remain a part of Britain.

Irish Political History

Two Irelands, Two Governments

The creation of two separate Irelands, however, did not stop the violence. While there were two new governments that now ruled the Republic of Ireland, the majority of the trouble was not over. Northern Ireland or at least, many of its citizens were happy to see their country become a part of the UK, many were enraged. Catholic people were unhappy of the split which essentially caused another war to break out and the political party Sinn Fein was split also. For decades after, IRA members were at war with one another and the IRA launched a terrible bombing campaign in Britain. At home, there was still fierce fighting in Northern Ireland. Most politicians in charge were in fact loyalists to the UK Crown and essentially protestant and as such had loyalist views. This meant Catholics believed they weren’t being treated fairly, unequal, and it caused more political unrest.

Bloody Sunday and the Walk

In 1972, Bloody Sunday occurred in which innocent protestors were unlawfully murdered by British soldiers. This saw a dramatic increase to IRA numbers and more unrest occurred, the politicians were trying to call for calm but this essentially fell on deaf ears. The British soldiers were brought into the country to help stem the violence which only really increased. Despite political interference, violence raged until the late ‘90s, early 2000s and even today, things aren’t always peaceful. However, one factor which spells trouble every year is the Orange Walk which celebrates the Catholic defeat by William the Orange, a protestant. This causes great unrest with Catholic and protestants clashing. There has been a lot of call to the government to put a stop to the marches as it incites violence but, as yet, there has been no stop to this.

Modern Political Movements

You can’t go through the Irish political history without mentioning the troubles because it really was a huge part of it. For more details read here didn’t really put a stop to the fighting until the treaty only a few years ago. There is still much unrest despite it being very minimally in Northern Ireland. However, in 2016, there saw a massive shift in power with Sinn Fein gaining popularity in the election and has in fact passed the Labour Party which isn’t an easy feat to say the least. This may be a sign of more political changes for the times ahead in Ireland.Continue Reading