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Evgeniya Kuznetsova
MIIGAiK Moscow
Between 1969 and 1999, almost 3,500 people died as a result of political violence in
Northern Ireland, which is a part of the United Kingdom (UK). The conflict, which has
its origins in the 1921 division
of Ireland and is often referred to as
“the troubles,” has reflected a struggle
between different national, cultural,
and religious identities. Protestants in
Northern Ireland (48%) largely define
themselves as British and support
continued incorporation in the UK
Most Catholics in Northern Ireland
(45%) consider themselves Irish,
and many desire a united Ireland
The Irish Home Rule movement articulated a
longstanding Irish desire for self-government within
the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
The movement drew upon a legacy of patriotic
thought that dated back at least to the late 17th
Home Rule held out the promise of a new constitutional
order and harnessed the energies of a more recent
militant tradition, providing an alternative to
nationalist militancy.
For almost half a century – from the early 1870s to the
end of World War I – Home Rule was both the
single most dominant feature of Irish political life
and a major influence within British politics. It
united over a period the Irish past with the present,
bound militants with constitutionalists, Irish with
British politicians. For the British father of Home
Rule William Ewart Gladstone, Home Rule was
about the reconciliation of Irish nationalism to the
British state. For other politicians,
the Conservatives and Ulster Unionists Home Rule
presented a fearful spectacle, their opposition to it so
complete that a civil war seemed to offer the only
path towards a resolution
The term ”Home Rule", first used in the 1860-s,
meant an Irish legislature with responsibility for
domestic affairs. It was variously interpreted, from
the 1870s was seen to be part of a federal system for
the United Kingdom: a domestic Parliament for
Ireland while the Imperial Parliament
at Westminster would continue to have
responsibility for Imperial affairs.
The Republican concept as represented by
the Fenians and the Irish Republican Brotherhood,
strove to achieve total separation from Great
Britain, if necessary by physical force, and
complete autonomy for Ireland. For a while they
were prepared to co-operate with Home
Rulers under the "New Departure".
For Unionists Home Rule meant a Dublin
parliament dominated by the Catholic Church to
the detriment of Ireland's economic progress, a
threat to their cultural identity as both British and
Irish and possible discrimination against them as a
religious minority
'[Ireland] has elected a body of
representatives whose mission is
simply – I almost said solely –
but certainly whose mission is
particularly to offer unrelenting
hostility to every British
Ministry while one link of the
imperial chain remains to fetter
the constitutional freedom of
the Irish nation
John O'Connor Power
First Irish Home Rule Bill defeated in the House of Commons and never
introduced in the House of Lords.
1893 Second Irish Home Rule Bill passed the House of Commons, but
defeated in the House of Lords.
1912–14 Third Irish Home Rule Bill passed under the Parliament Act after
House of Lords defeats, with Royal Assent as the Government of Ireland Act
1914 but never came into force, due to the intervention of World War I (1914–
18) and of the Easter Rising in Dublin (1916).
Fourth Irish Home Rule Act (replaced Third Act, passed and
implemented as the Government of Ireland Act 1920) which established
Northern Ireland as a Home Rule entity within the United Kingdom of Great
Britain and Northern Ireland, and attempted to establish Southern Ireland as
another but instead resulted in the partition of Ireland and Irish independence
through the Irish Free State Constitution Act 1922.
Home Rule was suspended for the duration of
World War I. Ireland tiptoed back from civil
war, as both Ulster Unionists and Irish
Nationalists volunteered in their thousands
in the British Army.
By the end of the War, events in Ireland – the
1916 Rising and the advance of SINN FÉIN –
had rendered Home Rule irrelevant to most
nationalists. It's an irony of history that the
one place where it did take root was in the
new Unionist Home-Rule state of Northern
The Forth Home Rule Bill formalized
dividing Ireland into Northern Ireland and
Southern Ireland.
The Home Rule Parliament of Northern
Ireland came into being in June 1921. At
its inauguration, in Belfast City Hall,
King George V made a famous appeal
drafted by Prime Minister Lloyd George
for Anglo-Irish and north–south
reconciliation. The Anglo-Irish Treaty
had provided for Northern Ireland's
Parliament to opt out of the new Free
State (proclaimed by Sinn Fein MPs),
which was a foregone conclusion.
The Parliament of Northern Ireland
continued in operation until 30 March 1972,
when it was suspended in favour of direct
rule by the Northern Ireland Office during
The Troubles.
For years, the British and Irish governments
sought to facilitate a political settlement to
the conflict in Northern Ireland. After many
ups and downs, the two governments and
the Northern Ireland political parties
participating in the peace talks announced an agreement on April 10, 1998. The resulting Good
Friday Agreement (also known as the Belfast Agreement) called for devolved government—the
transfer of power from London to Belfast—with a Northern Ireland Assembly and Executive
Committee in which unionist and nationalist parties would share power.
To ensure that neither unionists nor nationalists could dominate the 108-member Assembly,
the agreement specified that “key decisions” must receive cross-community support. The
Executive Committee would be composed of a first minister, deputy first minister, and up to 10
ministers with departmental responsibilities (e.g., health, education, social services).
The Good Friday Agreement also contained provisions on decommissioning (disarmament),
policing, human rights, UK security normalization (demilitarization), and the status of
“Home Rule”
Civil rights
Devolved government
• Kristin Archick . Northern Ireland: The Peace Process : the report to
Congressional Research Service (
This review was solely written by me. In no way have I plagiarized (represented the work of
another as my own) or otherwise violated the copyright laws and academic conventions of
fair use. I know that violations of this policy may result in my being dismissed from Moscow
State University of Geodesy and Cartography and/or appropriate legal action being taken
against me.
Evgeniya Kuznetsova
05 April 2014