Irish Violence and the Troubles

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In this essay I will examine the effect of silence during the ‘troubles’ on individual and national identities; with particular interest to Seamus Deane’s Reading in the Dark, Tim Pat Coogan states that the term "Irish Troubles" refers to a whole history of violence and colonialism that Ireland has endured, over the last thousand years. ‘To the physical force school of Irish nationalism the Norman coming is generally regarded as the starting point for ‘eight hundred years of British oppression’’ (Coogan, 1996, p.43). In addition to this, he explains that the term ‘troubles’, is now directed to the modern, twentieth century troubles. They mainly occurred during 1960 to 1998. The reason for the violence and resentment in Northern Ireland is due to the divisions between the nationalists (Roman Catholics) and the unionists (Protestants). The nationalists identify Northern Ireland as part of Ireland, not a separate country, and not another colony of the United Kingdom; whereas the unionists have great allegiance to Britain and regard their position as part of the UK with pride (Coogan, 1996, p.1). But the Irish agony had been building up slowly also, rooted in complex factors, one of which geography, pre-dates the dawn of history: others involve the outworkings of two forms of colonialism, those of Mother Church and Mother England (Coogan, 1996, p.1). Discrimination also factored into the tension between the two groups. The unionists rule over Northern Ireland affected most Catholic lives negatively, as they were a minority; they were discriminated in areas of employment, housing and education. Internment or also known as Operation Demetrius is one key issue that contributed to the beginning of the ‘troubles’ (Coogan, 1996.130). This was introduced by the British Army and the Royal Ulster Constabulary; it involved arresting anyone who was accused of being against the professional military force immediately, without trial. These aspects stirred...
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