Gerry Adams in October 1994. Gerry Adams is the political leader of the nationalist party Sinn Fein in Northern Ireland.
B) In what historical context was the text produced?
Throughout the twentieth century, Northern Ireland has been divided in its identity and affiliations as a state and nation. There are those who say the entirety of Ireland should be one nation, separate from the sovereignty of Britain. And there are those who believe that even just parts of Ireland should still be loyal to the Crown and Britain. This civil war was also fuelled by sectarian conflict. Most Catholics were nationalists, and most Protestants were loyalists. On the second half of the twentieth century, paramilitary groups on both sides used a staggering amount of violence against each other, including a bombing attempt on former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. It was only in the late 1980s that there has been significant progress in the peace process. This included the power sharing treaties such as the Anglo-Irish Agreement on 1985, and the Downing Street Declaration at 1993. At the end of August 1994, the Irish Republican Army announced a ceasefire of its paramilitary actions.
C) What information can be gained from the text?
Gerry Adams is of the view that Ireland should be able to exercise self-determination. He is also of the view that the British government is doing more harm than good, by stalling and intervening with the Irish nationalists. He likens the case of Northern Ireland to that of South Africa, where a new structure of government would advance the peace process.
Gerry Adams also lists the ways that the British government has tried to intervene in Northern Ireland, specifically how they have all been failures. The failure of the previous Stormont Government, the B-Specials, and as well as the British government's failures in upholding their word. He accuses the British government of...