Topic: 2001 Northern Ireland Conflict

The conflict in Northern Ireland, often called “The Troubles,” is one of the most divisive conflicts of the 20th century. While the death toll itself is glaring, with modern estimates at around 3,500, what stands out most about this conflict is the level of constant fear and lawlessness it ignited in Northern Ireland for thirty years from 1968 to 1998. This conflict pitted neighbor against neighbor, with factions being drawn many lines such as Protestant vs. Catholic, Unionist v. Republican, British v. Irish, etc. It would eventually enter every sphere of public life, from the education of children (as seen by the notorious photo of a Provisional IRA sniper keeping both an eye and his gun out as schoolchildren attended classes) to the market place (where Catholics would refuse to buy things from Protestant places and vice-versa). Although the conflict had ended by 1998 through the Good Friday Agreement, the effects are still felt by the citizenry as a result of lasting tensions and continued paramilitary violence. Because of this, the newly formed European Commission in the year 2001 faces quite a challenge.

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