Реферат: "The Irish Question" ("Ирландский вопрос")

Moscow 1998                       

07.05.98                                                                          The Irish Question

                                                               Moscow State Pedagogical University

                                                                                          Snigir Aleksei

The Plan:

1. The position of Northern Ireland within the   United Kingdom

2. British policy towards Northern Ireland

3.Theories of political violence in the Northern Ireland conflict


IThe Position of Northern Ireland within the United Kingdom

The inhabitants of Ireland are mainly Celtic byorigin, and the majority never accepted the Reformation.  In 1801 a new law added Ireland to the UnitedKingdom.  By this time much of the landbelonged to Protestant English landlords, and the Act of Union followed theperiod in which rebellions peasants were brutally suppressed.  But in the six Northern Counties theProtestants were not a dominant minority: they were the majority of thepopulation.  Most of them weredescendants of Scottish and English settlers who had moved into Ireland severalgenerations before.  They consideredthemselves to be Irish but remained as a distinct community, and there was notmuch intermarriage.  There had beenconflicts and battles between the two communities, still remembered along withtheir heroes and martyrs.

In 1912, when the liberals were in power, with thesupport of the main group of Irish MPs (for Ireland had seats in the UK parliament).  The House of Commons passed a Home Rule Bill,but the House of Lords delayed it.  Itwas bitterly opposed by the Protestant majority of the people in the sixnorthern counties and by the M Ps they had elected.  They did not want to be included in aself-governing Ireland dominated byCatholics.

Eventually, the island was partitioned.  In 1922 the greater part became anindependent state, and (in 1949) a republic outside the Commonwealth. Its laws,on divorce and other matters, reflect the influence of the Catholic Church. Thesix northern counties remained within the United Kingdom, with seats in PrimeMinister and government responsible for internal affairs. In the politics ofNorthern Ireland the main factor has always been the hostility betweenProtestants and Catholics

Until 1972 the Northern Irish Parliament (calledStormont) always had a Protestant majority. By 1960s Catholics produced serious riots.  The police were mainly Protestants.  They used their guns.  Several people were killed.  The UK Labour government of the time hadsympathy with the Catholics grievances. The Protestant parties regularly supported the Conservatives, while someMPs elected for Catholic parties took little or no part in the work of theParliament.

In 1969 the UK Labour Government sent troops toNorthern Ireland, with others to help impartially to keep order.  But to most Catholics UK troops have becomeidentified with the Union of Northern Ireland with the UK.  Many Catholics don’t like the idea of thedivision of the island, but recognize that the union of the North with theRepublic could only be imposed against the wishes of the majority in the North,and would probably lead to a civil war. Less moderate Catholics have some sympathy with their own extremists,the Irish Republican Army [IRA], who are prepared to use any means, includingviolence, in support of the demand to be united with the Republic of Ireland.

In 1969-72 the UK governments, first Labour, thenConservative, tried to persuade the Protestant politicians to agree to changeswhich might be acceptable to the Catholics, but made little progress.  In 1972 the UK government decided that theindependent regime could not solve its problems, and put an end to it. Sincethen the internal administration has been run under the responsibility of theUK cabinet. In political terms this decision of Mr. Heath’s government was anact of self- sacrifice.  Until 1972 theIrish [Protestant] Unionist MPs had regularly supported the Conservative in theUK Parliament, but since then they have become an independent group not linkedto any UK party.  Most of them, like theNorthern Irish Catholic MPs, have taken little part in UK affair except thoseinvolving Northern Ireland.

From 1972 onwards successive UK governments have triedto find a       « political solution» tothe Northern Irish problems, that is, a solution acceptable to most Catholicsand most Protestants.  Several deviceshave been tried with little or no success. Protestant politicians are elected on programs, which involve refusal toaccept compromise.

Meanwhile, the IRA continues its terrorist campaign.It receives both moral and financial support from some descendants of Irishpeople who emigrated to the US. Although so many innocent victims have beenkilled, many of them by chance or through mistakes, it does not seem likelythat any different British government policy would have succeed in preventingthe violence that goes on.

Northern Ireland’s economy, based partly on farming,party on the heavy industries of Belfast, has brought its people to a standardof living well above that of the Republic, but lower than Great Britain’s.  With the decline of shipbuilding there is noserious unemployment, and vast seems have been spent by UK governments inattempts to improve the situation.

II British Policy towards Northern Ireland

The links between Northern Ireland and Britain wereclose and of long standing, for Britain’s involvement with Ireland is datedfrom the 12th century. Ireland had been ruled directly from Westminster since1800 under the Act of Union, and the Irish economy was intimately bound up withthat of the rest of the United Kingdom. Moreover, when Britain abandoned the union after the First World War, itbestowed wide self- government on Only part of Ireland, the twenty- six countyIrish Free State.  The remaining sixcounties of Northern Ireland were given a regional parliament and government withlimited powers and remained an integral part of the United Kingdom. But therewas no political consensus to the nature of the state to be established.  Northern Ireland was riddled with ethnic andregional divisions, and to crow all, in 1920s and 1930s its economy was hardlyhealthy with its inefficient agriculture and ailing industries.  In fact, Britain was faced with a problem ofestablishing a regime, which would be self- supporting and would survivemanifold divisions.  But Britain failedto find adequate solution to this problem, and all its attempts brought to abloody end.

Britain determined both the boundaries and the form ofgovernment in the 1920 Coverment of Ireland Act.  The controversial six counties included alarge Catholic minority, some one- third of the population within NorthernIreland, including some predominantly Catholic areas on the borders with theIrish Free State.  The form of governmentwas modelled on Westminster and a subordinate regional government andparliament were given restricted financial powers but almost unlimited powersover such vital matters of community interest and potential conflict aseducation, local government, law and order. The 1920 settlement gave the two- thirds Protestant and Unionistmajority a virtual free hand and ended in anarchy and the fall of Stormont in1972.  From the beginning the Britishgovernment was anxious that the Catholic minority in Northern Ireland shouldaccept the legitimacy of the new creation and to that end Westminster did urgethe government of Northern Ireland to adopt a friendlier and more accommodatingattitude towards the minority, particularly in respect of law enforcement,local government and education. Nevertheless, in the last analysis, it refused to exercise its sovereigntyto block such divisive measures as the abolition of proportional representationin local government elections or to counteract sectarian tendencies ineducation and law enforcement. The reason that Westminster did not do so wasthat any firm stand would have meant the resignation of the unionist governmentand, in view of its in built majority, its immediate return to office.  Such an eventuality would have presentedalternatives: a humiliating climb down or the resumption of directresponsibility for the government of the six counties — the very thing thatthe 1920 government of Ireland act had been designed to avoid.  As far as Westminster was concerned, minorityrights in Northern Ireland had to be subordinate to the broader interests ofthe United Kingdom and British Empire.

IIITheories of Political Violence in the Northern Ireland Conflict.

There have been various attempts to sympathize therange of theories which have been put forward to explain the Northern Irelandconflict and to relate these two practical remedies and solutions to theproblem.  The diversity of the theorieswhich have been put forward have necessarily limited attempts to test themconcisely using empirical data.  Forexample, aside from the theories such as religion and class which have beenmost widely canvassed, explanations as diverse as Freudian social psychologyand caste have been put forward.  Clearlyit is impossible to attempt to test all these theories using survey data, andfor the purposes of this analysis, only the major theories are examined. Thereis a fundamental dichotomy in these theories between those, which are economicin nature and non-economic. Each has particular implications for the future andfor the possibility of solving the conflict. From the economic interpretation it logically follows that the conflictis essentially bargainable, and that a change in socioeconomic conditions willafter the intensity of the conflict. Better living conditions, more jobs and material affluence will makepeople less interested in an atomistic conflict centering on religion.  By contrast, most non-economic theories implythat it is a non-bargainable, zero- sum conflict: the gains of one side willalways be proportional to the losses of the other.  These theories are summarized in the words: «the problem is that there is no solution». The Irish, according to popularaccount are an intensely historically minded people.  Present day problems they explain by whatseems to others an unnecessary long and involved recital of event so distant asto shade into the gloom of prehistory. History indeed lies at the basis as to shade into propagandist issue ofcontemporary Ireland: one nation or to? To many radicals, this issue is already an archaism in a worldincreasingly dominated by transnational capitalism.  They prefer to substitute an analysis of  « divided class» for an outdated propagandistdevice adopted to split the workers.  Theidea of « two nations» occupying the same territory has a long provenancethroughout the world.

Catholics tend to have lower status jobs thanProtestants but once we take differences in family backgrounds and educationinto account the disadvantage disappears. There is no evidence of occupational discrimination.  In terms of the financial returns of work,Catholics receive a lower wage than Protestants, and this persists even afterfamily background, education and occupation are held constant.  There are a variety of explanations, whichcould account for this pattern, none of which, unfortunately, can be tested bythe data to hand.  Protestants tend topredominate in well paid, capital intensive industries, such as engineering andshipbuilding, while Catholics are concentrated in more marginal and competitiveindustries, such as building and contrasting, with generally lower wagerates.  Consequently, it is possible fora Protestant to receive a high wage for performing the same task as a Catholicworking in another industry.  Since mostof these capital-intensive industries are more extensively unionized than theircounter parts, it could be argued that Protestant bargaining power, and hencewage levels, are greater than similar non-unionized Catholic workers.  Finally, these differences in incomes couldbe interpreted as the direct result of religious discrimination againstCatholics, with Catholics simply being paid less than Protestants in the samejobs.

There is, therefore, not much of an economic basis forthe Ulster conflict—actual differences between the two communities can beexplained by family background and inherited privilege.  There remains, however, the possibility thatit is less the objective economic differences that cause the conflict thanindividual subjective perceptions of those differences.

It is often argued that economic deprivation is amajor cause of violence, rioting with Catholics feeling economically deprivedcompared to Protestants, becoming frustrated, and venting their frustrationthrough aggression: much of the British government’s policy for NorthernIreland has focused on alleviating the economic deprivation of the Catholicminority.  But in fact, socioeconomicconsiderations have little to do with rioting either for the population as awhole, or among Catholics and Protestants considered separately.  The combined effect of all socioeconomicvariables, is a negligible.  Only one ofthe five socioeconomic variables has a statistically significant effect.  Unemployment has no significant effect, inspite of the prominent role it plays in official thinking.

On this evidence, it seems unlikely that economicchanges will reduce conflict in Northern Ireland.  It is, however, possible that economicimprovements for the Catholic community would effect the climate of opinionamong Catholics as a whole, and hence reduce conflict.

Religion by itself does not have much to do withrioting.  Catholics, in particular, arenot significantly more likely than Protestants to riot.  The recent troubles may have been presaged byCatholic civil rights activity in 1968 and 1969, which led to violence, but in1973 the violence had escalated and spread to both communities more or lessequally.  Nor do religious beliefs haveany significant effect; the devout are neither more nor less likely to riotthen their less devout compatriots.  Inthis, as in other ways, the conflict is not one of religious belief.

Finally, political views about the origins of theconflict are important for Catholics but not as much for Protestants.  Let us examine Catholics, beginning with thecomparison of two groups: those who think Catholics are entirely to blame forthe troubles and those who think no blame at all attaches to Catholics.  The first group is some 18 percent lesslikely to riot than is the second group. So for Catholics, rioting seems to have strong instrumental overtones inthat those who have well defined views that attribute blame to Protestants aremuch more likely to riot.  Their riots,like many block riots in the United States, are in part a means of seeking addressfor grievances.  But for Protestants theinterpretation placed on the conflict is much less important.  Those who think Protestants themselves areentirely to blame are only 9 percent less likely to riot then are those whothink Catholics are entirely to blame. Protestant rioting thus seems to be more reactive in the sense that itsstems not so much from a coherent view about their aims, or their adversaries’aims, or the nature of the conflict, as it does from other sources, notablyreaction to Catholic violence.

Inhabitant                 житель   

Majority                    большинство

Rebellion                    восстание            

Peasant                      крестьянин    

Suppress                    запрещать, подавлять         

Minority                    меньшинство  

Descendant                потомок          

Martyr                       мученик      

Partition                    расчленять        

Internal                     внутренний                

Hostility                     враждебность

Riot                            бунт  , беспорядки

Grievance                   жалоба   , обида  

Impartially                 беспристрастно

Regime                        режим

Campaign                   кампания

Intimate                     объявлять  , хорошо знакомый 

Bound                        граничить

Bestow                        давать, дарить,помещать

Riddled                        изрешеченный

Controversial               спорный

Subordinate                 подчиненный

Urge                            убеждать, побуждение

Enforcement                давление, принудительный

Sovereignty                 суверенитет, Верховная власть

Abolition                     отмена, уничтожение

Counteract sectarian tendenciesнейтрализовать сектантские наклонности

Resignation                 смирение, отставка 

Eventuality                  возможный случай

Humiliating                 унизительный

Resumption                 возобновление

Diversity                     различие, разнообразие

Empirical                    эмпирический

Canvass                       обсуждать,собирать(голоса)

Diverse                        разный, иной

Caste                           каста

Survey                         изучаемый,рассматриваемый

Dichotomy                   деление класса на 2противопоставляемых подкласса,

Bargainable                 выгодный

Gloom                         мрак, уныние

Contemporary              современный

Device                         устройство, средство,план, девиз

Wage                           зарплата  

Hence                         с этихпор, следовательно

Income                        доход

Inherited                     наследованный

Deprived                      лишенный

Frustration                   расстройство(планов),крушение(надежд)

Alleviating                   смягчающий, облегчающий

Negligible                    незначительный

Recent                          новый, свежий,современный

Presaged                      предсказанный

Devout                         искренний, набожный

Compatriots                 соотечественник

Coherent                      понятный,последовательность

Adversary                    противник, враг

The List of Books:

1. <span Times New Roman"">   

Richard Kearney. The IrishMind. Exploring Intellectual Traditions. Dublin 1985

2. <span Times New Roman"">   

Harold Orel. Irish History andCulture. Aspects of a people’s heritage. Dublin 1979

3. <span Times New Roman"">   

Jonah Alexander, Alan O’Day.Ireland’s Terrorist Dilemma. Dordrecht  1986

4. <span Times New Roman"">   

T.M. Devine, David Dickson.Ireland and Scotland .Edinburgh 1983

5. <span Times New Roman"">   

Peter Bromhead. Life inModern Britain .Longman Group UK Limited, 1992



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