Will violence ever cease in Northern Ireland, expert wonders

Historians in the News

Police in Northern Ireland have made three arrests in connection to the death of a Northern Ireland police officer last month.

To most of the Americans I have spoken with about Northern Ireland, the situation in Belfast is an example for the world to follow in terms of resolving conflict....

Unfortunately, sectarian violence is growing in the region. While rioting, segregated school systems, and political unrest are expected ten years out from peace treaties, Belfast, and its northern sister city, Derry, are scenes of serious signs that The Good Friday Agreement could be null and void....

Recently I sat down with Andrew Sanders, author of the book, Inside the IRA: Dissident Republicans and the War for Legitimacy. He is also a PhD from Queen's University in Belfast and Professor of History at Seattle University.

Sanders specializes in several issues relating to the conflict in Northern Ireland, including the division of Irish republicanism, as well as intelligence cooperation between security forces in the region. I sought to get the bottom of the issue, to the truth behind Belfast's inching backward toward its darkest times.

Sanders made it clear from the start that Irish Republicans were seeking to curb the region's movement toward a lasting peace. "In killing and targeting [Catholic police officers], Irish republicans who are opposed to this process of normalization are seeking to undermine the entire state of Northern Ireland."

But why would these new splinter groups, like the Real IRA and the Continuity IRA, who are Irish Republicans and who are Catholic, target their own people?

"They believe that the Provisional IRA sold out the true republican cause of a united Irish republic of all 32 counties on the island, not the 6 county Northern Ireland and 26 county Republic of Ireland which we have today," Sanders said....

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