The internal conflict of Northern Ireland and Ireland as one independent nation is almost an ancientissue, and which on a big scale is temporarily resolved by a fragile agreement. The trails of previousfights can still be seen today; friends torn apart at childhood never to reunify, multiple branches ofthe IRA that fights as if they were still living during the Troubles and peace walls that still standstoday. Across the Barricades written by Joan Lingard follows Kevin and Sadie in their love life inBelfast and shows the situation during the Troubles. But since there are still remnants of the Troublesand that the conflict has gone in waves is it possible that it can come back again?Summary:The two main characters are the seventeen-and sixteen-year- old Kevin and Sadie. The book is setduring the Troubles in Ireland and the main characters happens to be of different faith. Kevin is acatholic and Sadie is a protestant. They grew up together in Belfast, Northern Ireland, as enemies,Kevin from a catholic neighborhood and Sadie from a protestant. They’d even fought with stones andfists but eventually became friends. However, as it was hard for them to meet they went separateways and didn’t see each other for three years. Then one-day Kevin shouted Sadie’s name as shewalked down a road. They picked up their friendship and kept on meeting and talking from time totime after that. This friendship later turns into love.Their families both are against them meeting since they are of different faiths and one of Kevin’s”friends” called Brian Rafferty even punched Kevin down in the street for refusing to stop meetingwith a protestant. And someone had sprayed “here lives a traitor” on Sadie’s house.That’s when Sadie decided she didn’t want Kevin to risk his every time they met and wanted them tostop meeting. But then Mr. Blake offered them to work at his house, Kevin as a gardener and Sadiedoing domestic work, where they could meet quietly and in secret.However someone found out about it and loosened the bolts to one of Mr. Blakes car tires.So one day when Sadie, Kevin, Mr. Blake and his dog Jack was going on a road trip, in the middle of aroad they felt the wheel wobbling and in the next moment they found themselves in the car whichwas now crushed against the sea wall on its offside. No one died or was severely injured, but itcaused them to speculate who had done it since an accident was out of the picture.Kevin was now unemployed and was saying that he might leave Belfast. They now met by thecountryside far from anyone else and things start to look a bit brighter. Then Mr. Blake dies in a firefrom a petrol bomb in his own house. And Kevin decides to go away from Belfast in a week, probablymove to London. As he was on the dock to take the ship to Liverpool, England, Sadie met him with aticket to the same ship and they both left Ireland together.Characters:Kevin is the oldest in a big catholic family, he has eight brothers and sisters which he must help tolook after because the only other grownups in the house are his parents. Kevin also initially has a jobat the scrapyard but after an incident he got fired and refused to go back when later asked, becausehe wanted to see as little of the streets as possible. Kevin seems to be able to renationalize but ismainly driven by impulse and feelings. Because he can see that what him and Sadie are doing isdangerous to both they themselves and their families, but continue to meet with her anyway. Kevinis not afraid to go on people’s nerves for his own interests, this is clearly shown by all the people thattell him to give up and not meet with Sadie even though he insists. He is quite independent probablydue to having to take so much responsibility at home.Sadie lives in a medium sized family in a protestant district with her two parents and her olderbrother Tommy. Sadie also initially had a job in town in a shop, but just after being fired for telling awoman to “go to hell” when she had made a comment on her meeting Kevin, it burnt down, and theshopkeeper died. She later worked for Mr. Blake. Sadie seems a bit more rational than Kevin thoughbeing driven by emotions as well. She however was heading over to Kevin to tell him that theyshouldn’t meet anymore even though she was in love. Sadie just like Kevin does not so much care forwho’s foot she tramples on for love.Brian Rafferty seems to be a typical bully, using force and blackmailing to get his agenda through.Having friends who can beat people up for him, acting as kind of a gang leader. Having access to gunsand probably the one that set fire to Mr. Blakes house.Mr. Blake was Sadie’s teacher back in school. He was a protestant but didn’t care much for thefighting between the protestants and the Catholics. He was kind, caring and, from what I can tell, apretty decent teacher. He later died in a firebomb attack in his house after a previous attemptedmurder on him where he, his dog Jack, Sadie and Kevin were going driving.Conflict of interest:Kevin knew that Sadie and he couldn’t have a life in Ireland, not during the troubles at least. He knewthat Mr. Blake had died for their love. He didn’t want anyone getting hurt. His family tried toconvince him that they shouldn’t be together and both him and Sadie had been both hurt and closeto being hurt on multiple occasions. He was however very fond of his family and his siblings, he lovedSadie and didn’t want anyone to get hurt because of him. He contemplates for some time whetherhe should leave Belfast or not. But in the end it becomes too much and he decides to leave Sadie, hisfamily and Belfast to seek his luck and a better life in England. However last minute before the shipleaves, Sadie shows up with a train ticket, and he’ll surely not regret leaving Belfast when he’s gother.History:The beginning of the conflict was when Henry VIII split from the catholic church and forming theChurch of England. Splitting the catholic loyal Irish and the now protestant British.This lead to multiple wars of successions, rebellions and family-tree management over whetherScotland, England and Ireland should have a protestant or catholic king. With the end result beingthe two protestants William III and Mary II as king and queen over the Three Crowns. This lead to thecatholic population in Ireland to be under harsh crackdown from the Irish local protestantparliament.In 1918 Sinn Féin, the Irish party which called for Irish independence won 73 of the 105 seats in theBritish parliament. But instead they refused to take their seats in parliament and chose to form theirown Irish government and proclaimed the Republic of Ireland which in turn sparked the Irish war ofindependence between the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and the British army in 1919.In 1920 the 4 th home rule bill was passed since the previous one had not been set in effect. Thispartitioned Ireland into Northern Ireland and Southern Ireland. With 2 separate governments one inDublin and one in Belfast. Northern Ireland got 6 out of the 9 counties of Ulster even though 2 ofthem had a catholic majority. This bill was supposed to be a quick fix to end the war with bothIrelands still under British control but with home rule. The reason for the split was to meet thedemands of both unionists in the North and republicans in the South.However, the war continued as Southern Ireland’s government never properly functioned. The warraged on until 1921 when a cease fire and the Anglo-Irish treaty was signed. The treaty establishedthe Irish free state which would be a part of the commonwealth together with countries such asCanada, New Zeeland and South Africa. The treaty included the whole Island of Ireland but also anopt-out for Northern Ireland to join Britain if they wanted to. Which they enacted almost instantly.Ireland then plunged into the Irish civil war between whether to stick to the treaty of being part ofthe commonwealth or whether to abandon it and become fully independent with the fullyindependent side winning. Ireland also added into their new constitution that de jure the wholeIsland of Ireland is rightfully territory of the country of Ireland. Renouncing the partition of Island asillegitimate however never pushing these claims.From 1968 to the end in 1998 a period in Northern Ireland known as the Troubles kickstarted withviolence between the catholic republicans and the protestant unionists. During this time “peacewalls” consisting of concrete and barbed wire separated catholic and protestant areas, clashesbetween the two sides were frequent and police and military security forces patrolled the streets.IRA also carried out bombings in Britain.The troubles ended in 1998 with the Good Friday Agreement which signed a cease fire between theIRA’s and Britain. The demands were that Ireland would renounce their claims on the whole islandand if a majority of Northern Ireland votes in favor of joining Ireland instead in the future both sideswould accept.The IRA in Northern Ireland still carried and carries out bombings after the agreement. Though in amuch smaller scale. But in certain towns such as Derry there are frequent marches from Republicanmilitants so the movement and driving factor is certainly not dead. However, Brexit is risking tearingthis fragile and relatively modern conflict up on a big scale once again. Theresa May has promisedthere will not be a hard border between Northern Ireland and the country of Ireland however seeingthe European Union agreeing to something like that is looked upon with doubt. In the Brexitreferendum of 2016 Northern Ireland voted leave with 56% to 44% which shows the split thatcharacterizes the whole of the United Kingdom. So we might see an increase in unrest over thewhole of the UK but it may as well lead to Sinn Féin winning the next majority in Northern Irelandand triggering the clause in the treaty defined in the Good Friday Agreement or at the very least leadto some public outcry for it to be triggered. This would lead to a united Ireland if Northern Irelandwere to vote over 50% to leave the UK. There are still multiple people alive who took part andwitnessed the violence that took place during the troubles. This might mean that about 50% of themnever want their children to live through the same thing whilst the other 50% might blame theEnglish for even more involvement in Northern Irelands interests. How hard Northern Ireland is hitby Brexit will be the verdict if we will see another period of trouble or a peaceful future for NorthernIreland. As nationalism increases around Europe, seen by the Scottish independence referendum, theCatalonian referendum and nationalistic parties’ growth, the population of Northern Ireland might bedrawn apart as the republicans are Irish nationalists whilst the unionists are UK nationalists.DUBLIN (Reuters) – “The agreement reached by Brexit negotiators early on Friday fully guaranteesthat there can be no hard border on the island of Ireland once Britain leaves the European Union,Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said.”The EU and the UK government has agreed to not set up a hard border. However, as this is part ofthe whole exiting deal none of this will likely be implemented if the whole deal isn’t implementedwhich must be completed and voted through both the house of commons in Britain, as primeminister May promised on multiple occasions, and by the EU parliament. That makes the promise of”No hard border” a weak one, if even a promise at all judging by the many analysts’ warnings for ahard Brexit being nearly unavoidable. Which makes the conflict of to whom Northern Ireland shouldbelong to unavoidable to keep from blowing up once again.


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