Northern Ireland: The Peace Process, Ongoing Challenges, and U.S. Interests

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Series Details R46259
Publication Date 2020-2023
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Between 1969 and 1999, roughly 3,500 people died as a result of political violence in Northern Ireland, which is one of four component “nations” of the United Kingdom (UK). The conflict, often referred to as “the Troubles,” has its origins in the 1921 division of Ireland and has reflected a struggle between different national, cultural, and religious identities. Protestants in Northern Ireland largely define themselves as British and support remaining part of the UK (unionists). Most Catholics in Northern Ireland consider themselves Irish, and many desire a united Ireland (nationalists).

Successive U.S. Administrations and many Members of Congress have actively supported the Northern Ireland peace process. For decades, the United States has provided development aid through the International Fund for Ireland (IFI). In recent years, congressional hearings have focused on the peace process, police reforms, human rights, and addressing Northern Ireland’s legacy of violence (often termed dealing with the past). Some Members also are concerned about how Brexit — the UK’s withdrawal as a member of the European Union (EU) in January 2020 — is affecting Northern Ireland.

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This Report was first published in 2020 and subsequently updated. The latest update was published in March 2023. All updates can be checked on the Primary Source link provided below.

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