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The Catholics want to be reunited with the rest of Ireland and to leave the union with England, Scotland and Wales.The Protestants, on the other hand, wish to remain within the UK because they feel culturally and historically a part of this union since their ancestors emigrated from England and Scotland hundreds of years ago. The conflict is primarily a social and cultural one.

What is the difference between Ireland and Northern Ireland?Many people in Northern Ireland are descendants of the original population of this region and are also Catholics.However, the majority of the Northern Irish have forefathers who emigrated from England and Scotland and these two countries have been Protestant for almost 500 years.Violence against civilians has been accepted by the IRA as a means in the fight for independence, but this has changed in recent years.Sinn Féin is the political party in Northern Ireland which has had the closest bond to the IRA.Since that time the Irish have continued to rebel against their oppressors.

The English had a particularly difficult job in ruling the Irish in the northern corner of the country (called Ulster).

In Ireland this decision stirred strong feelings and disagreement threw the country into a civil war. Now, more than 85 years later, the situation is still unresolved.

Many Irish felt that giving up the North would mean to betray that region. What do the Catholics and the Protestants want in Northern Ireland?

To increase their control, they sent Protestant Englishmen and Scots to settle in this area and simply take over land from the Irish.

This immigration proved very effective and by 1703, less than five per cent of the land of Ulster was still in the hands of the Catholic Irish.

FAQs ABOUT NORTHERN IRELAND Ireland's history is a long story of suffering, suppression and poverty, but also one of strong people who refuse to give up and who manage to see things from a humorous side in the face of hardship.