northern ireland

Stormont, Northern Ireland

CPD Blogger Alison Holmes examines the U.S.' interest in Northern Irish politics.

What kind of relationship would Scotland have with the rest of the UK if independence were to happen? UK Chancellor George Osborne says Scotland and the rest of the UK would become foreign countries. However, Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond says that to Scots England, Wales and Northern Ireland would never be foreign.

The opening ceremony of the Giro d'Italia cycle race has taken place in Belfast.  The Giro d'Italia is one of cycling's most famous events and TV coverage is watched every year in 165 countries.

Seomra ranga - "classroom", in Ireland's indigenous language - reads a cardboard sign tacked onto a door. A little further down the hall, a leabharlann is filled with books. It is a very Irish scene, but in a very unlikely place: East Belfast Mission on Newtownards Road. Across the street, a mural commemorates the Protestant paramilitary Ulster Volunteer Force. Union Jack flags fly from lampposts in the shadow of the shipyards that built the Titanic.

It has been 6 years since my Washington Ireland Program (WIP) journey began. I was standing on a hockey pitch in freezing Scotland, clambering into my not-so-flattering goalkeeper gear, when Kate Hardie-Buckley (WIP '07) came running up to me and declared that I had 'W.I.P.' written across my forehead.

Northern Ireland has been suffering from annual outbreaks of violence as leaders of the divided region try to establish a long-term solution to the thorny issue of parades. The parades are held each year to commemorate the Battle of the Boyne, in which the Protestant King William III defeated the ousted Catholic King James II in 1690. After a stand-off between 5,000 marchers and the police, Unionist rioters set fire to cars and threw petrol bombs, bricks and other missiles at police, burned flags of the mainly Catholic Irish Republic and played sectarian tunes outside Catholic churches.

The chief peace negotiator for Colombia’s Farc guerrilla movement has given the clearest signal yet that the group’s near half-century left-wing insurgency is drawing to a close. In his radio interview Mr Márquez said that as part of its peace strategy the group had been looking at other peace processes, including Northern Ireland’s. “We have met with the Irish, with the IRA, and they there found a formula which has to be analysed very closely,” he said.

It’s been 15 years since the people of Ireland approved the Good Friday Agreement, and President Obama called the achievement -- and the progress that followed it -- extraordinary. “For years, few conflicts in the world seemed more intractable than the one here in Northern Ireland. And when peace was achieved here, it gave the entire world hope.”