Fast facts on Northern Ireland | CNN


Here’s a look at Northern Ireland. For many years, Northern Ireland has been divided over whether it should remain part of the UK or become part of Ireland.

Belfast is the capital of Northern Ireland. The nation is part of the United Kingdom, along with England, Scotland and Wales.

The population is approximately 1,895 million (June 2020).

According to the 2011 census, the latest poll available, 49% of the population is Protestant and other Christians, 45% Catholic, 6% non-religious and 1% does not declare their religion.

Northern Ireland’s history has been marked by sectarian violence, although its political parties have worked to compromise in recent years and the two sides now form a power-sharing government.

Between 1968 and 1998, sectarian violence, often called “The Trouble”, claimed the lives of over 3,500 people.

The marching season, an annual series of Protestant celebrations, takes place during the spring and early summer.

The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP)
Established in 1971 by Ian Paisley, a Protestant preacher. Historically, it has attracted the support of working class Protestants.

Social Democratic and Labor Party (SDLP)
The party attracts Catholic support from the middle class and aims to achieve the reunification of Ireland through democratic means.

Sinn Fein
It supports a united Ireland free from British rule or British presence.

Irish Republican Army
Founded in 1919 as a paramilitary group fighting for Irish independence. In 1969, the IRA split into Official IRA and Provisional IRA (the former rejected violence while the latter preferred to be an armed force). In 2005, the Provisional IRA announced that his military campaign was over and his weapons would be scrapped.

1920 – The Government of Ireland Act divides the country into two separate political units, with Belfast as the capital of the north and Dublin as the capital of the south.

1949 – The Ireland Act establishes an independent Republic of Ireland in the south. The six counties of Northern Ireland remain a part of the United Kingdom.

January 30, 1972 – Thousands of people participate in a civil rights march in Derry. After a riot, the British army fired gunshots into the crowd, killing 13 people (plus, one wounded man died four months later). This day is called Bloody Sunday.

March 1972 – In the aftermath of Bloody Sunday, British Prime Minister Ted Heath suspends the Northern Ireland parliament, imposing direct government from London.

July 21, 1972 – Bloody Friday – The IRA detonates 19 bombs in Belfast, killing nine people.

1973 – A power-sharing agreement called the Sunningdale Agreement is approved, but a general strike in opposition to the agreement collapses the agreement.

27 August 1979 – Eighteen British soldiers are killed in two attacks. On the same day, Lord Louis Mountbatten, a British admiral, and Of Queen Elizabeth II cousin, dies after an IRA bomb exploded on his fishing boat.

May 1981 – Hunger activist and hunger striker Bobby Sands starves to death in prison. His death triggers riots across Northern Ireland.

15 Nov 1985 – Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Garret FitzGerald, the Prime Minister of Ireland, sign the Anglo-Irish Agreement, calling for cooperation between the British and Irish governments on matters relating to politics, security and legal affairs in Northern Ireland. The agreement also provides for the promotion of cross-border cooperation.

1988 – The Irish peace process continues with a series of groundbreaking talks between SDLP leader John Hume and Gerry Adams, President of Sinn Fein.

August 1994 – The IRA announces a ceasefire.

January 1998 – Citing new evidence in the 1972 Bloody Sunday massacre, Prime Minister Tony Blair announces a new investigation into the event.

April 10, 1998 – The Belfast Agreement Also known as the Good Friday Agreement, it is signed, restoring self-government in Northern Ireland and setting the stage for creating your own power-sharing government with a 108-member Assembly.

15 Aug 1998 – IRA militants bomb a market in the city of Omagh. The explosion kills 29 people. At the time, it was the deadliest terrorist attack in the history of the conflict.

2 December 1999 – Under the Belfast Agreement, Britain renounces its dominion over Northern Ireland.

2007 – The British Army ends its military operation in Northern Ireland, 38 years after troops were first sent to support the police force amid sectarian violence. At one point, some 27,000 soldiers were stationed in Northern Ireland.

June 15, 2010 – The results of the Saville investigation, a 12-year investigation into the 1972 Bloody Sunday massacre is released, blaming British soldiers overwhelmingly.

June 27, 2012 – Martin McGuinness, a former IRA commander, meets Queen Elizabeth and shakes her hand, a gesture that indicates progress as the UK and Northern Ireland continue to mend relations.

17-18 June 2013 – The G8 summit is held in Northern Ireland.

29 September 2015 – The Northern Ireland Prosecutor announces that it will not pursue criminal charges against Sinn leader Féin Adams and six other people who were suspected of having played a role in the kidnapping and death of a Belfast widow in 1972. 10 children would be targeted due to fears that she was spying on behalf of the British army.

10 November 2015 – According to the Northern Ireland Police Service, a 66-year-old man is arrested in Northern Ireland in connection with a “Bloody Sunday” investigation into the deaths of 14 people in Derry in 1972.

7 May 2016 – Northern Ireland Assembly elections are held. Democratic unionists get 38 seats while Sinn Féin gets 28 seats in the power-sharing government.

23 June 2016 – A majority of Northern Ireland voters voted to remain tied to the European Union in the Brexit referendum. While voters in Northern Ireland, London and Scotland predominantly choose to stay, large numbers of voters in Wales and the rest of England choose to leave. In the end, leave voters prevail with a majority of 51.89%.

January 2017 – Following the resignation of Deputy Prime Minister Martin McGuinness, the The British government faces early elections for the administration of the power-sharing of the Northern Ireland Assembly.

2 March 2017 – Northern Ireland Assembly elections are held. Democratic unionists get 28 seats while Sinn Féin wins 27 seats. The size of the assembly is reduced from 108 members to 90.

14 March 2019 – Prosecutors announce that a former British soldier will be tried for shooting at civil rights protesters in Northern Ireland on 30 January 1972, in an event known as the Bloody Sunday massacre. The army veteran was charged with the murder of protesters James Wray and William McKinney and the attempted murder of four other men. Sixteen other former paratroopers and two former official IRA members will face no action.

22 October 2019 – of Northern Ireland restrictive laws on abortion and same-sex marriage come to an end. The changes were imposed by Westminster lawmakers, who had given Northern Ireland a deadline of 21 October to restore its assembly in Stormont or have the laws changed directly from London.

11 January 2020 – Arlene Foster is restored as Prime Minister of Northern Ireland as part of a power-sharing agreement that has been concluded more than three years of political stalemate. The region has been without a legislative assembly since 2017, but Foster – the head of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) – is confirmed as prime minister after the two main parties approved a new deal proposed by the British and Irish governments.

January 29, 2021 The EU Commission announces that it could invoke the clause to impose export controls to Northern Ireland – which unlike mainland Britain, remains part of the single market – to prevent vaccines from traveling out of Ireland and to Great Britain via Northern Ireland. Hours later, Brussels pulls back from the threat amid furious protests from the UK and Ireland.

28 April 2021 – After most of his colleagues in the assembly signed a letter of no confidence, Foster says he will step down as DUP head and prime minister.

14 May 2021 – Edwin Poots is elected leader of the DUP, officially taking power on May 27.

17 June 2021 – DUP member Paul Givan becomes Northern Ireland’s youngest prime minister after being appointed to office by Poots. Due to internal party struggles over his decision to appoint Givan as prime minister, Poots announces his resignation. Givan is then told that he must step down once Poots’ replacement takes over.

22 June 2021 – The DUP appoints Sir Jeffrey Donaldson as its new leader.

7 May 2022 – Sinn Fein passes the DUP in the voting for the national assembly of 90 members of the province, obtaining the largest number of seats, 27, and securing the highest share of first preferential votes. As the largest party in the assembly, Sinn Fein will now be able to appoint a prime minister for the first time.