This chapter aims to give a short background and introduction to the conflict in Northern Ireland, by presenting a brief history, introducing nationalist and unionist perspectives on the conflict, and considering also the extent of violence and segregation. The popular historical accounts given by nationalists and unionists of the history of the conflict in Northern Ireland are very different. These accounts are not merely of historical interest but are deployed by politicians to win advantage in the propaganda war over the future of Northern Ireland. Past grievances are used to justify current claims to justice. Although these highly ‘propagandistic’ accounts of history are often undermined by historical research, these ‘myths’ continue to persist. Do these very different accounts of the history Northern Ireland, including the recent period of conflict covered by this book, contribute to the continuation of the conflict?
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