The Troubles (Irish: Na Trioblóidí) was an ethno-nationalist period of conflict in Northern Ireland that lasted about 30 years from the late 1960s to the late 1990s. Also known internationally as the Northern Ireland conflict, it is sometimes described as an "irregular war" or "low-level war". The conflict began in the late 1960s and is usually deemed to have ended with the Good Friday Agreement of 1998. Although the Troubles mostly took place in Northern Ireland, at times the violence spilled over into parts of the Republic of Ireland, England, and mainland Europe.
The conflict was primarily political and nationalistic, fuelled by historical events. It also had an ethnic or sectarian dimension, but despite the use of the terms Protestant and Catholic to refer to the two sides, it was not a religious conflict. A key issue was the constitutional status of Northern Ireland. Unionists, who were mostly Ulster Protestants, wanted Northern Ireland to remain within the United Kingdom. Irish nationalists, who were mostly Irish Catholics, wanted Northern Ireland to leave the United Kingdom and join a united Ireland.
- I was stopped by a soldier, he said 'You are a swine'. He hit me with his rifle and he kicked me in the groin, I begged and I pleaded, sure me manners were polite. But all the time I'm thinking of my little Armalite... A brave RUC man came marching up into our street, six hundred British soldiers he had lined up at his feet. 'Come out, ye cowardly Fenians, come out and fight'. But he cried, 'I'm only joking', when he heard the Armalite.
- We share a deep concern for peace and justice in Northern Ireland and condemn all violence and terrorism in that strife-torn land. We support the process of peace and reconciliation established by the Anglo-Irish Agreement, and we encourage new investment and economic reconstruction in Northern Ireland on the basis of strict equality of opportunity and non-discrimination in employment.
- Republican Party Platform of 1988 (16 August 1988), Republican National Convention
- We urge peace and justice for Northern Ireland. We welcome the newly begun process of constitutional dialogue that holds so much promise. We encourage investment and reconstruction to create opportunity for all.
- Republican Party Platform of 1992 (17 August 1992), Republican National Convention
- Go on home British soldiers, go on home. Have you got no fucking homes of your own? For 800 years we've fought you without fear and we will fight you for 800 more. We'll fight them British soldiers for the cause. We'll never bow to soldiers because throughout our history we were born to be free. So get out British bastards leave us be.
- Encyclopedic article on The Troubles at Wikipedia