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Travel Tips 1
When to Visit
Northern Ireland 

For any tourist visiting Northern Ireland, you should onlyengage in a discussion about religion or politics with very very very close friends.  These topics are very close to the Northern Irish heart and a discussion can soonbecome a very heated matter for a local; you would be best to stay clear of this!

Introduction to the Parties

There are four political parties currently in government at the national level:  Sinn Fein, Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) and the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP).  These are the main parties, although of course there are also other smaller parties that I will not mention.  The DUP and UUP are the unionist representatives whereas the SDLP and Sinn Fein.

The Issues

To simplify the issues greatly, the problem that Unionists have with the current system is that they are sharing government with former members of the Irish Republican Army (IRA); the same IRA that orchestrated 30 years of bombings, shootings, etc, in order to remove Britain from the island of Ireland.  The deputy first minister (roughly equivalent to the deputy prime minister in Canada or the vice-president in the USA) was convicted in court and admitted membership of a terrorist organisation, and was named as Britiains number one terrorist in a tv show, The Cook Report, in 1993. 

For the Nationalist side, their main problem can be summarised as a lack of trust in the policing and justice structures.  They view the police as corrupt and untrustworthy; you can imagine what a country would look like if nearly half the population did not recognise the police as the legitimate force to impose law and order!


Never ever discuss politics with someone you do not know.  I know it may sound like a good idea to discuss your views with a local while in the pub having a drink, but it is not a good idea!  You cannot solve the problems of Northern Ireland in one visit.  The answer is not Northern Ireland being its own country or having its own flag - I do not know what the answer is but you cannot solve it in one night and should not try.  You do not know what kind of trouble you could get into!


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