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Northern Ireland

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Northern Ireland (Irish: Tuaisceart Éireann [ˈt̪ˠuəʃcəɾˠt̪ˠ ˈeːɾʲən̪ˠ] (Loudspeaker.svglisten);[10] Ulster-Scots: Norlin Airlann) is a part of the United Kingdom in the north-east of the island of Ireland that is variously described as a country, province or region.[11][12][13][14] Northern Ireland shares an open border to the south and west with the Republic of Ireland. In 2021, its population was 1,903,100,[15] making up about 27% of Ireland's population and about 3% of the UK's population. The Northern Ireland Assembly, established by the Northern Ireland Act 1998, holds responsibility for a range of devolved policy matters, while other areas are reserved for the UK Government. The government of Northern Ireland cooperates with the government of the Republic of Ireland in several areas under the terms of the Belfast Agreement.[16] The Republic of Ireland also has a consultative role on non-devolved governmental matters through the British–Irish Governmental Conference (BIIG).[17]

Quick facts: Northern .plainlist ...
Northern Ireland
  • Tuaisceart Éireann (Irish)
  • Norlin Airlann (Scots)
Anthem: Various
Location of Northern Ireland (dark green)– in Europe (green & dark grey)– in the United Kingdom (green)
Location of Northern Ireland (dark green)

 in Europe (green & dark grey)
 in the United Kingdom (green)

and largest city
54°36′N 5°55′W
Official languages
Regional and minority languagesUlster Scots
Ethnic groups
GovernmentConsociational devolved legislature within unitary constitutional monarchy
Charles III
Parliament of the United Kingdom
 Secretary of StateChris Heaton-Harris
 House of Commons18 MPs (of 650)
LegislatureNorthern Ireland Assembly
3 May 1921
18 July 1973
17 July 1974
19 November 1998
14,130 km2 (5,460 sq mi)[3]
 2021 census
135/km2 (349.6/sq mi)
GVA2021 estimate
 • Total£45.724 billion[4]
 • Per capita£24,007
HDI (2019)0.899[5]
very high
CurrencyPound sterling (GBP; £)
Time zoneUTC (Greenwich Mean Time)
 Summer (DST)
UTC+1 (British Summer Time)
Date formatdd/mm/yyyy (AD)
Driving sideleft
Calling code+44[c]
ISO 3166 codeGB-NIR
  1. The official and de jure flag of Northern Ireland is the Union Jack.[6] The Ulster Banner was used by the Parliament of Northern Ireland from 1953 until the latter was abolished in 1973. The Ulster Banner is still used by some organisations and entities and is used to represent Northern Ireland when it plays as a national sports team. See Northern Ireland flags issue for more.
  2. ^ Irish is an official language of Northern Ireland.[7] English serves as a de facto language of government and diplomacy. Irish and Ulster Scots both have commissioners for the languages[8] and are recognised minority languages of the UK.[9]
  3. ^ +44 is always followed by 28 when calling landlines. The code is 028 within the UK and 048 from the Republic of Ireland where it is treated as a domestic call.
Northern Ireland – Counties
The traditional counties of Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland was created in 1921, when Ireland was partitioned by the Government of Ireland Act 1920, creating a devolved government for the six northeastern counties. As was intended by unionists and their supporters in Westminster, Northern Ireland had a unionist majority, who wanted to remain in the United Kingdom;[18] they were generally the Protestant descendants of colonists from Britain. Meanwhile, the majority in Southern Ireland (which became the Irish Free State in 1922), and a significant minority in Northern Ireland, were Irish nationalists (generally Catholics) who wanted a united independent Ireland.[19] Today, the former generally see themselves as British and the latter generally see themselves as Irish, while a Northern Irish or Ulster identity is claimed by a significant minority from all backgrounds.[20]

The creation of Northern Ireland was accompanied by violence both in defence of and against partition. During the conflict of 1920–22, the capital Belfast saw major communal violence, mainly between Protestant unionist and Catholic nationalist civilians.[21] More than 500 were killed[22] and more than 10,000 became refugees, mostly Catholics.[23] For the next fifty years, Northern Ireland had an unbroken series of Unionist Party governments.[24] There was informal mutual segregation by both communities,[25] and the Unionist governments were accused of discrimination against the Irish nationalist and Catholic minority.[26] In the late 1960s, a campaign to end discrimination against Catholics and nationalists was opposed by loyalists, who saw it as a republican front.[27] This unrest sparked the Troubles, a thirty-year conflict involving republican and loyalist paramilitaries and state forces, which claimed over 3,500 lives and injured 50,000 others.[28][29] The 1998 Good Friday Agreement was a major step in the peace process, including paramilitary disarmament and security normalisation, although sectarianism and segregation remain major social problems, and sporadic violence has continued.[30]

The economy of Northern Ireland was the most industrialised in Ireland at the time of partition, but soon began to decline, a decline exacerbated by the political and social turmoil of the Troubles.[31] Its economy has grown significantly since the late 1990s. The initial growth came from the "peace dividend" and increased trade with the Republic of Ireland, continuing with a significant increase in tourism, investment, and business from around the world. Unemployment in Northern Ireland peaked at 17.2% in 1986, but dropped back down to below 10% in the 2010s,[32] similar to the rate of the rest of the UK.[33]

Cultural links between Northern Ireland, the rest of Ireland, and the rest of the UK are complex, with Northern Ireland sharing both the culture of Ireland and the culture of the United Kingdom. In many sports, Ireland fields a single team, with the Northern Ireland national football team being an exception to this. Northern Ireland competes separately at the Commonwealth Games, and people from Northern Ireland may compete for either Great Britain or Ireland at the Olympic Games.