As I have said before, there are only three stages to the Irish (now Northern) “Problem”. There is Pre-Conflict, Conflict and Post Conflict. In terms of a “Problem”….Ireland has always been “A Problem” for England and England has always been “THE Problem” for Ireland.
Really we were all born into this…we are all born into some part of the Arc of Irish History. Thus a child born in 1952 (not exactly a year I choose at random) is born into the Post-Conflict stage and will spend his childhood happily before the great watershed year of 1969.
A child born in 1962 is born into a Post-Conflict stage but will spend his/her childhood in a Pre-Conflict stage and spend decades living in Conflict.
A child born in 1972 will be born into the worst years and spend the best part of twenty years living with no memory of “peace” and little expectation of it. But a child born in 1982 will be born into bad years but grow up knowing that the worst was over. The child born in 1992 will be born as History is moving from Conflict to Post-Conflict and grow up in a Post-Conflict world.
But I choose 2002 …not entirely at random…because my first grandchild is born into Post-Conflict and and the Troubles are seeming of little relevance. I wont see most of his life…what phase he and his own family will live thru as adults.
More so…my most recent grandchild…born in 2012. She is without doubt born into Pre-Conflict. Thats how it is. Make no mistake, there is a date out there as relevant in Irish History as 1798, 1916 and ….1969.
And to be 17 years old and have no real resiliance to the daily trauma of Conflict. Because its a simple fact that everyone born and brought up in 1952….in Falls Road, Ardoyne, Short Strand, Shankill Road , the Village, Sandy Row, Tigers Bay, the Markets…is as crazy as I am.