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The conflict began in the late 1960s and many said it ended with the Good Friday Agreement of 1998. Although the Troubles primarily took place in Northern Ireland, at times the violence spilled over into parts of the Republic of Ireland, England, and mainland Europe.
A key issue was the state of Northern Ireland. Unionists/loyalists (most of whom were Protestants) wanted Northern Ireland to remain within the United Kingdom. Irish nationalists/republicans (most of whom were Catholics) wanted Northern Ireland to leave the United Kingdom and join a United Ireland.
More than 3,500 people were killed in the conflict. Of those: 52% were civilians, 32% were members of the British security forces, and 16% were members of paramilitary groups.
- Mitchell, Claire (2013). Religion, Identity and Politics in Northern Ireland. Ashgate Publishing. p. 5. "The most popular school of thought on religion is encapsulated in McGarry and O'Leary's Explaining Northern Ireland (1995), and it is echoed by Coulter (1999) and Clayton (1998). A common assertion is that religion is an ethnic marker, but that it is not generally politically relevant in and of itself. Instead, ethnonationalism lies at the root of the conflict. Hayes and McAllister (1999) point out that this represents something of an academic consensus.".
- John McGarry & Brendan O'Leary (15 June 1995). Explaining Northern Ireland. Wiley-Blackwell. p. 18. .
- Dermot Keogh, ed. (28 January 1994). Northern Ireland and the Politics of Reconciliation. Cambridge University Press. pp. 55–59. .
- John Coakley. "Ethnic Conflict and the Two-State Solution: The Irish Experience of Partition". Archived from the original on 3 April 2012. https://www.webcitation.org/66doFx4nE?url=http://www.passia.org/seminars/2004/John-Coakley-Ireland-Seminar.htm. Retrieved 15 February 2009. "...these attitudes are not rooted particularly in religious belief, but rather in underlying ethnonational identity patterns."
- Melaugh, Martin; Lynn, Brendan. "Glossary of Terms on Northern Ireland Conflict". Conflict Archive on the Internet. Ulster University. https://cain.ulster.ac.uk/othelem/glossary.htm#T. "The term 'the Troubles' is a euphemism used by people in Ireland for the present conflict. The term has been used before to describe other periods of Irish history. On the CAIN web site the terms 'Northern Ireland conflict' and 'the Troubles', are used interchangeably."
- McEvoy, Joanne (2008). The politics of Northern Ireland. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. p. 1. . . "The Northern Ireland conflict, known locally as 'the Troubles', endured for three decades and claimed the lives of more than 3,500 people.".
- McKittrick, David; McVea, David (2001). Making Sense of the Troubles: A History of the Northern Ireland Conflict (Rev ed.). Penguin Books. .
- Gillespie, Gordon (2009). The A to Z of the Northern Ireland Conflict. Scarecrow Press. .
- Edwards, Aaron; McGrattan, Cillian (2012). The Northern Ireland Conflict: A Beginner's Guide. Oneworld Publications. .
- Lesley-Dixon, Kenneth (2018). Northern Ireland: The Troubles: From The Provos to The Det. Pen and Sword Books. pp. 13.
- Schaeffer, Robert (1999). Severed States: Dilemmas of Democracy in a Divided World. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 152.
- Rainey, Mark (12 November 2016). "Special Branch officer's insider view of Northern Ireland's 'secret war'". The News Letter (Johnston Publishing (NI)). https://www.newsletter.co.uk/news/crime/special-branch-officer-s-insider-view-of-northern-ireland-s-secret-war-1-7676099.
- Taylor, Peter (26 September 2014). "Who Won The War? Revisiting NI on 20th anniversary of ceasefires". BBC News. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-29369805. Retrieved 26 September 2014.
- Troubles 'not war' motion passed. BBC. 18 February 2008. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/7249681.stm. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
- Hennessey, Thomas (2001). The Northern Ireland peace process: ending the troubles?. Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 48. .
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- Gillespie, Gordon (November 2007). Historical Dictionary of the Northern Ireland Conflict. Scarecrow Press. p. 250. .
- Elliott, Marianne (2007). The Long Road to Peace in Northern Ireland: Peace Lectures from the Institute of Irish Studies at Liverpool University (2 ed.). Liverpool University Press. pp. 2, 188. .
- Goodspeed, Michael (2002). When Reason Fails: Portraits of Armies at War : America, Britain, Israel, and the Future. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 44, 61. .
- "Draft List of Deaths Related to the Conflict (2003–present)". http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/issues/violence/deathsfrom2002draft.htm. Retrieved 31 July 2008.