April 2016 marked the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising: the founding act of the Republic of Ireland and the ultimate symbol of the battle against British occupation. Seventeen years after the accords that officially ended the war in Ireland, has there been any real headway toward peace? Ireland – A long road to peace is a two-part film that looks back at one of the most striking conflicts of the late 20th century. From the Easter Rising (1916) to the signature of the peace agreements (1998) until today, using archival footage with personal accounts from men and women, republicans and loyalists, whom took part in laying out the tumultuous history of Ireland.
Part One tells the story of the key events and upheavals in the century that started with the 1916 Easter Rising and closed with the signing of the peace agreement in April 1998. We go from the War of Independence, to the British-imposed partition of the island, to the crushing of the Irish resistance with the 1969 riots. This broad overview ends with the last thirty years in the conflict, the bloodiest and most widely mediatized years in Ireland’s history. This overview will have a personal tone, thanks to first-hand accounts from men and women who lived through the key events of the past century, often participating in the fighting and sometimes making the dreadful choice of resorting to violence to make their voices heard and have their rights recognized. Their stories help us understand why people go to war and what drives them to keep on fighting, despite the suffering, doubts and death.
The current leaders of the Republican movement contend that they are moving forward with the flow of history. They see armed resistance as a thing of the past, saying that the ballot box is the only way to reunite Ireland. But others see the peace strategy as a betrayal of the Republican ideal of reuniting the island and forging an independent country. They are keeping the possibility of reviving the armed struggle alive, pointing at delays in the peace process, Britain’s broken promises and skyrocketing unemployment. For Unionists, the road has been even rockier. The peace process and the growing electoral popularity of Sinn Fein’s Republicans have dashed their hope of regaining their former dominance. The Irish flag now flies over Belfast City Hall and the government of the Irish Republic has a right of say in the affairs of Northern Ireland. The second film unfolds in this climate of confrontation and tension. As our main characters share their stories, viewers come to realize that it is far easier to wage war than to build peace.
In coproduction with ARTE
Distributed by ZED
SCAM Star 2017