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. More than 500 were killed and more than 10,000 became refugees, mostly Catholics. For the next fifty years, Northern Ireland had an unbroken series of Unionist Party governments. There was informal mutual segregation by both communities, and the Unionist governments were accused of discrimination against the Irish nationalist and Catholic minority. In the late 1960s, a campaign to end discrimination against Catholics and nationalists was opposed by loyalists, who saw it as a republican front. 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. 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.
The Good Friday Agreement (GFA), or Belfast Agreement (Irish: Comhaontú Aoine an Chéasta or Comhaontú Bhéal Feirste; Ulster-Scots: Guid Friday Greeance or Bilfawst Greeance), is a pair of agreements signed on 10 April 1998 that ended most of the violence of The Troubles, a political conflict in Northern Ireland that had prevailed since the late 1960s. It was a major development in the Northern Ireland peace process of the 1990s. It is made up of the Multi-Party Agreement between most of Northern Ireland's political parties, and the British–Irish Agreement between the British and Irish governments. Northern Ireland's present devolved system of government is based on the agreement.
Born in Belfast, Best began his club career in England with Manchester United, with the scout who had spotted his talent at the age of 15 sending a telegram to manager Matt Busby which read: "I think I've found you a genius". After making his debut aged 17, he scored 179 goals from 470 appearances over 11 years and was the club's top goalscorer in the league for five consecutive seasons. He won two League titles and the European Cup with the club. His style of play on the field captured the public's imagination, and in 1999 he was on the six-man short-list for the BBC's Sports Personality of the Century. He was also an inaugural inductee into the English Football Hall of Fame in 2002. (Full article...)