Historical area and region of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, it is located in the north-east of Ireland (province of Ulster). 40% of the region's residents identify themselves as British, 25% - as Irish. A key factor of ethnic delimitation is religion (Catholics versus Protestants). Catholicism is practiced by 41% of the population; catholics spread across the province, they are associated mainly with the Irish part of Northern Ireland's inhabitants.
Economic discrimination in Ireland coupled with a religious conflict between Protestants and Catholics, stimulated Irish separatism in the XIX century, the main subject of which was Shin Fein party. In 1921, the British government and the leaders of Shin Fain signed an agreement on the establishment of the Irish Free State, but Northern Ireland remained part of the United Kingdom.
The ethnic conflict in Northern Ireland was exacerbated in the 1960s, and only by the mid-1990s, the violence stopped and negotiations started that culminated in the 1998 Belfast Agreement. Northern Ireland remained part of the United Kingdom, and the Irish Republic renounced territorial claims. Agreement established a regional assembly and enshrined the principle of power-sharing, according to which essential issues should be resolved with the consent of the Catholic and Protestant communities. They are represented by Irish and Unionist parties, respectively. In the past two decades, these parties have been relatively equally represented in the Assembly. The decision of the regional legislature is considered adopted only when the majority of the representatives of both communities voted for it, or 40% of representatives of each community and 60% of the assembly members. The power-sharing principle also guides the distribution of key posts in executive and legislative powers.