The Troubles in Northern Ireland
The Irish Civil War
The Troubles 1968-1972
Tensions began to rise in Northern Ireland as people started to demand changes to the way in which Northern Ireland was run. Poor housing, high unemployment and institutionalised discrimination led to protests beginning. Perhaps inspired by the Civil Rights campaigners in America, the protest took the form of marches. The marches, whilst initially peaceful protests, triggered a series of violent clashes that brought about a rapid rise in the number of sectarian attacks within the province.
Timeline of the Troubles
July-August ’69 ‘The Battle of the Bogside’ Prolonged violence in the Bogside region.
Further background information
People from both the Catholic and Protestant communities initially supported the Civil Rights movement. Some Protestants however saw the Civil Rights movement as a catholic protest, with aims other than those being publicly stated. Protestant leaders such as Ian Paisley were quick to express their concerns, which led to some elements of the protestant population becoming extremist in their response to the marches. Such distrust led to violence on the streets and an increase in hatreds. Protestant violence, and the ineffectiveness (some say collaboration of) the police, led to the IRA being able to claim it was the only force capable of protecting the Catholic population. Government inaptitude and misinterpretation of events further complicated matters. Sending the army to Northern Ireland provoked further Catholic hatred and animosity, the curfew in the Falls road and the way in which internment was used confirming to many that the army was a Unionist force. Faced with this ‘problem’ the IRA sought to use force to evict the British from Northern Ireland. In turn this led to more Protestants being willing to partake in terrorist activities as both sides became convinced that they needed to protect themselves.