The TroublesIreland in Ethnic Conflict from 1969-1998
BackgroundWhy did the “troubles” even occur? Why so much violence? Was it because of…
Religious Differences?Ireland has always been Protestant versus Catholic.Although Northern Ireland belongs to the UK (andtherefore, is mainly Protestant, counties within N.Ireland are still predominantly Catholic.
The Home Rule Issue?Southern Ireland had been trying for years toobtain their own government in Dublin, butunder British authority.
The Desire for Complete Irish Independence?Southern Ireland became the Republic of Ireland.They got their independence, but can supportersliving in Northern Ireland unify both Irelandstogether?
The Desire For Ireland to Stay Loyal to the Crown?Unionists: We choose to support British Parliament & the Crown.
MomentumBattle of the Bogside: 12-14 August 1969Derry/Londonderry, Northern Ireland
1965 1975 July July 1972: 1970: All Bloody Unionist/ Friday—22 Orange IRA bombs Order kill nine marches civilians and are numerous banned. are injured November February 1971: 1969: Ulster IRA shoots Robert December 1973: Defence Curtis, the first Sunningdale… Regiment serving soldier to replaces B- die in the Specials Troubles. 1970 The beginning…
What was Sunningdale?Sunningdale was an attempt to create a power-sharing government between theUlster Unionist party, the nationalist Social Democratic and Labour Party, and theAlliance party. However, it ended as quickly as it started, as it was met with majoropposition from the IRA and from the Protestants, for the IRA wanted total victoryand the Protestants thought it’d end up helping form a fully united Ireland.
The Ulster Workers’ This protested the assembly vote regarding the completeCouncil Strike: endorsement of Sunningdale. May 1974 This strike involved Unionist paramilitary groups like the Ulster Defence Association. Electricity output declined and work places were forced to close. The new power-sharing executive had no power over the strikers and soon, the strikers gained the upper hand. Two weeks later, Chief Executive Brian Faulkner conceded , the strike ended and Sunningdale was no more.
The Origins of Criminalization: 1976 As paramilitary actions became more violent after Sunningdale fell through, increasing numbers of paramilitary members from both sides were jailed. Typically detained at Long Kesh prison, paramilitary members had one thing ordinary prisoners did not… Special Category Status (1972): This meant they were political prisoners and were treated to certain privileges ordinary prisoners were not. They didn’t take orders from prison guards but their William Whitelaw, at the time Officer Commanding (OC), wore normal Secretary of State for Northern clothes and not a prison uniform and were Ireland, gave this status to exempt from doing prison work. paramilitary prisoners.
Regrets: Criminalization, 1976Whitelaw, in retrospect four years later, chooses to revoke it. What does this mean for paramilitary prisoners now? They are now ordinary prisoners. Their privileges do not exist. Their crimes are not classified as being “politically” motivated.
What Would A Paramilitary Do? Revenge! They went to the extreme to get their status back. Paramilitary strikes Early Strikes, included: 1976-1980 1976: The Blanket MenWhat would a paramilitary do? This protest started it all; when newly detainedRevolt, of course. prisoners were given their uniform, they refused to wear it and leave their cell. They only had oneHoused in three specific jails thing to wear…the blankets on their beds. Bythroughout Northern Ireland, 1978, 300 prisoners were “on the blanket.”paramilitary prisoners plannednumerous strikes in order toget their political status back. 1978: The “Dirty” Protests The prisoners didn’t have enough support from the outside, so they stepped it up a bit in 1978.Check out this map to see What started out as a “no-wash” protestmore information about the culminated into the dirty protest. They refused tojails, and their location leave their cells and as a result, chamber pots gotthroughout Northern Ireland. full and caused this…
Yes, that is what you think it is on the wall. Prisoners had one way to get rid of their waste in order to avoid being beaten up by the screws (prison guards) if they dared leave their cells. This strike kept going on until 1980, when they decided to go even more extreme…
Hunger Strike #1: 1980• The “ultimate” weapon• 7 prisoners start it in October 1980• Blame Margaret Thatcher…• What exactly, were they protesting for?
The Five Demands 1: They should be allowed to wear their own clothes. 2: They should be given orders by their OC, not the prison guards. 3: They should be allowed to associate with any prisoners, get mail and receive packages. 4: They should be allowed to continue with their paramilitary “education” and have free recreation. 5: Remission, meaning, they’d have the chance for half-off their sentences in exchange for good behavior.
Result?December 1980: One hunger striker went blind and ended up in the hospital. This was after the government told them “concessions” could be made if the strike was called off.It was…but then later revealed that no concessions were to be given to the strikers.
PM Margaret “Iron Lady” Thatcher The IRA’s number one target.
Hunger Strike #2: 1981• Bobby Sands, leader• More join him at staggered intervals• March 1981 No more guns, let’s get our• Through his strike way through politics! he is elected for an MP seat in Fermanagh/South Tyrone.
Bobby “Geronimo” SandsIRA member, prisoner, writer, and hunger-striker. The bane of Maggie Thatcher’s premiership.
Testimonies from Bobby Sands what was his life like during the hunger strike? Sourced from The Bobby Sands Prison Diary.
Aftermath• Sands dies after 66 days on hunger strike.• Thatcher does not concede: “Crime is crime is crime…it is not political.”• Nine more perish until it is called off.• Thatcher seen as a villain for letting an MP die in jail. Daytum organized the length of each hunger striker’s protest from the longest term (Doherty) to the shortest (Hurson).
1980 June 1983: 1990 Gerry Adams, of IRA political October 1988: party Sinn broadcast ban on Fein elected paramilitary August 1991: to supporters Sinn Fein ready Westminster commences to make peace. July 1982: October November 1990: IRA bombs 1984: John Major kill 11 IRA bomb replaces Thatcher soldiers in kills five as PM; she London people at resigned Conservative Party conference in Brighton On the road to 1985 find peace…
Responsibility for Deaths from Making Sense of the Troubles by David McKittrick & David McVea 2500 2000 1500 1000 500 0 Groups Involved Nationalists Loyalists All Security Forces Others Nationalist (mainly IRA) were responsible for the brunt of the deaths during the Troubles, but Loyalistparamilitaries were not innocent. All security forces meant auxiliary police groups, like the pro-Loyalist B- Specials.
Civilian Deaths by Year300 1970-1982* 1970-1982250200 Civilian Deaths by Year15010050 0 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 *McKittrick & McVea had a range from 1966-2001, but the 1970s to the Hunger Strike of ‘81 were the peak of the Troubles.
1990-1997: To Ceasefire…or not to Ceasefire?•The first part of the 1990s was met Below: Davidwith numerous bombings from Trimble, leaderparamilitary groups as political leaders of the UUP.from Sinn Fein, the Ulster UnionistParty, SDLP and the Northern Ireland Right: Gerrygovernment attempted to get Adams, leaderparamilitaries to decommission arms of Sinn Fein.and ceasefire.•Once the IRA ceased fire in July of1997, Sinn Fein was allowed to joinpolitical discussions to achieve peace.•These talks eventually led to…
Good Friday Agreement, 1998Although not universally liked, the Good Friday Agreement of 1998 started a “healing process” for Northern Ireland. Power sharing, like Sunningdale, was involved in the agreement. Nationalism and Unionism were given equal legitimacy and respect.The attacks slowly began to stop, with the exception of…
Omagh, 1998Deadly car bombing thatkilled 29 civilians in thestreets of Omagh.This was not an act of theIRA; it was the idea of theReal IRA (RIRA).RIRA was a dissident groupof the IRA that did notaccept the Good FridayAgreement. That car contained the bomb. This was taken minutes before it went off. BothHowever, RIRA does man and child did survive the explosion.announce a ceasefire afterthe Omagh incident.