Brookeborough & O'Neill - Northern Ireland Prime Ministers


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Brookeborough & O'Neill - Northern Ireland Prime Ministers

  1. 1. Brookeborough & O’Neill • Leaving Cert History • Northern Ireland 1949-1973
  2. 2. Brookeborough in Power • Basil Brooke Prime Minister N. Ireland 1949-1963 • ‘A Unionist State for a Unionist People’ • 1949 Election – Attlee guarantees ‘In no event will Northern Ireland or any part thereof cease to be a part of his Majesty’s dominions and of the United Kingdom without the consent of the parliament of Northern Ireland.’ • Brookeborough’s government seemed the most secure in western Europe. • He felt no need to put forward legislation which would help to reconcile the Catholic minority to the continuation of partition
  3. 3. IRA Border Campaign 1956-1962 • IRA split in 1951 • Fearing defections – IRA planned attacks • ‘Operation Harvest’ – Dec. 1956 • Attacks on police barracks along the border • Governments North and South introduced internment • Campaign had little support among Catholics in the North
  4. 4. • Any concessions to Catholics would bring oppostion from hardline Unionists • In 1959 Brookeborough declared: • ‘There is no change in the fundamental character of the Unionist Party or in the loyalties it observes and preserves … If it is called inflexible then it shows our principles are not elastic.’ • Unionists more worried about opposition from Protestant workers losing their jobs than Catholics demanding their rights Political Stagnation
  5. 5. • By 1962 NILP wins four Unionist seats • Unemployment rising and support for Unionist Party declining • Brookborough forced to resign – replaced by Terence O’Neill • O’Neill – Home Affairs and Education • O’Neill declared: ‘Our task will be literally to transform Ulster’ ‘make Northern Ireland economically stronger and prosperous … and to build bridges between the two traditions within our community’ O’Neill becomes Prime Minister
  6. 6. O’Neill meets Lemass • 1965 O’Neill invites Lemass to Belfast • Lemass tells O’Neill: ‘I shall get into terrible trouble for this’ • O’Neill the one in trouble – didn’t tell his cabinet until the morning of the meeting • Protest organised by Ian Paisley • O’Neill made reconciliation official policy • However, only introduced minor reforms • Tensions around anniversary of 1916 Rising • UVF reformed - ‘Known IRA men will be executed mercilessly and without hesitation’ - killed two innocent Catholics and elderly Protestant woman
  7. 7. • Jan. 1964 - The Campaign for Social Justice in Northern Ireland was formed • 1965 Gerry Fitt forms ‘Campaign for Democracy in Ulster’ - sponsored by sixty MPs • Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association (1967) • Derry Unemployed Action Committee (1965) • Derry Housing Association (1967) Civil Rights Movement
  8. 8. Civil Rights Marches • June 1968 – Housing controversy in Caledon, Co. Tyrone. • Austin Currie MP occupies house • Protest march from Coalisland to Dungannon • 5 Oct. - William Craig bans march in Derry. RUC baton the crowd • N. Ireland becoming destabilised
  9. 9. O’Neill introduces reforms • Widespread protests now taking place • British government pressure O’Neill for reforms • Londonderry Corporation was to be replaced by an appointed development commission • Councils were to allocate houses on a fair points system • Sections of the Special Powers Act would be repealed • An ombudsman would be appointed • Universal suffrage in local government elections would be considered • O’Neill appeals for calm
  10. 10. Burntollet Bridge • Against the advice of Nationalist leaders – Peoples Democracy and Young Socialists organise march from Belfast to Derry • New Years Day 1969 • March attacked by loyalists at Burntollet Bridge • When march reaches Derry RUC attack homes in Bogside • O’Neill resigns
  11. 11. • Presentation prepared by: • Dominic Haugh • St. Particks Comprehensive School • Shannon • Co. Clare • Presentation can be used for educational purposes only – all rights remain with author