The Troubles, 1969-1998


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The Troubles, 1969-1998

  1. 1. The Troubles Thomas Newman, AP Euro 3rd Period
  2. 2. Brief Overview
  3. 3. 30 Years of Conflict • ‘The Troubles’ is the collective name for the ethno-political and religious conflict that plagued Northern Ireland from 1969 to 1998, although sporadic violence continues to this day. • The conflict was primarily political, but had sectarian dimensions as well. Key issues include the constitutional status of Northern Ireland and the relationship between its two communities. • Unionists are primarily protestant, and descend from Scottish immigrants that were planted in Northern Ireland during King I of England’s reign in the late 16th century. They want Northern Ireland to remain part of the United Kingdom. They tend to be more right-wing. They are the slight majority, with Northern Ireland being 48% Protestant as of the 2001 Census. • Republicans, (more specifically Irish Republicans), are primarily Catholic and have deeper ancestral ties on the island of Ireland. They want Northern Ireland to declare independence from the United Kingdom and unite with the southern Republic of Ireland. They tend to be more left-leaning, some with socialist inclinations. They are the slight minority, with Northern Ireland being 45% Catholic as of the 2001 Census. • The Troubles would lead approxiately 3600 people dead and 50,000 injured over the 30 year period, in a population of less than 2 million people.
  4. 4. Background • Irish Republicanism has existed in Ireland in some way, shape or form since the early 1600s. • In Easter Week of 1916, the armed Irish Republican Brotherhood seized key locations in Dublin and proclaimed the island of Ireland independent of the United Kingdom. • The Rebellion was put down almost immediately by the British, but it would go on to inspire a century of political turbulence in modern Ireland.
  5. 5. The Irish War of Independence
  6. 6. • The Irish War of Independence was fought from 1919 to 1921 and led to the Anglo-Irish Treaty. • In December of 1918, Irish Republican political party Sinn Fein (‘we ourselves’ in gaelic) won a landslide victory in Ireland, and in January of 1919 they formed a breakaway government and declared the entire island of Ireland, once again, independent from Britain. • The British government was not as successful putting down the rebellions this time, as the military wing of Sinn Fein, the IRA (Irish Republican Army) waged a bloody guerrilla war of attrition against the British Army until the UK was forced to give in by 1921, and led to the Anglo-Irish Treaty.
  7. 7. Anglo-Irish Treaty (signed 6 December 1921) Provided for establishment of Irish Free State, completely independent from the United Kingdom politically. It also provided the six counties of Northern Ireland the option to opt out of the treaty, which, at the time, was a massive 2/3 majority Protestant and Unionist, and did so, choosing to remain a part of the United Kingdom. This has proved to be a very controversial treaty in Northern Ireland up until this very day.
  8. 8. Irish Civil War The Anglo-Irish Treaty was so controversial that it led to a 10-month civil war in Ireland immediately following it’s signing. The newly established Irish National Army, consisting of many former IRA guerrillas, fought the more hardline anti-treaty IRA, who felt the Anglo-Irish Treaty betrayed the ideals of the Easter Rising. The Irish National Army, who was supported by the British, easily crushed the anti-treaty IRA.
  9. 9. 1922-1966 Ireland • A legacy of the Irish Civil War was the survival of a marginalized remnant of the IRA. Illegal in both Northern Ireland and the Irish Free State, and ideologically committed to overthrowing them both, the IRA from 1922 to 1966 existed primarily as a secret society, with the exception of the failed Northern Campaign of 1942 and the failed Border Campaign between 1956 and 1962, during both of which the IRA assassinated several police officers around the Northern Irish border before declaring each respective campaign a failure.
  10. 10. The Civil Rights Movement • The NICRA (Northern Irish Civil Rights Association) was formed in 1966 to protest discrimination against Irish Catholics in Northern Ireland. Drew significant parallels with the African-American Civil Rights movement in the United States during that time. • The Civil Rights Movement was peaceful and sought to end discrimination against Irish Catholics and Irish nationalists by the Protestant and Unionist local self-government of Northern Ireland.
  11. 11. Objectives of the Civil Rights Movement • End job discrimination (Catholics/nationalists unlikely to be given certain jobs.. especially government jobs) • Public housing to be allocated based on need rather than religious/political views (unionist-controlled local councils allocated housing to Protestant unionists ahead of Catholic nationalists) • “One Man One Vote” Policy – in Northern Ireland only householders could vote in local elections, whereas in the rest of the UK all adults could vote. • An end to gerrymandering of electoral boundaries, giving nationalists less electoral power than unionists, even in areas where nationalists were the majority. • Reform of the RUC or Royal Ulster Constabulary, the Northern Irish police force, which was almost 100% Protestant, and disbandment of the B- Specials special police force, also exclusively protestant. Both of which were heavily accused of police brutality and sectarianism. • Repeal of the Special Powers Act– which allowed police to search without a warrant, arrest and imprison people without charge/trial, ban any assemblies or parades, and ban any publications. The Act was used almost exclusively against Catholics. • The Civil Rights movement was violently repressed by police and met with fierce political resistance from the unionist government.
  12. 12. The 1969 Northern Ireland Riots –The Troubles Begin
  13. 13. Culmination of Tension • The Tensions between Catholics and Protestants culminated in August of 1969. • “The Battle of The Bogside” – Loyalists were allowed to march through the Catholic neighborhood of Derry in a provocative parade. This led to Catholic resistance, who began throwing stones and bricks at the parade. The RUC was then deployed to put down Catholic rioters, and laid siege to the Catholic community of Bogside, releasing over 1100 canisters of tear gas in the Bogside from August 12 to 14. Catholics in turn set up barricades and were ultimately successful in repelling the police from their communities. The Bogside region of Derry would go on to exist as a ‘no go area’ for both Northern Irish and British security forces, and existed as an autonomous independent nationalist district from 1969 to 1972. • The Battle of the Bogside, and the ensuing violence that raged from August 12-17 across Northern Ireland, caused the displacement of approximately 1,820 families and the destruction of 150+ Catholic homes. • It also led to the deployment of the British military to Ulster in what was intended to be a short, several weeklong peacekeeping engagement. It would turn out to be a 30 year deployment.
  14. 14. No-Go Areas
  15. 15. No-Go Areas • No-Go Areas existed from 1969 to 1972 in Belfast and Derry in Catholic nationalist neighborhoods in which barricades and militant residents prevented the police forces or British Army from entering. • The Barricades were demolished and control “officially” restored in the British Operation Motorman in 1972, in which the British Army used tanks to destroy the barricades and reestablish control. However, the no-go status was generally maintained and police and security forces still rarely entered certain Irish Catholic neighborhoods throughout the duration of the Troubles except in very hostile circumstances, such as in the case of an arrest or military engagement. • Day-to-day policing of these areas was generally controlled by terrorist groups.
  16. 16. Early 1970s– The Rise of the Provisional IRA
  17. 17. The IRA Split • The IRA that had existed largely in silence for the past 50 years began to rearm and militarize itself once again by 1969 in order to protect Catholic nationalist communities in Northern Ireland in wake of the police brutality and sectarian violence that they had began to increasingly experience. • In the 1960s the IRA had come under the significant influence of Marxist and Socialist thinkers. This led the IRA to split in 1969 into the Official IRA and the Provisional IRA – the provisionals named for their “Provisional Army Council.” • The Official IRA was highly socialist/Marxist and prescribed to the idea that class differences were causing the strife in Northern Ireland, whilst the Provisional IRA was less interested in socialism and more concerned simply with British presence in Northern Ireland, considering it to be the root of all the problems. • The Official IRA would eventually fade out by 1972, while the Provisional IRA would go on to become the most feared terrorist organization in 20th Century Europe and launch a 30-year campaign against the British presence in Northern Ireland.
  18. 18. Rise of the UVF and Loyalist Terror Groups
  19. 19. Beginnings • The UVF (Ulster Volunteer Force) was formed in 1964 as a continuation of the Ulster Volunteers that existed from 1912-1914 in Northern Ireland, who intended to violently resist any attempts by the British government to release Ulster from the Union. • It was reformed in ’64 by former British soldier Gusty Spence after he and his men burned to the ground a Catholic-owned pub on the loyalist Shankhill Road. • The Ulster unionists feared that, with the ongoing civil rights movement, a potential return of the IRA in Northern Ireland could be possible. The UVF and other loyalist paramilitary groups such as the UDA and UFF were thus created and seen as vigilantes and defenders of Protestant communities. However, most of their targets throughout the 30-year Troubles were simply innocent Catholic civilians.
  20. 20. UVF Statement, 21 May 1964 • “From this day, we declare war against the Irish Republican Army and its splinter groups. Known IRA men will be executed mercilessly and without hesitation. Less extreme measures will be taken against anyone sheltering or helping them, but if they persist in giving them aid, then more extreme methods will be adopted... we solemnly warn the authorities to make no more speeches of appeasement. We are heavily armed Protestants dedicated to this cause.”
  21. 21. The Paramilitaries
  22. 22. Irish Republicans/Catholics
  23. 23. The Provisional IRA
  24. 24. IRA Statement, Late 80s
  25. 25. Statistics • Suffered 293 Casualties • Over 10,000 members imprisoned on various charges throughout the conflict • Killed 656 members of the British Armed Forces • Killed 272 Members of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) Police Force • Killed 44 members of loyalist/protestant terror groups • Killed between 620-650 civilians • Killed over 1500 people
  26. 26. Recruitment/Funding • IRA recruitment in Catholic neighborhoods was similar to the phenomenon of gang membership in the inner-city United States. Young Catholics typically joined to create a sense of belonging, to seem “hard” or look “cool,” to feel protected from the brutality of the RUC during the Troubles, or to help defend their communities. IRA members were not asked to join, but volunteered. • IRA ‘funds-raising’ activities included collecting protection money from Catholic businesses (a “revolutionary tax”), robbing banks, kidnapping citizens for ransom, and cigarette and gasoline smuggling across the Irish border (manipulating the differing tax prices on both sides of the border and selling fuel and cigarettes illicitly). Although the Provisional IRA has officially disbanded and no longer engages in terrorism, there is substantial evidence that extortion rackets in poor Catholic neighborhoods and contraband smuggling operations along the border still exist in Northern Ireland, and are run by former IRA men solely for profiteering purposes.
  27. 27. Weaponry • The Provisional IRA obtained a significant amount of arms from both Irish-American supporters in the northeastern United States (including members of notorious gangster Whitey Bulger’s Irish Mob in 1970s- 80s Boston) and from the Libyan government under Muammar Gadaffi. • Gadaffi took over in Libya in 1969 and initially armed the IRA seeing them as comrades-in-arms fighting British imperialism. Connections re-emerged in 1986 after the Thatcher Administration’s support of the US bombings of Libya that killed Gadaffi’s adopted daughter.
  28. 28. Weaponry • When the IRA disarmed as part of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998 (more on that later) they released the following to the British Armed Forces: • 1,000 Rifles (AK-47s, AR-15s, etc). • 3 Tons of Semtex (a general-purpose plastic explosive) • 20-30 Heavy Machine Guns • 7 Surface-to-Air Missiles • 7 Flamethrowers • 1,200 Detonators • 20 RPG’s • 100 Handguns • 100+ Hand Grenades
  29. 29. Mortars and IEDs • The PIRA was incredibly proficient at bomb-making, and made extensive use of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) during their 30 year campaign. • IEDs were typically constructed with chemical mixes of fertilizer, gasoline, and other home-made components. Libyan Semtex was also used in several heavy-duty bombs. Nails and gunpowder were typically implemented in pipe bombs, made out of metal pipes. Most IEDs had built in countermeasures, such as the mercury tilt switch, which would cause the bomb to explode if moved at all should a British EOD officer attempt to dismantle it. • The PIRA developed the “Barrack Buster” mortar in the late ‘70s, or a homemade mortar made up of common household materials that was used to attack several Army bases from afar, and even Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s house… 10 Downing Street, in a 1991 attack that destroyed the Prime Minister’s rear garden (the mortar was fired out the back of a nearby van).
  30. 30. EOD Officer Approaches PIRA Car Bomb
  31. 31. The Barrack Buster
  32. 32. Vigilantism • The RUC was not trusted in Catholic neighborhoods throughout the Troubles, and did not regularly patrol or even enter them in urban areas of Northern Ireland. Thus, when there was a community drug dealer, car thief, burglar, rapist, or pedophile, the IRA took it upon themselves to issue brutal street justice to those involved. • Occasionally offering warnings for lesser offences such as petty thievery or drug dealing, if the IRA had enough of a certain member of the community they perceived as anti-social, he or she was usually jumped, brutally beaten, and/or ‘kneecapped’ – one of the IRA’s most notorious methods – in which the victim was pinned down and shot through the kneecaps with a firearm, or occasionally had their kneecaps drilled through with power-drills. Other methods included releasing starving Rottweiler’s on the offender, dropping cinderblocks on the offender’s hands, or even tarring and feathering the offender. The IRA’s process in determining an individual’s guilt was never open to scrutiny. • If the offender persisted after an IRA punishment, he was then given a notice by the IRA to leave the country as soon as possible… referred to as being “put out” of the community. If the offender still did not leave he was murdered.
  33. 33. Policy on Informants • In an effort to stamp out collusion with the British forces and informants on the IRA, the IRA was responsible for torturing and killing several accused Catholic civilians throughout the conflict. • Investigations into collusion, infiltration and informants were carried out by the Internal Security Unit of the IRA, colloquially known as the “Nutting Squad.” • The ISU would carry out debriefings of IRA prisoners upon their release from British detention so as to discover whether or not they had ‘cracked’ and released information to British interrogators. • Typical ISU torture techniques on those accused of informing included drowning, genital/nipple mutilation, electrocution with livewires, pouring kerosene on the accused’s legs before setting fire to them, and branding with hot irons. Informants were always killed afterwards with a bullet through the back of the head. • Of the 18 “Disappeared” accused informants that were abducted and executed by the IRA during the Troubles, only 10 bodies have been found. • Martin McGartland was an IRA informant who was estimated to have saved 50 lives in the conflict before he was discovered and abducted by the ISU. He escaped and lives today in seclusion. The film “50 Dead Men Walking” is based on his exploits, and is an excellent, realistic, non- romanticized take on the Troubles in Northern Ireland.
  34. 34. Terrorist Activities • Common tactics included breaking into the homes of off-duty RUC police officers and murdering them in their beds or setting booby-trap bombs underneath RUC police officers’ cars and unionist politicians’ cars so that they would blow up as the engine was started. RUC men were typically targeted when they were off-duty, and many were shot dead in front of their families. The PIRA would also impersonate innocent Catholic civilians, call the police to report an emergency, and ambush the police from hidden positions when they arrived at the stated address (another reason the RUC was hesitant to go into Catholic neighborhoods during this period). • Most notorious for their bombings, they would typically park car bombs in predominately Protestant communities, call in the bomb threat so that the area would be evacuated and an EOD squad would arrive to dismantle it.. the bomb would then be detonated with hopes of killing an EOD officer and destroying Protestant housing tenements. • The PIRA rarely intentionally targeted civilians, especially in the 80s’ and 90s’, but were involved in the bombings of several Protestant-owned pubs during the 1970s in response to loyalist terrorist groups bombing Catholic- owned pubs. They also carried out the Kingsmill massacre in 1976, in which eleven Protestant workmen that were traveling on a minibus were held up by the IRA and all individually executed, in response to the execution of six Catholic civilians by the UVF the night before.
  35. 35. Terrorist Activities (continued) • Other activities included engaging in firefights with British squadrons as they patrolled the countryside/streets of urban areas, sniper attacks on RUC or British Army patrols/checkpoints, planting landmines along British foot patrol routes in rural areas, planting roadside IEDs along British convoy routes, and bombing ferries and buses containing on-or-off duty British soldiers. • The notorious “human bomb” technique, in which civilians or off- duty members of the British security forces were kidnapped and then forced to drive car bombs into British military targets – such as checkpoints and Army bases – after the PIRA had placed their families’ lives under threat. • Inciting riots, and providing Catholic youths with molotov cocktails (gasoline bombs) during such riots so as to maximize public disorder and destruction, was also an almost daily IRA activity in Catholic communities in urban Northern Ireland.
  36. 36. The INLA
  37. 37. Statistics • Suffered 33 casualties • Killed 46 members of the British Security Forces • Killed 2 members of the Irish Security Forces • Killed 39 civilians • Killed 3 civilian political activists • Killed 16 members of rival Republican terror groups • Killed 7 members of Loyalist terror groups
  38. 38. Ideology • Founded by Seamus Costello in 1974 as the military wing of the Irish Republican Socialist Party • Shared similar goals to the Provisional IRA but far more socialist in ideology; INLA wanted a socialist united Irish republic and blamed class struggles for many of the problems in Northern Ireland, whereas the PIRA simply wanted a united Irish republic and had little interest in class struggle or economics • Whereas the PIRA was almost exclusively Catholic, the INLA had some Protestant members, most of whom were involved for purely socialist reasons.
  39. 39. Terrorist Activities • Although far less powerful and bold than the PIRA, the INLA nevertheless presented a potent terrorist threat to the United Kingdom during the Troubles. • Similar tactics to the IRA; car bombings, shooting off-duty police and soldiers dead, and high-profile assassinations. • Their most high-profile attacks included the car bomb assassination of Airey Neave, one of Margaret Thatcher’s closest political supporters in 1979, the murder of infamous Loyalist terror leader Billy Wright (who was murdered by INLA inmates in a British political prison in 1997), and the Ballykelley Disco Bombing in 1982, in which the INLA bombed a disco-club frequented by off-duty British soldiers, managing to kill 11 of them as well as 6 civilians, as well as destroying the disco.
  40. 40. Internal Feuds • A split in 1986 led the INLA to split into the INLA and the IPLO, or Irish People’s Liberation Organization, based on IPLO members’ perceived lack of political motivation and heavy involvement in drug dealing and criminality. • There were several retaliatory killings between the two groups that persisted until 1992, when the PIRA had enough of the IPLO’s involvement in drug dealing in Catholic areas of Belfast and on 31 October 1992 virtually destroyed the entire organization in one night with a series of raids, killings and kneecappings that killed or crippled the majority of the group’s members.
  41. 41. British Loyalists/Protestants
  42. 42. The UDA/UFF
  43. 43. Former UFF Member
  44. 44. Statistics • Suffered 89 casualties • Killed 197 civilians • Killed 12 civilian political activists • Killed 37 members of rival loyalist terror groups • Killed 11 members of republican terror groups • Killed 3 members of the British Security Forces
  45. 45. Ideology • The UDA, or Ulster Defense Association, and its military wing, the Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF), was a loyalist, protestant terror squad that targeted PIRA and INLA members as well as general Catholic civilians in bombings and shootings throughout Northern Ireland. • It pledged to end its campaign of violence whenever the IRA set down its arms, yet, should the UK government appease the IRA and grant a 32-county Irish Republic, the UDA pledged to act as “the IRA in reverse.”
  46. 46. Terrorist Activities • The UDA saw itself as a militia defending upstanding protestant, loyalist communities from dangerous and lower-class Catholics that were disrupting the status quo in Northern Ireland. They pledged primarily to target IRA men but ended up killing a majority of Catholic civilians during the Troubles. They were also known to intimidate and exile known Catholic families from predominately-Protestant communities in Belfast and other urban areas. • Drive-by shootings, shooting up or planting bombs in predominately- Catholic pubs and bars, and jumping, brutally beating and/or kneecapping Catholic civilians were all frequent tactics. • The UDA discreetly worked in collusion with the RUC and other British security agencies so as to track down and assassinate known IRA members. They would also patrol Protestant neighborhoods alongside British soldiers at the height of the Troubles. Many RUC police officers and prison guards were also UDA members. • The UDA, alongside many other loyalist paramilitaries, benefitted from the import of several arms shipments from Lebanese arms dealers in the early 1970s, including rocket launchers, 200+ AK-47 Rifles, 90+ handguns and over 400 grenades. They also received various weapons, such as the uzi submachine gun and explosive devices, from arms dealers in the Soviet bloc in the 1980s.
  47. 47. Organized Crime • The UDA and its members were also heavily involved in drug dealing from the street level to wholesale purchase, primarily in MDMA and cannabis, throughout the Troubles. • Protection racketeering and money laundering were also common amongst the UDA in protestant communities. • However, should a member of a UDA-ran community begin stealing or dealing drugs without UDA consent, he was abruptly branded as “anti-social” and either killed or kneecapped.
  48. 48. The UVF
  49. 49. Statistics • Suffered unknown number of casualties • Killed 412 civilians • Killed 11 civilian political activists • Killed 21 members of republican terror groups • Killed 42 members of rival loyalist terror groups • Killed 6 members of the Security Forces
  50. 50. Ideology • Similar to the UDA/UFF, the Ulster Volunteer Force’s primary aim was to combat Irish republicanism in Northern Ireland, primarily the PIRA. They wanted Northern Ireland to remain in the UK.
  51. 51. Terrorist Activities • The majority of UVF victims were Catholic civilians, many of whom were killed at random. These attacks were intended to demoralize the IRA, as the IRA drew most of its support from the Catholic community. • Planting bombs in predominately-Catholic pubs or simply residential areas was a very frequent UVF tactic, and in 1973 they detonated more bombs in Northern Ireland than the UDA and the PIRA combined. Assassinations, mass shootings, booby-trap car bombs, and kidnappings were also frequent UVF activities.
  52. 52. The Shankhill Butchers • The “Shankhill Butchers” were a notorious offshoot UVF group known for abducting and literally slitting the throats of Catholic civilians and rival loyalist terror groups in the late 1970s. They were led by Lenny Murphy (who was eventually imprisoned and, upon his release of a 4-year stint, murdered by the PIRA), and killed 23 people, most of whom were Catholic civilians. Many experts liken the Shankhill Butchers more to a group of serial killers than to politically or even ethnically-motivated murderers. • The Butchers were all eventually all either imprisoned, killed by the PIRA, or both.
  53. 53. Weaponry • The UVF received the majority of its weaponry in the late 1970s from Armscor, an apartheid-South Africa state- owned arms company which, in defiance of various UN sanctions and embargoes, sold them to the UVF. • Weapons were thought to consist of: • 200 Czech SA vz. 58 Assault Rifles • 90 Browning Pistols • 500 RGD-5 Frag Grenades • 30,000 rounds of ammunition • 12 RPG-7 Rocket Launchers and 150+ Rockets • The UVF also began using the illegally-obtained mining explosive Powergel in the early 1990s.
  54. 54. Organized Crime • The UVF was also heavily involved in organized crime, including protection racketeering and drug smuggling/dealing, including cannabis, MDMA, cocaine, and amphetamines. Bank robberies were also very frequent in the 1970s.
  55. 55. Major Incidents, 1969-1998
  56. 56. Bloody Sunday, 30 January 1972
  57. 57. Massacre on the Bogside • In 1972, during a large scale but peaceful civil-rights march in the troubled, predominately Catholic neighborhood of Bogside in Derry, 26 unarmed civil rights marchers were shot by members of the British Army, 14 of whom were killed. Five of those shot were shot in the back. • After several inquiries into the incident there was found to have been no justifiable provocation from the protestors and no shots fired from the protestors during the march. The massacre was conducted in full view of the public and the press. • The PM David Cameron eventually issued a formal apology to the victims and victims’ families of the massacre after several investigations failed to reveal any justifiable provocation for the massacre. • The massacre sky-rocketed PIRA membership and recruitment, as public perception of the British Army in Catholic communities in Northern Ireland reached an all-time low.
  58. 58. Bloody Friday, 21 July 1972
  59. 59. A City Under Siege • On 21 July 1972, the PIRA detonated 26 bombs in the space of 80 minutes in Belfast, destroying banks, bridges, electrical substations, Protestant housing tenements, gasoline stations and private garages. • Although warnings were called in at least 30 minutes prior to each bomb, the amount of bombs exploding and the addition of multiple hoax warnings at the same time led to the Security Forces being unable to evacuate all the areas in time. 11 people were killed and 130 were injured, many of them horrifically mutilated. Of those injured, 77 were women or children.
  60. 60. Dublin and Monaghan Bombings, 17 May 1974
  61. 61. Deadliest Attack of the Troubles • Perpetrated by the UVF in the southern Republic of Ireland, three car bombs exploded in Dublin during rush hour and another exploded in Monaghan around 90 minutes later. • 33 civilians and a full-term unborn child were killed in the bombing, while nearly 300 were injured. The UVF did not claim responsibility for the bombings until 1993. • The majority of those killed were young women, although the age range of those killed ranged from 5 months old to 80 years old.
  62. 62. Warrenpoint Ambush, 27 August 1979
  63. 63. Roadside IEDs • In the southern part of County Armagh, Northern Ireland, a predominately-Catholic rural region and former PIRA stronghold right on the border with the southern Republic of Ireland, a British troop convoy was hit with a remote-control detonated, roadside 500lb truck-bomb and destroyed, instantly killing 6 troops. The surviving soldiers then wrongly believed they were under sniper fire from the other side of the Irish border, and began firing at civilians immediately after the bombing, killing 1 and injuring another. • 32 minutes after the first bombing, the IRA used its knowledge of how the British reacted to bombings to correctly predict that they would set up an incident-command point in a nearby gatehouse. Unfortunately for the British, there was a second, 800lb fertilizer bomb planted near the gatehouse that, when detonated, killed 12 other soldiers who were responding to the initial bomb. • It was the deadliest single attack on the British Army during the Troubles, and a highly successful attack for the PIRA.
  64. 64. Summer of 1981 Irish Hunger Strikes
  65. 65. A Defining Moment for the Republican Cause • Beginning on 1 March 1981, led by Bobby Sands, 7 PIRA and 3 INLA inmates at the notorious “Maze” prison began to refuse food until Margaret Thatcher, PM of Great Britain at that time, began to recognize terrorist prisoners as political prisoners, and allowed them their “Five Demands.”
  66. 66. The Five Demands • The right to not wear a prison uniform • The right to not do prison work • The right of free association with other prisoners, and to organize in educational and recreational pursuits • Full restoration of remission lost through any protests towards these demands.
  67. 67. Previous Protests • The Maze prison was a very high-security and low-quality prison that housed almost all PIRA prisoners during the Troubles. It was run in a very ethically questionable fashion, with frequent beatings and borderline-torture techniques used on Republican prisoners, and extremely poor living conditions for prisoners. Many Maze prison guards were members of the UDA/UVF or had strong connections with one of the two groups, as well. • Massive peaceful protests and marches by Irish republicans outside of the Maze Prison proved unsuccessful in attaining political status for republican prisoners, as well as previous inmate protests in 1980, including non-fatal hunger strikes, inmates refusing to wear prison uniforms and thus living in their cells naked, and prisoners refusing to leave their cells to go to the bathroom until their requests had been granted (they therefore urinated and defecated in their cells, and spread their excrement across their cell walls in what was known as the “Dirty Protest.”)
  68. 68. Dirty Protesters
  69. 69. Thatcher’s Response • “Those terrorists will carry their determination to disrupt society to any lengths. Once again we have a hunger strike in the Maze Prison in the quest for what they call ‘political status.’ There is no such thing as political murder, political bombing or political violence. There is only criminal murder, criminal bombing and criminal violence. We will not compromise on this. There will be no political status.”
  70. 70. Ten Strikers Die • Bobby Sands, the leader of the strike, was imprisoned as a PIRA member on charges of firearm possession and in connection with the bombing of a furniture store. He was the first to die after 66 days of not eating. Sands was elected to a seat in Parliament whilst on Hunger Strike. • Following Sands’ death, there were riots, bus-burnings and attacks on the British embassy in the southern Republic of Ireland, there were massive demonstrations in France and Italy, a tomato was thrown as Queen Elizabeth II by demonstrators in Oslo, and there were massive riots and civil disorder all over the streets of Belfast. The South African ANC and (at the time) terrorist Nelson Mandela expressed their support for the PIRA and the hunger strikers (Mandela himself claimed he was directly inspired by Sands to undertake hunger strikes against the Apartheid government in South Africa) as well as the Palestine Liberation Organization, a middle-eastern terror group. • Over 100,000 attended Sands’ funeral.
  71. 71. Bobby Sands “Our revenge will be the laughter of our children.”
  72. 72. Reaction to Sands’ Death
  73. 73. Conclusion • The Hunger Strike was eventually called off after 10 strikers including Sands had died. • James Prior, newly installed secretary of state of Northern Ireland, granted the prisoners partial concessions; all of the Five Demands except for the right to not do prison work. Margaret Thatcher refused to budge on political status. • The Hunger Strikes opened a new way for the PIRA to pursue its objectives: politically, whereas previously it had seen violence as the only solution to the plight of Irish nationalists in Northern Ireland.
  74. 74. 1983 The Maze Prison Escape
  75. 75. The “Great Escape” • Using smuggled-in guns and knives, 38 PIRA prisoners, who had been convicted of offenses ranging from murder to causing explosions, escaped from one of the most high- security prisons in Europe. They completely took over the H7 prison block and took their prison guards hostage before escaping in a food supply truck. Several prison guards were shot and stabbed, but only one died of a heart attack during the escape. • Fifteen escapees were recaptured the first day, with four more captured over the next two days following the breakout. The remaining 19 were transported to PIRA strongholds and given the option to either rejoin the IRA’s cause or be transported to the United States to live under a new identity.
  76. 76. 12 October 1984; Brighton Hotel Bombing
  77. 77. The PIRA Nearly Gets Thatcher • Margaret Thatcher, the highly controversial, far-right British PM from 1979-1990 had become a tremendously hated figure amongst the Irish nationalist community in Northern Ireland following the 1981 Hunger Strikes, and for her general uncompromising stand on Irish republicanism. • PIRA man Patrick Magee stayed at the Brighton Hotel from the 14- 17 September 1984, planting a 20-lb bomb under his bath. • Thatcher was staying at the Brighton Hotel for a political conference, and was still up at 2:54AM on 12 October, when the bomb was detonated. The bomb decimated her bathroom but left the bedroom and sitting room of her suite largely unscathed. • The PIRA statement to Thatcher afterwards was, “Today we were unlucky. But remember we only have to be lucky once. You will have to be lucky always.”
  78. 78. Loughgall Ambush, 8 May 1987
  79. 79. The SAS Strikes • A botched attack on Loughgall Village’s RUC Police Base, in which the PIRA drove a backhoe into the fortified base and ran away to detonate the bomb that was inside of the backhoe, went wrong as the SAS, the British Special Forces, had prior knowledge of the attack and quickly dispatched the 8 PIRA members involved. • Although the RUC base was wrecked and bombed, there were no RUC or SAS casualties and it was the PIRA’s greatest loss of life in a single incident during the Troubles.
  80. 80. British Army Lynx Shootdown, 20 March 1994
  81. 81. The PIRA Shoots Down a Helicopter • Using the previously mentioned Barrack-Buster homemade mortar, PIRA insurgents were able to fire on a British helicopter that was in the process of landing whilst hiding behind a hay bail from around 150 yards out. • The helicopter was hit with the mortar shell around 100 feet above the ground, but the pilot was able to successfully crash-land the helicopter and escape before its propane tanks exploded. There were no casualties, but the attack was a major propaganda coup for the PIRA.
  82. 82. 1996 Manchester Bombing
  83. 83. The PIRA Destroys Manchester • On Saturday, 15 June 1996, the PIRA sent in telephoned warnings and 90 minutes later detonated a 3,300lb fertilizer-based truck bomb in the heart of Manchester City Centre, the biggest bomb detonated in Great Britain during peacetime. The bomb killed nobody due to previous warnings but led to 212 non-fatal injuries and essentially destroyed Manchester City Centre, leaving approximately 700 million pounds ($1.2bn) worth of damage in its wake.
  84. 84. Omagh Bombing, 1998
  85. 85. Last Great, Deadly Attack of the Troubles • Perpetrated by a Provisional IRA splinter group that was rejecting the peace process, calling themselves the “Real IRA,” the 510lb fertilizer-based bomb was placed on main street in the town of Omagh, Northern Ireland. Warnings were called in approximately 30 minutes before the bombing, but they were inaccurate and police ended up moving more civilians towards the bomb, which ended up killing 29 people and causing over 300 non-fatal injuries. This was the highest death toll from a single incident during the Troubles. • It received universal outrage, and was condemned even by the PIRA and its political wing, Sinn Fein. It spurred on the Northern Ireland peace process and the RIRA apologized and called a ceasefire several days after.
  86. 86. The Good Friday Agreement and Northern Ireland Peace Process
  87. 87. Beginnings • Following the 1981 Hunger Strikes, Irish republicans began to increasingly look towards politics rather than violence as a means of achieving their aims. Sinn Fein, gaelic for “We Ourselves,” was a fiercely Irish Republican political party which, led by the Machiavellian former PIRA leader and Maze inmate Gerry Adams, began to push for a more peaceful solution to the Troubles in Northern Ireland. • It became apparent by the late 1990s that, although the PIRA was not losing a war against the British establishment, it would be impossible to truly ‘win the fight’ through violence and that any further terrorism would serve not to achieve any real political aim but only to prolong and continue suffering and violence in Northern Ireland, and that politics was a much better way of achieving Republican aims.
  88. 88. Gerry Adams of Sinn Fein, former PIRA Belfast Brigade OC
  89. 89. Good Friday Agreement, 1998 • The Peace Process began in 1994 and included intermittent terrorist ceasefires and political negotiations between the major Irish republican and British unionist parties, and culminated on April 10 1998 when the Good Friday Agreement was signed.
  90. 90. PM Tony Blair and Irish Taoiseach Bertie Ahern Sign the GFA
  91. 91. GFA Mandates • That Northern Ireland was to remain British until a majority of people in Northern Ireland and the southern Republic of Ireland wanted otherwise. • The creation of an entirely new, far less sectarian, and religiously diverse Northern Irish local government. • The decommissioning of arms from terrorist groups on both the unionist and nationalist side of the political divide (ultimately successful, all arms decommissioned by 2005) • Mutual respect and civil rights between Catholics and Protestants. • The reduction and eventual elimination of British troops in Northern Ireland (ultimately successful, all troops withdrawn by 2005) • Eventual early prison release for all individuals imprisoned for terrorist offenses as long as they were apart of a terrorist group that was decommissioning in accordance with the GFA. • Disbandment of the RUC police service and the installation of the new Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) which was required to be at least 50% Catholic.
  92. 92. Northern Ireland Today
  93. 93. Still Conflict, But No War • Since the complete decommissioning of the arms and disbandment of the PIRA, INLA, UDA/UFF, and UVF due to the Good Friday Agreement, there is nowhere near the amount of violence in Northern Ireland or Belfast as there was 20 years ago. There are no more weekly bombings and riots, and no more British troops patrolling Catholic areas in armored vehicles. • Despite this, there are still occasional riots and clashes with the PSNI several times a year, specifically on dates of great historical significance to the Catholic or Protestant communities, and there is still a deep distrust and even hatred between many Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland, although that continues to change with time.
  94. 94. Catholic Slum of Ardoyne, Belfast, July 2011
  95. 95. Splinter Groups • Many former PIRA or UDA terrorists have now taken to organized crime for purely profiteering purposes, but are no longer involved in substantial violence or any political-based terrorism. • Splinter groups, such as the Real IRA and Continuity IRA in Catholic communities, and the Orange Volunteers and Red Hand Commandos in Protestant communities, still conduct occasional violence towards Police and civilians in Northern Ireland, but are all rather small, poorly armed and poorly funded groups that pose nowhere near the threat that terrorist groups in the 80s and 90s did in Northern Ireland.
  96. 96. Here’s To A Brighter Future in Northern Ireland
  97. 97. Works Cited • • • • • • • • “A Secret History of the IRA” by Ed Moloney –WW Norton & Company, Reprint 2003 • “Voices From The Grave: Two Men’s War in Ireland” by Ed Moloney – Public Affairs, 2010 • “Fifty Dead Men Walking” by Martin McGartland – John Blake 2009 • • • • • • • • pira.html •