But there were too many compromises in the Good Friday Agreement for it to please everyone. Over and above the long-standing dominance of Northern Ireland politics that resulted for the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) by virtue of the Protestants’ sheer numerical advantage, loyalist control of local politics was ensured by the gerrymandering of electoral districts that concentrated and minimized Catholic representation. [56], In March and April 1966, Irish nationalists/republicans held parades throughout Ireland to mark the 50th anniversary of the Easter Rising. The British security forces undertook both a policing and counter-insurgency role, primarily against republicans. Irish nationalists, who were mostly Irish Catholics, wanted Northern Ireland to leave the United Kingdom and join a united Ireland. Unionist support for O'Neill waned, and on 28 April he resigned as Prime Minister. Laura K. Dohonue. A firebomb killed an elderly Protestant widow, Matilda Gould. [92] Devenny suffered a heart attack and died on 17 July from his injuries. [80] RUC officers – one of whom was Beattie's brother – forcibly removed the activists. During the meetings the parties discussed the possibility of British withdrawal from an independent Northern Ireland. Save 50% off a Britannica Premium subscription and gain access to exclusive content. While this arrangement met the desires of unionists to remain part of the United Kingdom, nationalists largely viewed the partition of Ireland as an illegal and arbitrary division of the island against the will of the majority of its people. Ian Paisley, who became one of the most vehement and influential representatives of unionist reaction. [226][227][228], The impact of the Troubles on the ordinary people of Northern Ireland has been compared to that of the Blitz on the people of London. “The Northern Ireland conflict, more familiarly called the Troubles, is one of the longest and most entangled confrontations in recent history. The marchers claimed that police did nothing to protect them and that some officers helped the attackers. They were also more likely to be the subjects of police harassment by the almost exclusively Protestant RUC and Ulster Special Constabulary (B Specials). The remains of all but four of "The Disappeared" have been recovered and turned over to their families. Republican paramilitaries carried out a guerrilla campaign against British security forces as well as a bombing campaign against infrastructural, commercial and political targets. The main participants in the Troubles were republican paramilitaries such as the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) and the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA); loyalist paramilitaries such as the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) and Ulster Defence Association (UDA); British state security forces—the British Army and RUC; and political activists and politicians. The Provisional IRA's December 1974 ceasefire officially ended in January 1976, although it carried out several attacks in 1975. The Troubles (Irish: Na Trioblóidí) was a guerrilla / nationalist conflict in Northern Ireland during the late 20th century. This parade has now been banned indefinitely, following nationalist riots against the parade, and also loyalist counter-riots against its banning. [148], Successive British Governments, having failed to achieve a political settlement, tried to "normalise" Northern Ireland. This would come to have a major impact on Northern Ireland. This period, euphemistically known as the Troubles, would span more than 30 years and claim thousands of lives, both military and civilian. [56][126], In June 1973, following the publication of a British White Paper and a referendum in March on the status of Northern Ireland, a new parliamentary body, the Northern Ireland Assembly, was established. While the older IRA had embraced non-violent civil agitation,[109] the new Provisional IRA was determined to wage "armed struggle" against British rule in Northern Ireland. [222] A member of the MRF stated in 1978 that the Army often attempted false flag sectarian attacks, thus provoking sectarian conflict and "taking the heat off the Army". Many more marches were held over the following year. [142], The Irish government had already failed to prevent the IRA from burning down the British Embassy in 1972. In September of the same year Sinn Féin signed the Mitchell Principles and were admitted to the talks. Their actions produced the deaths of more than 3,500 people, many of them civilians and innocent children caught in the crossfire. On the other side of the line, Unionists interpreted the civil rights movement as a threat to their heritage, privileged position and political dominance. [111] Moreover, due to poor intelligence,[112] very few of those interned were actually republican activists at the time, but some internees became increasingly radicalised as a result of their experiences. On one side of the divide stood Unionists – staunchly Protestant, loyal to their British heritage and determined that Northern Ireland should remain part of the United Kingdom. [102], On 10 September the British Army started construction of the first "peace wall". [131][132], In 1972 the Official IRA's campaign was largely counter-productive. [58] The result was[59] communal strife between Catholics and Protestants, with some historians describing this violence, especially that in Belfast, as a pogrom,[60][61] although historian Peter Hart argues that the term is not appropriate given the reciprocity of violence in Northern Ireland. From the late 1960s, the world watched in despair as Northern Ireland unravelled into unrest and violence. It set up a paramilitary-style wing called the Ulster Protestant Volunteers (UPV)[66] to oust Terence O'Neill, Prime Minister of Northern Ireland. Gordon Gillespie, historian. Well before partition, Northern Ireland, particularly Belfast, had attracted economic migrants from elsewhere in Ireland seeking employment in its flourishing linen-making and shipbuilding industries. One part of the Agreement is that Northern Ireland will remain within the United Kingdom unless a majority of the Northern Irish electorate vote otherwise. Through trade and connections with Britain, Ulster’s Protestants had built up large and successful industries around Belfast. [237] According to the book Lost Lives (2006 edition), 3,720 people were killed as a result of the conflict, from 1966 to 2006. [147], The decade ended with a double attack by the IRA against the British. Separation from Dublin did not end Northern Ireland’s sectarian problems. As the Penal Laws started to be phased out in the latter part of the 18th century, there was more competition for land, as restrictions were lifted on the Irish Catholic ability to rent. Although O'Neill was a unionist, they viewed him as being too 'soft' on the civil rights movement and opposed his policies. [116][141], Harold Wilson had secretly met with the IRA in 1971 while leader of the opposition; his government in late 1974 and early 1975 again met with the IRA to negotiate a ceasefire. As this was unacceptable to the Northern Ireland Government, the British government pushed through emergency legislation (the Northern Ireland (Temporary Provisions) Act 1972) which suspended the unionist-controlled Stormont parliament and government, and introduced "direct rule" from London. [107] The violence peaked in 1972, when nearly 500 people, just over half of them civilians, lost their lives, the worst year in the entire conflict.[108]. The most successful of these “plantations” began taking hold in the early 17th century in Ulster, the northernmost of Ireland’s four traditional provinces, previously a centre of rebellion, where the planters included English and Scottish tenants as well as British landlords. Nobody has ever been convicted for these attacks,[56][126] with the bombings being the greatest loss of life in a single day during the Troubles. The RUC deployed Shorland armoured cars mounted with heavy Browning machine guns. The bomb went off by a cenotaph which was at the heart of the parade. Their campaign lost momentum, however, after they appealed to the nationalist community to provide information on the IRA to security forces. The plan, Exercise Armageddon, was rejected and remained classified for thirty years. This segregation lasted for decades, hardening sectarian attitudes and divisions. This became known as the Corporals killings. [208] It is alleged by many, including members of the security forces, that Jackson was an RUC agent. In 1971, the secretive and well-drilled Provisional IRA declared war on British soldiers and RUC officers, doing its best to drive out the British and make Northern Ireland ungovernable. Although these ceasefires failed in the short run, they marked an effective end to large-scale political violence, as they paved the way for the final ceasefires. It contains 192,305 words in 276 pages and was updated last on June 11th 2020. [138] This assertion has been criticised by political scientists, one of whom stated that "... there are ... significant differences between them [Sunningdale and Belfast], both in terms of content and the circumstances surrounding their negotiation, implementation, and operation".