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Why were British troops sent into Northern Ireland in 1969?

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Introduction

Why were British troops sent into Northern Ireland in 1969? Throughout the history of Ireland there has always been conflict between two communities neither of which accepted each others rules. The Catholics were unwilling to accept English-Protestant rule which they saw as foreign domination and England unwilling to surrender control. The nation was now split between two passionate and religious groups resulting in violence and therefore the deployment of British troops. These two groups of people had conflict between them for many hundreds of years of which the deeper roots of this conflict lay in the 17th century. It was here where the British decided to plant Protestants in Ulster, the aim of this was to sweep away the existing occupiers and replace them with settlers from England and Scotland, but it soon proved to be impossible to displace the natives altogether or attract sufficient immigrants. But it was here where two separate but interlocked communities, one Catholic, the other Protestant. The influx of settlers from England and Scotland had hardly been welcomed by the Catholic community lived side by side. The Catholics believed that they were deprived of their tradition and often their best land. Whereas the Ulster Protestants remembered the horror attempts to massacre and expel them. It was from this that the first battle between the Protestants and Catholics formed, the Battle of the Boyne of which the Protestants were successful and consequently the Protestant minority now ruled Ireland. ...read more.

Middle

The gerrymandering of electoral boundaries was one of the main issues raised by the civil rights movements. This new Northern Ireland government produced new laws and a new part- time police force as defence against IRA. These were known as 'B' Specials and entirely protestant. They soon gained a reputation for being anti- catholic. The Unionists government of Northern Ireland was not active in social matters and did very little to improve living conditions for ordinary people which included both Catholics and Protestants. In some ways living standards deteriorated under Stormont rule. Partition brought a lot of problems for people living in the north. Protestant Unionists used their political power to help their own community. Protestants kept control of jobs which resulted in Catholics staying unemployed. Between 1925 and 1949 not a single Catholic was appointed as a Judge to the Supreme Court. A survey showed in 1943 showed that of the 55 most senior civil servants in Northern Ireland not one was a Catholic. Unionists kept control of council houses and gave the best houses to Protestants. Catholics were given uninhabitable houses. The town of Dungannon was evenly divided, Protestants ran the local council and for over thirty years not a single Catholic was given a permanent council house. Children were also involved in the conflict. Catholic and Protestants children went to different schools thus this caused hatred within the young communities at a young age. ...read more.

Conclusion

From this once more Northern Ireland was convulsed in violence. These latest and most dramatic clashes of the civil rights movement with Unionist die-hards and the police temporarily swung almost the whole Catholic population behind the civil rights leaders and completely disrupted the traditional pattern of political leadership in the Catholic community. The violence was beginning to reach crisis point thousands had been killed and injured and something needed to be done and it was at this point the British had no option but to step in and send British troops to restore order. British troops were meant to be a short term cause but they have remained there ever since. The conflict in Northern Ireland was a struggle for power between two groups of people. This struggle was only partly about religious, economic and social differences. But it was also a conflict about political beliefs between nationalists and Unionists. But inevitably we come to the conclusion that Catholics and Protestants are two communities who want different amenities and who believe in different things will not be able to coincide with each other peacefully. Therefore because Northern Ireland remained an integral part of the United Kingdom and since control of the Army lay with Westminster the British Government had a legal obligation to provide, if so requested by the police or government of Northern Ireland, troops to maintain law and order. Therefore in 1969 the British Government had no alternative but to send British Troops to Northern Ireland. ...read more.

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