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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? On the 14th August 1969 the British army was sent into occupy Northern Ireland. The aim of this essay is to explain the short, medium and long term causes of why the British troops were deployed in Northern Ireland. i am going to do this by looking at sources, events and evidence. The clashes between the Catholics and Protestants in NI go back a long way from the middle ages. Between 1500 and 1800 when the British tried to seize control of the catholics, the catholics refused to be ruled by British Protestants and this lead to arguments which are still continuing to the present day. The arguments between the two parties became so extreme that the Irish began to demand home rule which meant that although Ireland would stay part of the UK, it would manage its own affairs and make its own laws. On 20th December 1920 the Government of Ireland act became law whereby Ireland was partitioned in two parts. As a direct result of partition the Protestants became a majority in Norther Ireland, this meant that a Protestant government would rule NI. ...read more.

Middle

Terence O'Neil the Unionist PM of Northern Ireland also realized this and as a result introduced reforms. He invited the Irish Taoiseach Sean Lemass to the Stormont parliament, visited a Catholic school and even shook hands with a nun. Unfortunatley his public demonstrations of reconciliation did not deliver what the Catholics wanted which was civil rights and equal participation in Northern Ireland. A key turning point for the Catholics was the introduction of the Welfare State which meant everybody recieved equal treatment be it Catholic or Protestant. This meant now everything would be equally distributed between the people e.g. housing, education, jobs etc. This had a huge impact on Northern Ireland. Through the Welfare State a new more educated middle class of Catholics developed. These Catholics having recieved an education, understood politics and weren't at all happy with the way the Catholics were being treated in Northern Ireland. The education aspect of the Welfare State made the greatest difference to Catholic Nationalists in Ulster, this led to the formation of The Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association. They began to demand their rights. ...read more.

Conclusion

On the 14th August the British Army was sent onto the streets of Northern Ireland because the British could no longer control Northern Ireland or trust the RUC. Neither side looked like they were going to back down and the army had to try and bring back the peace. All these events have an equal share in the deployment of British Troops in Northern Ireland. In my opinion however, the main cause of the deployment of British troops in NI was the RUC and the B-Specials. The RUC and the B-Specials were abusing their position against the Catholics in an extreme manner. They weren't able to keep control because they were extremely biased on the Protestants side. The Ulster and the RUC were the enforcers of this domination. The deployment of British troops in Northern Ireland was inevitable since the troubles there were so bad an event like The Battle of the Bogside was to be expected. Northern Ireland became a pressure pot ready to explode at any moment. The explosion happened at the Bogside and as a concequence British Troops were sent to occupy NI in order to restore some law and order. However, it's still proving difficult to maintain the peace in Northern Ireland to this very day. ...read more.

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