• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Why were British troops sent to Northern Ireland in 1969?

Free essay example:

Jainee Shah 11P

Why were British troops sent to Northern Ireland in 1969?

British troops were sent to Northern Ireland in 1969 for a variety of different reasons. These were that Northern Ireland had been facing many long-term tensions and that Britain was the only neutral force that could regain the control that had been lost in Northern Ireland.

Northern Ireland in 1969 had a great deal of tension that had been increasing since the partition of Ireland. Due to this, there was a great deal of discrimination between the Catholics and Protestants. Another long term tension was The Catholic protest movements in the 1960s. The Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association (NICRA) was introduced which produced a lot of tension in Northern Ireland because it wanted to give Catholics equal rights which would mean that the Protestants would not have the upper-hand in society.

There were a lot of protest movements from the Catholics because of the discrimination they had been facing. One of the events that led up to the British troops being sent to Northern Ireland was the Austin Currie sit-in in June 1968. Despite this incident not being a very big and important one, it still managed to produce the results that were wanted. A man called Austin Currie decided to protest against a Protestant woman moving into a council house. He was outraged that the house was not given to a Catholic family with children. Television cameras filmed the whole protest which ensured that Currie had achieved his main aim. Following this protest movement, more civil rights movement started to take place in Northern Ireland.

During October and November 1968, there were a series of civil rights marches which contributed to the British troops being sent in. There was a march planned in Londonderry to protest against the allocation of council housing; however when the marchers tried to get to the Diamond, they were confronted with the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) officers. This march caused a lot of violence which produced a great deal of tension on the government in Northern Ireland and the British Prime Minister, Harold Wilson. Due to this, Wilson pressed O’Neill to present reforms. Consequently, O’Neill announced the biggest reformations made in fifty years which were that the gerrymandering system was abolished and a new corporation was elected, the people were allocated housing based on a needs-related point system, and the government’s Special Powers Act was removed. These reformations brought about a few weeks of peace; however it was not long before another march took place in January 1969. It was known as ‘The people’s democracy march’ which started from Belfast and carried on to Londonderry. On the third day of the demonstration, the marchers were attacked by a loyalist crowd. The attack was caught on camera and showed the protestors being beaten with iron bars and sticks. The RUC did little to prevent it and that night, there was even more rioting in Londonderry which was carried on into the Catholic Bogside area.  

Due to these events, more violence occurred at the ‘Londonderry Apprentice Boy’s’ march that took place in August. However this time, the march was followed by an extensive riot between the RUC and the residents of the Catholic Bogside area. The rioting lasted for two days while the violence spread to Belfast where thousands of people were burned out of their homes. In effect, this event became the trigger for bringing British troops into Northern Ireland.

In August after the chaos, the British Government decided to send troops into Northern Ireland. Everyone thought it was time to call them in as they were the only neutral armed force that would be able to make peace between the Catholics and the Protestants.

In conclusion, there were a variety of reasons that built up to cause chaos in the country. The events that occurred during 1968 and 1969 steadily became worse and soon it was obvious that the country needed help in regaining control. In my opinion it was the long term tensions that were the main reasons as to why the troops were brought into Northern Ireland; however the other events added to the tension.

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE History Projects section.

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Related GCSE History Skills and Knowledge Essays

See our best essays

Related GCSE History Projects essays

  1. Since the Good Friday Agreement in 1998 there has been a relative period of ...

    In Scotland on the 14th October 2006, Tony Blair, leader of DUP (Democratic Unionist Party) Ian Paisley and leader of the group Sinn Fein, Gerry Adams met at St Andrews. This is to see if they could agree on certain matters, for example power back to Stormont.

  2. Roosevelt's New Deal

    With an idea of every American working their way up to being wealthy , every person would have a car in their garage, this was quite un-true since in the early 1930's there were people who could not even afford to eat, let alone have a car in their garage.

  1. Why was Ireland partitioned in 1922?

    As tensions began to grow over the Home Rule crisis, Sinn Fein gained more and more support. Sinn Fein gained it's popularity by protesting against the British government introducing conscription(compulsory military service) into Ireland, and they won and gained a lot of credit for this, plus later that year in

  2. Why Were British Troops Sent Into Northern Island In 1969?

    The violence also lead on from longer running causes. There was anger over what the British had done to Ireland in the past. 77 people were sentenced to death in 1916 due to their actions in the Easter Rising. Before the sentencing there had been no popular support for the rebels, but this punishment angered many Catholics in Ireland.

  1. History - NICRA

    They the P.D. (Peoples Democracy) and the Black power. They were both being discriminated against but used more violence than peaceful. The Black Power Movement under Stokley Carmichael were a more militant group and didn't want to be equal with the whites.

  2. Just like previous attempts to bring peace to Northern Ireland, the Good Friday Agreement ...

    Mo Mowlam, the Labour Secretary of state for Northern Ireland, assured Sinn Fein that they would be allowed in to all-party talks if the IRA did establish a cease-fire. More importantly, she said that decommissioning would not become an obstacle at the beginning of negotiations.

  1. Why Were Troops Sent into Ireland in 1969?

    This is the reason there are lots of Protestants loyal to England in Northern Ireland and hardly any in the rest of it and why these are two opposing sides; one Protestant - one Catholic. Part of the reason why the Catholics tend to be poorer and discriminated against is

  2. History Ireland

    No soldiers were killed during Bloody Sunday. After the incident the Protestants took a more hard line stance to the Catholics and the number of troops on the streets increased. On the other hand the Catholics became more violent towards the Protestants and more people joined paramilitary groups.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work