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Why were British troops sent to Northern Ireland in August 1969?

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Northern Ireland Coursework 3. Why were British troops sent to Northern Ireland in August 1969? British troops were sent into Northern Ireland in order to prevent the violence between the Catholics and Protestants. The most obvious reasons we think of are that riots started to break out and the Northern Ireland police lost control, this was because from the beginning, Catholics in Northern Ireland were a disadvantaged minority in matters of employment, housing, education, cultural and political participation. In 1968 a civil rights movement emerged to protest against this discrimination, often provoking violent reactions within the Protestant community. The Catholics were greatly influenced by Dr Martin Luther King, and the American Civil Rights Movements, which were going on at about the same time. Protestants also had fears, they would have to share their economy with the rest of Ireland and the Roman Catholic Church would interfere in the running of the country. Also they maybe threatened with violence by the IRA to become a part of the republic of Ireland. The build up of violence started with the Civil Rights Movement, which was formed in 1968. The aim of the Civil Rights Movement was simple. The members wanted all the citizens of Northern Ireland to have equal civil rights. They wanted to end the discrimination against the Catholics ion education, housing, employment amongst other areas. The methods that they used to make their aims known was the media, the entire saga took place under the gaze of the television cameras, which raised the stakes and heightened the confrontations. ...read more.


* An independent OMBUDSMAN would investigate complaints against local authorities. * The principle of one vote (meaning one person only got one vote whether they had high value property or not) would be considered. After the reforms were made, the civil rights leaders agreed to suspend their protests to allow the reforms time to have some effect. During this period, O' Neill soon found himself in a very difficult position, trying to be a moderate in a country which was becoming increasingly extremist. Ian Paisley accused him of being a traitor to the Protestants, while combative Catholics were soon criticising him as well. Even if this was happening, the majority of people, Catholics and Protestant, supported O' Neill. The majority of Northern Ireland was not extremists. O'Neill was a reasonable politician who found it exceptionally difficult to deal with extremists; the reforms he made were hurried. They were too extreme for his unionist critics, but not too extreme enough for his republican critics. There was 5 weeks of peace after the reforms were created. Then on New Year's Day 1969, the People's Democracy March was held. About 40 people, mainly students who supported the People's Democracy, set out to walk across Northern Ireland from Belfast to Londonderry. The People's democracy was a fringe association within the civil rights campaign. It's members were mainly militant socialist students, led by Eamon McCann, Michael Farrell and Bernadette Devlin. Devlin was quite open about their aims, which was that they wanted to break the truce between O'Neill and the civil rights movements and to show people that O'Neill was offering them nothing. ...read more.


The power to ban marches lay with Northern Irelands Home Affairs Minister Robert Porter, who was, of course a Unionist. The Nationalist leader John Hume asked Porter to ban the Apprentice Boys' march, but Porter refused to ban it. Being refused by Porter, Hume then went to the Home Office in London, which also ignored and accused him of being alarmist. There were other factors that contributed to the anarchy. One of them was the Battle of Bogside. The Apprentice Boys' march itself was relatively peaceful. However, soon after it ended, the violence began. Protestants and Catholics started throwing missiles at each other; this was after Loyalists threw pennies at the Catholics, which was a traditional insult. Before long there was a riot. When the RUC attempted to take down a barricade on Rossville Street, the riot turned into a battle. Missiles and petrol bombs were thrown at police from the residents of Bogside. There are two different explanations for the battle. The police's version is that they were trying to get into better positions to separate the mobs. On the other hand, the Catholics version is that this was a direct attack by the police, aided by loyalist thugs, on Catholic homes. The violence spread to Belfast. Thousands of people were burnt out of their homes, and there seemed to be a real possibility of a massacre of the city's Catholics. The rioting continued for two whole days, in what became known as the Battle of Bogside. The police were unable to enter the area. The first of Northern Ireland's 'no-go' areas had been created. ...read more.

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