Troubles in Northern Ireland from the IRA and British Government

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INTRODUCTION Although much of the blame for the Troubles in Northern Ireland has fallen on the IRA as a terrorist group, the British government was responsible for numerous acts of state terrorism in the period. As a result of their frustration towards the situation in the North and their desperation to stop the IRA from wreaking havoc, the British Army and police acted in ways that one would not expect from the representatives of a world power in the late twentieth century. The British government refused to recognize the legitimacy of the IRA, and instead of combating them as a military enemy, often resorted to acts of terrorism of their own. These instances of state terrorism were often a result of pent up frustration and desperation as …show more content…

Years of British occupation and oppression led to a sustained campaign to regain freedom from Britain beginning in the early twentieth century. Both the loyalist (supporters of the Union with Britain) and the republicans (supporters of a united Ireland) were willing to use violence for their cause. This took form in the 1916 Easter Rising, where Irish rebels declared the independence of the Irish Republic and fought in Dublin against the British to regain control of their homeland. The rebels were unsuccessful and were forced to surrender. This lead to the later Irish War of Independence, and the introduction of the Government of Ireland Act in 1920 and the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921, which resulted in the partitioning of Ireland into six counties in the North ruled by Britain and twenty-six counties in the south, newly named the Irish Free State. However, a significant minority in the North of around forty percent were Irish nationalists who wanted independence from Britain. “Therefore, from its creation in 1920, Northern Ireland was a state whose citizens differed over their national allegiance.” This situation in the North caused a great deal of tension, as the leaders of the Protestant, unionist majority discriminated against the Catholic, nationalist minority. So, by the 1960s, Catholic nationalist frustration was manifested in a campaign for civil rights, to which the state responded with vicious intensity. Those who were

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