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What caused the Troubles?

The troubles were a period of time in Northern Ireland in which around 3000 people were killed over a period of approximately 30 years. The troubles stretched over 1968/9 to 1997 at the signing of the Goof Friday agreement. There is no official starting point of the troubles to the Troubles there are various proposed starting points from the Derry Civil Right Rally in October of 1968, The Battle of the Bogside in August 1969 and the arrival of the British army also in August 1969. The long term causes was the original dissatisfaction of the Partition of Ireland and the Anglo Irish treaty of 1922 that ended the bloody 2 Year Irish war of independence. Many Catholics viewed Northern Ireland as an illegal entity that should be dismantled and therefore the protestant/unionist and catholic nationalist schism became more accentuated than ever. In addition to this there was widespread discrimination against Catholics in the north an example of this is shown by a statement issued by Sir John Davison, the Grand Minister of the Orange Order in 1933 It is time Protestant employees of Northern Ireland realised that whenever a Roman Catholic is brought into their employment it means one Protestant less and I suggest the slogan should be Protestant employ Protestants, (scource F) this exemplifies very well the mindset of those who discriminated against Catholics and this was the mindset of many employers an example of this is the largest employer in Northern Ireland Harland and Wolf the Shipping company employed only 400 catholic workers out of a total 10 000 employees so for every 1 catholic there were 25 protestants. A third factor was the black Civil rights movements in America this movement inspired the Catholic to make a stand against injustice and through the widespread ownership of the television this meant that more people would see the protests and be inspired by the. The final proverbial straw also seen by some as the original start to the troubles was the Unionist reaction to the Derry Civil Right Rally in October of 1968.what happened was the Northern Irish Civil Rights Association (NICRA) organized two marches both of which were banned by the Unionist government of Northern Ireland. The controversial first ever use of the Water cannon was used on the peaceful marches the marchers were also bottled in to a street and the RUC aided by the B-special (the part time police) beat the marchers including some nationalist MPs. In the second march at Burntollet Bridge it was ambushed by 200 loyalists armed with iron bars, bricks and bottles and the off duty police. All of these factors lead to the Battle of the Bogside in which all of the deep seated resentment finally burst into fruition. The annual march of the Londonderry apprentice boys is given the go ahead by Stormont (Northern Irish Government) after complaints by the catholic community. The march took them right outside the Catholic dominated Bogside on the outskirts of Derry and a battle ensued as the residents of Derry blocked of the route with a barricade. Both the Bogside residents and the RUC then proceeded in throwing missiles at each other. This soon escalated into a riot that spread to Belfast which was a patchwork of catholic and protestant areas mobs formed and invaded other areas attacking people and burning down houses. It showed the RUC had completely lost control of the situation in Northern Ireland .Many Catholics accused them of being biased and of working with loyalists militants to brutalise Catholics. This triggered the arrival of The British Army through operation banner to clear up the mess made by Stormont. At the beginning the Army was seen as heroes by the Catholic community and their was a brief Honeymoon period in which the British Army and the Catholic community got on well but after 5 protestants had been gunned down by Republican paramilitaries .After advice not to the British army swamped 3000 troops into Falls road and enforced a curfew for three days during the curfew, four civilians were killed by the British

Army at least 75 people were wounded and 337 people were arrested. A private in the British army describing the effect of the Falls road curfew says I felt I was invading a mans home. I felt guilty and ashamed. The place was saturated with tear gas. Children were coughing. Im talking about toddlers kids of three four five .. . I think the major effect of the falls road curfew was that it gave the community in the Lower Falls the opportunity to see the RA as their saviours... (Scource J)this triggered a support for both catholic and protestant support for paramilitaries. But ultimately lead to the bitter distrust of the British. The British army then granted Stormont the power to imprison people without trial nearly all the arrests of the people were Catholics many of the internees were tortured and beaten the arrests caught no PIRA members and no Unionists were interned. There was a huge catholic outcry as all of the people interned were catholic in increased the support for the PIRA and stepped up the death toll from 20 before to 400 the year after. On 30 January 1972 in the Bogside area of Derry, Northern Ireland after a march lead by NICRA and Nationalist protestant MP Ivan cooper. The march started peacefully but after a while hooligans threw stones at the British barricade and the first paratrooper regiment who had a reputation for being violent fired live rounds on the crowd killing 13 people and injured 13, 7 of those who were killed were under 18.a report published just 3 weeks after stated that the BA was not in any fault whereas the Saville report commissioned by Tony Blair stated in the report this about Bloody Sunday The immediate responsibility for the deaths and injuries lies with those members of support company whose unjustifiable firing was the cause of these deaths and injuries. The Saville report considered statements from over 2500 people. Ivan copper (previously mentioned) stated in his interview said to the British government. Youve destroyed the civil rights movement and youve given the IRA the biggest victory it will ever get. All over this city tonight, Young men Boys will be joining the IRA and you will reap a whirlwind. Which means that the brutality of the British would be mirrored by the force in which the IRA will respond internationally this was seen as a disgusting abhorrent vile act carried out by the British as a pre mediated slaughter. All the events mentioned in this paragraph lead to a rise in sectarian violence that led to the following event. In conclusion I am of the opinion that the starting point of the troubles was the Derry Civil Right Rally in October of 1968.