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Northern Ireland 1920-2000

 Northern Ireland (a.k.a. “The North”, “The Six Counties) was

established in 1920, when Ireland was divided in two
 The 1922 Treaty which set up the Irish Free State confirmed
 Population – 1 ½ million
 One Million – Protestant/Unionist (wanted to remain part of
 Half Million – Catholic/Nationalist (Wanted to be in a United
 With Protestants/Unionists making up 2/3 of the population
they were able to politically dominate Catholics/Nationalists
 Catholics suffered from discrimination in Northern Ireland
in terms of jobs, housing etc. – Protestant would usually get
a job ahead of a Catholic
 “Many in this audience employ Catholics, but I have not one
about my place. Catholics are out to destroy Ulster...If we in
Ulster allow Roman Catholics to work on our farms we are
traitors to Ulster...I would appeal to loyalists, therefore,
wherever possible, to employ good Protestant lads and
- Basil Brooke, Unionist Politician, in 1933
 1921 – Unionists win 40 out of 52 Seats in Northern
Ireland Parliament
 Northern Irish Police (Royal Ulster Constabulary,
RUC) attacked by IRA
 James Craig elected PM, promises to defeat the IRA
 Special Powers Act passed by NI Government –
gave RUC powers to imprison without trial
 Nationalists were left very bitter by Craig’s
crackdown and by being left out of the Irish Free
 Set up in 1796 to defend Protestantism
 Became very powerful in Northern Ireland after
1922 – all Unionist Party leaders belonged to it
 To many Catholics, was a symbol of their
oppression by Protestants
 Helped Protestants get the best jobs in the country
 Before World War One the economy in the North was very
strong. Two key parts:
 Linen Mills
 Shipbuilding (Titanic most famous example)
 After WW1, these industries declined – Protestant and
Catholic workers joined trade unions to demand work
 Craig and other Unionist leaders didn’t want Catholics and
Protestant workers to come together and so ensured only
Protestant workers got Government jobs.
 American Troops based in NI at this time
 Linen for Parachutes & uniforms made in Belfast
 Derry used as a base for Ships patrolling the
 Warships built in Belfast
 Belfast also bombed in WW2
 1945 – British Labour Party wins UK General
 Labour established the Welfare State. This meant...
 Free healthcare
 Old Age Pensions
 Dole for unemployed people
 Free Secondary Education and Grants for University
 Because of the Welfare state, Northern Catholics
became better off
 Less interested in a United Ireland – Standard of
Living was better in the North
 As a result IRA lost public support in the 1950s and
 Education helped Catholics improve themselves....
 ....but also made them aware of the discrimination
against them
 Many Catholics were not allowed to vote in
 Catholics had only 23 out of the top 319 jobs in the
Civil Service in the North
 Only 12% of the police were Catholics
 Public Housing given to Protestants ahead of
 Catholics found it very hard to get decent jobs
 In the early 1960s, Basil Brooke (old fashioned,
below left) replaced as NI Prime Minister by
Terence O’Neill (more modern, below right)
 O’Neill wanted to tackle the discrimination against
Catholics and modernise Northern Ireland
 In the 1960s, younger Catholics were fed up being
discriminated against
 They saw black people demanding more rights in
the USA and were impressed
 Set up their own organisation, the Northern Ireland
Civil Rights Association (NICRA) to demand rights
for Catholics like themselves
 Protestants felt that giving rights to Catholics would
undermine their position and opposed O’Neill’s
efforts to tackle discrimination
 Hard line Protestant preacher from Co. Antrim
 Did not engage in violence – but encouraged a
violent atmosphere in the North
 Completely opposed to O’Neill’s measures to tackle
discrimination against Catholics
 Initially welcomed by Catholics as it was hoped they
would protect Catholic areas from attack
 This period of warm relations between Catholics
and British army didn’t last long
 Moderate nationalists who did not agree with
violence founded this party in 1970
 Led by Gerry Fitt and John Hume
 Ran for election to UK Parliament in Westminster.
Sinn Fein didn’t (still won’t take their seats in
 The IRA split in 1970 between those who favoured
peace (Official IRA) and those who didn’t
(Provisional IRA or Provos)
 Provisional IRA kept on fighting until 1994, Official
IRA called a ceasefire in the early 1970s
 When people today talk about the IRA, they are
usually referring to the Provisional IRA
 Sometimes referred to as the “Provos”
 In 1973 the first peace agreement between Unionists and
Nationalists was agreed
 Agreement to share power between Unionists and Nationalists
 Extreme Nationalists (IRA) and Extreme Unionists (Ian Paisley &
DUP) opposed this agreement
 After a major strike by Protestant workers the two sides
called off the agreement
 The Hunger Strikes made many people think about the
Problems in the North
 Garret Fitzgerald was Taoiseach in the 1980s and set up the
New Ireland Forum to discuss the issue
 When the Unionist and Nationalist leaders in Northern
Ireland would not agree a peace deal, the Taoiseach and the
British Prime Minister made a deal instead
 This deal gave the Republic’s Government a say in the
Running of Northern Ìreland
 Very unpopular with Unionists
 Peace agreement involving all parties in Northern Ireland
and British and Irish Governments
 Both sides compromised for peace
 Internment
 Sectarianism
 Gerrymandering
 Bloody Sunday
 Direct Rule
 Welfare State
 Stormont
 B-Specials
 Sunningdale Agreement