They abandoned the talks and opposed the subsequent agreement, but still took their seats in the Northern Ireland Assembly that resulted. Nevertheless, the Good Friday Agreement marked a seismic shift in Northern Ireland's political landscape. All signatories to the agreement endorsed the "consent principle". This meant that any change in Northern Ireland's constitutional status - Irish unification - would happen only popular majorities voted in favour in separate referendums held at the same time on both sides of the border.
If the Good Friday Agreement and the return of self-government to Northern Ireland had been an enormous challenge for all concerned, so was its fitful implementation. Many significant issues remained unresolved in , not least the decommissioning of republican and loyalist weapons. These and other matters were now susceptible to the force of argument rather than the argument of force. Even so, the first phase of devolved power-sharing was to prove fragile and short-lived, requiring the re-introduction of direct rule from until Only then had sufficient trust been developed between the communities to enable the restoration of devolution.
This partnership of constitutional opposites is perhaps the most remarkable outcome of the Troubles, and one that underlines the triumph of politics over violence in post-conflict Northern Ireland. A third event, Bloody Sunday , was the shooting dead of thirteen unarmed men by the British Army at a proscribed anti-internment rally in Derry on 30 January a fourteenth man died of his injuries some months later while fifteen other civilians were wounded.
The soldiers involved were members of the 1st Battalion, Parachute Regiment , also known as "1 Para". This was one of the most prominent events that occurred during the Troubles as it was recorded as the largest number of civilians killed in a single shooting incident.
As a result, the Provisional IRA gained more support, especially through rising numbers of recruits in the local areas. Following the introduction of internment there were numerous gun battles between the British Army and both the Provisional and Official IRA. These included the Battle at Springmartin and the Battle of Lenadoon. The Provisional IRA, or "Provos", as they became known, sought to establish themselves as the defender of the nationalist community.
In , the Provisional IRA killed approximately members of the security forces, wounded others, and carried out approximately 1, bombings,  mostly against commercial targets which they considered "the artificial economy".
In the Official IRA's campaign was largely counter-productive. Despite a temporary ceasefire in and talks with British officials, the Provisionals were determined to continue their campaign until the achievement of a united Ireland.
The UK government in London, believing the Northern Ireland administration incapable of containing the security situation, sought to take over the control of law and order there. As this was unacceptable to the Northern Ireland Government, the British government pushed through emergency legislation the Northern Ireland Temporary Provisions Act which suspended the unionist-controlled Stormont parliament and government, and introduced " direct rule " from London.
Direct rule was initially intended as a short-term measure; the medium-term strategy was to restore self-government to Northern Ireland on a basis that was acceptable to both unionists and nationalists. Agreement proved elusive, however, and the Troubles continued throughout the s, s, and the s within a context of political deadlock. The existence of "no-go areas" in Belfast and Derry was a challenge to the authority of the British government in Northern Ireland, and the British Army demolished the barricades and re-established control over the areas in Operation Motorman on 31 July In June , following the publication of a British White Paper and a referendum in March on the status of Northern Ireland, a new parliamentary body, the Northern Ireland Assembly , was established.
Elections to this were held on 28 June. In October , mainstream nationalist and unionist parties, along with the British and Irish governments, negotiated the Sunningdale Agreement , which was intended to produce a political settlement within Northern Ireland, but with a so-called "Irish dimension" involving the Republic.
The agreement provided for "power-sharing" — the creation of an executive containing both unionists and nationalists—and a "Council of Ireland" — a body made up of ministers from Northern Ireland and the Republic, designed to encourage cross-border co-operation. The similarities between the Sunningdale Agreement and the Belfast Agreement of has led some commentators to characterise the latter as "Sunningdale for slow learners". Unionists were split over Sunningdale, which was also opposed by the IRA, whose goal remained nothing short of an end to the existence of Northern Ireland as part of the UK.
Many unionists opposed the concept of power-sharing, arguing that it was not feasible to share power with those nationalists who sought the destruction of the state. Perhaps more significant, however, was the unionist opposition to the "Irish dimension" and the Council of Ireland, which was perceived as being an all-Ireland parliament-in-waiting.
Remarks by a young Social Democratic and Labour Party SDLP councillor, Hugh Logue , to an audience at Trinity College Dublin that Sunningdale was the tool "by which the Unionists will be trundled off to a united Ireland" also damaged chances of significant unionist support for the agreement. Ultimately, however, the Sunningdale Agreement was brought down by mass action on the part of loyalist paramilitaries primarily the Ulster Defence Association, at that time over 20, strong [ citation needed ] and workers, who formed the Ulster Workers' Council.
They organised a general strike , the Ulster Workers' Council strike. This severely curtailed business in Northern Ireland and cut off essential services such as water and electricity. Nationalists argue that the British Government did not do enough to break this strike and uphold the Sunningdale initiative. There is evidence that the strike was further encouraged by MI5 , a part of their campaign to 'disorientate' British prime minister Harold Wilson 's government.
Three days into the UWC strike, on 17 May , two UVF teams from the Belfast and Mid-Ulster brigades  detonated three no-warning car bombs in Dublin's city centre during the Friday evening rush hour, resulting in 26 deaths and close to injuries. Ninety minutes later, a fourth car bomb exploded in Monaghan , killing seven additional people. Nobody has ever been convicted for these attacks,   with the bombings being the greatest loss of life in a single day during the Troubles.
Harold Wilson had secretly met with the IRA in while leader of the opposition; his government in late and early again met with the IRA to negotiate a ceasefire. During the meetings the parties discussed the possibility of British withdrawal from an independent Northern Ireland. The failure of Sunningdale led to the serious consideration in London until November of independence.
Had the withdrawal occurred — which Wilson supported but others, including James Callaghan , opposed — the region would have become a separate Dominion of the British Commonwealth.
The British negotiations with an illegal organisation angered the Irish government. It did not know their proceedings but feared that the British were considering abandoning Northern Ireland.
Foreign Minister Garret FitzGerald discussed in a memorandum of June the possibilities of orderly withdrawal and independence, repartition of the island or a collapse of Northern Ireland into civil war and anarchy.
The memorandum preferred a negotiated independence as the best of the three "worst case scenarios", but concluded that the Irish government could do little. It believed that it could not enlarge the country's small army of 12, men without negative consequences. A civil war in Northern Ireland would cause many deaths there and severe consequences for the Republic, as the public would demand that it intervene to protect nationalists.
FitzGerald warned Callaghan that the failure to intervene, despite Ireland's inability to do so, would "threaten democratic government in the Republic", which in turn jeopardised British and European security against Communist and other foreign nations. The Irish government so dreaded the consequences of an independent Northern Ireland that FitzGerald refused to ask the British not to withdraw—as he feared that openly discussing the issue could permit the British to proceed—and other members of government opposed the Irish Cabinet even discussing what FitzGerald referred to as a "doomsday scenario".
He wrote in that "Neither then nor since has public opinion in Ireland realised how close to disaster our whole island came during the last two years of Harold Wilson's premiership.
In December, one month after the Birmingham pub bombings which killed 21 people, the IRA declared a ceasefire; this would theoretically last throughout most of the following year. The ceasefire notwithstanding, sectarian killings actually escalated in , along with internal feuding between rival paramilitary groups.
This made one of the "bloodiest years of the conflict". Three of the bandmembers, two Catholics and a Protestant, were shot dead, while two of the UVF men were killed when the bomb they had loaded onto the band's minibus detonated prematurely. The following January, eleven Protestant workers were gunned down in Kingsmill, South Armagh after having been ordered off their bus by an armed republican gang, which called itself the South Armagh Republican Action Force.
One man survived despite being shot 18 times, leaving ten fatalities. These killings were reportedly in retaliation to a loyalist double shooting attack against the Reavey and O'Dowd families the previous night. The violence continued through the rest of the s. The Provisional IRA's December ceasefire officially ended in January , although it carried out several attacks in However, a splinter from the "Officials"—the Irish National Liberation Army —continued a campaign of violence in By the late s, war-weariness was visible in both communities.
The Peace People organised large demonstrations calling for an end to paramilitary violence. Their campaign lost momentum, however, after they appealed to the nationalist community to provide information on the IRA to security forces. The decade ended with a double attack by the IRA against the British. On 27 August , Lord Mountbatten while on holiday in Mullaghmore, County Sligo , was killed by a bomb planted on board his boat. Three other people were also killed: Lady Brabourne, the elderly mother of Mountbatten's son-in-law; and two teenagers, a grandson of Mountbatten and a local boatman.
Successive British Governments, having failed to achieve a political settlement, tried to "normalise" Northern Ireland. Aspects included the removal of internment without trial and the removal of political status for paramilitary prisoners. From onward, paramilitaries were tried in juryless Diplock courts to avoid intimidation of jurors. On conviction, they were to be treated as ordinary criminals.
Resistance to this policy among republican prisoners led to more than of them in the Maze prison initiating the " blanket" and "dirty" protests. Their protests culminated in hunger strikes in and , aimed at the restoration of political status, as well as other concessions. The hunger strikes resonated among many nationalists; over , people  attended Sands' funeral mass in West Belfast and thousands attended those of the other hunger strikers. From an Irish republican perspective, the significance of these events was to demonstrate potential for a political and electoral strategy.
Additionally, it received funding from supporters in the United States and elsewhere throughout the Irish diaspora. In , it bombed a disco frequented by off-duty British soldiers, killing 11 soldiers and six civilians. The bomb, which exploded in the early hours of the morning, killed five people, including Conservative MP Sir Anthony Berry , and injured thirty-four others.
On 28 February in Newry, nine RUC officers were killed in a mortar attack on the police station. Nine shells were fired from a mark 10 mortar which was bolted onto the back of a hijacked Ford van in Crossmaglen. Eight shells overshot the station; the ninth hit a portable cabin which was being used as a canteen. It was the RUC's largest loss of life during the Troubles.
The bomb went off by a cenotaph which was at the heart of the parade. Eleven people ten civilians, including a pregnant woman, and one serving member of the RUC were killed and 63 were injured. Former school headmaster Ronnie Hill was seriously injured in the bombing and slipped into a coma two days later, remaining in this condition for more than a decade before his death in December This became known as Operation Flavius. Their funeral at Milltown Cemetery in Belfast was attacked by Michael Stone , a UDA member who threw grenades as the coffin was lowered and shot at people who chased him.
Stone was jailed for life the following year, but was freed 11 years later under the Good Friday Agreement. They were kidnapped, taken away and shot dead by the IRA. This became known as the Corporals killings. Towards the end of the decade, the British Army tried to soften its public appearance to residents in communities such as Derry in order to improve relations between the local community and the military.
Soldiers were told not to use the telescopic sights on their rifles to scan the streets, as civilians believed they were being aimed at. Soldiers were also encouraged to wear berets when manning checkpoints and later other situations rather than helmets, which were perceived as militaristic and hostile. The system of complaints was overhauled - if civilians believed they were being harassed or abused by soldiers in the streets or during searches and made a complaint, they would never find out what action if any was taken.
Test Your Vocabulary. Love words? Need even more definitions? The awkward case of 'his or her'. Take the quiz Dog Words Quiz All right, it's time for a puppy quiz. Take the quiz Spell It Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words? Take the quiz Add Diction Build a chain of words by adding one letter at a In some cases aided by British Army and RUC intelligence , loyalists began targeting republican militants and politicians for assassination.
However, as in the s most of their victims were unarmed Catholics. By the s loyalists were killing significant numbers of Catholics as well as republican activists. The IRA and other republican groups like the INLA and its off-shoots retaliated with attacks on loyalists, sometimes shading into attacks on Protestants such as the Shankill bomb of which killed ten people.
By the late s there were signs that republicans were looking for an end to the conflict. In the Provisional IRA declared a unilateral ceasefire. This was followed six weeks later by a ceasefire from the main loyalist groups. The IRA and loyalists called ceasefires in In the Good Friday Agreement was signed.
These negotiations culminated in the Good Friday or Belfast Agreement of This deal returned self-government to Northern Ireland but stipulated that government must be formed by equal numbers of nationalist and unionist ministers in proportion to their vote.
Cross border bodies were established but the Republic gave up its territorial claim to Northern Ireland. The RUC police force was disbanded and replaced by the Police Service of Northern Ireland which had had quotas for the proportion of Catholic officers.
Under the Agreement unionist and nationalists had to share power. Police and state services were reformed. But it was before the parties could agree on a stable programme for self-government. The Agreement was passed by referendum in Northern Ireland and a concurrent referendum in the Republic accepted the deletion of the claim to Northern Ireland from the constitution.
This was not however immediately the end of violence or of political deadlock. There was also widespread rioting each summer for several years around Orange Order parades resulting in several deaths, notably around the Drumcree standoff Loyalist groups also engaged in a number of internecine feuds, resulting in about 40 deaths up the mid s. The first Northern Ireland Executive regional government did not get up and running until and again collapsed in February as Unionist leader David Trimble refused to operate it while IRA weapons had not been decommissioned.
It was re-established in May of that year but remained fragile and collapsed again in The IRA did not destroy most of its weapons until , when a large quantity of guns, explosives and ammunition were destroyed under international supervision.
It also announced the definitive end of its armed campaign. In response the British Army began dismantling its fortified bases across Northern Ireland and withdrawing from active deployment there. Troubles is a novel by J. The plot concerns the dilapidation of a once grand Irish hotel the Majestic , in the midst of the political upheaval during the Irish War of Independence — Although there are similar themes within the three novels most notably that of the British Empire , they do not form a sequence of storytelling.
Troubles was well-received upon its publication. It was adapted into a made-for-television film in , starring Ian Charleson and Ian Richardson. In , Sam Jordison in The Guardian called Troubles "a work of genius", and "one of the best books" of the second half of the twentieth century.
More rioting broke out and the fury spread south to Dublin where protesters marched on the British Embassy and burnt it down. A new wave of recruits flocked to the IRA. Television pictures of a Catholic priest waving a white handkerchief as he tried to attend to an injured victim were flashed across the world, causing shock and outrage, particularly in America.
The Stormont government was dissolved on 24 March and the British government imposed direct rule from London. The violence, the bombings and killings continued unabated despite the abolition of Stormont, which pleased no one in Northern Ireland. The Unionists wanted their parliament back so they could govern themselves, and the Nationalists wanted the British out of Ireland without any conditions. Stormont rule or direct rule made very little difference to them. They briefly considered a united Ireland but dismissed it on the basis that the backlash from the Unionist population but be impossible to control.
After negotiations with the main parties in Northern Ireland, they came up with the Sunningdale agreement, named after the place in England where it was signed. Sunningdale attempted to treat both sides of the community equally. It provided for a new Northern Ireland Assembly made up from all political persuasions, elected by proportional representation. There would also be a Council of Ireland involving representatives from the Republic.
Unionists were outraged. Not only did they have to share power but they also had to stomach some input from the Republic. They wanted the British out altogether. It was a new dawn but it was to be short-lived.
In May, Loyalists staged a strike that brought Northern Ireland to a standstill. There was violence against anyone who dared defy the strike and some Catholics were murdered. Within weeks the power sharing experiment collapsed and Northern Ireland was back to direct rule.
Northern Ireland entered into a kind of military stalemate and political stagnation in the wake of Sunningdale. The British government set up a convention to discuss a political solution but it could find no way to make power sharing work so it fizzled out. The IRA and the British government both came independently to the conclusion that they could not defeat each other militarily and so settled in for a long haul conflict. It also claimed high profile victims like Earl Mountbatten and Airey Neave.
Hope seem extinguished after the failure of power sharing and it was hard to imagine a solution that would work given the entrenched attitudes on both sides. The Loyalist community still dominated. The British government tried to introduce more equality with employment legislation and laws against incitement to hatred but they had little effect. The campaign suddenly looked like an own goal and was withdrawn. Meanwhile the world was losing interest in Northern Ireland and it took a major bombing or murder to warrant any serious coverage in the media.
In , an IRA man had gone on hunger strike in prison in an attempt to be classed as a political prisoner rather than as a criminal. The new status gave them special privileges including being kept with other IRA prisoners in separate compounds. The failed policy of internment was to end at Christmas and it was decided that Special Category Status would end in March , to coincide with the opening of the new specially designed H M Prison Maze, set out in H block shapes that had been built next to the internment camp of Long Kesh.
The policy ran into problems on the very first day and brought more embarrassing publicity for the British government. The first IRA man taken to the Maze refused to wear the prison uniform and said it would have to be nailed to him to make him wear it. He clothed himself in a blanket instead and so began what became known as the blanket protest.
Before long, this gave way to the dirty protest, in which prisoners smeared excrement on their cell walls. The criminalisation policy was showing little benefit. By , there were prisoners on the dirty protest and they were attracting adverse publicity for Britain across the world.
In , the IRA assassinated 10 prison officers in an attempt to make the British government relent but to no avail. Margaret Thatcher was elected British Prime Minister in She was not a person given to compromise or appeasement, characteristics that were to later to earn her the name, the Iron Lady.Troubles—published 50 years ago and set years ago during the Irish war of independence—is an odd duck.A gothic melodrama? A drawing room comedy of manners? Country romance? Political satire? All of the above? Ah symbolism. The declining British Empire is represented by a crumbling hotel, ironically named The Majestic, which is slowly disintegrating around a party of bored rich people /5.