The Unz Review - Mobile
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
 BlogviewPatrick Cockburn Archive
If the Troubles Return Post-Brexit, It Won't Just be Due to the Border
🔊 Listen RSS
Email This Page to Someone

 Remember My Information



=>

Bookmark Toggle AllToCAdd to LibraryRemove from Library • BShow CommentNext New CommentNext New Reply
Search Text Case Sensitive  Exact Words  Include Comments
List of Bookmarks

A dangerous lack of understanding about the nature of the threat that Brexit poses to peace in Northern Ireland is based on a misconception about the causes of the 30-year-long Troubles that ended with the Good Friday Agreement.

The conflict was never primarily about the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic, but about the civil and economic rights of the Roman Catholic minority in the north in relation to the Protestant majority. It was the civil rights march in Derry on 5 October 1968, a protest which was brutally attacked by the police in front of the television cameras, which was the crucial moment in the rise of peaceful opposition to a one-party unionist state. When this failed to achieve its ends, the door was opened to violence and the rise of the Provisional IRA.

At the heart of the Good Friday Agreement of 1998, which finally ended the most ferocious guerrilla war seen in Western Europe since the Second World War, were equal political, social and economic rights. The outcome was potentially a stable balance of power between the two communities underpinned by a legal system, and a means to enforce it, that created a legal non-violent means to redress grievances, prevent discrimination and provide equal justice for all.

The role of European courts as the ultimate decision makers in equality and human rights legislation may feel like an undemocratic intrusion to many in the UK. Why should we obey the European Convention on Human Rights or the Charter of Fundamental Rights when we have our own traditional home-grown British liberties?

But in Northern Ireland such liberties were never available to a large part of the population living in what one British newspaper in 1968 called “John Bull’s political slum”. The police behaved like a violent sectarian militia and all aspects of political, social and economic life were tainted by discrimination. For victims of this system, a decisive role from European courts was an essential guarantee of equal citizenship under the law.

It is this network of laws under an independent non-partisan EU authority that is now under threat from Brexit. The danger is made clear by Michael Farrell, a solicitor and one of the original leaders of the civil rights movement in Northern Ireland in 1968-1969, writing in The Irish Times.

He argues that “the UK Withdrawal Act, passed by Westminster during the summer, proposes to end the role of the Charter of Fundamental Rights and the EU Court of Justice just as soon as the UK leaves the EU. And, although the Act proposes to retain most existing EU laws intact, British government ministers will have the power to repeal any of those laws that they don’t like, without consulting parliament.”

In seeking a Brexit agreement, Theresa May and her government have been glibly assuring everybody that nothing is going to change the laws as applied in Northern Ireland. Farrell points out that “a joint report signed by May and Michel Barnier last December promised that there would be no diminution of human rights and equality protections in Northern Ireland as a result of Brexit. But when the EU negotiators tried to put this in binding legal language last March, the UK rejected it.”

This is an ominous precedent for a post-Brexit future in which the essential legal underpinnings of the Good Friday Agreement are being steadily eroded. Plenty of Brexiteers believe that the priority is to get out of the EU and, once that is achieved, any assurances given along the way can be safely ignored. The EU may also lose interest in what happens in Northern Ireland in a final furore over Brexit negotiations.

How likely is this to happen? Why should a British government saw through the branch on which it is sitting in Northern Ireland, by once again destabilising relations between the two communities? Bringing an end to the conflict there was one of the few undoubted successes of the British state in recent decades.

Unfortunately, it is all too likely to happen since the May government has already put its own interests far ahead of the damage it does to peace in Northern Ireland. It did so in 2017 when May reached an agreement with Arlene Foster and the Democratic Unionist Party to provide the votes in parliament which keep her in power. At one stroke, she ended the British government’s neutrality between nationalists and unionists declared in 1991. This had enabled it to present itself as fair interlocutor when negotiating with nationalists, unionists and the Dublin government.

The DUP now determine the very existence of the May government at a time when the Conservatives are desperate to avoid a general election because Jeremy Corbyn and Labour might win it. There has been no executive and assembly in Northern Ireland for nineteen months. The institutions of power sharing are being marginalised and the overall balance of power is being skewed towards the unionist community and their representatives.

This slide backwards into a permanent crisis in Northern Ireland will very likely accelerate. There is a return to the self-defeating ineptitude of British policy in Northern Ireland in the twenty years after those first civil rights marches in 1968 and 1969. Unionist politicians had treated slogans like “one man, one vote”, an end to gerrymandering, fair allocation of jobs and houses, and repeal of the Special Powers Act as revolutionary demands. Peaceful civil rights marchers were denounced as cats paws of the IRA, solely inspired by an Irish nationalist agenda, seeking to overthrow the state.

ORDER IT NOW

It was a self-fulfilling response. I was living in Belfast between 1972 and 1975 and it was extraordinary to watch the way in which the British government and army acted as the recruiting sergeants of the Provisional IRA. It took at least twenty years for governments to take on board that peace could be restored within the boundaries of the Northern Ireland state, but only if that state played fair, guaranteed equal rights in every sphere of life, and was not an oppressive instrument of one community.

As with any topic relating to Brexit, useful analysis is blurred by discussing political issues in economic terms. Certainly, any attempt to restore an economic frontier along the 310-mile border with its estimated 200 crossing points would face resistance and could only be implemented – and even then ineffectually – by police and army in fortified positions. Inability to close the border and control border areas was a persistent British military weakness during the whole course of the Troubles.

The British government is removing essential building blocks of the Good Friday Agreement of which the nature of the border is only one element. It has most crucially abandoned its own neutrality between unionists and nationalists and is threatening the legal guarantees to civil rights and equality given authority by the role of the EU. Without anybody paying much attention, the toxic ingredients that were the original cause of the Troubles fifty years ago are being reconstituted.

(Republished from The Independent by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Brexit, Britain, Ireland, Northern Ireland 
Hide 18 CommentsLeave a Comment
Commenters to Ignore...to FollowEndorsed Only
Trim Comments?
    []
  1. Serrice says:

    The unionists know they’re out of time demographically, at this rate even if power is tilting back towards them from May’s coalition they’ll still be a minority within a decade.

    Something like 65% of under 25s are nationalist versus the same number of over 70s unionist.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
    AgreeDisagreeLOLTroll
    These buttons register your public Agreement, Disagreement, Troll, or LOL with the selected comment. They are ONLY available to recent, frequent commenters who have saved their Name+Email using the 'Remember My Information' checkbox, and may also ONLY be used once per hour.
    Ignore Commenter Follow Commenter
    More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  2. Gordo says:

    Simple solution, the Irish Free State leaves the EU the same day we do, they joined the same day, we are after all their biggest trading partner by an Irish mile.

    And if the continentals stir the shit then we retaliate in kind, they won’t like that.

    I am making an assumption though that the UK one day soon gets a non-treacherous government, a big assumption.

    Read More
    • Replies: @DIscharged EE
    "Simple solution, the Irish Free State leaves the EU the same day we do, they joined the same day, we are after all their biggest trading partner by an Irish mile."

    Gordo: the Irish exports are mostly from tech--eg Intel, Analog Devices, biotech , biomedical--Boston Scientific, and pharmaceutical companies--Pfizer. So Ireland is very integrated into the global economy, perhaps more like Singapore than anywhere else....
    , @DIscharged EE
    UK imports just 13.5% of Irish exports so losing access to the global market would fail any cost-benefit analysis.
    http://www.worldstopexports.com/irelands-top-import-partners/
    , @Razor
    The Irish Free State ceased to exist in 1937, after the enactment of Bunreacht Na h'Eireann (The Irish Constitution). Although I am no longer a supporter of the EU due to its neo-liberal turn and alignment with Nato and acting as a US vassal, this is not the position of the majority of Irish people, nor of the vast majority of Irish political parties; ain't gonna happen.

    I believe that Britain is all at sea in respect of Brexit and has been led for the most part by little Englanders alongside genuine fear and disgust at EU policy on movement of people, especially huge numbers of economic migrants masquerading as refugees. Most of these people bring no valuable skills or education and moreover seem either incapable of assimilation or else have absolutely no desire to do so.

    Whether Brexit is right or wrong for the UK, it seems to me that British policy in respect of Brexit is incoherent and lacking any discernible strategy. With the current state of political leadership there, Brexit is likely to be a disaster for the UK. But then given the state of political leadership, it seems any other policy would be just as likely to be disastrous. Imagine the clown Prince, pretender to the PM throne, Boris Johnston actually ascending to the PM's job? Possibly the worst ever? Such is the state of Western leadership today. Degeneracy.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  3. Anon[185] • Disclaimer says:

    The cynicism of this situation is quite profound. As Serrice says, the demographics are tilting against the Unionists irreversibly, hardly anybody in England gives a rats ass about the great British Empire, never mind among the new population of NI.
    Unification is just around the corner, but it will be unification as part of a unified Europe rather than just a united Ireland.
    Eire will never leave the EU, they have tasted the wine and are profoundly grateful for it. They will never follow an English lead, they would eat grass first. The profound hatred of England (but not particularly of individual English people) is at the bedrock of Irish attitudes.
    What the English voter has done, in order to strike at the Tory toff Cameron, has destroyed the UK. You all know that Scotland is gone once the money to pay them to stay in has run out.
    The truth is that NI is going to stay in the EU; square that circle Whitehall!

    Read More
    • Replies: @anon
    ..Scotland is gone once the money to pay them to stay in has run out.


    In that case wouldn't the English be better off without such a leech?
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  4. anon[146] • Disclaimer says:

    The N.I. Orangemen are headed for the trash heap of history.

    Couldn’t happen to a more deserving bunch.

    And you can bet Britain will be very relieved to be rid of them.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  5. For victims of this system, a decisive role from European courts was an essential guarantee of equal citizenship under the law.

    It is this network of laws under an independent non-partisan EU authority that is now under threat from Brexit.

    The non-partisan authority is provided by the Council of Europe’s ECHR, not by the EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights, which did not even exist when the Good Friday Agreement was signed. Britain is not leaving the ECHR.

    … the May government has already put its own interests far ahead of the damage it does to peace in Northern Ireland. It did so in 2017 when May reached an agreement with Arlene Foster and the Democratic Unionist Party to provide the votes in parliament which keep her in power.

    This agreement has caused enormous trouble, but not because the May Government has taken sides with the DUP against the Nationalists on Northern Irish matters. By far the most sensible solution to the Irish Border issue is for Northern Ireland to remain within the EU’s Customs Union, and to create a customs barrier with the rest of the UK. This is compatible with Northern Ireland’s constitutional position in the UK, on the basis of “one country, two systems”. The DUP will not agree to it, so the UK Government’s hands are tied. Look at what the DUP is asking for – Brexit, with no customs border between Northern Ireland and either the Republic of Ireland or the rest of the UK – in other words, fried ice. The present UK government must craft its customs agreement with the EU around these constraints – but it is likely that the first UK Government that does not need DUP help to achieve a majority in the House of Commons will abandon these arrangements and implement the “two systems” solution, thereby allowing much greater independence for Great Britain.

    At the heart of the Good Friday Agreement of 1998, which finally ended the most ferocious guerrilla war seen in Western Europe since the Second World War, were equal political, social and economic rights.

    We eventually learned that what the Provisional IRA wanted was not civil rights at all, but to share political power as the representatives of the Nationalist/Catholic side. Earlier attempts to implement power-sharing had been brought down by Ian Paisley – and surprise, surprise – we also learned that what he wanted was to be the power-sharer on the Unionist/Protestant side. Neither faction represented a majority of their respective communities, but a prolonged strategy of tension between the two sides on the issue of Provisional IRA arms decommissioning marginalised the more moderate political parties, and Sinn Fein and the DUP got what they wanted.

    There has been no executive and assembly in Northern Ireland for nineteen months.

    Another surprise was that Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness were capable of working together. It is easy to forget how remarkable most of us found this when it happened. Their present-day counterparts do not find it so easy to cooperate with each other, and sadly this may be the norm in the future. The issues involved are difficult for outsiders to understand, but appear not to be connected to Brexit or to the DUP’s supply agreement with Theresa May’s government.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  6. anon[146] • Disclaimer says:
    @Anon
    The cynicism of this situation is quite profound. As Serrice says, the demographics are tilting against the Unionists irreversibly, hardly anybody in England gives a rats ass about the great British Empire, never mind among the new population of NI.
    Unification is just around the corner, but it will be unification as part of a unified Europe rather than just a united Ireland.
    Eire will never leave the EU, they have tasted the wine and are profoundly grateful for it. They will never follow an English lead, they would eat grass first. The profound hatred of England (but not particularly of individual English people) is at the bedrock of Irish attitudes.
    What the English voter has done, in order to strike at the Tory toff Cameron, has destroyed the UK. You all know that Scotland is gone once the money to pay them to stay in has run out.
    The truth is that NI is going to stay in the EU; square that circle Whitehall!

    ..Scotland is gone once the money to pay them to stay in has run out.

    In that case wouldn’t the English be better off without such a leech?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anon
    The mass of English taxpayers would be better off if they did not have to support Scotland and NI (or millions of 3rd world scroungers). However, England is not run for the benefit of the English, it is run by the Westminster/Whitehall establishment clique, for the benefit of that clique.
    Scotland and NI are the last remnant, the rump, of the Whitehall (AKA "British") Empire. The fly in the ointment is that the Permanent Seat on the UNSC is held by the UK, no UK, no Seat.
    England would take it's place in the UN General Assembly next to Ecuador, and be regarded in Europe as a third rank power about equal to Portugal.
    Whitehall shudders at that prospect.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  7. Anon[185] • Disclaimer says:
    @anon
    ..Scotland is gone once the money to pay them to stay in has run out.


    In that case wouldn't the English be better off without such a leech?

    The mass of English taxpayers would be better off if they did not have to support Scotland and NI (or millions of 3rd world scroungers). However, England is not run for the benefit of the English, it is run by the Westminster/Whitehall establishment clique, for the benefit of that clique.
    Scotland and NI are the last remnant, the rump, of the Whitehall (AKA “British”) Empire. The fly in the ointment is that the Permanent Seat on the UNSC is held by the UK, no UK, no Seat.
    England would take it’s place in the UN General Assembly next to Ecuador, and be regarded in Europe as a third rank power about equal to Portugal.
    Whitehall shudders at that prospect.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  8. Meh! This is easily solved by giving all of Ireland back to the Irish and letting them settle things among themselves. If the EU is as magical as many seem to believe, there will be no further Troubles.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  9. @Gordo
    Simple solution, the Irish Free State leaves the EU the same day we do, they joined the same day, we are after all their biggest trading partner by an Irish mile.

    And if the continentals stir the shit then we retaliate in kind, they won't like that.

    I am making an assumption though that the UK one day soon gets a non-treacherous government, a big assumption.

    “Simple solution, the Irish Free State leaves the EU the same day we do, they joined the same day, we are after all their biggest trading partner by an Irish mile.”

    Gordo: the Irish exports are mostly from tech–eg Intel, Analog Devices, biotech , biomedical–Boston Scientific, and pharmaceutical companies–Pfizer. So Ireland is very integrated into the global economy, perhaps more like Singapore than anywhere else….

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  10. @Gordo
    Simple solution, the Irish Free State leaves the EU the same day we do, they joined the same day, we are after all their biggest trading partner by an Irish mile.

    And if the continentals stir the shit then we retaliate in kind, they won't like that.

    I am making an assumption though that the UK one day soon gets a non-treacherous government, a big assumption.

    UK imports just 13.5% of Irish exports so losing access to the global market would fail any cost-benefit analysis.

    http://www.worldstopexports.com/irelands-top-import-partners/

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  11. Sean says:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Articles_2_and_3_of_the_Constitution_of_Ireland#1937%E2%80%931999_version
    The national territory consists of the whole island of Ireland, its islands and the territorial seas.

    The Civil Rights movement was not “Republican” (ie IRA) but it was certainly “Nationalist) or a whole Island of Ireland state movement and it is simply wrong to claim they only wanted Civil Rights, as if they wanted those rights in a Northern Ireland that was part of the UK.
    The Irish republic claimed the North as its territory, but people from the South could walk into the to the north and get houses and get benefits and VOTE, and it’s crucial to remember they could do the same in mainland Britain. There was no reciprocal arrangement.

    The Protestant tiny minority in the South (the state called Eire) still have better jobs and better houses than Catholics despite the South being a separate and explicitly Catholic state for generation, so while there was real discrimination in Northern Ireland against Catholics you cannot blame ALL the disparities on it.

    No country has benefited from EU subsidies as much as Eire, and how does Eire express its gratitude ?Tax avoidance royalties make up almost a quarter of Eires’s GDP, they are ripping the EU off.

    Anyway Mr. Cockburn might profit from reading a book called Northern Ireland: the origins of the Troubles by Thomas Hennessey, currently a Professor of Modern British and Irish History. it is pretty clear that that government of the Irish Republic contemplated invading the north and top ministers including Haughey who was tried for gun running but later became the PM of Eire actually armed the Northern IRA, and this was against the British Army not the local police and reservists. And border security was a issue because the Irish government gave a safe haven to the IRA killers claiming their crime were political as long as it was police and soldiers being killed.

    The British government is removing essential building blocks of the Good Friday Agreement of which the nature of the border is only one element. It has most crucially abandoned its own neutrality between unionists and nationalists and is threatening the legal guarantees to civil rights and equality given authority by the role of the EU.

    How was there ever neutrality between people between the UK government’s attitude to the Unionist who accepted Northern Ireland was a part of the UK and Nationalists (those who denied it was any such thing).

    Clearly the government of Eire the South was not neutral in the Troubles or after. Anyway the British Government and especially their civil servants of the Northern Ireland Office have been trying to get rid of Northern Ireland since it was brought into being. They have always said if a majority on NI want to join the south they can go. They want them to go. The trouble is the South could not pay for the upkeep of the highly subsidised North.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  12. Anonymous[381] • Disclaimer says:

    When the other side becomes True™ Christians, then everything will be OK.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  13. martin2 says:

    “The trouble is the South could not pay for the upkeep of the highly subsidised North.”

    This is precisely the problem for Republicans. Its the economy, stupid. The irony is that the IRA tried and to some extent succeeded in destroying the economy of NI and as a consequence they made unification even less plausible.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Sean
    Aye, but it is also true there are a lot of protection-paying wee shops in northern Ireland that owners still get a nice living out of, elsewhere they would be working at a checkout in Tesco. The lifestyle of too many folk depends on things never becoming normalised
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  14. Sean says:
    @martin2
    "The trouble is the South could not pay for the upkeep of the highly subsidised North."

    This is precisely the problem for Republicans. Its the economy, stupid. The irony is that the IRA tried and to some extent succeeded in destroying the economy of NI and as a consequence they made unification even less plausible.

    Aye, but it is also true there are a lot of protection-paying wee shops in northern Ireland that owners still get a nice living out of, elsewhere they would be working at a checkout in Tesco. The lifestyle of too many folk depends on things never becoming normalised

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  15. Razor says:
    @Gordo
    Simple solution, the Irish Free State leaves the EU the same day we do, they joined the same day, we are after all their biggest trading partner by an Irish mile.

    And if the continentals stir the shit then we retaliate in kind, they won't like that.

    I am making an assumption though that the UK one day soon gets a non-treacherous government, a big assumption.

    The Irish Free State ceased to exist in 1937, after the enactment of Bunreacht Na h’Eireann (The Irish Constitution). Although I am no longer a supporter of the EU due to its neo-liberal turn and alignment with Nato and acting as a US vassal, this is not the position of the majority of Irish people, nor of the vast majority of Irish political parties; ain’t gonna happen.

    I believe that Britain is all at sea in respect of Brexit and has been led for the most part by little Englanders alongside genuine fear and disgust at EU policy on movement of people, especially huge numbers of economic migrants masquerading as refugees. Most of these people bring no valuable skills or education and moreover seem either incapable of assimilation or else have absolutely no desire to do so.

    Whether Brexit is right or wrong for the UK, it seems to me that British policy in respect of Brexit is incoherent and lacking any discernible strategy. With the current state of political leadership there, Brexit is likely to be a disaster for the UK. But then given the state of political leadership, it seems any other policy would be just as likely to be disastrous. Imagine the clown Prince, pretender to the PM throne, Boris Johnston actually ascending to the PM’s job? Possibly the worst ever? Such is the state of Western leadership today. Degeneracy.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  16. Yawn. My Irish ancestors happen to be from that neck of the woods–the shores of Lough Melvin. But it’s a tiny little joint completely unworthy of all the drama.

    Britain could have simply had a vote and repartition sending the Catholic areas south and swapping people/property … and been done with it. People belong in the nation they actually belong to.

    But any strife now over “nation” is a complete joke when Ireland is sucking on the EUs tit–mostly as a tax haven–is led by a Taoiseach who’s a half Indian fag and is letting in a bunch of Nigerians!

    That’s “Ireland”?

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  17. You may have been living in Belfast, Mr. Cockburn, but your version of events doesn’t line up with my old university chum’s take on what was happening. His family can trace its roots, in County Derry, back to the 900s.
    The explanation of the situation was/is much more complex. There are Proddies who are pro unification, and RCs opposed to unification. Beyond that, there were divisions among the Proddies e.g. Presbyterians, Church of Ireland, Anglicans, etc. Yes, there were some laws that created problems for RCs, but that became the IRA excuse for “the troubles”. The IRA wanted a united Ireland, alright, but an united Ireland that looked a lot like Cuba.
    I would add that, those 45+ years ago, I also became acquainted with people from the Republic. One, a Roman Catholic, went on to write for the Irish Times, and the other a Protestant from Dublin. The former commented on how poorly Protestants were treated in the Republic (much worse than the RCs in Ulster, in his opinion) and couldn’t, for the life of him, understand why anyone in Ulster would want to join a backward country like Eire.
    I’ll go one further. My friend’s grandfather emigrated from Ireland, shortly before the Easter uprising. The explanation given was that a neighbour, with whom Grandpa thought he was on good terms, came to him and told him that if he didn’t leave, the neighbour would have to kill him. There was no mention of the religion of the neighbour, but anyone paying attention in my friend’s home knew there was no patience for RCs. Curiously, an Orthodox couple from the former Yugoslavia, told me a very similar story about 15 years ago, about why they emigrated. It wasn’t the RCs that were the problem, it was the Muslims.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  18. Sean says:

    The repeated Civil Rights marches, often by People’s Democracy a student organisation largey organised and heavily influenced by Trotskyite students from outside Ireland studying at university in Belfast resulted in a lot of police being injured so there was eventually too few police to effectively separate the marchers from counter demonstrations,

    While the English student leading members were home for the 1969 Christmas holidays, a faction of People’s Democracy reversed a decision not to hold a march at that time. The People Democracy Belfast to Derry (on the border) march was attacked outside Derry and the marchers blamed the police and started an anti police riot which escalated on both sides.

    By August the Catholic Bogside area of Derry became barricaded. The Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association asked people to demostrate and stretch police resources to aid the Bogsiders leading to rioting in Belfast and elsewhere, which left seven Catholics and two Protestants dead. The RUC police having become exhausted and become seen as biast and the largely antiCatholic B Special force being too undisciplined and hated, the British government called in the army to separate the police and B special/ Protestants marching organisations from the Bogsiders. In February 1971 a British Army soldier died after his vehicle was petrol bombed in the Bogside. In July that year, two rioters in the Bogside were shot dead by soldiers in disputed circumstances. The Republic of Eire government secretly armed the Derry IRA, and that is how the whole thing started

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
Current Commenter says:

Leave a Reply - Comments on articles more than two weeks old will be judged much more strictly on quality and tone


 Remember My InformationWhy?
 Email Replies to my Comment
Submitted comments become the property of The Unz Review and may be republished elsewhere at the sole discretion of the latter
Subscribe to This Comment Thread via RSS Subscribe to All Patrick Cockburn Comments via RSS
Personal Classics
Full Story of the Taliban's Amazing Jailbreak
"They Can't Even Protect Themselves, So What Can They Do For Me?"
"All Hell is Breaking Loose with Muqtada" Warlord: the Rise of Muqtada al-Sadr