In 20th Century Northern Ireland, there are three main events that take place they are the Easter Rising, Deployment of British Troops and Bloody Sunday. This essay will consider which had the biggest impact on the history of the conflict in Northern Ireland.
Firstly, Easter rising began with Padraig Pearce the leader of the Irish Republican Brotherhood. He decided armed action would put life back into nationalist movement. The plan was to take over Dublin railways, post offices and factories. Many doubted that Pearce’s plan would be successful however James Connelly a socialist leader wouldn’t of joined the plans if they had a slight chance of failing. On 30th January Connelly’s citizen army members and the IRB went out and occupied parts of central Dublin. Pearce then proclaimed that the Irish republic was now established
Although the Easter Rising only lasted for one week it had a lot of short term and long term consequences. One of the most significant long term consequences was that the rebel leaders were executed, this led to more hatred and distrust between the Catholics and protestants and could of led to a civil war. British people also hated the Irish as they couldn’t believe that they were fighting with each other when there was a world war going on. Many people also say that the Easter Rising led to the partition of Ireland.
British Troops were first sent into Ireland to help the with battle of the bogside. In 1969 John Hume attempted to have the apprentice boys march banned as he feared it would turn into a riot. However the government wouldn’t listen and the march went ahead on August 12th. During the march the boys had to walk along the wall of the bogside, they looked down on the catholic community and threw pennies at them symbolising that they were poor. The Catholics weren’t very happy about this and riots soon kicked off. The Catholics barricaded themselves into the bogside and threw objects at protestants and police to keep them out. The police were exhausted and didn’t have enough trust with the Catholics to stop the problem so they called in the British troops.
The rioting also spread too Belfast. Houses and Business were getting destroyed and many people were getting injured. The RUC received false information that the IRA were going to launch a series of terrorist attacks so they called the police into Belfast to deal with the situation. The Catholics had a lot of trust for the British Troops until they started smashing up homes and searching innocent people for bombs.
One of the main consequences of the deployment of British troops was internment. This was the policy of arresting and holding suspects without trial. It only applied to Catholics and not protestants. This led to another long term consequence, catholics were unhappy about internment and therefore the IRA became more popular as more people were turning to them for support.
On 30th January 1972 NICRA planned a civil rights march in Londonderry to protest against internment. This day later became to be known as ‘Bloody Sunday’. The march had been banned by the Irish Government but still went ahead. The marchers were unarmed, but when they reached barricades that had been put up by the army to stop them leaving the Bogside, they began to throw stones and shout at the soldiers. Snatch squads were sent in to arrest troublemakers, but shooting broke out. Thirteen marchers were killed and another eleven were injured.
Each side blamed the other for the disaster. The soldiers claimed that they were fired at first by the IRA whereas the catholics believe the army had deliberately attacked the marchers.
Due to ‘Bloody Sunday’ there are many long term consequences. These include; 20 years of violence in Ireland,biterness between England and Ireland, innocent people being killed and IRA membership increased.
It is hard to say which of these three events created the biggest impact as they all have long term consequences. However, I think that the Easter Rising particularly created the most impact. It led to the partition of Ireland and caused a lot of tension between the two religions. Even today there are still feuds between Catholics and Protestants in Ireland.