Why Were British Troops Sent To Northern Ireland In August 1969

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Last updated: November 13, 2019

British Troops were sent to Northern Ireland in August 1969 in order to stop the violence between Catholics, Nationalist, Republican, Protestant, Loyalist and Unionists. The tensions in Northern Ireland were escalating as the riots broke out between Catholics and protestant. Although the violence was already existed, it was not at the brink of turning into a civil war till the civil war act of 1968, which set up to gain equal right for Northern Ireland. The civil right act was mainly for Catholics as they faced a vast majority of the discrimination, although some Protestants who faced disadvantages supported it.

The civil right movement used marches to protest this discrimination and a lot of them used to end in violence.Many Catholics faced numerous disadvantages such as social, economical, political and legal disadvantages. These entire disadvantages one may say triggered the brink of turning to civil war.

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It was not just the civil right movements who were against discrimination so too were the Mps. Austin Currie was one of the Mps who decided to protest against discrimination. She decided to protest due to the fact 19-year-old women (Miss Emily Beattie a Secretary to the Ulster Unionist Party) was given more priority over housing rather than a catholic mother with children. Many Protestant were angry with the civil rights movements because they believed it was only looking out for Catholics without taking into consideration some protestant who were in working class position and faced numerous disadvantages.After two days of rioting the RUC officers were exhausted and there seemed to be a danger of the violence spreading danger across the province. The government had to little choice but to call the army. There were troops stationed in Northern Ireland anyway, they seemed the best solution to the problem. The battle ended on the afternoon of the 14th August.

Catholics welcomed British troops as an impartial force. The solider were staggered at the extent of violence and destruction.On the 5th of October 1968 the civil right movement decide to hold a meeting an inform people and told the media about it. The marchers were band from entering the Londonderry. They tried to reach the centre passing through Craig Avon bridge where they me with the RUC Constables and Barricades. The RTE illustrated the RUC officer as villains and showed them beating up the marchers, where as the television news new in northern Ireland showed the RUC officer just trying to break up the marchers using water cannon and not much else.This shows the division between Nationalists and Unionists and that not everyone got the full picture of what happens.

Subsequently the Londonderry violence there was more violence and more civil rights demonstrations. This led to marches and more violence.Terrence O’Neil established numerous alterations to facilitate and diminish the violence.

He tried to make Catholics and Protestants have equal opportunity. One of the alterations he made were that Londonderry conglomerate should be suspended and replaced as they were elected through gerrymandering. Anther modification was houses would be given to those who need it the most rather than be a priority for Protestants. Finally the Universal Suffrage was put into action. This meant that one person was allowed one vote regardless of how much property and business they accommodated. This would help impede gerrymandering. Although theses rules should had sorted numerous problems, it did not as it only worked for 5 weeks, which impeded riots for a short time.

In 1969 protesters from people’s Democracy set out to walk across Northern Ireland commencing Belfast to Londonderry.Bernadette Devlin one of the leaders of the Peoples Democracy wanted to break the truce that the civil right movements to show O’Neil was offering the nonentity. The most terrifyingly is that the RUC who were aimed to guard the marchers but did very diminutive to do so and investigation demonstrated that some of the mob were in fact of duty police officers and special constables. Terrance O’Neil used these reforms but in the process lost a vast majority of protestant supporters and Mps. O’Neil ended up asking the people of Northern Ireland if his reforms were working and held an election on 24th February were his own Mp decided to stand against him (Ian Paisley) although O’Neil won by a close margin.

O’Neil was forced to retire on the 28th April 1969 due to the anxiety and brutality had went out of control.Terrance O’Neil was the Northern Ireland prime Minster in 1969. He thought they should have equal right such as same job opportunity. He found it difficult to make the changes, which would end discrimination because protestant did not want them to enjoy the same rights. The civil right movement that demanded that O’Neill should carry out the reforms he had promised. The method that were used to make this demands made.

The movement w as mainly made up of Catholics because they were being discriminated. There was a violent reaction because working class protestant were angry at the demand of the civil rights. Terence O’Neil was the protestant prime minister of northern who was wanted to improve conditions of Catholics in all areas where they were facing discrimination.The most imperative motive why British troops were sent to Northern Ireland was to impede the unremitting violence in Northern Ireland. The troops were also sent for the reason that the government of Northern Ireland could not reach a concurrence to ensemble both Protestants and Catholics even though O’Neil tried by introducing reforms.

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