Advertisement
We've partnered up with Nixers.com to offer a space where you can talk directly to Peter from Nixers.com and get an exclusive Boards.ie discount code for a free job listing. If you are recruiting or know anyone else who is please check out the forum here.
If you have a new account but can't post, please email Niamh on [email protected] for help to verify your email address. Thanks :)

Northern Ireland and the IRA

  • 20-02-2021 9:35pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 1,855 ✭✭✭ Sunny Disposition


    Lot of threads about the North going on.
    Like most people here I well remember the Troubles, was in London for some, Belfast for a good bit less and the South for the majority.
    One thing I often wonder about is what else could have been done. The IRA campaign was appalling, simply awful.But undoubtedly conditions were unacceptable and intolerable for Catholics. What I often wonder is what else could have been done, would a massive campaign of civil disobedience have been effective? I think it would have and would have left the North in a better place with a UI far more likely.


«1345678

Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 13,365 ✭✭✭✭ McMurphy


    I I don't know if anyone (even Sinn Fein) would proclaim violence was the answer, or in hindsight the correct strategy.

    However, the peaceful strategy failed too. Fourteen innocent men women and children were shot at/killed during the civil rights movement in Bloody Sunday, which was Imo (even though I wasn't even born) the biggest recruitment factor the provisionals ever needed.

    The IRA were the result of, and the answer to British and unionists oppression imo.

    Push people hard and often enough, and they'll inevitably fight back.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 844 CrazyFather1


    Lot of threads about the North going on.
    Like most people here I well remember the Troubles, was in London for some, Belfast for a good bit less and the South for the majority.
    One thing I often wonder about is what else could have been done. The IRA campaign was appalling, simply awful.But undoubtedly conditions were unacceptable and intolerable for Catholics. What I often wonder is what else could have been done, would a massive campaign of civil disobedience have been effective? I think it would have and would have left the North in a better place with a UI far more likely.

    The main question is did the Catholics in Northern Ireland support the PIRA?


  • Registered Users Posts: 29,170 ✭✭✭✭ NIMAN


    Many many did.

    Violence wasn't the answer, but I think it played its part in finding the answer in the end.

    And I think that what went on initially, it was inevitable. How the unionists and the British treated Catholics in the North was truly shocking.


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,065 ✭✭✭ Dr. Bre


    The troubles makes it sound like a bar fight happened . Never liked the name - the troubles


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 844 CrazyFather1


    NIMAN wrote: »
    Many many did.

    Violence wasn't the answer, but I think it played its part in finding the answer in the end.

    What percentage supported the PIRA?


  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 1,300 ✭✭✭ ...Ghost...


    What percentage supported the PIRA?

    I very much doubt there is an answer to that. Some supported publicly. Some sympathised and others kept their support to themselves.


  • Registered Users Posts: 29,170 ✭✭✭✭ NIMAN


    What percentage supported the PIRA?
    We will never know.

    But I think initially in the early 70s there was more support, or more a case of "turning a blind eye" to their actions. I'd say they were able to operate more openly in their heartlands, and perform things like stashing and moving weapons etc, without people caring.

    I do think however as the social inequalities lessened over the years, and with several own goals like killing kids in bombs etc, their support would have waned.

    Nationalists getting treated better, having more access to housing, jobs etc, would have helped them see the IRA as doing wrong. But thats only my opinion.


  • Registered Users Posts: 564 ✭✭✭ Fr D Maugire


    I find this idea that many push that the troubles seemingly happened in isolation as strange. You simply cannot look at the the Troubles without looking at the historical context going back centuries.

    There are two sides in the North, the Nationalists that historically disliked British rule and when you look at Irish history, that is hardly surprising, Partition, Famine, Penal Laws, Dispossession, Cromwell, destruction of Irish Culture etc, etc.

    On the other side you have the Unionists who may claim it is about being British, but when offered a chance to remain part of Britain through Home Rule, rejected it because it gave equality to Catholics. Unionism has always been more about a hatred of Catholics than being British, but has not always been that way.

    Go back to the United Irishmen, they were primarily Ulster Scots Presbyterians who had figured out that they(and Catholics) were being screwed by British/COI Rule(Penal Laws) and until they got rid of British rule, they would never have true freedom. They were inspired by their brethern who had emigrated to the US and led the break for independence from Britain.

    They were also visionary in that they realised that Catholics and Protestants shared the Island and needed to live together peacefully and this would not happen under British rule. Modern Unionists might claim devotion to Britain, but there was a time when they were as desperate to break from Britain as any Catholic.

    Sadly, not that long after the defeat of the United Irishmen, there was a divide in the Presbyterian church on theology. Henry Cooke who was strongly anti-Catholic gained the leadership of that church and that was when the rise of the Anti-Catholic Unionism really took hold. Imagine jumping into bed with people who had been persecuting you not long before just because you hated Catholics even more. Ironically, the period before the arrival of Henry Cooke to the leadership of Ulster Presbyterianism was known at 'The Enlightment'.

    As I said, since then. Nationalists have been desperate to get rid of misgovernance by Britain, whilst the other side simply hate Catholics who they see as inferior and unworthy. Hardly surprising that Nothern Ireland became a sectarian Hell-hole.


  • Registered Users Posts: 21,833 ✭✭✭✭ endacl


    Dr. Bre wrote: »
    The troubles makes it sound like a bar fight happened . Never liked the name - the troubles

    We do understatement well. 'The Emergency' was also a rather bigger deal than the name might suggest.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,855 ✭✭✭ Sunny Disposition


    My impression is that the level of support was definitely nowhere near the majority of Catholics, nowhere near it. But at the same time they were looked at as ‘our own’ , no one preferred the British army or the RUC.
    If there had been more of a civil disobedience campaign, it might have been as effective. Unfortunately that approach just fell away as the violence began.


  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 2,010 ✭✭✭ kildare lad


    Lot of threads about the North going on.
    Like most people here I well remember the Troubles, was in London for some, Belfast for a good bit less and the South for the majority.
    One thing I often wonder about is what else could have been done. The IRA campaign was appalling, simply awful.But undoubtedly conditions were unacceptable and intolerable for Catholics. What I often wonder is what else could have been done, would a massive campaign of civil disobedience have been effective? I think it would have and would have left the North in a better place with a UI far more likely.

    What do you class as civil disobedience ? Catholics had no power or influence up north , so they couldn't really go on strike to shut industry down . You have to remember that they had civil rights march's but they were attacked by both loyalist , the cops and b- specials . Catholics were getting burned out of their homes , loyalists were given a free reign by the police . Maybe if the unionists didn't treat Catholics like dirt , the conflict mightn't have been as bloody .


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,411 ✭✭✭ Yurt2


    Lot of threads about the North going on.
    Like most people here I well remember the Troubles, was in London for some, Belfast for a good bit less and the South for the majority.
    One thing I often wonder about is what else could have been done. The IRA campaign was appalling, simply awful.But undoubtedly conditions were unacceptable and intolerable for Catholics. What I often wonder is what else could have been done, would a massive campaign of civil disobedience have been effective? I think it would have and would have left the North in a better place with a UI far more likely.

    When a certain section of society, class, or ethnie holds the whip over the other and is determined to hold on, there is a certain inevitability that violence will grip a society. We can argue the toss about the rights and wrongs of the violence and everyone will have a point to make and be heard. We can see it in Hong Kong of late, people have their limits; and when a dominant political class refuse to look people in the eye, and anoint themselves as masters come what may, things will spiral.

    Would a NI mass civil rights movement that dug-in for the long haul have got us to where we are today? Quite possibly, maybe, or maybe not. Hindsight and a knowledge of how the 20th century unfolded would tell us probably, but I guarantee it wouldn't have been bloodless as you may have wished it to be. There were a lot of malignant and hard-minded forces active in Ulster that were completely resistant to change, and from the vantage point of the late 60s and early 70s, it wasn't obvious at all that asking hard-nosed Unionists dominating the state to be nicer would have produced any changes.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,010 ✭✭✭ kildare lad


    My impression is that the level of support was definitely nowhere near the majority of Catholics, nowhere near it. But at the same time they were looked at as ‘our own’ , no one preferred the British army or the RUC.
    If there had been more of a civil disobedience campaign, it might have been as effective. Unfortunately that approach just fell away as the violence began.

    They must have had a fair bit of support to carry on for nearly 30 years. The brits did themselves no favour with bloody sunday and hunger strikes. There was 100,000 people at bobby sands funeral. There's an old saying that the brits were the IRAs greatest recruitment officers.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,855 ✭✭✭ Sunny Disposition


    What do you class as civil disobedience ? Catholics had no power or influence up north , so they couldn't really go on strike to shut industry down . You have to remember that they had civil rights march's but they were attacked by both loyalist , the cops and b- specials . Catholics were getting burned out of their homes , loyalists were given a free reign by the police . Maybe if the unionists didn't treat Catholics like dirt , the conflict mightn't have been as bloody .

    By virtue of the large percentage of the population there could have been a campaign of civil disobedience, the makings of it was there with the Civil Rights March and the Austin Currie led protests on housing.
    Of course the terrible treatment of Catholics by the Stare is a root cause, no one could suggest otherwise.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,855 ✭✭✭ Sunny Disposition


    They must have had a fair bit of support to carry on for nearly 30 years. The brits did themselves no favour with bloody sunday and hunger strikes. There was 100,000 people at bobby sands funeral. There's an old saying that the brits were the IRAs greatest recruitment officers.

    I was at the Sands funeral, not because I supported the IRA but because support was needed to show that the situation couldn’t continue and the Catholics wouldn’t be trampled, he was an MP. IRA funerals are not a good measure of support for violence though, as I said in another thread Bill Clinton and Blair sympathised with the McGuinness family, but they didn’t agree with turning people into human bombs. I actually went to a good few smaller IRA funerals when I lived in Belfast, generally because I knew family members.
    Again, there’s no question British actions over centuries were the real problem, but I feel the response of the IRA made things worse for everyone, and it has palmist certainly delayed the date of reunification.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,613 ✭✭✭ Jinglejangle69


    How many of these threads exist on Boards?

    Must be in the 100s at this stage.

    And all go down the same route.

    EDIT: OP posting history confirms.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,530 ✭✭✭ Dr Turk Turkelton


    endacl wrote: »
    We do understatement well. 'The Emergency' was also a rather bigger deal than the name might suggest.

    Not to mention "The Great Hunger ".
    I'm assuming if we ever get nuked it will be the "The Big Mushroom".


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,010 ✭✭✭ kildare lad


    By virtue of the large percentage of the population there could have been a campaign of civil disobedience, the makings of it was there with the Civil Rights March and the Austin Currie led protests on housing.
    Of course the terrible treatment of Catholics by the Stare is a root cause, no one could suggest otherwise.


    Give me a few examples of civil disobedience they could have done ?? They held peaceful civil rights marches , they got attacked , paisley and other loyalists held anti civil rights counter marches. riots followed , and the violence morphed into the troubles . Read up on the battle of the bogside or bombay street . Northern ireland was a timebomb waiting to go off. You only have to look at Irish history and see that every generation or two violent resistance to british occupation rears its head.


  • Registered Users Posts: 10,107 ✭✭✭✭ Junkyard Tom


    What I often wonder is what else could have been done

    The RUC should have been dismantled and replaced in 1969 and the Stormont parliament prorogued. A move to joint authority between London and Dublin would have created the impetus for Unionists to sit with nationalists. Mouths like Paisley should have been jailed for long stretches for inciting murder.

    Massive joint-authority crack-down on all forms of para-militarism on both sides of the border.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,855 ✭✭✭ Sunny Disposition


    Give me a few examples of civil disobedience they could have done ?? They held peaceful civil rights marches , they got attacked , paisley and other loyalists held anti civil rights counter marches. riots followed , and the violence morphed into the troubles . Read up on the battle of the bogside or bombay street . Northern ireland was a timebomb waiting to go off. You only have to look at Irish history and see that every generation or two violent resistance to british occupation rears its head.

    The marches you are talking about are an example of what should have been persisted with, it’d have been at least as successful with less death. I lived 200 yards from Bombay Street during the worst year of the Troubles, I know what was happening.


  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 2,010 ✭✭✭ kildare lad


    The RUC should have been dismantled and replaced in 1969 and the Stormont parliament prorogued. A move to joint authority between London and Dublin would have created the impetus for Unionists to sit with nationalists. Mouths like Paisley should have been jailed for long stretches for inciting murder.

    Didn't they try something like that with the sunningdale agreement and that collopased due to loyalist violence . Unionists and loyalists didn't want Dublin having any say in the north . I also think that if the ira had achieved a united Ireland , loyalists would have waged an even more vicious campaign of violence that they were already doing up there


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,010 ✭✭✭ kildare lad


    The marches you are talking about are an example of what should have been persisted with, it’d have been at least as successful with less death. I lived 200 yards from Bombay Street during the worst year of the Troubles, I know what was happening.

    Well why are you asking us then if you grew up there ??


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,855 ✭✭✭ Sunny Disposition


    Well why are you asking us then if you grew up there ??

    I didn’t grow up there, I lived in the North at certain times. I don’t know everything and I’m not asking anyone to respond who doesn’t want to. Some people who know a bit about it might have an opinion that’d be interesting for everyone.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,130 ✭✭✭ Rodin


    Innocent people attacked, burned out of their homes and ultimately slaughtered in the streets by the Crown forces during the Civil Rights abuses.

    The Republic's govt. was doing f.u.ck all to help...

    What other outcome but armed rebellion was likely?


  • Registered Users Posts: 10,107 ✭✭✭✭ Junkyard Tom


    Didn't they try something like that with the sunningdale agreement and that collopased due to loyalist violence.

    The UVF enforced 'strike' brought down power-sharing, but if the threat of joint East/West authority was the plan B then that wouldn't have happened.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,010 ✭✭✭ kildare lad


    I didn’t grow up there, I lived in the North at certain times. I don’t know everything and I’m not asking anyone to respond who doesn’t want to. Some people who know a bit about it might have an opinion that’d be interesting for everyone.

    Well I didn't grow up in the North but I used to be an avid reader of Irish history , in my opinion violence was always gonna be inevitable up north . You can't treat people like animals and expect not to get bitten . If they kept on persisting with the matchs as you suggest, the outcome would have still been the same .
    The hotheads on both sides would still have taken the guns out . You have to remember most of the violence was started by the unionists in response to the civil rights marches and I suppose the people who believed in violent republicanism found it the perfect opportunity for rebellion.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,010 ✭✭✭ kildare lad


    The UVF enforced 'strike' brought down power-sharing, but if the threat of joint East/West authority was the plan B then that wouldn't have happened.

    Its hard to know in hindsight what would have happened but I still don't think the unionists would have accepted Dublin having a say in the north and would have led to loyalist violence anyway . As for coming down hard on paramilitaries, the ruc , Garda and brits did come down hard on the ira and they still managed to operate for 30 years.


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,411 ✭✭✭ Yurt2


    Some people have trouble letting go. It's almost as if certain strata of Irish political life would wish the Troubles and the IRA to come back so they could justify their pearl-clutching when dealing with SF as a political reality in the South.


  • Registered Users Posts: 10,107 ✭✭✭✭ Junkyard Tom


    I still don't think the unionists would have accepted Dublin having a say in the north and would have led to loyalist violence anyway.

    They would have had little choice if the British government had been enforcing it.
    As for coming down hard on paramilitaries, the ruc , Garda and brits did come down hard on the ira and they still managed to operate for 30 years.

    Yes but had the British government moved decisively and did what they eventually did in 1997/98 with lots of encouragement then it's likely the Provos wouldn't have gotten the support they did.


  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 18,805 ✭✭✭✭ Larbre34


    Yurt! wrote: »
    Some people have trouble letting go. It's almost as if certain strata of Irish political life would wish the Troubles and the IRA to come back so they could justify their pearl-clutching when dealing with SF as a political reality in the South.

    Sorry lad, but as long some among their number call on people to commemorate lads who blew themselves up en route to kill and maim innocents well into the post ceasefire era, and keep trying to appropriate the official title of the Defence Forces of this democratic Republic, I will oppose them, their politics and their policies with every fibre of my being.

    Because, either enough people within SF hold similar views that its tolerated by the party leadership, or the leadership doesn't have enough control over its membership to stop it. It cannot be neither.

    And its not like its an isolated incident either. Every so often, some RA head dies and SF give the oration, or Cullinan has a few drinks and gives it the auld "Tiocfaidh", or yet another story of bullying and intimidation in a local cumann emerges. Drip, drip, drip.

    They remain dirty, run by dirt, staffed by dirt. I wouldn't go so far as to say voted for by dirt, just the naive, maybe too young to understand the context.

    Its up to those of us in the centre, real patriots and true democrats, to see that a coalition of such parties in this State keep them out of government forever.


Advertisement