By the start of the 1990s the Troubles had been going on for more than twenty years. More than three thousand people had been killed; thousands had been imprisoned. ibid.
Because the Army Council had the final say on IRA matters, it meant Adams and McGuinness were the dominant force in the IRA. ibid.
The British were better informed than most of the IRA’s rank and file. They remained focused on the armed struggles, believing bombs still carried the loudest message. ibid.
An ambiguity that always seemed to suit his [Adam’s] purposes ... Adams had to revolutionise Republican strategy. ibid.
Their return to violence was tactical … IRA bombers were now focused entirely on England. ibid.
Sinn Fein remained out of talks. ibid.
Martin McGuinness and Gerry Adams were elected to parliament. ibid.
‘A new IRA ceasefire from midday tomorrow. And if it holds, Sinn Feinn could be admitted to the Northern Ireland peace talks on September 15th.’ ibid. BBC news
Left many secrets in its wake. ibid.
‘The whole community was our enemy. They hated us. They hated us with a vengeance. That became very apparent very very quickly. I wasn’t prepared for that level of hatred.’ Squaddies on the Front Line, caption & soldier Michael Pike 1st Battalion, Scotts Guards 1980-1985, BBC 2019
The vast majority of the 250,000 deployed were so-called ‘ordinary rank’ soldiers. ibid. caption
This film is their story. The Army was initially deployed on the streets of Northern Ireland in 1969 to quell the civil unrest. ibid.
‘I was in this Land Rover. We could stand up through the hatch in the top, so there was kind of two or three guys. And I’m sort of pointing this rifle around feeling quite powerful I suppose. I’ve got this rifle in my hand. I’m keeping law and order.’ ibid.
‘We had to know everybody who was regarded as a player.’ ibid. Michael Pike
Two IRA explosions killed 18 soldiers at Narrow Water Castle, just outside Warrenpoint. ibid. caption
‘Psychological support was seen as a sign of weakness.’ ibid.
I’m going to be travelling down the east coast to the great cities of Belfast and Dublin. And on to the south of Ireland … I’m here at the Giant’s Causeway, one of the wonders of the world. The columns here are the result of the ancient volcanic eruption. Ireland with Simon Reeve III, BBC 2019
A lot of these [walls] have actually gone up after the peace process began. ibid.
The rebels hoped to take advantage of the British army being distracted by the First World War. But the British government sent thousands of troops and heavy artillery into Dublin. ibid.
You can have all the fucking lawyers you like but it’s not going to change a thing. We’ve got you. You’re finished. You’re done. Shadow Dancer 2012 starring Clive Owen & Andrea Riseborough & Aidan Gillen & Domhnall Gleeson & Brid Brennan & David Wilmot & Stuart Graham & Martin McCann et al, director James Marsh, Mac
You don’t represent us and you never have. ibid. IRA meeting
I was a handler with the Special Branch. Fifty Dead Men Walking 2008 starring Jim Sturgess & Ben Kingsley & Rose McGowan & Kevin Zegers & Kris Edlund & Natalie Press & Paschal Friel et al, director Kari Scogland
You’re Irish aren’t you? You were born with an opinion. ibid. her to him
You’ve got to expect a bit of killing, a bit of dying, in a revolution. ibid. friend
We all have murder in us. ibid. Fergus
It’s got to be done. I dream that one day we’ll walk as free men in our own country. The British have made us into their poor stupid cousins. ibid. IRA bloke
Martin is still on the run. ibid.
This is Belfast. It’s fifteen years since the Troubles came to an end here … But this city is still divided up between Catholics and Protestants. And summertime here often means rioting. Petrol Bombs & Peace: Welcome to Belfast, BBC 2013
Massive riots kicked off when the British flag was taken down from Belfast City Hall … They went crazy for weeks. ibid.
Ardoyne: Even the bus-stops are Catholic or Protestant. ibid.
In the violence that followed, 3,600 people died and up to 50,000 were injured. ibid.
‘Just celebrating our culture.’ ibid. bandsman building bonfire
People are prepared to believe almost anything about each other. ibid.
The rioting continued for four days and spread across the city. Rioters threw nearly 130 petrol bombs. ibid.
‘Between 1920 and 1922 Belfast is the most violent place in Ireland. It is really the epicentre of revolutionary violence. What we see again and again is violence in one part of Ireland leads to violence in another part.’ The Road to Partition s1e1, historian, BBC 2021
On 22 June 1921 King George V and Queen Mary arrived in Belfast for the first official opening of the Northern Ireland parliament. Fearful for their lives, they had come to a city scarred with sectarian division. The occasion marked the creation of the new state of Northern Ireland. ibid.
This is the story of the dramatic events that led to the partition of Ireland. A story that continues to reverberate to the present day. And dominate the relationship between the islands of Britain and Ireland. ibid.
For Britain, the loudest and most strident demands for self-determination came from very close to home, from a country that it had ruled for centuries: Ireland. Prior to the war, and in response to long-standing demands from Irish nationalists, Britain had been preparing to devolve some powers to a Dublin-based parliament, through so-called home-rule. But home-rule was fiercely resisted by Unionists, particularly in Belfast and large parts of Ulster, where for centuries the population had been impacted by migration from Scotland and England. ibid.
By the end of the nineteenth century Ulster’s distinctiveness was marked by its status as the most industrialised part of Ireland. ibid.
The outbreak of the First World War averted the threat of a violent confrontation between Ulster Unionists and the British government, and home rule was suspended. ibid.
Nine weeks after the Easter rising, on the western front the men of the 36th Division made a very different blood sacrifice. In July, during the first two days of fighting at the battle of the Somme, the Division suffered an appalling 5,500 casualties. Men fighting for Britain … ‘The battle of the Somme was absolute slaughter particularly for Ulster Unionists.’ ibid.
As Ireland went to the polls in December 1918, voters had a choice between Sinn Fein and the Irish Parliamentary Party, and between two radically different visions of Ireland’s future. ibid.
Both Unionists and Republicans would take advantage of another political force that emerged for the first time in 1918: Women. They had become more politically engaged before the War, and were voting now for the first time. They included the members of the Ulster Women’s Unionist Council. ibid.
‘Sinn Fein took matters into their own hands and formed an independent though illegal parliament in Dublin … the Dail is rapidly backed by force which is rapidly known as the IRA.’ ibid.
Republicans in favour of taking up arms had already done so. On the same day as the Dail sat in Dublin for the first time, two members of the Irish Royal Constabulary were killed in an IRA ambush in County Tipperary. The first shots of the Irish War of Independence had been fired. ibid.
Lisburn: Loyalists went on the rampage in the town, looting and burning Catholic homes and businesses. ibid.
The deployment of the Black & Tans was to backfire, and their reputation for brutality and reprisal attacks on civilians and property intensified the conflict in the south, leading to international condemnation. ibid.
Despite the war of independence raging across the island, Unionists in the north continued to lay the foundations for a new state. ibid.
1918: In Ireland, Nationalist demands for independence from Britain had already resulted in an armed rebellion in 1916, and the bloody fallout from radicalised public opinion. While Nationalists wanted to break from centuries of British rule, in the industrial north-east of the island, many Unionists feared the loss of their cultural and economic ties to Britain and the empire. The Road to Partition II
This was a royal visit like no other. The King and Queen had come to a land where a bloody war to win independence from Britain still raged, and a city ravaged by sectarian violence. ibid.
The Irish delegation succumbed to pressure and signed the Treaty. But deeply conflicted by its terms, Collins said that he had in fact signed his own death warrant. ibid.
Just two months later in August 1922 the civil war was to take a dramatic turn and claim its most high profile victim: Michael Collins. ibid.
‘I’ve just actually went through an order of, of an abduction. I actually work in the Northern Bank cash centre. They used me to rob it. Thirty million.’ Heist: The Northern Bank Robbery, 911 call, BBC 2021
2004: It was the biggest bank robbery in British history. Two families held hostage. A crime that shook politics in Northern Ireland to its core. ibid. caption