Which Of The Following Events Has Had The Biggest Impact On The History Of The Conflict In Ireland? Essay
Which Of The Following Events Has Had The Biggest Impact On The History Of The Conflict In Ireland?
Each of the events has had its own major impact on the conflict in Ireland, but to determine which once has had the biggest impact we must look at the impact they have each had on shaping modern day Ireland. Easter Rising was the first of the three events to take place. There are many reasons why it happened. One of worst was the bias shown by the British officers that were meant to be keeping the peace in Ireland; they were seen to be favouring the Protestants. Also with the Ulster Volunteers arming themselves and with them being protestant, Catholics thought it necessary to do something about the issue of Ireland’s freedom, however because of The First World War it seemed to have been put on hold along with their promised Home Rule. With Protestants being the known minority of Ireland but having much more power, it was imminent that something was going happen and it did.
On the 24th April 1916 about one thousand two hundred members of the IRB Volunteers and James Connolly’s Citizen Army led by 16 main leaders stormed many buildings most of symbolic importance (e.g. the post office being the only connection to long distance). With the English preoccupied with fighting in the First World War Pearce and Connelly (leaders of the event) saw the opportunity to plan an uprising. This was never planned to work it was merely the creation of martyrs as Connelly was asked what were their chances of success and he replied “we are going to be slaughtered”. After the event which took a week, all sixteen leaders were shot dead. One of the worst consequences to come from this event was in fact its main aim to create Martyrs, James Connelly and Patrick Pearce (Catholics and members of the military council) were both killed in the event.
The creation of these Martyrs led to the yearly celebration of their deaths, which in turn led to Protestants rebelling and celebrating their own events the most famous of which is the anniversary of William of Orange (King William the iii of England) who many Protestants heralded as a champion of their faith as he punished Catholics. This then led to a lot more violence between Catholics and Protestants leaving David Lloyd George no choice but to send the Black and Tans in, to control the violence. Another serious consequence was the reaction of the republicans when their leaders (Pearce and Connelly) were shot. They rose with anger and this was a major factor in the IRA being formed which again like every other consequences led to even more violence in Ireland as the IRA were a catholic terrorist organisation which believed violence was the answer to their problems. The IRA soon became out of control and the only solution it seemed was to send in the troop which is the second of the events.
The relationship between England and Ireland took a big hit with the unionists siding with England and the republicans siding with Ireland the violence increased to extreme levels, this was also another reason why Lloyd George sent the Black and Tans in. After the Black and Tans made little deference, the Prime Minister desperate to find an end to the Irish conflict, split Ireland (Or more precisely Ulster) in 1921. Meaning Belfast, Fermanagh, Tyrone, Armagh, Down, Antrim and Londonderry became officially known as Northern Ireland. However all of these counties had a significant percentage of Catholics living there, and officially making Northern Ireland part of England led to more violence within the counties. With their martyrs shot Catholics were encouraged to join group such as the Irish Volunteers, and with this new rise in Catholic popularity many Protestants join their own version of the Irish volunteers such as the UVF (Ulster volunteer force).
With these two parties fighting for opposite sides there was once again heavy violence in Ireland, this is another reason why Lloyd George spilt Ireland. Eamon De Valera became leader of Sinn Fein and made its popularity grow this then led to Sinn Fein winning seat in West Minster which they refused. Refusing the seats seemed to further increase Sinn Fein’s popularity as it showed they would not give up on their cause or cooperate with the British, also in 1919 Sinn Fein declared themselves to be Dail Eireann (Government of Ireland) and they wished the island of Ireland to be independent from the British Empire, so refusing the seats cut their ties with England. By this time the Protestants were getting so worried about the support Sinn Fein received that many more began joining the UVF and many similar parties making the violence increase even more. The last option to control the violence was the Deployment of the troops which came next.
All The Easter Rising’s consequences had their impact on shaping modern day Ireland but in my opinion the most important was the formation of the IRA in 1919, the sheer violence this group brought to Ireland was unimaginable and made much worse when they split in 1969 and the more violent Provisional IRA was formed, the terror they brought to people daily life in Ireland in the 1970’s, 80’s and 90’s was incredible. In the 1970’s the amount of people who were needed to join the IRA increased, in turn the deaths of British soldiers increased this meant a lot of violence both in Northern Ireland and England, also the Ira began to frequently bomb commercial targets such as shops and more commonly cars this would have led to such fear in people’s lives not knowing if going to the corner shop would be the last thing they ever did.
In the 1980’s the violence just escalated one of the many events to happen in the 80’s was a train bomb in which three people were killed ironically one was a member of the IRA also in march 1980 it was announced that no-one who had been proven to have ever belonged to a paramilitary organisation would be no entitlement to special category status meaning even reformed people had lost that opportunity, but then again what impact is bigger than splitting the country in the formation of Northern Ireland and Eire we did more then split a country we split people, connections and allies, this still has a big impact in the present day, as there is still violence in Northern Ireland. On-The-Other-Hand the least important although still crucial was the damage created even with £25 million worth the issue went away with minimal repercussions.
David Lloyd George’s decision even though at the time thought of as the best in my opinion made the situation worse by sending the black and tans in he created a lot of the violence himself, as the saying goes you can’t fight fire with fire, David Lloyd George seemed to have tried and lost. The Deployment of the troops, seemed like the perfect solution, send the troops in to control the violence, as it was escalating and needed to stopped, a young catholic was killed in 1966 by the UVF because the Catholic population were once again celebrating the anniversary of the Easter Rising which spurred protestants on to re-form the UVF leading to the death of this boy.
Also the PM of Ireland O’Neill resigned as he did not have unionist support leaving people looking for answers and the only place they could find them was the militants (violent groups). So sending the troops in would make Ireland a safe place to live, and make England’s life easier, and that work for a short time to. Until disaster struck in the form of the IRA splitting, forming the provisional IRA consisting of members of the original IRA who thought they weren’t being violent enough to make things happen, this was a big problem because it meant that the provisional IRA were so violent that even the IRA its self thought it was excessive, these attacks lost innocent lives and caused protestants to retaliate bringing more violence. From 1969 until 1997, the Provisional Irish Republican Army (Provisional IRA) conducted an armed campaign (or guerrilla war) in the United Kingdom aimed at overthrowing British rule in Northern Ireland to create a united Ireland this involved killing so many innocent people and endangering countless lives.
The Majority of the violence happened after this, the troops just being there made the IRA attack them as the IRA felt that this was their country and England should not be in control. To try and stop this violence the troops searched catholic homes looking for everything from weapons to hidden members of the IRA, which again angered the IRA and it just continued. The provisional IRA bombing the troop made them a lot more popular as they were one of the few seen to be doing something to get the troops out of Ireland, and led them to declare them self the protectors of the Catholics, with such a violent group named as there protectors the protestants had to so the same and create their own paramilitaries’ to fight back bring yet more violence into the country. Even with the Provisional IRA the troops continued to search catholic homes making them feel very unfairly treated.
The Troops in Ireland also brought with them something else, Interment (The act of placing a person or large group in prison without trial) which led to a lot of civil rights marches to try and abolish this rule as it meant any person guilty or not could be placed in prison. This naturally led to bloody Sunday (As this was a match against internment). Bernadette Devlin (a member of the people’s Democracy) said that sending the troops into Ireland would create peace which it did for a short while. The decision to send to send the troop into Ireland was down to Harold Wilson, who at first ignored the situation in Ireland which showed Ireland and England alike that he didn’t care he instead put pressure on O’Neil (Prime minister of Ireland)to improve the discrimination against Catholics in N. Ireland. Even though the Troops being in Ireland was supposed to settle things down it seemed to have the opposite effect and inflamed the situation intensifying the gap between Catholics and Protestants as the troops appeared to have a very negative attitude towards the Catholics by doing such things as giving more privileges to protestants and just generally showing there like for protestants and dislike for Catholics.
Not to go as far as saying they were biased but they seemed to favour the Protestants. To most people’s opinion the deployment of troops is the lesser of the three evils but this affected every ones daily lives, nail bombs went off in the streets injuring many completely innocent people to me that has much more of an impact than an event that lasted a day. The repercussions of the troops last to this day people having to live with injuries gained from bomb attacks, the money needed to repair damaged property, land and towns and finally the grief families that relatives have died in this never ending battle are going through will never go away. The most important of the consequences was defiantly the splitting of the IRA the provisional IRA just spurred on all the violence and were at the centre of most, and educating young Catholics that this was the only way to solve their problems made a whole generations of violence.
The least important has to be Internment even though this directly led to bloody Sunday and rendered many innocent people in prison, looking at the other consequences it seems to be in a matter of speaking the mildest. The troop’s impact was mainly that the continued and escalated the violence being one half of an endless number of fights. Damage to people and property meant more hard ship for Ireland for years after the event while they found the money for repairs hospital fees and so on. The last of the events Bloody Sunday is the most controversial, and some of the events are not known truly today. There are many reasons why bloody Sunday came about but some of the most important are the violence that occurred because of internment. Internment its self boosted support for the IRA because they tried to do everything in their power to stop it; they even helped residents make barricades to keep the troops out.
However this allowed the IRA to train new recruits and in September 1971 loyalists in Northern Ireland formed the UDA (Ulster Defence Association) which responded to the IRA’s violence by killing ordinary Catholics which the IRA fought back to and the violence in Ireland once again escalated. So, marching against internment was not only going to protect people from being arrested but stop the violence and even the IRA’s attacks on England. It all began with a peaceful march against internment that started in Londonderry it had at least 15,000 people all ignoring the ban the troops had put on marching. The march was going peacefully well until they had to be re-routed and a number of the civilian got confused and started up an argument with the troops. One thing led to another and the civilians started throwing stones and the troops started shooting with supposedly rubber bullets. But the rubber bullets were real and led to the death of 13 people.
An investigation into what happened, took place and the official report said the troops were innocent. Although the queen herself gave praise to the troops for killing these people, there is still currently a re-investigation taking place so tensions at the moment are very high in Ireland while a decision is being made if the troops are named guilty the uproar from England would be unbelievable but if they are found innocent the violence that the Irish would bring back would bring “the troubles” to the present day. The death of so many catholic innocents gave young Catholics the push they needed to join the IRA as they saw it as the only way to remove the troops.
This meant an increase in violence as the IRA then went on the attack; there was more terrorism, more weapons, and more deaths therefore more troops. After the young Catholics joined the IRA they seemed to be a lot more extreme political parties becoming popular in 2002 there was an election for the Northern Ireland assembly which an extremist party won and a country already in shambles was being run by two parties who couldn’t agree on anything therefore the country went without leadership and guidance, forcing people to again turn to terrorism for answers. With two parties in the assembly that wouldn’t back down there was a lot of arguing that never could be resolved so the Northern Ireland assembly collapsed, having resoled little to nothing. The US increased their funding to the IRA meaning they could make more weapons and be better prepared for fight with the troops.
That also meant there was an increase in attacks on England e.g. Harrods and on Margaret Thatcher, England fought back by sending in yet more troops which again led the IRA to attack. In my opinion the situation could have been handled much better by simply getting all the facts before making a decision on who was at fault here, by saying that the troops were right in what they did England lost any connections it had with the Catholics community. The most important consequences in this event has to be the suspending of Stormont, after the event took place the British applied direct rule on Northern Ireland which is where they run the country from Westminster. This is the most important as Catholics and especially the IRA didn’t like their country being controlled by England therefore there was again a rise in violence.
Also those ruling from Westminster couldn’t possibly rule effectively because who can do what’s right if they can’t see what’s wrong? The least Important has to be the dissolving of the B-specials, as this didn’t have a huge impact it was mealy replaced with the Ulster Defence Regiment and they took over the job of protecting the people. Overall Bloody Sunday hit the people hardest as it was all put on live TV so it was seen not only by Northern Ireland but England, which placed the English government in a difficult position as now they had to please not on northern Ireland but their own nation. The most important to me was the deployment of the troops. It may seems to some the least catastrophic, but this didn’t end after a day or a week it lasted years affecting people’s daily lives.
There came a point where people couldn’t go shopping for fear there would be a nail bomb inside, a lot of innocent people were killed and injured just for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The Vicious circle of violence that occurred, with the troops there the IRA couldn’t settle they wanted them out so they attacked by planting bombs that were killing normal people. This forced the troops to search homes meaning the Catholics who own the homes were under scrutiny, injured if they denied access and if they were found to be harbouring an IRA member they faced Internment. It’s had the most impact on the modern day Northern Ireland as there are still may people living with wounds acquired from bombs people who have lost love ones to the troops attacks. This was the only consequences that there was conflict between the Catholics themselves, people were punished by their own parties for being civilized towards the situation.
Also if the troops were never sent in it’s unlikely that there would have ever been a bloody Sunday. Although many think the others had the most impact, Easter rising did so much damage, but in the long run its amount of long term consequences is significantly less than the other two events. Also Bloody Sunday is still very controversial so to pass judgment on its impact would be quite flawed but because of the absence of the truth from this situation it seems to have been inflamed. However it still has significantly less long term consequences then short term meaning it made minimal lasting damage to modern day Ireland. Nevertheless I would say that the most damage made to Ireland was plantation, if this had never happened then there wouldn’t haven’t been protestants in Ireland to cause this conflict and when protestants did eventually go over they wouldn’t be in places of power and unable to take away catholic rights.
University/College: University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 10 November 2017
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