*images included are a mix of actual photographs & film stills
-Peaceful Civil Rights demonstrations advocate protections for Catholics in housing, jobs & representation. Met with violent actions by Protestant paramilitaries.
-Violence leads to retribution & increase in IRA recruitment.
- As violence escalates Internment Policy (8/9/71) is enacted whereby citizens can be held in prison without charges indefinitely. Preponderance of Internees are Catholic.
-Ballymurphy Massacre (Belfast Black Sunday). Between August 9-11, 1971, British paratroopers opened fire, killing 11 civilians later accused of being IRA members. British government finally admitted that those killed were not IRA soldiers & “apologized unreservedly” to the families of the victims on May 13th, 2021.
-Peak of violence kills more than 500 people across Northern Ireland
-30,000+ British Troops deployed in Northern Ireland. Peak deployment had 20 British Soldiers for every 1,000 citizens.
Film: ’71 (2014) Fictional account of British soldier’s struggle to return to base after being left behind Republican lines.
-Bloody Sunday (1/30/72): British paratroopers open fire on peaceful march in Derry, killing 14. Subsequent investigation determined paratroopers acted appropriately.
Film: Bloody Sunday (2002)
-Northern Ireland Assembly (Stormont) Suspended (3/30/72)
- Direct Rule from Westminster enacted. In reaction to increased violence in NI governmental decisions were shifted to London until 2008, then on & off until January 2020.
-Mainland Bombing Campaign. After decreased efficacy in N.I & the lack of attention in England, the IRA moved campaign to London & surrounding towns.
-London Car Bombings: IRA soldiers, led by Dolours Price, planted 4 car bombs in strategic locations in London. 2 exploded injuring 200 & causing millions in damages to buildings. 10 IRA soldiers captured & convicted to life in prison, including Price & her sister Marion.
Film: The Outsider (1979) Fictional account of American Vietnam vet who joins IRA under mis-guided effort to give meaning to war.
-Prison Hunger Strikes: 4 IRA prisoners, including both Price Sisters, went on hunger strike demanding they be imprisoned in Northern Ireland. After more than 20 days, officials began forced feedings that lasted another 187 days. Public outcry led to British government capitulation & movement of Prisoners to Irish prison. Marion Price was later released due to poor health. Dolours served 7 years before her health dictated a medical release. British law was changed to forbid forced feedings of prisoners.
-Guilford Pub Bombing (10/5/74). IRA claimed responsibility for bombing at 2 pubs frequented by soldiers, killing 5 & injuring 60. 4 suspected bombers (Guilford 4) were arrested, tried & convicted, although they maintained their innocence. 7 others (McGuire 7) were convicted of conspiracy, including 2 teenagers. The prisoners spent upwards of 15 years in prison before being exonerated.
Film: In the Name of the Father (1993)
-Birmingham Pub Bombing (11/21/74): 6 men were falsely convicted of planting bomb near Birmingham pub that killed 21 & injured 180. Their convictions were overturned 16 years later. No one was ever convicted, although new information did surface in 2019 naming the 4 bombers.
Film: Who Bombed Birmingham? (1990). Docudrama on events.
-Miami Showband Massacre (7/31/75): 3 members of the “Beatles of Ireland”, the Miami Showband, were killed after being stopped at a fake roadside checkpoint by Protestant paramilitaries disguised as British military.
Film: The Miami Showband Massacre (2019). Documentary of events & aftermath, including living bandmembers attempt to move on & finally find out who was responsible.
Film: Nothing Personal (1994). Fictionalized account of Loyalist violence brought about by Belfast pub bombing.
Film: Resurrection Man (1998). Story of the Shankhill Butchers, an Ulster Loyalist gang that brutally killed Catholics from 1975-1982. Their MO consisted of kidnapping, torture & murder, sometimes slashing the throats or their victims with a butcher knife.
-End of Special Category Status for prisoners. Convicted IRA soldiers made to mingle with criminals, wear regular prison garb & not treated as prisoners of war.
-Margaret Thatcher elected British Prime minister. Enacts government policy of destruction of the IRA
-Lord Mountbatten assassinated (8/29/79) in Sligo, Ireland. Uncle of Prince Phillip & 2nd cousin of the Queen. Also a mentor to Prince Charles. IRA claimed responsibility
Film: Angel (1982). Fictionalized story of saxophone player as avenging angel after witnessing of sectarian violence. Tangential riff on revenge for Miami Showband Massacre.
Film: Hidden Agenda (1990). Fictionalized account of conspiracy within the British Intelligence apparatus to undermine the 1970’s Labour government through the escalation of violence in Northern Ireland.
Film: The General (1998): The story of notorious Dublin gangster Martin Cahill, who robbed houses, jewelry stores & art galleries before being gunned down by the IRA for selling stolen paintings to the UVF. His spree lasted nearly 20 years before his death in 1994
-Maze Prison Hunger Strike: 10 prisoners, including Bobby Sands, starved to death as part of protest for POW status, among other demands.
Film: Some Mother’s Son (1996). Fictionalized account of the Hunger Strike’s impact on the families
-Bobby Sands: While on hunger strike Sands was elected to Parliament, replacing
Film: Hunger (2008). Account of the conditions in Maze prison during hunger Strike & the last days of Bobby Sands
-Brighton Hotel Bombing (10/12/84): Bombing during conservative party meetings killed 5. Margret Thatcher barely escaped great harm when for hotel room bathroom was destroyed.
Film: The Crying Game (1992). Fictionalized story of IRA gunman who falls in love with killed British soldier’s girlfriend.
Film: 50 Dead Man Walking (2008). Martin McGartland works his way up in the IRA, while simultaneously working for RUC Special Branch. Recruited to join IRA by Sinn Fein president Gerry Adam’s nephew, McGartland was discovered to be a spy in 1991 & went on the run, ending up in Northern England, where an IRA assassination attempt was made on his life in 1999. McGartland commented on the film by saying “it was as near to the truth as Earth is to Pluto.”
Film: The Devil’s Own (1997). Fictionalized story of wanted IRA soldier who flees to America to purchase weapons.
Film: Shadow Dancer (2012). A fictionalized story of the turning of an IRA member into a spy for British Intelligence.
Film Shadow Boxer (2012). An IRA soldier is recruited by British Intelligence to spy on her brothers. Things become complicated when she is suspected of being a tout by the IRA, her British handler gets too close & another member of the family may also be spying.
Film: The Boxer (1997). A fictionalized story of a former IRA soldier who returns to Belfast to re-open a boxing club after 14 years in prison. He runs afoul of the IRA while rekindling his romance with the daughter of the IRA head, during the throws of the peace process.
-Good Friday Peace accord signed, formally ending The Troubles
-Omagh City Center Bombing (8/15/98). 500-pound bomb detonated during busy shopping time, killing 29 and injuring several hundred. The Real IRA, a splinter group dissatisfied with peace accord, claimed responsibility.
Film: Omagh (2004). Retelling of the bomb’s aftermath through the eyes of the victims’ families as they struggle with grief & the lack of accountability within the government
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