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'The Troubles':Northern Ireland 1968-1998 - theme 1

Background: the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s

[Cameron Commission] Disturbances in Northern Ireland, Cmnd. 532, Belfast: HMSO, September 1969. Available on
Devlin, Bernadette The Price of My Soul (London, 1969), chapter 14.
Adams, Gerry, ‘A republican in the civil rights movement’ in M. Farrell (ed.), Twenty Years On (Dingle, 1988).
Terence O’Neill, Ulster at the Crossroads.

Some questions:

Examine the social and economic reforms initiated during the premiership of Terence O’Neill.
What was the reaction to these reforms?
Evaluate the campaign tactics and strategies of the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association.
How can we account for the lead up to violent confrontation at the end of the 1960s?
Why did the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s attract such support in Northern Ireland?
To what extent, if any, were allegations of systematic discrimination against the Catholic community exaggerated?
Can sectarian discrimination be primarily associated with the need of Protestants to defend economic privileges?
Was the British government culpable in the maintenance of sectarian discrimination?


Arthur, Paul, The People’s Democracy (Belfast, 1974), particularly the appendices.
This is available on
Campaign for Social Justice in Northern Ireland, (1964), Northern Ireland: The Plain
Truth, CSJ, Dungannon. On
Hewitt, C., ‘Catholic grievances, Catholic nationalism and violence in Northern Ireland during the civil rights period: a reconsideration’. British Journal of Sociology, 32 (September, 1981), 362-380.
McCann, Eamon, War and an Irish Town (London, 1971) part 2.
Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association, ‘We shall overcome’ …The History
of the Struggle for Civil Rights in Northern Ireland, 1968-1978, NICRA, Belfast. On
O’Callaghan, Margaret and Catherine O’Donnell, ‘The Northern Ireland government,
the “Paisleyite movement” and Ulster Unionism in 1966’, Irish Political Studies, 21,
2 (June 2006), pp. 203-22. Available online
O Dochartaigh, Niall, From Civil Rights to Armalites: Derry and the Birth of
the Irish Troubles (Cork, 1997). Two chapters are available on
Prince, Simon, ‘The global revolt of 1968 and Northern Ireland’, The Historical
Journal, 49, 3 (2006), pp. 851-75. Available online.
Purdie, Bob, Politics in the Streets: The origins of the civil rights movement
in Northern Ireland (Belfast, 1990). Chapter 4 is available on
Purdie’s book is essential reading on this subject.
Mullholland, Marc, Northern Ireland at the Crossroads (London, 2000).