History of Ireland
Urban Legends
Northern Ireland

What was the cause of the touble in northern Ireland in the 80s?



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The exact start and end dates of the modern Troubles are difficult to pinpoint, but most people would agree they started with the civil rights demonstartions of 1968-1969 and ended in 1997 with the signing of the Good Friday Agreement (GFA). The original "cause" was really not religion, as is often stated, but rather discrimination and lack of civil rights. In the late 1960's, the Catholic minority in Northern Ireland began protesting for equality in housing, jobs, and voting, all areas in which they had been discriminated against. The predominantly Protestant police and British Army met these protests with brute force, because it was in the interest of the ruling parties to keep Catholics out of power and thereby assure that politicians in the north of Ireland remained in favor of remaining part of the United Kingdom (UK). On Bloody Sunday (January 30, 1972), a civil rights march in Derry, Northern Ireland, resulted in British Soldiers murdering 14 unarmed civil rights demonstrators. As a result of that event and many others, many Catholics began to abandon the peaceful civil rights tactics (which were aimed at winning equal rights within the British province for the Catholic minority) and instead began fighting for the British troops to leave the province altogether and for the north to reunite with the independent Republic of Ireland to the south. This fight for freedom and independence empowered the Irish Republican Army (IRA), which fought for this cause until the GFA was signed in 1997.