36. United Kingdom/Northern Ireland (1968-present)


Crisis Phase (October 5, 1968-April 10, 1998): Irish Catholics in Northern Ireland (Ulster) began a secessionist movement against the British government following an attack by British police against Catholic demonstrators in Londonderry on October 5, 1968. British police and Catholics clashed in Londonderry on August 12-15, 1969. Some 22,000 British troops were deployed to maintain law and order in Northern Ireland after riots broke out between Catholics and Protestants in west Belfast. The Northern Ireland parliament approved legislation on August 9, 1971, which permitted British troops to detain suspected members of the Irish Republican Army (IRA). The Protestant Ulster Defense Association (UDA) was established in support of the British government in September 1971. Libya provided military assistance (weapons and equipment) to the IRA in 1972 and 1973. British troops killed 13 Catholics on January 30, 1972 (Bloody Sunday). The British government abolished the Northern Ireland parliament, and assumed direct control over Northern Ireland on March 24, 1972. IRA rebels killed nine Protestants in Belfast on July 21, 1972 (Bloody Friday). A referendum of the status of Northern Ireland was held on March 8, 1973, but Catholics boycotted the referendum. British and Irish representatives signed an agreement on November 15, 1985, which provided for the establishment of the Inter-Governmental Conference (IGC) to deal with the relations between Northern Ireland and Ireland. IRA rebels killed eleven Protestants in Enniskillen on November 11, 1987. Nine Protestants and thirteen Catholics were killed during violent clashes in Northern Ireland from October 23-31, 1993. On December 15, 1993, the British and Irish governments offered Sinn Fein, the political wing of the IRA, a role in negotiations if the IRA would renounce the use of force. The IRA declared a ceasefire on August 31, 1994. Pro-British paramilitary groups, Ulster Defense Association (UDA) and Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF), declared a ceasefire on October 31, 1994. The British government opened exploratory talks with the IRA, UDA, and UVF on December 9, 1994. The British and Irish governments appointed George Mitchell of the US as mediator on November 28, 1995. On February 9, 1996, the IRA violated the ceasefire with a bombing in London that resulted in the deaths of two individuals. George Mitchell mediated negotiations among the parties beginning on June 10, 1996. The IRA exploded a bomb in Manchester, England on June 15, 1996. On June 17, 1996, Amnesty International (AI) condemned the IRA for the terrorist bombing in Manchester. Northern Ireland Protestant leaders and IRA leaders signed a peace agreement in Belfast on April 10, 1998. Some 3,500 individuals, including 511 British government soldiers, were killed during the crisis.

Post-Crisis Phase (April 11, 1998-present):

[Sources: Africa Research Bulletin (ARB), January 1-31, 1974; Allock et al., 1992, 120-141; Clodfelter, 1992, 981-985; Keesing’s Record of World Events, February 1996, April 1998.]