Works Cited and About Us

Bloom-Cooper, Louis. “Bloody Sunday: Was the NICRA March Illegal or the Ban
    on Marches Unlawful?” Political Quarterly, vol. 77, no. 2, Apr. 2006, pp. 227–
    237. EBSCOhost, 10 Nov. 2018.

Broderick, Colin. That’s That: A Memoir. Broadway Paperbacks, 2013.
“CIVIL RIGHTS MARCH ATTACKED : DAY 4.” RTE Archives , 1 Apr. 1969,    democracy-march-belfast-to-derr/319668-civil-rights-march-attacked-day-4/.
Deutsch, Richard and Gogarty, Frank. “The Founding of the Northern Ireland Civil
    Rights Association and Its Early Action.” Études irlandaises, vol. 12 no. 1, 1987. pp. 143-
    156. 5 Nov. 2018.
Devlin, Bernadette. The Price of My Soul. Pan Books, 1973.

Dorney, John. “Democracy in Ireland – A Short History.” The Irish Story, 3 Dec. 2018,
Hennessey, Thomas. A History of Northern Ireland:. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1999.

Hennessey, Thomas. Northern Ireland: the Origins of the Troubles. Gill & Macmillan, 2005.
Hennessey, Thomas. The Northern Ireland Peace Process: Ending the Troubles? New York:       Palgrave, 2001.
Maney, Gregory M. “Transnational Mobilization and Civil Rights in Northern
    Ireland.” Social Problems, vol. 47, no. 2, 2000, pp. 153–179. JSTOR, 5 Nov. 2018.
McCaffrey, Lawrence J. “Irish Nationalism and Irish Catholicism: A Study in Cultural Identity.”
    Church  History, vol. 42, no. 4, 1973, pp. 524–534. JSTOR, JSTOR,
McKittrick, David, and David McVea. Making Sense of the Troubles. Viking, 2012.
MacKittrick, David, and David MacVea. Making Sense of the Troubles the Story of the Conflict in Northern Ireland. Chicago, IL: New Amsterdam Books, 2002.

Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency,
R. Poole and J. Llewellyn, “The Northern Ireland civil rights movement”, Alpha History,
    accessed [10 November 2018],

Melaugh, Martin. “How Much Discrimination Was There Under the Unionist Regime, 1921-1968?” CAIN: Northern Ireland Conflict, Politics, and Society. Information on ‘the Troubles’., CAIN (Conflict Archive on the INternet) Project,
Salem, Rob. “The Troubles: Northern Ireland in the 1960s and 1970s.” Hindsight, Apr.
    2011, p. 18+. Glocat. 5 Nov. 2018.
The Irish Times. “Ian Paisley: ‘Never! Never! Never!’ and Other Notable Quotes.” The Irish
Times, The Irish Times, 12 Sept. 2014, 26880.
White, Timothy Jerome. Lessons from the Northern Ireland Peace Process. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 2013.

About Us

Natalie Amidon is a freshman International Relations major, whose individual project was on why most attempts during the Irish peace process failed.

Ciara Farrington is a senior Mathematics major. She individually researched the social and governmental policies that led to the Incident at Burntollet Bridge.

Emilio Garcia is a junior, majoring in English and focused his individual project on the IRA.

Hailey Merry is a junior Childhood Education with a concentration in History who researched the formation of the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association.

Olivia Schmidt is a freshman Biology and English major, who studied the religious divides in Northern Ireland as they affected political differences.


Link to Main Page


Terence O’Neill Becomes Prime Minister

Terence O’Neill was a member of the Ulster Unionist Party, however, he was constantly involving himself in Catholic affairs–meeting with them, attending events, and actively trying to reverse statutes excluding and downgrading them. This didn’t sit well with other Unionist members, or men like Ian Paisley, who saw O’Neill as a traitor to Protestant beliefs. O’Neill wanted to integrate Catholics and improve relations, but Protestant fears were too strong. Despite his efforts to heal strained tensions between the two groups, O’Neill likely pressed too hard, especially on the Protestants, and they withdrew further into prejudice. O’Neill was very heavy-handed with his Catholic collaboration, and although there are times that can work, the Protestant population was very stubborn, and more likely to recoil at the efforts than follow in his example.

      Terence O’Neill, Prime Minister 1963-69.

Political Structures to Social Anxieties

Unionist politics focused on separation of Catholics and Protestants, and ensuring Nationalists stayed out of government. Through gerrymandering, school segregation, and the housing crisis, Protestants made Northern Ireland a cold place for Catholics. The debasement of the Catholic population through legislation only enforced social separations that had already been present from the beginning. Catholics had been considered second-class citizens or worse since the English conquests, separated in all aspects of life, perhaps most prominently in the late 1800s–early 1900s with Dublin tenement life. These societal partitions created fear and anxiety of the other culture, which surfaced in Northern Ireland’s legislation at the beginning of the 1920s. Protestants and Catholics became more self-contained than before, which only increased unease, and presented itself in further regulations and in physical structures like the peace lines. Peace walls contributed to dissociations even further, because there were now physical walls between Protestant and Catholic cultures, leading to more tension.

Peace wall in Northern Ireland.

Link to Main Page

Link to Timeline

Suggested next page: Catholic and Protestant Relations

Why Did it Take So Long? A Brief History

Around 400 AD, Saint Patrick converted the people of Ireland to Catholicism, as England at the time was Catholic. In 1170 the King of Leinster, Dermot MacMurrough, was overthrown and appealed to the current king of England, Henry the II, for help. This gave Henry II a chance to invade Ireland, and a reason:  Pope Hadrian IV wanted Henry II to conquer Ireland and further spread English Christianity. In 1532, Henry VIII separated from the Catholic Church of Rome to divorce his wife, Catherine of Aragon, and England became a Protestant nation. In 1541, he was declared King of Ireland. He created laws to increase English control over Ireland, and attempted to convert the Irish to Protestantism–to no avail. The Penal Laws were put into place beginning in 1675, which prevented many Catholics from an education, property, and intermarriage. From 1845 to 1852, 2 million of Ireland’s 8 million died or emigrated due to repeated failure of the potato crop, known as the Great Famine. Those most affected were the Irish peasants. And in the late 1800s to early 1900s, many Catholics were living in squalor in Dublin tenements, with barely enough money to pay rent, let alone buy food. 

Photo of a destroyed tenement in Dublin.

Since the English first involved themselves in Irish affairs, the Irish have been second-class, if that. With so much degradation, it’s a wonder the Irish didn’t do anything before the 1916 Easter Rising, and even then, few actions were taken. So why did the Troubles happen in the ’60’s? Why didn’t it happen before?

Housing civil rights march January, 1969.

Since the beginning, the Irish Catholics have been separated from their Protestant counterparts. They were aware of the different lives each other led, but unaware of the differences themselves because they were so separated physically and socially. There was segregation in religion, education, and even the bars they drank at, so their first real interaction was during the housing crisis. Catholics and Protestants were vying for the same homes, and when single Protestants began taking homes that could have been for large Catholic families, there was uproar, and that’s when the first civil rights marches began. Catholics were able to truly see for the first time the advantages and partiality given to Protestants, even though they had been thus for centuries. The inability to secure a basic human need was the final straw.

Link to Main Page

Link to Timeline

Suggested next page: Unionist Politics

Unionist Politics

Ireland officially split in 1920, forming Northern Ireland. The Government of Ireland Act was created amidst the violent War of Independence in an attempt to quell the IRA and Nationalist anger and satisfy the small Protestant population while still maintaining control of the entire isle. The twenty-six southern counties would have a Home Rule parliament (self-governance), and the six north-eastern counties would have a devolved parliament and send MPs to Westminster. Ulster Unionists accepted the separation and Northern Ireland was created; however, the Irish nationalists spurned the continued British presence and kept fighting for independence until the Anglo-Irish Treaty in 1921.

The remains of British bombing in Cork during the Irish War of Independence.

In Northern Ireland, the Unionist party leaders were convinced that unless the government was firmly and irrevocably in the hands of the Protestants, Northern Ireland would not last. Following the initial council elections after the split, the Unionist party controlled ⅔, while the Nationalists held the other third, proving a problem for the Unionist majority. Immediately, James Craig as the first prime minister made motions towards changing the voting system and voting boundaries. In 1922, proportional representation (PR) was terminated, replaced by first-past-the-post, along with the redrawing of the local government boundaries, followed later by the same change in Belfast’s parliament. The gerrymandering lumped large Nationalist-Catholic majorities together so they had the same representation as the smaller Unionist majorities. A good example is the Omagh Rural District Council. For the next election, it was claimed that the 5,381 unionist voters would have 21 seats, but 8,459 nationalists would only have 18. The effect of the gerrymandering in Derry was the most severe. Derry was divided into five wards, three having Unionists majorities, two having Nationalists majorities. The Nationalists wards had larger populations, and yet were counted equally with the three Unionist wards. 9,961 electors secured eight Nationalist councillors, while 7,444 voters secured 12 Unionists councillors.

Election poster of James Craig, Northern Ireland’s first Prime Minister, c. 1940.

In addition, the criteria for voters (standing since before 1921) was more likely to apply to Protestants Unionists and exclude Catholic Nationalists. Voting was restricted to owners of a house or tenants and the owner/tenant’s spouse. Grown children still at home were disenfranchised, as were lodgers or older family members. And for the Catholics, it was more likely that there would be multiple adults living in one home unable to vote. Voting rights, or lack thereof, boiled down to one thing: jobs. Most of the better paying jobs went to Protestants instead of Catholics, therefore, fewer Catholics were able to afford homes and were more likely to live with other family members, and thus fewer could vote. It was encouraged by members of government, especially James Craig, PM himself, that the “public [should] employ loyalists–only loyalists”. Sir Basil Brooke would later say of Craig, “He appreciated the great difficulty experienced by some of them in procuring suitable Protestant labour but he would point out that Roman Catholics were endeavouring to get in everywhere. He would appeal to Loyalists therefore, wherever possible, to employ good Protestants lads and lassies”. A 1943 survey would go on to prove just how inequitable the public sector was. In the 55 most senior positions, none were Catholic, and only 37 of 600 middle-ranking posts were held by Catholics. In private companies, it was common that more than 90% of the workforce was Protestant. Unemployment among Catholics was more than double Protestants, only adding to a lack of suffrage for nationalists. And if Catholics and nationalists couldn’t vote, they couldn’t elect others to change policies–it was all too brilliantly done.

Ironically and yet fittingly, the Protestants were fearful of their Catholics counterparts. There was no peace of mind for the Protestants at the beginning of Northern Ireland, no matter how large their majority. They understood that London could never be as staunch in the continuation of the Union as they were, so support was not reliable. It didn’t help that the Catholics were incredibly suspicious in the eyes of the Protestants, especially considering how hard the Catholics had fought the creation of Northern Ireland in the first place. Protestant attitudes were very similar to their predecessors, the English and Scottish settlers from centuries before: they had a bitter wariness, cautious of retaining their hold over Northern Ireland, and unwilling to back down. This went hand in hand with the restraining statues put in place at the very start of Northern Ireland.


Stormont Castle, the seat of the Northern Ireland Assembly. 

Only 2% of Unionists supported Ireland as a united, independent state, but 38% supported a united Ireland tied to Britain. The general political wheelhouse of the Unionists involved connection to Britain and continued control over Northern Ireland. Those in government passed policies to ensure that Nationalists were shut out of politics, and this pervaded elections for decades. However, some Unionists believed that nationalists could be persuaded to support union with Britain, and 60% thought that the border could disappear as well. Later, Unionists would be devoted to subduing the Catholic rage and promoting peace, but that wouldn’t come until later.

Link to Main Page

Link to Timeline

Suggested next page: Political Structures to Social Anxieties