Éire Ghaelach – Éire Shaor
Interesting article by Brendan O’Neill over on Spiked Online, examining the Bloody Sunday Massacre of 1972 when British troops attacked a civil rights demonstration in the city of Derry, murdering 14 Irish civilians.
“The 14 men who were killed, seven of whom were teenagers, had been part of a crowd of 10,000 protesters. They were demanding equal rights for Catholics in housing, employment and voting, in a sectarian, Protestant-run statelet where Catholics were two-and-a-half times as likely as Protestants to be unemployed. In the four years before Bloody Sunday, since a fledgling Catholic civil-rights march in Derry in October 1968 was brutally broken up by the local police force, tensions had been running high in Northern Ireland. The British Army arrived in August 1969 to back up Britain’s local Protestant allies and internment without trial was introduced in August 1971. All marches were banned. It was against this backdrop that thousands of Catholics in Derry defied Britain’s emergency laws and marched for civil rights on 30 January 1972.
The response of the paratroopers transformed the conflict. The belief of many Catholics that it was possible to reform Northern Ireland, to make it a more equal place, was shattered by the brutal force with which Britain seemed determined to preserve the sanctity of one of its few remaining colonies. Huge numbers of nationalists were radicalised by Bloody Sunday, coming to believe that it was only through the expulsion of British forces from Northern Ireland, and the unification of Ireland, that proper freedom could be attained. There followed a long, bloody war between the IRA and British military forces.
In recent years, however, the history of Bloody Sunday has subtly yet dramatically been rewritten.”
Read more here.