History Irish Republican Military Politics

No Man’s Land. News Footage From The UK’s Former Hard Border In Ireland

With a significant number of anti-agreement politicians and journalists in the United Kingdom continuing to dismiss the risk of a “no-deal” Brexit upsetting the precariously balanced peace in the UK’s disputed outpost in Ireland, here are two more reminders of what the region looked like before the softening of the hard border which surrounded it. The first is a television clip from April 1974 and a news feature by the ITV network in Britain, presented by the now well-known correspondent and documentary-maker Peter Taylor. Despite the somewhat lopsided reporting, the twelve minute film gives a fair idea of life in the war-torn “frontier” town of Strabane, County Tyrone, during the earliest years of the so-called Troubles of 1966-2005.

The second film, presented by Peter Gill, comes from another ITV broadcast in December 1980, this time focused on the technological struggle between the Irish Republican Army and the British Army. However, while far more partisan in nature, it does highlight the failed campaign by the UK Forces to impose a heavily militarised border around the Occupied Six Counties in the 1970s and ’80s. And indeed, right up to the formal end of the conflict in 2005. A lesson that far too many people in Britain are choosing to ignore as they play party political and career games with two decades of relative peace in Ireland.

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11 comments on “No Man’s Land. News Footage From The UK’s Former Hard Border In Ireland

  1. Sharon Douglas

    This is was really hard to watch without throwing my computer across the room! Grrrrrr

  2. i’m sorry Seamas I can’t watch the films.Having survived the “troubles” in the north I felt sick and upset just looking at the stills and the titles. I hope Ireland – north and south – never more consents to such horrors on its land.And if that means “Brits Out” – so be it.

    • Pat murphy

      Benmadigan,nobody wants to to return to the hell that some of us unfortunately had to survive through,you can’t call it living. But never forget the cause. If the Brits had left the ‘troubles’ would never have happened. Unfortunately they are still here and the ‘troubles’ may not be over.

    • No problem at all. These videos are a reminder for those who have forgotten or those who never knew the situation on the ground in the first place. The blasé Brits with their no need to worry attitude or the ones who believe that the British Army “won the Troubles” and can do so again. After another thirty years of conflict.

  3. The Act of Union 1800, and yet Ireland was the only place that the police were armed with an army standard rifle and pistol, it showed up the fact that Ireland was always a colony. The upside was the impetus to seek independence, unlike the Scots who gave up after Culloden.

    • Plus any number of particular laws and regulations from London, or the London administration in Dublin, that kept the Irish in line. As the UK government acknowledged in its published legal advice against Scottish independence, Ireland was not a part of the “union” like England, Wales or Scotland. It was a “colony”.

  4. Breandán Mac Séarraigh

    The idea that there can be no differences between the North and Britain post-Brexit would be laughable if it wasn’t so stupid.

  5. Thames Valley TV were about the only UK TV that gave any kind of decent coverage to the Troubles. Thatcher never forgave them for Death on the Rock and it cost them their franchise license.

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