An analysis of the presence of the British Army in Northern Ireland 1969-1983, the reasons for being there and why they have had limited success in ending the violence.
This paper discusses how throughout history, the British Army was invariably the instrument used to suppress or combat the various uprisings and revolts of the Irish people and in particular the current occupation of Northern Ireland since 1969 in order to keep the peace between the Catholics and Protestants. It evaluates their growing presence with the increase in violence throughout the seventies and how their stated role there was ambiguous, undefined, continually changing and often ill suited for them. It examines the frustrations and attitudes of both the army and the Irish people and the growing friction between them. This paper includes as an appendix, newspaper coverage of the Bloody Sunday Massacre.
“The British Army and Ireland have always had an interesting relationship. Throughout history both have been linked to each other in a variety of ways. The British Army was invariably the instrument used to suppress or combat the various uprisings and revolts of the Irish people. Surprisingly however Ireland has in turn been a stable source of manpower for the British Army since the eighteenth century. Young men forced by poor economic times and even starvation have continually flocked to the “Colors” of British Regiments for over two hundred years. Even since the partition of the island into the Irish Republic and Ulster, Ireland continues to provide a steady supply of recruits to “Irish Units” within the modern British Military.”