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Northern Ireland: 1968-98 - Initial Divisions And Grievances

In GCSE History students will look at the 'Troubles' in Northern Ireland between 1968-1998. One topic that is covered is the divisions between Catholics and Protestants which bought the Troubles about.

The so-called "Troubles" in Northern Ireland began in 1968, and continued thereafter for nearly 30 years. The background to them is the partition of Ireland in 1921 and the resultant Protestant state. This caused divisions between Protestants and a disgruntled Catholic minority, who resented the numerous forms of discrimination which followed.

Learn more about the divisions between Catholics and protestants in Northern Ireland by playing this quiz.

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  1. The main police force (the RUC) was supplemented by a small elite squad trained for dealing with public disorder, and enjoying a reputation for brutality. It also had hardly any Catholics in its ranks. What was its name?
    This was a major Catholic grievance. They saw this force as sectarian and violent
  2. The civil rights activist, Austin Currie, staged a well publicised sit-in in a large empty house. What point was he trying to make?
    Discrimination was a fact of life in post-war Northern Ireland. Catholics expected unequal treatment in education, housing, jobs, voting rights and other areas
  3. What was the most obvious difference between state schools in Northern Ireland and those in mainland Britain?
    In Northern Ireland the independent sector was smaller and less influential than on the mainland. Supporters of the state system there asserted that it produced better academic results than elsewhere
  4. A new more militant group (People's Democracy) emerged, inspired by the events of 1968 in continental Europe and the Civil Rights movement in the United States. Which black American leader did they admire and try to emulate?
    PD were keen on long marches, like those undertaken by the Civil Rights movement in the USA, like, for example, the one in Alabama from Selma to Montgomery
  5. Which burly Unionist politician and preacher was an active opponent of the Civil Rights movement?
    Protestants were frequently harangued by this man, determined never to "surrender" to Rome
  6. The Harland and Wolff factory in East Belfast was a major employer that hired almost entirely Protestant workers. What did the factory make?
    This was a vital employer for the Province's economy, but it was in the grip of East Belfast's Unionist community
  7. All cities in the Province were segregated into Catholic and Protestant areas. Which of the following areas was the main working-class Catholic zone in West Central Belfast?
    This segregation meant that people on one side of the divide rarely met people from the other
  8. Before the arrival of British troops later in 1969, the security forces in Northern Ireland used a method of crowd control for the first time ever in the UK. What was this method?
    Disorder in the Province was getting badly out of hand in 1969, and the locally-controlled government felt that strong measures were needed
  9. A non-sectarian pressure group called NICRA began, in the late 1960s, to agitate for civil rights for all citizens of Northern Ireland. What did NICRA stand for?
    This body organised regular marches. It was often the victim of violence, but never advocated violence itself
  10. Later in 1969 a young Catholic girl was elected as a Westminster MP. At 21 she was the youngest MP, and she was briefly the darling of the British media. Eventually she became a strong supporter of the IRA. Who was she?
    A graduate of Queen's University Belfast, she was a shrill and articulate defender of the minority Catholic community, who soon made her mark in the Commons

Author: Edward Towne

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