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Northern Ireland: 1968-98 - Preventing A Peace Agreement, The Paramilitaries

In GCSE History students will look at the 'Troubles' in Northern Ireland between 1968-1998. One topic within this category is how the existence of Loyalist and Republican terrorist paramilitaries prevented a peace agreement from being reached.

Between 1969 and 1998 two rival sets of terrorist paramilitaries faced each other and the security forces in Northern Ireland: Republicans who used violence in the cause of a United Ireland, and Loyalists who used similar methods in order to keep the Province as part of the United Kingdom.

Find out more about some of the terrorist paramilitaries that were active during the Troubles in Northern Ireland in this quiz.

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  1. After 1971 a new Loyalist terror group began to operate from East Belfast. What was it called?
    Terrorist groups on either side sometimes claimed to have been founded much earlier in the Twentieth Century. Often they were factions that had split off from established groups, following quarrels
  2. Which Arab state was responsible for sending quantities of the explosive semtex (made in Czechoslovakia) to Northern Ireland for use by the IRA?
    The IRA had links with other terrorist groups all over the world, including ETA in the Basque Provinces of Spain
  3. A special jail was constructed for both Loyalist and Republican prisoners near Belfast. What was it called?
    Prisoners here were separated into two categories: Loyalists and Republicans. They were both considered to be common criminals in the eyes of the authorities
  4. Which legal military formation, recruited locally in Northern Ireland, was accused of harbouring members with links to Loyalist terror organisations?
    Allegations about collusion between Loyalist paramilitaries and the security forces were often made, although difficult to prove
  5. In 1974 the INLA split off from the Provisional IRA over an ideological split. They were responsible for the murder of the Tory MP Airey Neave at the Palace of Westminster in 1979. What do the letters INLA stand for?
    This was a small, but deadly group, usually in the shadow of the Provisional IRA
  6. In 1979 a prominent member of the British Royal Family was murdered by the IRA in the Republic of Ireland. Who was this victim?
    The IRA seemed to want to show that no one was clear of their reach
  7. Republican prisoners used various tactics to fight for "prisoner of war" status, for example the right to drill and to wear paramilitary uniform. One such tactic was the hunger strike. Who was the first hunger-striker to die, having been elected a Member of Parliament while in jail?
    There were several deaths before the hunger strikes were called off, when it became clear that the London government would not give in to the prisoners' demands
  8. Both Loyalist and Republican paramilitaries used drastic methods to enforce order in their respective areas. Which of the following methods of punishment did they both share?
    Many of these areas were virtual "no go" sectors for the security forces. Yet they were often orderly in a rough and ready sort of way - as a result of these drastic measures
  9. In 1987 several IRA members were shot dead by British special forces at a British colony. In which territory did this controversial incident take place?
    As usual this incident led to further violence, although it was clear to the authorities that the IRA had been planning a spectacular outrage against British forces stationed in the colony
  10. In 1984 the IRA almost killed the Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, with a timed bomb. In which town did this outrage take place?
    Several people were killed in this incident, and Thatcher was lucky to survive

Author: Edward Towne

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