Northern Ireland: 1968-98 - The Role Of The Security Forces

The 'Troubles' in Northern Ireland between 1968-1998 is one of the topics studied in GCSE History. One subject looked at is the role of the security forces at the time.

In 1969 serious inter-communal strife erupted in Northern Ireland, which the local security forces were unable to control. While London considered its options, there seemed to be a real chance of Protestant/Catholic bloodshed if nothing was done soon.

Discover more about the role of the security forces during the Troubles in Northern Ireland in this quiz.

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  1. An immediate enquiry was set up into the events of "Bloody Sunday". Which judge presided over this investigation, which was widely criticised for being too favourable to the security forces?
    This early enquiry left in many people an uneasy feeling that justice had not been done
  2. In January 1972 British troops killed 13 Roman Catholics in Londonderry. Which unit of the British army was responsible for this outrage?
    This was a shocking event, in which armed troops gunned down unarmed demonstrators on the streets of a British city
  3. Later in 1969 Harold Wilson's Labour government did decide to deploy British troops to Northern Ireland. How were these troops received initially by the Catholic inhabitants in Belfast and Londonderry?
    The troops' arrival undoubtedly prevented a massacre, and reassured - temporarily - fearful Catholics
  4. Which was the worst year during the "Troubles" for deaths among the security forces?
    In the absence of a political settlement the security forces were left to battle it out with paramilitaries from both sides of the sectarian divide
  5. Which of the following interrogation techniques was not used by British forces in Northern Ireland for a while during the 1970s?
    These methods were revealed in the 1970s and were thereafter discontinued. However, allegations of "torture" persisted, and the damage had already been done to relations between British troops and local Roman Catholics
  6. Which mainly Catholic area, bordering on the Irish Republic on the east side of the frontier, was exceptionally dangerous for the security forces, who arrived in and left the area by air?
    A hostile population and the proximity of the Republic made this an especially hazardous region
  7. In 1972 "Operation Motorman" involved a military invasion and occupation of the Bogside area of Londonderry - and the introduction of internment. What was meant by internment?
    The Northern Irish authorities had difficulty in getting witnesses to testify against known paramilitaries. Internment was an attempt to overcome this problem
  8. Jack Lynch, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Ireland at the very beginning of the "Troubles", suggested that an outside force should intervene in the Province. Which force or forces did he have in mind?
    The government of Southern Ireland felt that it had a responsibility to protect the minority Catholic community in the North
  9. "Operation Banner" (the intervention in Northern Ireland) was the longest continuous campaign fought by the British army anywhere. How long was this?
    When the troops were deployed to the Province in 1969, few can have thought that they would be kept there for anything like as long as this
  10. A special forces unit of the British army achieved the greatest Provisional IRA loss of life in one incident during the Troubles. Which unit was this?
    Small elite units could be highly effective in the circumstances of Northern Ireland

Author: Edward Towne

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