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The Troubles (Ireland)/Timelines

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A timeline (or several) relating to The Troubles (Ireland).

Timeline of The Troubles in Northern Ireland

1962: Due to lack of support, the IRA calls off their campaign of violence
1966: A Catholic man is murdered by paramilitaries calling themselves the "Ulster Volunteer Force" (UVF); Gusty Spence is later found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder; the UVF is proscribed by the Northern Ireland government shortly after
1967: The Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association (NICRA) is founded
1968
March: The Derry Housing Action Committee begin a series of protests to against alleged discrimination against Catholics as regards to housing
June: A group of people squat in a house in Caledon, County Tyrone in protest at the allocation of a house to a single Protestant over Roman Catholic families. Amongst the squatters is Nationalist MP, Austin Currie.
October: A demonstration march planned by the Derry Housing Action Committee proceeds, despite a ban by the government; NICRA reluctantly back the march; the march ends in violence with much of it being captured on film and televised; a march of student of mixed religious background takes place in Belfast, leading to the formation of the Peoples' Democracy (PD)
November: Terence O’Neill introduces a five-point plan aimed at addressing some of the concerns expressed by NICRA; a civil rights march takes place in Armagh at which some 2,000 loyalists turn up to counter-protest; the loyalists are searched by police who uncover two revolvers and many improvised weapons
December: O’Neill makes his “Ulster stands at the crossroads” speech, in a televised appeal to the people of Northern Ireland; In response, the DCAC, NICRA and the Nationalist Party call off further street protests; William Craig is sacked from his position in government as a result of attacking O’Neill’s speech


1969
January: Against the advice of NICRA, the PD began a march from Belfast, which culminated in an attack by loyalists at Burntollet Bridge near Londonderry
February: Ian Paisley stands for election against O'Neill in the Bannside constituency gaining a significant minority, but ultimately losing
March: A series of explosions are set off by the UVF at various public utilities across Northern Ireland in a bid to destabilise the O'Neill government and stop O'Neill's plans for reform. The campaign continues throughout the following month and the Provisional IRA are initially blamed for the incidents
April: Bernadette Devlin of the PD stands for and wins a by-election in Mid-Ulster, becoming the youngest woman ever elected to Westminster at the age of 21; 1,500 soldiers are put on duty to guard against attacks on public buildings and utilities; the Northern Ireland government announces the introduction of universal adult suffrage for local government elections; O'Neill resigns as Prime Minister
May: James Chichester-Clark succeeds O'Neill as Prime Minister and announces that he will continue plans for reform
July: Francis McCloskey dies one day following being struck on the head by a police baton during street rioting in Dungiven. He is the first civilian to die as a direct result of the Troubles, and his death comes to be regarded as the first of the Troubles
August: Soldiers reinforce an exhausted police force throughout Northern Ireland and are initially well-received in Roman Catholic areas; Gerald McCauley, 15, becomes the first member of the IRA to be killed during the Troubles; the Electoral Law Act (NI) is passed which reduces the age of voting to 18 and introduces universal adult suffrage ("one man, one vote"); the British government issue a policy statement known as the Downing Street Declaration; the Northern Ireland government initiates a tribunal known as the Scarman Report
September: Chichester-Clark announces the erection in parts of Belfast of the first 'peace-lines'; the report of the Cameron Commission is published
October: The reserve police force, the B Specials, are announced as being disbanded; Victor Arbuckle becomes the first policeman to be killed as a result of the Troubles
December: Legislation is installed at Westminster for the creation of the Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR); The IRA "Provisional Army Council" announce a split, with Sinn Féin openly splitting some days later near the beginning of the following month




1970
April: Paisley contests Bannside again, and wins; the moderate and cross-religious Alliance Party is formed; B Specials disbanded
June: MP Bernadette Devlin is arrested for her part in rioting in Londonderry, and jailed for six months - rioting breaks out in both Derry and Belfast as a result of the news; A member of the Provisional IRA kills two other members and his two young daughters when the bomb he is making explodes prematurely. The girls become the first female victims of the Troubles; The IRA take up position in a Roman Catholic church and begin firing into the Newtownards Road. Five Protestants and one Catholic are shot dead
July: A search of the Lower Falls by security forces uncover 100 firearms, 100 home-made bombs, 250 lbs of explosives and 21,000 rounds of ammunition
August: Rubber bullets are introduced by the British Army for riot control; Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) is founded


1971
February: Loyalist vigilantes consolidate to form the Ulster Defence Association; Gunner Robert Curtis is shot dead by Billy Reid of the Provisional IRA, becoming the first soldier to be killed in the Troubles (Reid is killed by the British Army some months later, ironically on Curtis Street in Belfast)
March: Thousands of Belfast ship workers take part in a demonstrative march, calling for the internment of IRA members.
August: Loyalist vigilantes consolidate to form the Ulster Defence Association; Internment for suspected members of terrorist groups is introduced in Northern Ireland, which lasts until December 1975
October: Paisley and Desmond Boal announce the formation of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), splitting the Ulster Unionist Party in the process


1972
January: During some minor trouble at a civil rights march in Londonderry, soldiers of the 1st Battalion Parachute Regiment of the British Army open fire and kill 13 civilians (a further civilian demonstrator died of his wounds later), in an event which became known as 'Bloody Sunday'; the result of this action increased recruitment levels for the Provisional IRA
March: Brian Faulkner resigns as Prime Minister of Northern Ireland; the Northern Ireland (Temporary Provisions) Bill is passed in Westminster, imposes Direct Rule on Northern Ireland - William Whitelaw becomes the first Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
May: The Official IRA announce a ceasefire
June: The Provisional IRA announce a ceasefire in prelude to covert meetings between representatives of the group (including Gerry Adams) and representatives of the British government
July: In what was seen to be a revenge attack for the events of 'Bloody Sunday', the Provisional IRA plant 22 bombs in Belfast. The bombs which exploded claim the lives of nine people and 130 are severely injured. The event was to become known as 'Bloody Friday'


1973
March: A government White Paper proposes the restoration of devolved government in Northern Ireland on a coalition basis; the following week Unionist politicians vote in favour of the proposal, though not without a strong minority of opposition
April: The Northern Ireland Assembly Bill is passed which allows for the setting up of a coalition-based Assembly for Northern Ireland
June: Elections for the Assembly take place and the first Assembly meeting takes place at the end of the month





Northern Irish government responses to demands (1968-)

(PD) Diagram: Mal McKee