Past

Legacy

  • 4th July − 16th September 2012 | Scottish National Portrait Gallery

History

As one of the longest running twentieth-century conflicts in Western Europe, the Northern Ireland conflict (the Troubles) has a complex and emotive history. In 1921 a treaty created the Irish Free State, later the Irish Republic, but left six northern counties within the UK. Although the Protestant population wished to maintain the union with Britain, a Republican, predominantly Catholic minority, demanded the right to join the Republic.

During the 1960s, those loyal to the union with Britain controlled much of the machinery of government in Northern Ireland and the response from the Republican community was a series of civil rights demonstrations. Sectarian violence spread and in 1969 the British Army was deployed to help the Royal Ulster Constabulary maintain order. The introduction of internment in 1971 fuelled the conflict. Paramilitary groups from both sides waged campaigns of bombing and sectarian killings.

The Good Friday Agreement of 1998 committed both sides to finding a political solution, although both Republican and Loyalist dissident paramilitary groups have continued to carry out sporadic acts of violence.

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