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Northern IrelandThe Reluctant Peace$
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Feargal Cochrane

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780300178708

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300178708.001.0001

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Why Politics Failed and Violence Began, 1921–72

Why Politics Failed and Violence Began, 1921–72

(p.31) Chapter Two Why Politics Failed and Violence Began, 1921–72
Northern Ireland

Feargal Cochrane

Yale University Press

This chapter focuses on the reasons for political violence in Northern Ireland during the period of 1921–1972. The emergence of political violence in Northern Ireland at the end of the 1960s was entirely predictable. The fact that it was not predicted by those who had the capacity to do something about it partly explains why it broke out in the first place. The violence was a product of political dysfunction on the one hand and, on the other, the grievances and frustrations of the nationalist community. It combined negatively with the fear and insecurity of the unionist population and the wilful neglect and ignorance of the British government. The chapter argues that politics failed, from its formation in 1921 until its suspension in 1972, because of a corrupt political system. The grievances smouldered and intensified during the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s, and only required a spark to ignite them.

Keywords:   political violence, political dysfunction, unionist population, British government, political system

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