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Vocapedia > Terrorism, Politics > Northern Ireland


20th century > The Troubles


Catholics / Nationalists / Republicans







Steve Bell

The Guardian

21 June 2001 


Ardoyne > predominantly Catholic area

































Irish nationalists > Sir Roger Casement

Roger David Casement    1864-1916










Republican terror alliance / 'new IRA'







































Brian Keenan, Irish republican    1941-2008










the Bogside area of Derry, Northern Ireland












republican stronghold / nationalist area

in north Belfast


















1522743.stm - 3 September 2001








the Glenbryn estate,

a small Protestant enclave

in the predominantly Catholic Ardoyne area    September 2001











Excerpts from the award-winning 1973 documentary


A Place Called Ardoyne

about "The Troubles" in Northern Ireland










nationalist area / Catholic enclave > Esat Belfast > Short Strand




















republican community















Provisional IRA












































Provisionals / Provos


























Martin McGuinness    1950-2017


Sinn Féin politician

and peace negotiator who went

from being an IRA commander

to serving for a decade

as deputy first minister

of Northern Ireland

























Bloody Sunday


14 people shot

on Bloody Sunday by British soldiers in Derry - Jan. 30, 1972


British soldiers

shot and killed 13 unarmed civilians

and shot and injured a further 13,

one of whom later died.























The hunger strikers’ memory

is honoured in murals around Belfast


The legacy of the hunger strikes

Bobby Sands and nine other republican prisoners

died on hunger strike in Long Kesh 25 years ago.

What became of those who survived?


Melanie McFadyean finds seven of them and asks:

was it all worth it?

The Guardian        Weekend        p. 50

Saturday March 4, 2006
















The Northern Ireland Conflict > The hunger strikes >

Bobby Sands    1981












hunger striker








2008 > films / movies > Steve McQueen > Hunger >

the ordeal of Bobby Sands
















Story/0,,108187,00.html - 6 May 1981 








street battle
















Irish Republican Brotherhood / The Fenians










IRA begins decommissioning    2001










Irish Republican Army    IRA

















Story/0,,108187,00.html - 6 May 1981








IRA statement










IRA weapons / arsenal






















IRA splinter group










IRA dissidents










films > 1992 > The Crying Game


written and directed by Neil Jordan

and starring Stephen Rea,

Miranda Richardson, Jaye Davidson,

Adrian Dunbar, Ralph Brown

and Forest Whitaker.



















real IRA    RIRA























real IRA cell
















hardline republican terror group >

Irish National Liberation Army    INLA














hardline Irish republican militancy










Continuity IRA










IRA gang










claim responsibility for N








 Northern Ireland republican terror groups



























Brian Keenan, Irish republican    1941-2008



































Republican murals depicting scenes from the Troubles

in the Bogside neighborhood of Derry.


Photograph: Ivor Prickett

for The New York Times


Will Brexit Bring the Troubles Back to Northern Ireland?

As the United Kingdom confronts the prospect of dissolution,

old factions are bracing for the possibility of new violence.


Published Dec. 30, 2019    Updated Jan. 6, 2020




















IRA republican mural


added 13 July 2004

Related > Arkansas - 1957




21 June 2001:

More than 400 youths

were involved in sectarian violence last night

when loyalists and nationalists

clashed in north Belfast.



















Blair guilty of capitulating to Sinn Féin - Mandelson

Former minister says PM was irresponsible in way he dealt with republicans

Nicholas Watt, Patrick Wintour and Owen Bowcott

The Guardian        p. 1        Tuesday March 13, 2007

















Political Wall Murals in Northern Ireland        UK / USA

























Northern Ireland > Sinn Féin        UK / USA


























Gerry Adams        UK




















the moderate nationalist SDLP

Principal party of the nationalist (Catholic) community

in Northern Ireland












hardline republican militant groups

in Northern Ireland










"not an ounce not a bullet"



















IRA’s Internal Security Unit,

or “nutting squad”












people “executed” by the IRA

for allegedly betraying

the republican movement

by acting as informers












informers > touting












army spy in IRA > Stakeknife

















The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland

was a sovereign state

that existed between 1801 and 1922.


It was established

by the Acts of Union 1800,

which merged the kingdoms

of Great Britain and Ireland

into a unified state.


The establishment

of the Irish Free State in 1922

led to the country

later being renamed to

the United Kingdom

of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

in 1927,

which continues to exist

in the present day

(27 December 2020)



















The Acts of Union 1800

(sometimes referred to

as a single Act of Union 1801)

were parallel acts

of the Parliament of Great Britain

and the Parliament of Ireland

which united

the Kingdom of Great Britain

 and the Kingdom of Ireland

(previously in personal union)

to create

 the United Kingdom

of Great Britain and Ireland.


The acts came into force

on 1 January 1801,

and the merged

Parliament of the United Kingdom

had its first meeting

on 22 January 1801.

- 27 December 2020














Corpus of news articles


Vocapedia > Terrorism, Politics >


Northern Ireland





Worst bomb attacks

on mainland Britain


Mon May 16, 2011

8:43am EDT



(Reuters) - British police said Monday they had been warned of a bomb in central London, a day before Queen Elizabeth makes a historic visit to Ireland.

Here is a timeline of some of the worst bomb attacks on mainland Britain by Irish dissident groups in the last 35 years.

February 1974 - Coach carrying soldiers and families in northern England is bombed by the Irish Republican Army (IRA). Twelve people killed, 14 hurt.

October-November 1974 - Wave of IRA bombs in British pubs kills 28 people and wounds more than 200.

July 1982 - Two IRA bomb attacks on soldiers in London's royal parks kill 11 people and wound 50.

December 1983 - IRA bomb at London's Harrods department store kills six.

October 1984 - Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's cabinet narrowly escapes IRA bomb that kills five people at Brighton hotel during Conservative Party's annual conference.

September 1989 - Bomb at Royal Marines Music School in Deal, southeast England, kills 11 and wounds 22.

February 1990 - Explosion at Army recruitment center in Leicester, central England. Two wounded.

May 1990 - Seven wounded by blast at Army Educational Service headquarters in London suburb of Eltham.

May 1990 - One soldier is killed and another wounded by car bomb in Wembley, north London.

June 1990 - Soldier is shot dead at train station in Lichfield, central England.

February 1991 - IRA comes close to killing Prime Minister John Major and key cabinet members in a mortar attack on Downing Street. One of three mortar bombs slammed into garden behind building, exploding within 50 feet of the target.

April 1992 - Huge car bomb outside Baltic Exchange in London's financial district kills three people and wounds 91.

March 1993 - Bombs in two litter bins in Warrington kill two boys aged three and 12.

April 1993 - IRA truck bomb devastates Bishopsgate area of London's financial district, killing one and wounding 44.

February 1996 - Two people die when IRA guerrillas detonate large bomb in London's Docklands area.

March 2001 - Car bomb explodes outside BBC's London headquarters. Police say the Real IRA, a republican splinter group opposed to the IRA's ceasefire, was behind the blast. One man was wounded.

May 2011 - A warning comes from Irish dissident republicans opposed to the peace process in Northern Ireland.


(Writing by David Cutler;

London Editorial Reference Unit)

Timeline: Worst bomb attacks on mainland Britain, R, 16.5.2011,







The hands of history:

Two worlds come together

to broker a new era of hope


David McKittrick witnesses the first meeting between
the two commanding political figures in Belfast
as they calmly sit side by side to discuss
the future of Northern Ireland


Published: 27 March 2007
The Independent


Ian Paisley and Gerry Adams did not shake hands yesterday: they had no need to, since their manner of signalling they are ready to go into government together produced an even more telling and forceful image.

The substance of what they said was breathtaking enough, but the way they did it was even more phenomenal: they sat calmly side by side, exuding a sense of purpose and the intention of doing serious business together.

The picture of Belfast's two commanding political figures, flanked by their senior lieutenants, carried a subliminal but unambiguous message: after 3,700 deaths the Troubles are over and real politics can begin.

The two warriors of the Troubles believe they can work together. The statements they delivered in the ornate surroundings of a Stormont dining-room were exquisitely crafted to avoid giving anyone offence.

The big news they contained was that Sinn Fein and the Democratic Unionist Party will be going into government together, launching a new era and underpinning the peace process with a political foundation.

But even more striking was the absence of accompanying threats or conditions - no begrudgery, no condemnations, no blame game. The two listened carefully and politely to each other, conveying something new in Belfast politics - mutual respect.

For many months, London, Dublin, Washington, republicans and just about everyone else have pressed Mr Paisley to go for power-sharing with Sinn Fein. He has finally done so, and done so handsomely, with no hint of reservation or even tension. Until now, he has not even spoken to Mr Adams or any Sinn Fein representative, leading some to assume that no breakthrough could be expected at their first encounter.

But a breakthrough came and, by letting the cameras in to witness it, the parties provided an image that will take its place among key moments in other peace processes across the world.

Many in Belfast reacted with shock and awe: shock that the leaders of loyalism and republicanism should have finally struck a deal, awe that it had been done without histrionics but in such a business-like manner. Mr Paisley announced the timetable for devolution with a phrase no one has ever heard him use before: "Today we have agreed with Sinn Fein that this date will be Tuesday 8th May 2007." He added: "We must not allow our justified loathing of the horrors and tragedies of the past to become a barrier to creating a better and more stable future."

The two statements were studiously symmetrical. Mr Adams provided an echo by accepting that "the relationships between the people of this island have been marred by centuries of discord, conflict, hurt and tragedy." He continued: "The discussions and agreement between our two parties shows the potential of what can now be achieved."

The sense of mutual satisfaction was also evident in London and Dublin, with the two governments cock-a-hoop at what they describe as the successful slotting in of the last piece of a jigsaw that has taken a painstaking decade to put together.

Tony Blair said proudly: "Everything we have done over the past 10 years has been a preparation for this moment." The Irish Prime Minister, Bertie Ahern, lauded the deal as having "the potential to transform the future of this island."

There was also a welcome from the United States, since the Bush and especially the Clinton administration have been closely involved in the peace process. Washington said it looked forward to the dawning of "a new era for Northern Ireland".

Although long anticipated, the actual accomplishment of an agreement for government caused near-incredulity on the streets of Belfast.

The Government long ago set yesterday as a deadline, with the Northern Ireland Secretary, Peter Hain, proclaiming - more than 50 times, by the DUP's count - that it was "devolution or dissolution." A meeting of the Assembly set for noon yesterday was abandoned, and the transfer of powers from London postponed until 8 May. But the loss of six weeks of devolution is regarded as a negligible price to pay for such an advance.

Although a devolved administration was expected at some stage, until yesterday many wondered how well it could function if Mr Paisley maintained his no-talk stance. As First Minister he would, in particular, be expected to work alongside Martin McGuinness, who last night accepted the post of Deputy First Minister after being nominated by Sinn Fein. Mr Paisley has, however, now specifically said he will have regular meetings with Mr McGuinness.

It will be fascinating to see what relationship may develop between the Protestant patriarch and the one-time IRA commander. But if yesterday's introductory Paisley-Adams performance is anything to go by, the expected friction may be less than anticipated, given that the two men have spent a full generation eyeing each other from opposite ends of the political spectrum.

Their lives have in a sense been intertwined. One of the formative political experiences of Gerry Adams's life was a bout of serious rioting that broke out in the Falls Road area of Belfast in 1964, when he was 16.

In his biography, Mr Adams blamed the disturbances on "a rabble-rousing, sectarian anti-Catholic demagogue named Ian Paisley" who had threatened to remove an Irish tricolour from the district. In the years since then, Mr Paisley has reciprocated by describing Mr Adams with a battery of uncomplimentary names. Those early riots pre-dated the Troubles proper, in which the loyalist and the republican were to play prominent roles.

For decades, Mr Paisley flew a strictly fundamentalist flag, insisting that attempts to form power-sharing governments involving Unionists and nationalists were to be opposed at all costs. As leader of the Democratic Unionist party he denounced Unionist leaders who sought to set up cross-community governments as traitors, an attitude that he maintained with extraordinary consistency from the 1960s until a few years ago.

Mr Adams, as the republican movement's outstanding leader, was equally opposed to such arrangements, though from an entirely different perspective. He held they were diversions from the central problem, which he defined as the British presence in Northern Ireland.

While the pair maintained those positions for decades, Mr Adams was the first of the two to broaden his analysis and definition of the issues, seeking secret meetings with a range of political figures and others.

By the 1990s, those efforts produced an IRA ceasefire as republicans tested the proposition that the negative power of their violence could be replaced by entry into politics, with votes proving more effective than guns.

This peace process, which reduced but did not remove violence, was - in its early years - a highly controversial project, with Mr Paisley leading the ranks of those who condemned it and wanted it closed down.

But as the death rate fell and a semblance of normality returned to Belfast, the benefits of the process became clear. It provided huge benefits to Sinn Fein, whose vote rose dramatically so that it has become Northern Ireland's largest nationalist party.

The process was much more problematic for Mr Paisley, who was opposed to the whole thing in principle and by gut instinct. But his party nonetheless accepted posts in a power-sharing administration while refusing to attend cabinet meetings with Sinn Fein, a stance that rivals described as "semi-detached".

Republicans have remained solidly attached to the peace process, with the IRA eventually decommissioning its armoury and saying it was going out of business.

A key moment came when the DUP grew to become the largest Unionist party, a position that meant Mr Paisley would get to be First Minister in any new administration. That gave him the chance of moving on from perpetual opposition and into powerful office.

He and his party brooded on the options for many months. Its choices were to simply say no, thus blocking the formation of a new administration, or to agree to take part in a coalition dominated by itself and Sinn Fein. He would be First Minister but it would mean placing hmself at the head of a project he had spent years condemning.

While the signs are that he decided some time ago that he would go for devolution, a defining moment came earlier this month with elections to the Assembly. His party scored a triumphant victory, banishing candidates who were opposed to power-sharing.

On Saturday, a resolution supporting power-sharing was put to his party executive and passed overwhelmingly, with some in the ranks who had seemed to be doubters changing their position to one of support for the idea. All of that amounted to approval for Mr Paisley going into government with a united party and indeed a united Protestant electorate behind him, a level of support that gave him the confidence to do business with his lifelong foes.

What happens next?

* The clock is ticking towards 8 May, the date set for the transfer of powers from London to the Belfast Assembly. In the meantime, both Sinn Fein and the DUP will attempt to postpone unpopular new water rates. They will also be calling on Gordon Brown to increase a £1bn boost planned for the new administration. In the next few days, work will also begin on a programme for government to be ready for devolution. On 8 May, Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness are to be nominated as First Minister and Deputy First Minister. The Assembly's four largest parties will also nominate 10 departmental ministers.




Shaking the world


GORBACHEV and REAGAN (19 November 1985)

After more than 40 years of nuclear brinkmanship, the two met in Geneva to talk about scaling back their arsenals and did the unthinkable - they shook hands.


RABIN, ARAFAT and CLINTON (13 September 1993)

Bitter rivals Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat shook hands at the White House. It was the ultimate symbol of commitment to the Middle East peace process by two men who were seen as lifelong enemies


MANDELA and DE KLERK (4 May 1990)

Mandela shook hands with the person who had come to symbolise the government that imprisoned him. Although they remained bitter rivals, the moment came to symbolise their commitment to South African society


NIXON and MAO (February 1972)

Setting aside two decades of bitter animosity, Nixon's surprise visit to Communist China in 1972 and his subsequent handshake with the Chinese leader, Mao Zedong, was described at the time as a meeting that "shook the world".


BEGIN and SADAT (26 March 1979)

The first of the Middle East's momentous handshakes, with Jimmy Carter at the White House, sent shockwaves through the region. It ended 30 years of war between Israel and Egypt, but led to Anwar Sadat's assassination.

    The hands of history:
    Two worlds come together to broker a new era of hope, I, 27.3.2007,






On This Day: February 19, 1969


From The Times archive


[ Erreur de date du Times :
l'attentat d'Aldwych a été commis le 18 février 1996 -
l'article date donc de 1996 > http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/
february/18/newsid_4165000/4165719.stm ]


In spite of pessimistic first reports,

Edward O’Brien was the only person

to die in the Aldwych bus bombing

— blown up and killed by his own device

when it accidentally detonated


THREE people were feared dead and eight were injured last night when a bomb ripped without warning through a double-decker bus in central London.

The front half of the old- fashioned Routemaster bus was destroyed by the blast on the Aldwych near the Strand. Bodies were seen lying on the road and there was chaos as people ran from restaurants and public houses in Covent Garden near by.

Police, ten ambulances and four paramedic units went to the scene and took the dead and injured from the 171 bus to two hospitals. As helicopters hovered overhead, police on the ground used loudspeakers to warn people to move away or remain in hotels and restaurants. A large area was cordoned off and police warned drivers to expect traffic chaos this morning.

The bombing was the third attack on the capital in the nine days since the IRA announced the end of its 17-month ceasefire. Two people were killed and many injured in an attack at South Quay on the Isle of Dogs on February 9 and last Thursday an 11lb Semtex bomb was found in a phone box in Charing Cross Road and defused.

No claim of responsibility was made, but one theory was that the bomb exploded as a terrorist was travelling to plant it at another destination in London.

The bombing came on the eve of a Commons debate on emergency powers in Northern Ireland, which had been expected to be renewed for two years instead of five. It also came hours after Gerry Adams, the Sinn Fein president, offered John Major “the hand of friendship” although his remarks were coupled with a warning that the Government would face a “united republican struggle” for talks.

The Prime Minister, whose hopes for a summit with the Irish Prime Minister next week had faded in the aftermath of the earlier London attacks, was being kept informed of events but Downing Street made no immediate comment.

The explosion on the New Cross to King’s Cross bus at 10.38pm could be heard five miles away and witnesses described devastation at the scene. Anthony Yates said: “I was walking down the road and I saw a big white flash in the sky. I looked and then I saw a double-decker bus but there was nothing left of it, it was completely blown to pieces. There were three people at least dead.”

    On this day, February 19, 2005, The Times,






On This Day - June 11, 1986


From The Times archive


Patrick Magee was freed in 1999
as part of the Good Friday agreement’s
early release scheme.
He had served 14 years
for bombing the Grand Hotel, Brighton,
during the Conservative Party annual conference
in 1984


PATRICK MAGEE was yesterday found guilty of planting the Provisional IRA bomb at the Grand Hotel, Brighton, in 1984 and killing five people attending the Conservative Party annual conference.

At the Central Criminal Court Magee, aged 35, from Belfast, was convicted of planting the bomb in September 1984, causing the explosion the next month, and murdering five people. He was found guilty on seven counts after a jury of six men and six women had deliberated for five and a quarter hours at the end of a 24-day trial.

After hearing the verdicts, Magee looked up to the public gallery and winked. Bearded and wearing a brown leather jacket, Magee half-turned his back to the judge and called “good luck” up to the gallery before being taken down.

Magee will be sentenced once the jury has finished deciding other verdicts.

Magee was found guilty of placing a timed explosive device in room 629 of the Grand Hotel between September 14 and 19, 1984. He was found guilty of causing the explosion on October 12, 1984, when the bomb went off at 2.54am on the night before the last day of the conference.

At the time of the explosion, the Prime Minister and senior members of the Government were staying in the hotel. As well as the five people killed, 34 others were injured.

At the beginning of the trial in May the court was told by Mr Roy Amlot, prosecuting, that the bomb at the Grand Hotel came “within an inch of being the Provisional IRA’s most devastating explosion”.

Magee placed a timed device in the bathroom of room 629 in the month before the party conference. He used a false name and address to book into the hotel over a weekend, paid cash and may have been joined by another person.

After the bomb exploded the registration card for room 629 was examined by a Scotland Yard fingerprint expert who found a palm print and fingertip print, which he told the court matched fingerprints belonging to Magee.

From The Times Archive > On This Day - June 11, 1986, The Times, 11.6.2005,






November 28, 1975


Enemy of IRA bombers

killed outside home


From the Guardian archive


Friday November 28, 1975
Peter Chippindale
and Martin Walker


Mr Ross McWhirter, the television broadcaster and co-editor of the Guinness Book of Records, was shot dead at his London home last night, three weeks after he had launched a £50,000 Beat-the-Bombers campaign.

He was hit in the head and stomach when he answered the door at his home in Enfield, north London.

He was taken to Chase Farm hospital, nearby, where he later died. There was strong speculation that the shooting was the work of the IRA, and yet another escalation of their present terrorist campaign.

Mr McWhirter lived in a house standing in its own grounds. When [he] opened his front door, it was to greet his wife, who had just arrived by car. The gunmen had apparently been hiding in bushes in the garden. Last night his wife was staying locally with friends. Their two sons, Ian and Jamie, were at school at Marlborough.

Mr McWhirter was best known for co-editing the Guinness Book of Records with his identical twin, Norris. The publication has grown to become one of the most successful books ever published. However, he had recently gained publicity with his plans to combat terrorism. His organisation Self-Help offered a reward of between £20,000 and £50,000 for information leading to the conviction of terrorist bombers in Britain.

In October, Mr John Nundy, licensee of the Bay Horse Hotel, Winteringham, near Scunthorpe, won a High Court injunction with financial help from Mr McWhirter, to free his vehicle from the Eagle car ferry, which was held up by a labour dispute at Southampton.

Mr Nundy said last night: "I am deeply sorry. He was very much a people's man. He was in favour of justice and fairness for ordinary people."

MPs immediately condemned what Tory MP Mr John Stokes said was the first killing in England which had followed the examples of scores of murders in Northern Ireland.

Mr Eldon Griffiths, Conservative MP for Bury St Edmunds, said: "There is no way of dealing with this kind of obscenity without a return to the capital sentence."

Three weeks ago, launching his Beat-the-Bombers campaign, Mr McWhirter said a man had to live by his beliefs, and he was prepared to back them with action. "We are gradually wallowing into a situation of terror and violence, and not enough is being done to stop it." This was one of eight killings for which the so-called Balcombe Street gang of IRA terrorists received jail terms in 1977.

    From the Guardian archive > November 28, 1975
    Enemy of IRA bombers killed outside home, G,
    Republished 28.11.2006,






November 22, 1974


Pub blasts kill 17 in Birmingham


From the Guardian archive


Friday November 22, 1974


At least 17 people were killed and more than 120 were injured last night after bombs exploded almost simultaneously in two crowded public houses in the heart of Birmingham.

No warnings seemed to have been given for any of the explosions, which brought the highest death toll in England for an IRA bomb attack.

Emergency services were called in from all districts surrounding the city as customers in the public houses, most of them young people, lay dead and dying.

Those who survived the initial blasts - at the Tavern in the Town cellar bar and the Mulberry Bush - faced the horror of walls and ceilings falling on to the places where they lay trapped. Firemen tore at the rubble of the buildings with their hands.

The bombs came at 8.30pm as hundreds of police who might normally have been on duty in the city centre were waiting at Birmingham Airport nine miles away for the [plane] carrying the body of James McDade, the IRA bomber killed by his own bomb in Coventry, to take off for Belfast.

Patrol cars sped to seal off motorways and main roads out of the Midlands and railways police boarded trains arriving at Euston. In the Commons MPs spoke of "extreme feelings of revulsion being experienced in the city".

From Gareth Parry in Birmingham.
For those who survived the initial blasts, there was danger of being crushed to death by debris falling on to the places where they were trapped.

The streets outside the two public houses in New Street and in the Rotunda were littered with dead bodies and dismembered limbs which lay for nearly half an hour after the first explosion. Police and ambulance men were concentrating efforts in rescuing the trapped.

A woman aged about 20 said: "I had come into the Tavern a few minutes before it happened. I went over to the bar with my girlfriend, and was just about to buy a drink when there was a bang and everything started falling upon us.

"I flicked on my lighter and saw my friend next to me had lost her foot. I thought I was also dead and that my spirit was just carrying on, for everywhere I looked there was murder."

Rescue workers in the Tavern called for steel props to hold up the roof of the basement pub. A senior brigade officer said: "We cannot go near the injured for fear of bringing the building on top of them."

Film of the bombings shown on the BBC showed two or three men running from the scene of one of the explosions and down steps to a waiting car.

    From the Guardian archive > November 22, 1974
    Pub blasts kill 17 in Birmingham, G, Republished 22.11.2006,






May 30 1939


Another tear gas outrage in cinema


From The Guardian archive


May 30 1939
The Guardian


Police throughout the North of England are searching for a woman who is believed to have been concerned in another tear-gas bomb outrage in a Liverpool cinema, this time the Tatler News Theatre in Church Street, this afternoon, when 25 members of an audience of 200 had to be taken to the Royal Infirmary for treatment.

A description furnished by cinema-goers at the Tatler tallies with others given by members of the audiences of the two Liverpool cinemas where similar explosions occurred a few weeks ago. Police are searching for this woman, who is believed to be a member of the I.R.A. organisation, and a particularly close watch is being kept at the ports, as it is believed she leaves for Ireland immediately after the outrages.

All holiday-makers returning to Belfast and Dublin were closely scrutinised to-night on Liverpool landing-stage by plain-clothes police. Warning was also flashed to all theatres and cinemas on Merseyside, and a close watch was kept until the end of the evening performances.

The explosion at the Tatler, which sounded like a huge firework, occurred immediately after the showing of a "Popeye" film. There was a flash of flame, and the theatre, which was only a quarter full owing to exceptionally fine weather, was filled with a white mist which blinded and choked the audience.

The manager, Mr. Keith Hann, with his doorman and fireman, opened all exit doors and quelled any panic, leading out the women. Tears streaming down their faces, they were aided by five gallant girl attendants, all of whom were eventually overcome and had to go to hospital.

The twenty-five people, including a six-year-old boy and a 74-year-old woman, who were taken to the Liverpool Royal Infirmary were all allowed home after treatment.




Birmingham cinema explosions

Four magnesium bombs exploded in the Paramount Cinema, Birmingham, last night. The alarm of the audience of 300 was allayed by a man who stood up and shouted, "Don't worry. Keep calm. It is only the Irish again."

After the smoke had cleared people returned to their seats and the programme was completed. Little damage was done. The first of the bombs, which were understood to be contained in tobacco tins, went off in the balcony, and there was at once a rush for the exits. The three others went off in rapid succession downstairs.

Shortly afterwards a search made on police advice revealed an unexploded bomb of similar type upstairs at the Gaumont Cinema, Steelhouse Lane.

From The Guardian archive > May 30 1939 >
Another tear gas outrage in cinema,
G, republished 30.5.2007, p. 30,






October 12, 1921


Don't be too tragic about Ireland


From the Guardian archive


Wednesday October 12, 1921


The Anglo-Irish Conference duly met at Downing Street yesterday. We purposely express the fact in terms of nationality, because that is the point of view from which it can most usefully and truthfully be regarded.

But when people - Mr. De Valera is, we fear, one of them - talk about Englishmen being "foreigners" and about England as a foreign nation, politeness alone prevents us from telling them that in our opinion they talk nonsense. Irishmen are not and never will be Englishmen; even the Ulster and Orange brand is at bottom much more Irish than it is English. But on the other hand a bond, even an unwilling bond, and a continuous connection and inter-mixture going right back through the centuries to a point not so very far removed from the Norman Conquest of this island (which unfortunately was never completely extended to the outlying island) does not count for nothing.

Neither does the fact that Irishmen have played a great part in English history and literature, that we find ourselves very much at home in their land, and that they have made themselves very much at home in ours. Therefore we positively decline to recognise anything essentially foreign, and not even should they insist on addressing Mr. Lloyd George in the Irish language (which to some of them may sound less familiar than to that brother Celt) and calling in the service of an interpreter will they persuade us to regard them as unqualified aliens.

They come as representatives of a nation to present a national case. No doubt during the negotiations there may be a pretty heavy tug-of-war. But that is no reason for taking the matter too tragically.

The fundamental fact is that both peoples want to be friends, and friends in the end they will be.

Mr. Churchill has signalised himself quite recently by foolish talk about the "real war" that is to follow should the present negotiations fail, in contrast to the "mere bushranging" represented by the glorious achievements of our Black-and-Tans. [The Royal Irish Constabulary Reserve Force of 7,000 ex-soldiers, a byword for brutality.]

But Mr. Churchill, who is a realist as well an orator, knows quite well that nothing of the kind is going to happen, just because, whatever his own warlike aspirations may be - and he has given abundant and at times disastrous proof of them - they are not shared by the British people.

[The people] will not tolerate the renewal of the brutalities from which the truce has relieved us and cannot be lashed into any frenzy of hate or terror.

From the Guardian archive > October 12, 1921
Don't be too tragic about Ireland,
Republished 12.10.2006,






May 4 1916


Interpreting the soul of the rising


From The Guardian archive


May 4 1916
The Guardian


Few things indeed are harder than to interpret the soul of a people or of a movement. Perhaps there lurks everywhere among men an element of madness; certainly among men of Irish race the romantic, the irresponsible, the desperate, the wild is never far from the smooth surface of things.

Nothing could seem on the face of it more hopeless than the attempt of a few thousand men, even in the capital counting only a force relatively insignificant, to upset the established government of the country, supported by the great majority of people and backed by overwhelming civil and military force. And yet the attempt was made — made, to all appearance, quite seriously, and conceived and carried through its initial stage with great ability and considerable success.

The men who have made the streets of Dublin run with blood and reduced part of it to ruins, are not politicians, and they are not particularly sane. They are mostly wild young spirits tired of the slow ways of political agitation and easily led by fanatical and reckless men. Home Rule ought, of course, to have been passed twenty years ago, in Gladstone's lifetime, when movements such as this would have become for ever impossible and the young blood of Ireland would have run in safer if more prosaic channels. Even now, with Home Rule almost in sight and a better day dawning, only a strange combination of events could have brought about such a catastrophe.

It had its seat and origin in Dublin, and could have taken place nowhere else. In Dublin, side by side with the romantic and literary movement of the Sinn Fein, there exists perennial misery of a kind hardly conceived in any English city. Add to this that for the first time the people had arms, and it is no wonder that desperate counsels were in the ascendant and desperate deeds were done.

Yet the truth remains that "this is not an Irish rebellion" — it is only a rebellion of a relatively small section of Irishmen in a single great Irish city, for outside Dublin the movement appears to have been almost wholly abortive. The rebellion itself perhaps matters less than the place it is destined to take in the consciousness of the Irish people and in the long memory of Ireland. Of this much if not everything will depend on the way it is now handled.

Three of the ringleaders have, it was yesterday stated, been tried by courtmartial in Dublin and shot. Is that not enough?

Attributed to CP Scott

[On May 9, after nine more executions, a leader said:

"The Dublin military executions are becoming

an atrocity."]

From The Guardian archive > May 4 1916 > Interpreting the soul of the rising,
Republished 4.5.2007
p. 38,






May 1 1916


Women fight beside the rebels


From The Guardian archive


May 1 1916
The Guardian


"There are a conspicuous number of women fighting with the rebels [in the Easter Rising], and some have been shot and some captured," declared a man who arrived in London from Dublin yesterday morning. "I saw a number of women marching into Dublin on Sunday last. Some of them had naval revolvers strapped round them. They were wearing a dark green uniform similar to that of the male insurgents, and slouch hats. They consist largely of young women, but there are a number of older ones, I believe. They had had training with the men, for they do not lack a certain discipline and organisation. There have been cases of military officers being shot from behind by women."

Dealing with the methods employed by the soldiers in their efforts to dislodge the rebels from their positions, he said the rebels would allow the soldiers to approach, and while the soldiers were pausing before the attack they would snipe at them from the windows of houses.

The soldiers say that it is worse than France because they never know when to expect to be fired upon or where the enemy is. They have now adopted better tactics, however. They fire for a while at the houses and then a bombing party rushes up with hand grenades. The rebels are driven from house to house, and the direction from which firing comes is continually changing. The rebels, who know every inch of the city, get away from the soldiers and appear somewhere else.

By knocking openings in the partition-walls of houses they have succeeded in establishing covered communications. They occupied a number of big houses which commanded important thoroughfares. They were burned out of one of these strongholds in Percy Place, and gas was employed by the military in dislodging them from part of the Post Office. The Sinn Feiners displayed a white flag of sur render, but on an officer approaching to ascertain their meaning he was shot dead. An R.A.M.C. man told me that there are few wounded rebels. Many have been shot outright.

The population are making the most of the rebellion, and it is not the insurgents themselves who are guilty of most of the looting. On Thursday night I saw some women coming down Grafton Street carrying boxes of oranges taken from some shop, and passers-by were helping themselves.

[James Connolly said in a message of support

to English suffragettes in 1913:

"When trimmers and compromisers disavow you,

I, a poor slum-bred politician,

raise my hat in thanksgiving that I lived to see

this resurgence of women."]

From The Guardian archive > May 1 1916,
Women fight beside the rebels,
G, republished 1.5.2007, p. 32,






March 24 1914


Contingent mutiny on the Curra


From The Guardian archive


[ Most Cavalry Brigade officers had made clear

that they would prefer to be dismissed

rather than obey orders to act against moves

to establish self-government in Ulster ]


March 24 1914
The Guardian


The contingent mutiny of the cavalry officers in Ireland has raised political questions that make even Home Rule seem small. These officers asserted the right to lay down the conditions under which they would continue to serve the King. Has that right been recognised?

If the answer had been a plain 'No,' plain men would have had this cause for thankfulness, that the supremacy of law had been vindicated and that the Government, not the army — or a small section of fashionable men — were our rulers. If the answer had been a plain 'Yes,' then these same men would have had cause to fear the worst. When any future crisis came no Government could feel sure that the weapon with which it is accustomed in the last resort to enforce respect for the law would not break in its hands.

The officer has no rights that the private soldier has not. If the officer may resign when he is threatened with work which he or his friends do not like, so may the private soldier. The civil Government would have ceased to exist except in so far as the army approved what it is doing, and the sovereignty of the country would have been transferred from the people to a military caste.

Had Mr. Asquith's answer been an emphatic 'No,' he would have been supported by every Liberal and by every Conservative who still believes in the old ideals of his party. He has said neither 'Yes' nor 'No,' but his answer is much nearer 'Yes'. We say it with regret and some shame.

The duty of the Government was plain. When [the officers] threatened to resign (that is, to desert or to absent themselves without leave) they should have been dealt with exactly as private soldiers. They should have been tried by court-martial, and punished. They have not been so treated, first, because they were rich men; secondly, because they had the prejudices of their class.

Not only is there one law for the rich man in the army and another for the poor, but there is one standard of a Tory officer's loyalty to his oath and another for a private with Labour sympathies. For a Liberal Government to acquiesce is not only to deal a serious blow at the army but to be false to the whole conception of democratic progress. What worse risks were there that compelled the Government to take a risk like this? We cannot imagine.


Attributed to CE Montague

From The Guardian archive > March 24 1914 >
Contingent mutiny on the Curra,
G, 8.4.2007,
Republished 8.4.2007,
p. 36,










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