The Ulster Question Since 1945, Second Edition (Studies in by James Loughlin

By James Loughlin

Because the outbreak of the current issues in August 1969, a thriving educational literature at the Ulster challenge and its heritage has constructed. according to the main authoritative texts and trained magazine and newspaper commentaries, this revised and up to date version comprises new fabrics at the interval as an entire, and an review of the advancements because the signing of the great Friday contract in 1998.

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This remained the thrust of government economic policy until the end of Brooke’s premiership in 1963. The problem, however, was that Northern Ireland’s traditional industries – textiles, shipbuilding and agriculture – proved incapable of delivering sustained economic progress. Competition from lower-cost foreign producers together with the effects of modernisation resulted in large-scale employment reduction in all three areas. The decline in staple industries was reflected in a high level of unemployment throughout the 1950s.

Accordingly, as the London–Stormont relationship strengthened, reinforced as the cold war took off by the belief that Northern Ireland was essential to western national defence, the position of Irish nationalists on the Ulster question weakened. The security now enjoyed by unionists was to rule out any serious consideration of the constitutional question until after the outbreak of civil conflict in 1969. The clearest indication of the new state of affairs came in 1949 when Eire abruptly departed from the Commonwealth and became a republic.

Westminster, however, backed down when Craig threatened to resign and leave it with the responsibility for governing the region. In so doing a fateful precedent was set, whereby Westminster abrogated any attempt to oversee the internal affairs of Northern Ireland, thus allowing the regime to pursue policies that would eventually result in the civil disorder of 1969. Control of local government gave control of the patronage within its gift and the issue of discrimination in council jobs and housing would be at the centre of the civil rights campaign of the 1960s.

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