Why Did the Civil Rights Movement in Northern Ireland Emerge and Was It Successful Essay

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Why did the Civil Rights Movement in Northern Ireland emerge and was it successful? The term ‘Civil Rights’ refers to the rights of equality to all citizens in a democracy by law. The Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association (NICRA) was set up in 1967 in order to campaign for Civil Rights for Catholics and Nationalists in Northern Ireland, where discrimination had existed since the foundation of Northern Ireland as a state under ‘The Government of Ireland Act, 1920’. NICRA had five basic demands; one person, one vote, an end to Gerrymandering, Legislation to protect against discrimination, the repeal of the Special Powers Act and an end to the B-Specials, a part-time volunteer auxiliary police force, made up entirely of Protestant Unionists and deeply mistrusted by the Nationalist Community. The leaders of NICRA included Austin Currie, Bernadette Devlin and John Hume, all of whom were part of an emerging young, educated, Catholic élite in Northern Ireland. The Civil Rights Movement organised marches and rallies and collected evidence of sectarianism by the RUC and the Stormont government in order to present a case to Westminster. Many members wanted direct rule to be imposed in order to put an end to Unionist domination in Northern Ireland. The Civil Rights Movement was based upon the Civil Rights Movement in the United States and wanted to bring about change in a peaceful manner. Although the Civil Rights Movement flourished between 1967 and 1969, increasing violence after 1969 led many to believe that it had failed. What however were the main factors that explain the emergence of the Civil Rights Movement in Northern Ireland and was it successful? One important reason that explains the emergence of the Civil Rights Movement was the practise of Gerrymandering. Gerrymandering is a term coined that explains the drawing of electoral boundaries in Northern

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