chapter  2
61 Pages

Northern Ireland

Ourselves alone
WithSeán McConville

Northern Ireland had been created by a Westminster Act variously unwanted by Ulster unionists and by nationalists and republicans alike. A major but seldom-considered factor in the state of insecurity that developed in Northern Ireland was the status of the Truce. In much the same manner as the Provisional government was straining to build its regular army to ensure the survival of the state, Craig and his colleagues maximised the number of their men under arms. The visceral connection between policing and Northern Ireland politics, the dangers for both parties and the range of sensitivities involved were demonstrated in quite a different way in a parallel case. With fateful rapidity the sectarian perception of policing in Northern Ireland was dipped in the fixative of police-related atrocities. By the early 1920s, the shape of the Northern Ireland state had been formed, much of its detail completed and its style displayed.