Unionist Collapse and Adaptation: January 1969–June 1970
The civil rights campaign destabilised Northern Ireland by the simple fact of politically mobilising the state’s Catholic minority which had previously been quiescent. But the state did not collapse solely because of this. Pressures had been building up for decades within the Protestant community too. Discontent was expressed in everything from Desmond Boal’s desire for greater democracy within the Unionist party to Ivan Cooper’s frustration with the domination of the party in Mid-Derry by an ageing local hierarchy.1 These pressures were released by the crisis produced by the civil rights campaign. While the first reforms encouraged the further growth of Catholic political activity, and therefore put ever-increasing pressure on the state, the reforms also tore apart the ruling Unionist party in the space of a few months.
KeywordsUnionist Association Unionist Control Civil Unrest Local Party Development Commission
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