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Towards the New Millennium

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Abstract

‘Ulster has reached its millennium of murder and misery’, the Belfast Telegraph declared in 1974, printing the names of all 1,000 people who had been killed since the beginning of ‘the Troubles’.2 In 1980, two more ‘grim milestones’ were passed: the 2,000th death, and the 100th death of a member of the Ulster Defence Regiment.3 In 1991 the 2,000th civilian to be killed marked another ‘grim landmark’, with a total of 2,911 deaths in all.4 Had the same proportion of people been killed in Britain, the total would have been over 100,000. That was the scale of the problem of violence. Every so often there appeared to be defining moments, bringing hope that this might be a turning point. Such a moment came in August 1976, when three young children were killed in Andersonstown, and gave rise to the Peace Movement led by Betty Williams and Mairead Corrigan. Another was the Enniskillen bomb in 1987, during the Remembrance Day service, and the death of a young nurse whose father, Gordon Wilson, emerged as a foremost spokesman for peace. The Omagh bombing in August 1998 was another. Every death of course brought grief to a family, and sometimes the poignancy was unbearable for many, especially when children were the victims - the young son of a Presbyterian minister, two small boys in Warrington, three small boys in Ballymena and many more. And every murder, especially of a civilian, was followed by what became an ‘almost ritualistic condemnation session at the BBC’.5 The murders were ghastly, but so too for many was the world in which they happened. ‘Is there life before death?’, asked a graffito in Ballymurphy in 1973.6

Keywords

Integrate School Mixed Marriage Protestant Church Integrate Education Sectarian Divide 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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© Alan J. Megahey 2000

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