A re-examination of the use of internment without trial in Northern Ireland in the early 1970s

  • Martin Joseph McCleery

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    The central premise ofthis thesis is that the use of internment without trial in Northern Ireland from 1971 to 1975 has not been given proper academic investigation. My research provides a more comprehensive account of internment and assesses previously unexplored aspects of its use. In this thesis I demonstrate my argument by examining three main areas. Firstly I consider the high politics and intelligence surrounding the introduction ofinternment; in doing so I challenge accepted narratives regarding the measure. I demonstrate that there was ample intelligence available on both republican and loyalist paramilitaries. Additionally I show that a policy of not interning loyalist paramilitaries was pursued, firstly by Stormont and then Westminster, until 1973. I argue that the introduction of internment was actively supported by both administrations. Furthermore I contend that around this time the British government had adopted a policy which contained a much greater security emphasis. This thesis also highlights long-term and short-term consequences which developed from the internment period. Finally this research examines the evolution ofthe conflict in Northern Ireland between 1970 and 1972 outside of Belfast and Derry. This is a substantial part ofthis thesis which concentrates on four towns: Lurgan, Newry, Dungannon and Enniskillen. I show that the development ofthe dynamics ofthe conflict was certainly more gradual and possibly less inevitable in these areas than in Belfast and to a lesser extent Derry
    Date of AwardJul 2013
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Queen's University Belfast

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