Provos, Loyalists and Brits
A trilogy of Documentary Series on Northern Ireland Conflict - Provos, Loyalists and Brits. BBC documentary series looking at the history of the IRA and Sinn Fein over the past 30 years, an intimate account of the lives of loyalist paramilitaries and the role of the British armed forces in Northern Ireland, made by journalist Peter Taylor.
Provos: Born Again. Documentary looking at the changes and rise in the Provisional IRA in Northern Ireland from 1969 on. Considers the events of civil unrest in the late 1960s, the ideology and actions of the leaders of the IRA then, which underwent a significant change after the attacks by loyalists and B Specials on Catholics and Nationalists and their homes. Looks at the background of the deployment of British troops, and how they were first welcomed, but later viewed as the enemy. Includes interviews with many older IRA members who talk about their motivations and aims, and the escalation into shooting and bombings, especially after the events of Bloody Sunday.
Provos: Second Front. Looks into what was discussed at secret meetings between the British authorities and Provisional IRA during the 1970s, and how Britian may have countenanced withdrawal from Northern Ireland. Examines the emergence of Sinn Fein as a political force and the bombing campaigns both in the Province and the British mainland. Also examines the prison protests in the Maze prison, and the hunger strikes, and the effects of the deaths of Bobby Sands and other hunger strikers.
Provos: Secret War. Concentrates on the 1980s and the relaunch of a campaign by the IRA after the death of the hunger strikers. Looks at the increase in heavy weaponry purchased and the funding and supply lines and the IRA's keeness to get hold of surface-to-air missiles to shoot down army helicopters. It also goes into the emergence of IRA informants and "supergrasses" and the effect they had on operations.
Provos: Endgame. The final episode focuses on how the military stalemate of the late 80s created a context whereby the Sinn Fein leadership could persuade the IRA Army Council that the final phase of the struggle had to be political. It also shows how the stalemate paved the way for a remarkable series of secret negotiations between the Government and the IRA which made possible the cessation of 1994. The programme also describes how, despite the end of the ceasefire and the subsequent Canary Wharf and Manchester bombings, backstage efforts for peace continued, resulting in a renewed IRA ceasefire and the current all-party talks.
Loyalists: No Surrender. Documentary series presented by Peter Taylor, about the origins and evolution of the loyalist paramilitary movement in Northern Ireland.
Loyalists: Returning the Serve. In the late 1970s the conflict in Northern Ireland reached new levels of brutality. Among those caught up in the violence was UVF member Billy Giles, who retaliated against IRA acts by murdering a Catholic workmate.
Loyalists: War and Peace. Former Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) prisoners Gerry Spence and Bobby Philpott claim that Loyalist violence in the early nineties made the IRA realise they could not win. Peter Taylor reveals the true face of the Loyalist paramilitaries and assesses the prospects for peace in the face of continuing sectarian tensions.
Brits: The Secret War. This programme focuses on the period 1969-1975. As the IRA launched its terror campaign in the early 1970s, Britain realised that intelligence gathering would be the key to countering their threat. Included in this part are revelations about the covert operations carried out by the army, including the story of how the security services discovered that the IRA had bugged the army's Northern Ireland headquarters and how they captured key IRA figures involved with the bugging.
Brits: Shoot to Kill. Examination of a series of incidents from the mid-seventies where security forces reacted with speed and aggression. Members of Special Branch, MI6 and the army talk about the dangers of life in the war against the IRA. In their attempts to fight fire with fire did the agents of the crown sometimes go beyond the limits acceptable in a democratic state?
Brits: Holding the Line. Third and final part of the series investigating British undercover operations in Northern Ireland. Reveals how pressure from British intelligence services helped to bring the IRA to the negotiating table. Also looks at the prospect for a lasting peace.
Having just read Malcolm Gladwell's David and Goliath, the entire Britian/Ireland conflict is put in an entirely new perspective. The principle of legitimacy couldn't be more apparent than it was with this entire ordeal.
(The “principle of legitimacy,” and legitimacy is based on three things. First of all, the people who are asked to obey authority have to feel like they have a voice – that if they speak up, they will be heard. Second, the law has to be predictable. There has to be a reasonable expectation that the rules tomorrow are going to be roughly the same as the rules today. And third, the authority has to be fair. It can’t treat one group differently from another.”)
The BBC always promoted propaganda about Ulster. The British Army worked alongside the Unionists (originated from "protestant" settlers brought from England to wipe out Catholicism in Ireland). The urgent issues for ulster in the 1970s were that Roman Catholics did not have equal access to housing, education, jobs. The "British Army" made sure that Irish Catholics (Nationalsist - also known as Fenians) always challenged the rule of law (British occupation) that denied them access to essential resources and denied them human rights. Before the English arrived in Ireland it was a small peaceful country. The "occupiers" caused so much suffering, slaughter, famine, genocide it is surprising there are any Irish people left to tell their story. But, hey, what goes around comes around. Look at England now, a bankrupt, banana republic (oops with a Queen) who continues extracting £millions by stealth from their own English taxpayers today.
Best comments I have had the pleasure of reading.
Fascinating documentary which made clearer to me with detail the conflict in Northern Ireland..ONLY why is this from the POV from the Protestants Loyalist side and not from those in the IRA?
Why have the "Provos" portion of these documentaries disappeared from youtube and other places? Is this censorship? Is it possible to reinstate these very important historical documentaries?
32 = 1
I grew up with the threat of the IRA looming of course its nothing to what the people of Northern Ireland went through on a day to day basis. I remember being really young and asking my mum why we had taken it if it wasnt ours and never getting a clear answer which was confusing and even back then i thought it should of been handed back to the republic of Ireland. If roles were reversed im sure we the English would of been doing something very similar to try and repel and regain our lost land.
I believe Counter makes a valid point, the Rioting and retaliatory attacks by paramilitary organizations must desist. However I support RAAD and other such organizations, that work to uphold the security and decency of our Area.
like in any battle for freedom I watch the video and than I go on to disrespect the cause as I see the sh*t heads who comment after. It may be time to call an end to a bloody war but who is calling the shots? There is a love for conflict that no peace can ever replace. I Just hope that you enjoy bloodshed.
Its time to call a halt to all this !! there's enough blood been shed in recent memory and also the last 800 years , lets think of the kids of the next generation ,We mourn who are lost and respect what they fought for , The world is getting smaller , as such we are neighbors more than ever .I as a non religious Irishman have more concerns about our childrens futures than than the past , not belittling it , but surely when we look at the global situation at the moment we should unite as , not politically different , but more kindred in what we want for the future of our next generation !! You Americans can't seem to grasp this concept .. rape everywhere !!!
Oh,by the way, Jamie (who also clearly isnt Irish), Ireland isnt part of the British Isles. I think that was the whole point of the troubles. Chances are your American cos in fairness you guys no f*** all about anything outside of that poxy country. Its like me saying your Candian but in fairness thats an insult to Canadians. At least their intellegent
Allister MCCLEAN, you dont sound too Irish if you dont mind me saying, and even if you are, you still havent a f****** breeze. 'Nice one Bin Laden' says it all. I am Irish, live in ireland, and always have. Im sure Padraig Pearse and the rest of the lads would agree with flying planes in to buildings and cutting peoples head off on TV.I dont agree with what the IRA done but different circumstances result in different outcomes. Blowing up civilians like they did has no excuse and if you ask the old proper republicans, im sure they would agree to at least some extent. Only soldiers should have been legit. Either way we are passed that now ya muppet so grow up, shed off those teenage knacker clothes your wearing and have a proper interest like golf or something, cos in fairness you know f*** all. Learn the history properly before you start mouthing off. If anything the one thing the RA had was percision and effectiveness and realised the difference between attention and too much attention
Irish population = Catholics who mainly identify themselves as Irish v Protestants who predominantly identify themselves as British. One dates back to the days of pre English rule, the other dates back to English and Scottish settlers sent to Ireland.
Very similar to Texas where the Hispanic population is mainly Catholic and the Anglo population mainly Protestant, one population dates back to the time Texas was part of Mexico, the other to the time when America was expanding its frontiers.
Now I wonder how Americans would feel if the Hispanics in Texas, New Mexico, etc suddenly rose up started blowing up US soldiers and police and planting bombs everywhere? Sure there would be a lot of people saying their actions were legitimate and the US has no right to govern those states that once belonged to Mexico. But others would ague time moves on and the reality is it does! Democracy exists to keep people happy. If democracy still exists and people turn to the bomb, it's because they wish to exert their rights over everyone else.
Irish Americans have a very one dimensional view of the Irish Troubles. Ireland is part of the British Isles, we are essentially the same people Anglo-Celts, with a long shared history of inter-migrations, marriage and settlement. This is not so much the case with America's Hispanic population, who have far less in common with the Anglo-American ruling elites.
In a word take your nose and shove it someone else's problems. Everywhere America looks it fails to see in anything other than in a one dimensional Walt Disney type of way. The world isn't Walt Disney. Leave us Irish/British alone, to sort our family out. We don't need 8th generation Irish Americans to help us!
I notice alot of talke here about protestants and catholics blah blah blah.,,it all seems to me that politics have played you all against eachother.
Think about it
Just wish we thought of hijacking a jumbo jet, that wud've been a winning idea. If the Brits in the North don't like it, we'll keep going until you accept it. All freedom fighters together. Nice one Bin Laden, RIP
i think its about time you americans had a fight in your own country, instead of starting, provoking or overseeing war all over the ret of the world, at the benefit of the federal reserve.
james elliot let tell u something, How dare u call me a terrorist or a criminal (ask maggie thatcher) who reinstated POW status after 10 brave men died on hungerstrike meaning the british government regonised the PIRA as an army and not criminals. Onto ur point of cowards ill say, can u remember the loyalist pot noddle hunger strike? wat an embrassment, enough said. The criminals are the occupying british army who shoot dead unarmed civilians then try to put explosives on their bodies, eg bloody sunday. The british government has run death squads, also gave wrong information on innocent people within the nationlist community to these death squads to murder to keep the informers they had within the republican community safe. Still they could not break us. Onto ur point about the americans, I seem to remember a former soldier called Brian Nelson, running around south africa being supplied with weapons from aparthied regime, do you remember him?. Now onto ur point of the PIRA calling them freedom fighters i think not my friend ,we are the rightful army on this island of ireland and any occupying force will be fought and defeated by this army not in the name of freedom but in the name of ireland. Now about people in america celebrating any deaths i couldn't say that was the truth because i was not there but i was at windsor stadium (home of linfield) on the night after the uda shot dead 2 binmen up in kennedy way and can rightly remember the linfield supporters singing the song "my old mans a dustman". Then again the only people who where freedom fighters where the UFF (ulster freedom fighters, another death squad) who out of all the murders they commited killed about 10 actual PIRA men. And what freedom where they actually fighting for? please tell me. I think you james has a touch of selective knowledge like myself when it comes to trying explain our war to an outsiders. I admit this you try to conceal this fact. Feel free to respond
I'm from Northern Ireland and have lived the majority of my life under the shadow of state-sponsored terrorism. Which state? Well, the US seems to have provided a lion's share of the funding for the IRA and other such criminal organisations. The will of the people? As stated above, the majority of Irish people in Northern Ireland do not want a united Ireland. These people are called Unionists, are generally protestant, and are as Irish as the Catholics with whom we share our state, Northern Ireland. I have seen friends and family killed by cowards calling themselves freedom fighters, though they fight against the democratically expressed will of the people of Northern Ireland, and indiscriminately kill women and children. To all 'Irish' Americans toasting these atrocities in bars in Boston I would say, simply and clearly, "Give Northern Ireland back to the Northern Irish". We do not welcome your participation in a debate you know nothing about. I took no pleasure whatever in the events of 9/11 in your country. I would thank you to extend the same courtesy to me and mine.
I have not yet read all the comments here, but thank you DC, Ciaran and Norbertine. I wish I had a pound for every American who has claimed to be Irish and supports terrorism in this country.
During the height of the troubles they contributed between fifteen to twenty million dollars annually in support of terrorism in a country they claim to love. Irony must be lost on these people.
I have witnessed those atrocities first hand and will never forget seeing a young catholic neigbour girl, stripped naked, tarred and feathered and tied to the lampost. That was the way the IR a treated members of their own community.
I would also like to ad the IR a never did a thing to protect our most vulnerable women and children from the Roman Catholic run schools and laundries. They did nothing to protect the most innocent of citizens in this country against those who abused them. Gerry Adams brother is a known peadophile and so was his father, Gerry s da was given a full honour IR a funeral for his abuse of his own and others children. For you Americans out there. WHERE is the "romance" in that?
I find the mentality of catholics like DC rather exasperating. The idea of an independent Irish state evokes no passion from them at all. I have no doubt had they been around during the Easter Uprising they would have reviled the rebels as murderous Anglophobes. They’re cold fish upon whom a nation could never be founded. They dull
The modern IRA has been a seriously flawed organization, but that doesn’t make the armed struggle for Irish independence wrong. Too many moderate Irish people concede this point too readily.
The IRA was a pretty woeful organization for the past fifty years but maybe if all of us moderate, thoughtful, and “ethical” Irish nationalists had actually had the balls to join it and make it meet a higher standard of conduct people would actually have a militant nationalist movement they could be proud of. Sitting on the sidelines and castigating the participants is the lame and hypocritical way most of us live.
Incredibly good documentary and love the commentary. The violence is over, isn't it?
If ya love ireland dont blow it up
Dont get me wrong, anthing made by the bbc is going to be very biased... aparrently mountbatten had an awful dandruff problem... sure didn't they find his head and shoulders on the beach?
By the way 'Irish Kev' has hit the nail on the head... It's always been about domination over the colonies natural resources... be it the spaniards raping mount potosi, or be it bertie making dirty deals with Bush over in camp David in yellow pants... Its all the same....
As much as we might curse the ideals of Thatcher.. or for that matter the boys who broke out of long kesh in '83'... it's always going to be a stalemate.. If ye want a true republican point of view, find 'Ruairi O Bradaigh' sorry now, but its tue...
was going to watch this, as im currently living in Ireland but being born of South Africa my knowledge of Irish and British history is limited, as always i read a few of the comments first, and have decided. ignorance at least in this case is bliss
The bottom line is... as it saddens me so much... the majority of Irish youngfellas are still going to watch Manchester United play every Saturday, and their birds are still going to watch Eastenders... and each of them will never know what Robert Emmett spoke from those docks... It's just the world we live in today..
'DC' is the only man who knows what hes talking about on this forom.. why don't the rest of ye jokers just let it lie.....
For christ's sake.. why all the aggro? as a Kerryman, and as a man who was born and bred with all the connotations that come with being from one side, or another side of the civil war, the war of independance, or the war against british influence on te Irish 'press'.... What really matters is this... As james Connolly turns in his grave, what has the free state turned out to be eventually? only another arm of the 'american/british' forces of imperialism... listen to what 'dc' has to say... and please shut up the rest of ye.. and look up James Connolly..... A 32 County Socialist Republic..... Someday soon....
Why does every documentary on here consist of a argument, isn't there an actual board for bickering? I just wanted to know if the documentary was any good.
The guy at 7:22 looksuncannily like Gordon Ramsay
Yeah well , its not only the Irish government that sales their people out , rather it is all government. The bigger it is , the more it will take. And when they deplete their population and resources , they look for others elsewhere. Sometimes your country is the one taking it up the a**.
Have to agree with you there doris. The island of Ireland signed away most of its fishing quotas to the E.E.C. resigning many fishermen to the dole and allowing other countries to take more fish from Irish waters than the Irish. Our great "leaders" also signed away trillions of euro in natural gas and oil deposits in unspoiled waters off the west coast to the same geniuses who caused the present disaster in the Mexican Gulf without realising a single cent now or in the future for the Irish taxpayer. Just two examples but I could go on. Anyone interested check out Shell To Sea.ie
eirecannach666 Brittania would be sucking the Irish dryer than an eighty year old hooker.lmao,the irish voted to let the euro leaders do that now,the irish/what a clever bunch
Thats hilarious,man.Serves them right. Tit for Tat.
Well, as I said, I WAS hacked.
But, let me just say... I don't think the guy that hacked me will ever do it again...
Glad to see you back.
Most definitely! Very easy if you need to. Lets just hope the time will never come when you get hacked.
“Violence isn't always evil. What's evil is the infatuation with violence.”-Jim Morrison
Hello, my gaelic brother!
Well, let me just put this out there:
Hypothetically, and in no way that could be proven in court, let's just say, that I MAY have a couple of employees "off the books" for "special projects". That is complete fantasy, of course.
In this fantasy of mine, I recently was cyber-attacked by a guy in Florida and then I sent my guys to address the situation, (when you mess with my income, you must suffer).
Now, in my fantasy, that can in no way be used against me in a court of law, I have all of this man's computers and he may need to buy a new car... maybe!
(you kids need to understand how easy it is to find you on the internet! All you need is a P.I. license and the right software...)
As I said, this is all untrue. Something I made up!
But, yes, violence is the last resort... but sometimes important, unfortunately...
I dont condone violence or war but sometimes all people will listen to is a fist. Peaceful ends are best but you cant always have it that way. It would be nice though.
God I hate the glorification of war and the military. I thought the purpose of docs like these was to educate people and not to provide an excuse for banner waving. The people of Ireland (and the U.S.and U.K.)have more reason to worry about their own govts. than about old conflicts. Increase the Peace, Tiocfaidh Ar La and watch out for the N.W.O. (Sorry for the gicknaa crack btw).
Id appreciate it if you would refrain from name calling like I dont know what a gicknaa means.
I respect all forms of military especially the special forces.Me saying that the SAS are elite and deserves respect as well as the US special forces and those around the world,has nothing to do with what I have said here, or this doc. Iam aware of the SAS role during this time and they were just doing what they were told.No matter if they tortured or killed. That doesnt change my mind of them being elite. Nor does it change my mind about special forces having made a huge contribution around the world.
Thanks Vlatko. Now I can sleep tonight. Just sent you an email by the way. Peace.
what a great documentary. That's a conflict I've wanted to understand more thoroughly and this was thorough. A lot of you noted an imbalance or favoritism for the Brits but if you watch the entire thing the picture is better. In each section he does a pretty decent job of taking each of the three groups to task. There is probably a slight imbalance toward the British but not nearly so much as it might seem if you ONLY watch the first segment. He is just as hard on the Loyalists and well...at least asks some hard questions of the Brits.
However...the last two clips are missing! After watching all that material its killing me to have two final segments left unwatched.
they should have killed the lot of them....
IrishKev."Did I not see a comment by yourself biggin’up the S.A.S. and special forces"
Yes , indeed . However there in lies another story.
I'm very torn with the IRA. My grandmother was a huge supporter, but that was back in the day when the IRA actually meant something to people (1900s-1920s). I've got a lot of Irish nationalism in my blood. My father grew up and spent most of his life on the Falls and came down south during the 90s. As far as he is concerned, though not all of the actions of the IRA were just, they did go a long way to helping and protecting the nationalist community when no one else would. They stopped a lot of people from being burned out of their homes and being victims of violence from loyalist paramilitaries. They also kept a lot of undesirables, e.g drug dealers, out of the community.
On the other side of that, there are the bombings in both Britain and Ireland, causing the deaths of many innocent people. That is inexcusable. I did notice further up, however, DC mentioning that the torture methods of the British army were not as bad as those employed by the IRA. Although the IRA may have been more brutal (knee-capping, etc.), I believe it was not as bad as what the British Army did, simply because the army were sent in to protect people and to keep the peace. They did not do this. They interned people and used brutal methods of interrogation. Battering people is not something that should be done by a force that is being employed to improve the situation. The IRA are paramilitaries - they work outside the law, violence is what they do. The British Army are supposed to be above that and, for the most part, they weren't. However, I do not think that the IRA should have turned on their own people or bombed the various different areas in Ireland and Britain. I think freedom is important, and it's good to have ideals. I would never turn my back on a united Ireland, I would love it. However, I do think that murdering innocent people is not the way to go, and the IRA did this. I would support them more if they had not punished the innocent.
Let's also not forget the Loyalists in all of this. They were much the same. They were bigots and violent thugs. That Ian Paisley has an awful lot to answer for too.
Did I not see a comment by yourself biggin'up the S.A.S. and special forces ? A little consistency please, ya Gicknaa!!!
For anybody thats interested in the more modern era of the Troubles might I suggest checking out an article called Orwellian Ireland on indymedia.ie. It will blow your mind!! Thanks Vlatko,great site.
FYI This is part of a series done by the BBC. The other parts being "The Loyalists" and "The Brits". Although this is a one-sided view of the conflict, the series, as a whole, is not.
What a beauty she is going to be/(is)!
Both my grandmothers came to america from ireland. One married a german immigrant, the other married into my father's family who'd come to the colonies around 1650. So what's it mean? Means both my grandmothers were Irish and once in a while I like to read up (or watch doc's) on Ireland and Irish history to know more about them. I usually encounter the same kind of, uh, lively debate I see here whenever I try and talk irish history with other yanks who share irish ancestry, and all I can say is that I agree with the notion put forward earlier that the truth usually seems to lie somewhere between the poles. Or not. It's always interesting though.
I live in thailand now where I have a daughter by a thai woman with khmer ancestry. which means my little girl is irish/german/american/thai/khmer.
God help us all when she grows up!