Northern Catholics and the early years of the Troubles
in Irish Catholic identities
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One of the most iconic images to emerge from the thirty-year history of the recent Northern Ireland Troubles is that Fr Edward Daly leading a group of people carrying the mortally wounded body of Jackie Duddy in Derry. This chapter provides a summary of the Catholic Church's relationship with its own community in the context of the wider Troubles between 1969 and 1994. Large sections of the Catholic population were at loggerheads with the hierarchy over the analysis of the extent and causes of the problems facing the Catholic community in the early stages of the Troubles. In particular as the purely defensive arrangements as represented by the 'Defence Committees' in Belfast gave way to the murderous activity of the Irish Republican Army (IRA). The rhetoric in justification of violence was one of defence of the community against the state, aggressive and violent Protestants, and, from 1970, the British army.


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