Brian Hanley
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Refugees and runners
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Attitudes to northern nationalists were diverse and complex. A basic sympathy informed most public responses during the early stages of the conflict. While refugees were seen primarily as victims they seem to have been welcomed. However, when they complained or appeared ungrateful attitudes could change very quickly. Anything other than gratitude and passivity was evidence of deviancy. The official view that many of those who arrived in July 1972 were holiday makers is remarkable given the situation in Belfast. July 1972 was the worst month of the worst year of the Troubles and saw almost 100 people killed. Lenadoon, where at least 500 of the refugees came from, was the site of a breakdown of the IRA ceasefire. In Ballymurphy, from which hundreds fled, several people, including children, were killed by the British army. Sectarian assassinations escalated and that month also saw the carnage of Bloody Friday.

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