The day will live long in the memories of the people of Northern Ireland and indeed, of those in the Republic. Divisions and discriminations between Catholics and Protestants, internment without trial and increasing levels of violence was the background to the day’s events. During a civil rights march organised by the NICRA (Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association), soldiers from the 1st Battalion, the Parachute Regiment (1 PARA), fired over 100 rounds into panicked crowds, killing 14 people. The events sent many into the arms of the P.I.R.A (Provisional Irish Republican Army) and extended “the Troubles” for decades. In 2010. The Saville Inquiry found that the killing of the unarmed protesters was "unjustified and unjustifiable."
The signing of the Anglo Irish agreement was a matter of huge contention at the time and it's effects are still seen to this day. So polarising was the decision to sign, brothers who fought together in the Irish War of Independence turned against each other in the ensuing Irish Civil War. The lead negotiator Michael Collins believed that the treaty would allow Ireland "the freedom to achieve freedom." He was shot and killed in an ambush in West Cork, August 1922.
To learn about Michael Collins, click here.
For more background on the Treaty, click here.