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The Return of the Gunmen

15 minutes
First broadcast:
Thursday 17 October 2013

The Northern Ireland of the mid 1960s was a peaceful place, a sleepy provincial backwater with enviably low crime statistics. But since partition in 1921, the state had never been truly at ease with itself and sectarian conflict erupted sporadically. The combination of republican commemorations and a growing campaign for social change by the nationalist community ignited sectarian suspicion. As paramilitary armies regrouped and re-armed, a bloody conflict destined to last for decades ensued.

Fergal Keane explores the circumstances that triggered Northern Ireland's Troubles talking to former combatants, campaigners and academics including Professor Richard English of St Andrews University.

Producer: Owen McFadden.


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