Rights campaigners and lawyers pointed out that the treatment of internees was in breach of European Commission of Human Rights principles. It was introduced in August 1971 by Unionist prime minister Brian Faulkner, under the auspices of the Special Powers Act. Faulkner became prime minister in March 1971, following the resignation of James Chichester-Clark, himself worried out of office by escalating violence. The Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) had been bombing Catholic-owned stores in Belfast since early 1970, yet no member of the UVF was arrested and interned. Support for the Provisional IRA increased markedly after Operation Demetrius. Domestic Law ... (c) We have received both written and oral representations from many legal bodies and individual lawyers from both England and Northern Ireland. Here they were forced to stand in a stress position for many hours and were repeatedly beaten on all parts of their body. 5310/71),[33] the court ruled: 167. Some of them also reported being kicked in the genitals, having their heads banged against walls, being shot at with blank rounds, and being threatened with injections.

The letter states: "It is my view (confirmed by Brian Faulkner before his death) that the decision to use methods of torture in Northern Ireland in 1971/72 was taken by ministers – in particular Lord Carrington, then secretary of state for defence". But from those who were interned, there were subsequent allegations of brutality - physical and psychological - which simply aided IRA recruitment and widespread sympathy for the republican cause. The fatal march on Bloody Sunday (30 January 1972) in Derry, when 14 unarmed civil rights protesters were shot dead by British paratroopers, was an anti-internment march. The SDLP also withdrew its representatives from a number of public bodies. [citation needed], Following the suspension of the Northern Ireland Government and Parliament, internment was continued by the direct rule administration until 5 December 1975. Heath was particularly outraged that evidence from civilians was given the same value as evidence from soldiers or the RUC. After what seemed about one hour in the helicopter I was thrown from it and kicked and batoned into what I took to be a lorry.”. In answer to the anger from the public and Members of Parliament, on 16 November 1971, the British government commissioned a committee of inquiry chaired by Lord Parker (the Lord Chief Justice of England) to look into the legal and moral aspects of the 'five techniques'. Amid the violence, about 7,000 people fled or were forced out of their homes. The result was severe physical and mental exhaustion, severe anxiety, depression, hallucinations, disorientation and repeated loss of consciousness.[24][25]. [6], The idea of re-introducing internment for Irish republican militants came from the unionist government of Northern Ireland, headed by Prime Minister Brian Faulkner. [34] In June 2014, an RTÉ documentary entitled The Torture Files uncovered a letter from the UK Home Secretary Merlyn Rees in 1977 to the then British Prime Minister James Callaghan. Up until 9 August, 34 people had died in violence that year. After the August 1969 riots, the British Army was deployed on the streets to bolster the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC). During the first morning of "Operation Demetrius" 342 people were arrested; more than 100 were released two days later as it became increasingly clear that the RUC's intelligence, based on records more than a decade old, was arguably useless. Hugh Mullan, a Catholic priest, and 19-year-old Francis Quinn were both gunned down as they went to the aid of wounded people. The use of internment and the jackboot fashion in which it was implemented also generated worldwide media attention, much of it critical of the British and Northern Ireland governments. It was not the first use of internment in Irish history, nor was it … On 3 July, the army had declared a 36-hour curfew on the Catholic Falls Road. [21] A serving officer of the British Royal Marines declared: It (internment) has, in fact, increased terrorist activity, perhaps boosted IRA recruitment, polarised further the Catholic and Protestant communities and reduced the ranks of the much needed Catholic moderates. URL: https://alphahistory.com/northernireland/internment/ [15][16] Some were hooded, beaten and then thrown from a helicopter. Internment stayed in place and by the eve of direct rule from London in 1972, the internees numbered 924.

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