1972 Pop Goes Northern Ireland


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1972

Series looking at key years in the history of Northern Ireland using footage, archive and the musical hits of the time. This episode takes a look back at 1972.


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MUSIC: Children Of The Revolution by T Rex

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During the past 12 months,

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the whole emphasis of violence in Northern Ireland has changed.

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The soldier's main enemy now is not the rioting mob, but the gunmen,

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the terrorist sniper.

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Did you hear us knocking on the door?

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I thought it was the bin men.

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Did you?

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I would assist internees or detainees,

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people who were held without trial, escaping.

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There is no truth at all in the rumours that I'm going to marry him.

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You saw George last evening.

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What do you think his future is in football?

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I don't know.

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I'm not a football fan.

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And he is prepared to make a gesture of good intent by agreeing to my

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suggestion that he lives in lodgings until the end of the season.

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Well, I can only talk to him like a mother.

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And I hope I am a second mum.

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MUSIC: Crazy Horses by The Osmonds

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MUSIC: In A Broken Dream by Python Lee Jackson

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LOUDSPEAKER: Please do not fire back for the moment.

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The first body I saw was that of a youth being carried out by other civilians

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with a priest in the lead, waving a bloodied handkerchief as a white flag.

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I spoke to one of their priests, Father Edward Daly,

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curate of nearby Saint Eugene's church.

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We filmed you leading the way with a white handkerchief.

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Yes. That little boy was shot when he was running away.

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-He didn't have a weapon?

-It's terrible.

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No, he had nothing. He was just a young boy about 15.

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He was running, I was running too.

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Paratroopers did not go in there shooting.

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The Para battalion fired three rounds altogether,

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after they had something between ten and 20 fired at them from the area,

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the Rossville flats over there.

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They fired three rounds only?

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-My information at the moment...

-I believe there are more than three dead.

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-Yes, that they fired three.

-I have seen three dead myself.

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They may well not have been killed by our soldiers.

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We find ourselves with a neighbour

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practising the arts of war on our people,

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and it is a situation in which we will seek help wherever we find it to get

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the British out of Ireland.

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There were warning shouts that someone was throwing a gelignite bomb.

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EXPLOSION

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MUSIC: Look Wot You Dun by Slade

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Get them Scots Anglos out of the North!

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Let them resign!

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And it's quite true that if we go UDI,

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our people may have to tighten their belts a little.

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-Agreed.

-So have the Rhodesians to do this.

-And we're prepared to do this.

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But let's forget this.

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We mightn't have to tighten them that much.

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Because those who won't want the work...that's too bad for them.

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Now, when I say this...

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More money is being spent on welfare benefits,

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and who are the people who are getting the most

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of the welfare benefits in

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-Northern Ireland?

-That's what I'm going to point out, you see...

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The Roman Catholics.

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This is the reality of Belfast today.

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Bombs in the city centre, so much disruption, so many explosions.

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From time to time you forget that it's become part of everyday life.

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APPLAUSE

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They call him Hurricane.

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Hurricane Higgins. A quiet man, a confident man.

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You'd never notice him in a crowd,

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but in his own twilight world, Hurricane Higgins is almost a god.

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...Alex Higgins.

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He could bring to snooker the same air of glamour and appeal that

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George Best has given to soccer.

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The Government here in London is

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obliged to take over for the time being

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full responsibility for the conduct of affairs

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in Northern Ireland.

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Many people will draw a sinister and depressing message

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from these events - that violence can pay,

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that violence does pay.

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MUSIC: Changes by David Bowie

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Ladies and gentlemen,

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Northern Ireland is not a coconut colony.

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And no coconut commission will be able to muster any vestige of

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credibility or standing.

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We, in our endeavours to provide

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just government in Ulster, have been betrayed from London.

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Don't you see the Heath Initiative

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as some sort of step forward,

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even if it is only a small one as far as you're concerned?

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Certainly not, I do not.

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Does this mean you're going to continue

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with the terror bombing of civilian targets?

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We have not engaged in terror bombing of civilian targets.

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We have engaged in sabotage against property,

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but we never set out to attack civilians in a terror form.

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MUSIC: Mama Weer All Crazee Now by Slade

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GUNFIRE

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Checkpoints, in every respect identical to those of the Army,

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guard the approach to the area that

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the republicans boast will be the nucleus of

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their newly independent state.

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Youths and men, masked and uniformed,

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armed with modern weapons patrol openly.

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They control completely entry and departure.

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Now, as the officer commanding the Derry

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part of the IRA provisional operation,

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can you say whether the bombing is likely to stop in the near future in

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response to any public demand?

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Well, we will always take into consideration the feelings of the

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people of Derry,

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and these feelings will be passed on to our GHQ in Dublin,

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you know?

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MUSIC: Rocket Man by Elton John

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If you read Lord Widgery's report,

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I think you can't help feeling that the Army

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come very well out of it indeed.

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Of course there were mistakes made,

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and of course one must regret that it ever happened,

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but I don't think that the Army has anything to be ashamed of.

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It was a case of the accused carrying out the inquiry,

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but I believe the initial reaction

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will be one of shock and then of outrage

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at the fact that there has been such a distortion of truth.

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MUSIC: School's Out by Alice Cooper

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For the first time, militant Protestants from the military wing

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of the Vanguard movement, the Ulster Defence Association,

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have been parading their forces in public.

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In the last year their organisation has grown from a loose association

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of local vigilante groups into an obviously coordinated force.

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Several of their officers have English accents.

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They obviously mean business.

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Stepping forward, and you throw up there,

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strike the vulnerable parts.

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If you live in a house, get in it now.

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This weapon is SLR, self loading.

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The Official IRA have a perfect right to do whatever they wish in

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the present situation, but as far as the Provisional IRA is concerned,

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in Derry and in Dublin, the fight will go on.

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MUSIC: Son Of My Father by Chicory Tip

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The Republican leaders will meet Mr Whitelaw at a place of his choosing,

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provided a conduct of safe passage is publicly assured.

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-I feel happy enough.

-You think it's going to work?

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I wouldn't like to say that.

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-About the peace?

-And?

-No comment.

-Why is that?

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I can't say that...

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An attempt by a group of civilians, unconnected with the UDA,

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to set up their own barricades across two streets in the Waterside

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was rudely dealt with.

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They underwent a kind of court-martial.

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Their sentences were light.

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Fatigues for the older men,

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and for the younger a punishing session

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of physical training around the barricaded Irish Street Estate.

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MUSIC: Hold Your Head Up by Argent

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General Ford, you have been negotiating for some two hours,

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-what's the outcome?

-Well, the outcome, I'm delighted to say,

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is an agreement, and that we have now

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pulled back from the edge of the precipice which, to be frank,

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I think we were on about an hour and a half ago.

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Well, it wouldn't just be so bad if it were the people from the area,

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but there are people we never saw before,

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we don't even know where they're from.

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Actually as far as I know,

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there are people from an area known as the Nick,

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and even before this trouble started policemen couldn't walk through

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the Nick.

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It looked and sounded very much like the end of the ceasefire.

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The Army are up here in the middle of Lenadoon Avenue.

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GUNFIRE OBSCURES SPEECH They'd come here after an earlier confrontation...

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RESOUNDING GUNFIRE

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Tell us when you're thinking of having a go, will you?

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Mr Whitelaw, you've always said that you wouldn't talk with the gunmen.

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Why did you on this occasion?

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I decided if I were to see these people personally

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I might be able to do something to save lives.

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That's why I did it.

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I have to say, I'm amazed that he's been talking to the IRA,

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because he said so firmly before he wasn't prepared to sit around the

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table with these murderers.

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MUSIC: Virginia Plain by Roxy Music

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This is one of the Protestant no-go areas.

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Many of the Scots Orangemen will be

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on duty manning the dozens of barriers like

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this that surround the four official no-go areas in the city.

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What made you decide to come over here?

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To join the UDA to help them fight the IRA.

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And do your parents know you're here, John?

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They do, aye.

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LARGE EXPLOSION

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MUSIC: The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face by Roberta Flack

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MUSIC: Layla by Eric Clapton

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The invasion of the Bogside and Creggan estates

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began in a heavy downpour of rain at 4am.

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1,500 troops in over 100 armoured personnel carriers rumbled forward

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into the area.

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The position now in Northern Ireland is,

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that anyone can go anywhere at any time

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and that's what I wanted to achieve.

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This is the one that matters.

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At 5 11 and a half, we cannot believe it.

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And she goes clear yet again! Yet again,

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she will be delighted with that.

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Rosendahl hits the tape first. Bodner second. Pollak third.

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Peters fourth. But is it enough? She's waiting for her time.

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The other three are up.

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24.08, and we make it that

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Mary Peters has beaten Rosendahl and the rest for the gold medal.

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Down in the loyalist ghettos of Belfast,

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the Paramilitary Ulster Defence Association has taken

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over much of the daily life of the community,

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even down to running discotheques for the teenagers.

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Outside the hall, the UDA's muscle

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is on open display as in so many other

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parts of the city. This is the blunt end of Ulster politics and this is

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the constituency to which William Craig and his Vanguard movement look for

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support in any showdown with the British Government.

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Did you think I didn't know you there?

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What did you think of Mr Craig's speech in London?

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Great. Great.

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-Great.

-And there's a whole lot more

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-like him.

-...would stick up for him.

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-It'll be all right.

-He'll have the backing, that's all he needs.

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He needs the backing.

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That's the way we feel.

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Mr Craig is simply pointing out that unless the British Government take

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their finger out of the hole, civil war is inevitable here.

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Today, the murders have achieved what all the dark months of rioting and bombing failed to do

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- they have brought real fear to the streets of the city,

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now deserted after sunset.

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They have stopped ordinary people going about their ordinary business.

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The unknown killer who strikes by night now owns

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these empty pavements.

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MUSIC: Without You by Harry Nilsson

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If MacStiofain has taken neither food nor liquid since his arrest

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ten days ago, he is putting up a remarkable performance.

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Medical opinion in Dublin has it that, by now, he should be dead.

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I shall stand by my husband even in death.

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When I said there would be death here

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in the south of Ireland if he died,

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he agreed to take some water.

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I don't think it's a good thing for the church to have a special place

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and I don't think it's a good thing for the state either

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to give the church that place.

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Dr Hendron has his practice right on the Falls Road,

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the prominent centre of the troubles.

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He is acutely aware of the unseen suffering in the area.

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You're still taking your wee tablets.

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I better give you a prescription...

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-Yes.

-Just for some more of them.

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-Do you find they help you?

-Oh, they do, it brings you down a wee bit.

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They calm you down a bit, you know?

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Yes, well, that's very good, obviously.

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If things were back to normal, you might be a wee bit better.

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DISTANT EXPLOSION

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-It's...

-What happened just then?

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The explosion there was just behind

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College Street and its Linenhall Street.

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-Does this sort of thing happen often?

-Very often, it does indeed.

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And how do you feel when you hear and see these explosions all around you?

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-Frightened.

-Doctor, while we've been sitting here, there have been three explosions out there.

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Now, as far as you're concerned, what kind of effect does that have on people?

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People you see in your surgery?

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The effect is absolutely devastating.

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They hear one explosion and they're a complete bundle of nerves.

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MUSIC: Star by David Bowie

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At Willen Park married quarters, morale amongst the wives is low.

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The prospect of their husbands going back to Ulster frightens them.

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Lots of husbands doing it, lots of paras doing it.

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Some of my friends in particular, you know,

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they're just frightened themselves because of this.

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The wives are run down while they're away, all bad with the nerves.

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Most of the para wives are on nerve tablets,

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aren't they? While their husbands are away.

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And all the kids.

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Pop Goes Northern Ireland blends news footage, archive and the musical hits of the time to provide an enthralling and entertaining potted history of Northern Ireland dealing with our difficult past in a way that is entertaining, informative, fresh and accessible to all.

This week Pop Goes Northern Ireland focusses on 1972. A tumultuous year with the watershed events of Bloody Sunday and the imposition of direct rule.

The programme also charts the rise of the Loyalist movement, Vanguard, and the emergence of the UDA as a major paramilitary force. A brief moment of hope engendered by an IRA ceasefire evaporates in the carnage of Bloody Friday and Claudy. Through Operation Motorman, the army brings to an end the infamous "no-go" areas.