Direct Rule
Direct rule simply meant that the governing of
Northern Ireland was to be controlled from
Westminster instead of Stormont. This was the
result of the troubles and the proposals that the
British government had put forward to the
Northern Ireland government.
Learning Objectives:
To gather an understanding of what direct
rule means.
To gain knowledge on how this happened
and what it meant for politics in Northern
How did the different political spectrums
react to the introduction of Direct Rule.
How did this happen?
Faulkner Tries to Regain Control:
Faulkner demanded the power to
rearm the RUC and to re-establish
the B Specials. However the
Conservative Prime Minister
Edward Heath responded by
demanding control of law and
order and justice.
Faulkner refused.
On the 22 March 1972 senior
members of the Stormont Cabinet
travelled to London for what they
believed would be a top level talks
with the British Government about
the situation in Northern Ireland.
Once there however, Heath
informed them that certain
changes were being proposed.
What were these changes?
The transfer of security control to Westminster
The holding of a referendum on the future
The introduction of moves designed to allow the
removal of internment
The appointment of a Secretary of State for
Northern Ireland
The holding of talks with other parties in
Northern Ireland in an attempt to establish a
‘community government’.
What do you think the Unionist reaction
would be to these proposals?
The entire Northern Ireland
Government resigned, unable to
accept the loss over security policy.
The United Kingdom Government
of law and
As abelieves
result onthat
24 transfer
March Heath
to suspending
is vital for
for progress
a year (later
and solution
in finding
a political
introducing Direct Rule.
in Northern Ireland. The Northern
Ireland Government’s decision
From now on Northern Ireland was
with no
to be ruled
by theus
and direct
a team
of ministers,
led by
of of
for the
the Secretary
State, Northern
taking over
the functions
until a political
the Stormont Cabinet. William
to the problems
was appointed
as theof the
can be
worked out
Noth’s first
of State
Reactions to the end of Stormont
In many ways it was a
predictable reaction. The
Unionists were horrified. They
had seen Stormont as a barrier
against a united Ireland. The
last hours were played out on
the 28 March before a crowd of
around 100,000. This came in
the midst of a series of massive
strikes and shutdowns,
organised by Vanguard
(Vanguard Unionist Progressive
Party -) in protest of the
suspension. The strikes were
successful at shutting down
much of life in Northern Ireland
for two days but were not
successful in their bid to open
William Craig
"We must build up the
dossiers on the men
and women who are a
menace to this
country, because one
day, ladies and
gentlemen, if the
politicians fail, it will
be our duty to
liquidate the enemy".
"We are no
protesting we are
Nationalist Reactions
Few tears were shed for
Stormont on the nationalist
side, with the SDLP and the
Dublin Government welcoming
the chances of a new
beginning. The IRA, although it
had achieved one of its aims,
stated its opposition to Direct
Rule and announced its
determination to continue its
struggle to achieve a united
Ireland. Many on the Naionalist
side welcomed the steps away
from Stormont initially,
however this attitude was to
change as the years
progresses. Indeed as Eddie
Mc Ateer highlighted.
I’d rather be ruled
by a Protestant
Irishman than an
Refer back to our learning intentions. Have we met them. Write up
your answers for each of the learning intentions
Write up a newspaper report on the introduction of Direct Rule. In
the article you must illustrate the feelings of both communities:
Background- What events led to the introduction of direct rule?
What was the reaction of the Unionist community? Pay close
attention to the Vanguard.
What about the Nationalist community? Are people happy? How has
the IRA reacted to the news?
Include a catchy headline
Use the internet to help you gather information on the events

Northern_Ireland_files/Direct Rule