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National Archive of Ireland partners with CAIN to publish documents on the Troubles online

A batch of some 960 documents, covering events related to Northern Ireland over the period 1986-88, have just been added to the Conflict Archive on the INternet (CAIN) website as part of an ongoing partnership involving Ulster University and the National Archives of Ireland.

The National Archives of Ireland occupies a key position in the cultural and intellectual life of the Republic of Ireland, holding the records of the modern Irish State which document its historical evolution and the creation of its national identity. The organisation secures the preservation of records relating to Ireland which warrant preservation as archives and ensure that appropriate arrangements are made for public access to archives - which include documents related to the troubles and the peace process in Northern Ireland.

The newly released material covers a wide range of topics: the workings of the Anglo-Irish Agreement in its initial phase in relation to various political, legal and security matters; how the governments in Dublin and London sought to manage their relationship in the face of challenging issues such as the extradition of those suspected of terrorist offences or the high profile cases of the Birmingham Six and Guildford Four; as well as the immediate aftermath of some of the most notorious events during the ‘Troubles’ in Northern Ireland such as the Enniskillen Bomb in November 1987 and the aftermath of the killings in Gibraltar in March 1988.

Speaking today as the most recent documents are made available to the public on the CAIN website, Catherine Martin, TD, Minister for Media, Tourism, Arts, Culture, Sport and the Gaeltacht in the Republic of Ireland, said:

“This collaboration between CAIN and the National Archives clearly demonstrates the importance and value of providing free access to public records so that they can be used by researchers, academics, teachers, students and the wider public to better understand the social, political and historical contexts that shape our society. These records offer an invaluable insight into the difficult years leading up to the eventual ceasefire and peace process in Northern Ireland”. 

Dr Brendan Lynn, Ulster University’s CAIN Deputy Director, stated:

“Ulster University and CAIN are once again pleased to have been able to work with the National Archives of Ireland to update the existing section which will now provide users with material spanning the years from 1965 to 1988.  In addition it has allowed CAIN to continue with its long-term objective of working with individuals, groups or organisations with relevant information to produce digital versions of their material and make it much more accessible to a wider audience. Finally I would like to place on record our thanks to the Reconciliation Fund of the Department of Foreign Affairs for providing the support to allow CAIN to maintain its partnership with the National Archives, Ireland.”

The CAIN website provides an extensive range of information and source material on the conflict and politics of Northern Ireland from 1968 to the present day. The site is used by a worldwide audience and has received over 23 million visits.

The website is also a component part of the Access Research Knowledge (ARK) resource, which provides access to social and political material on Northern Ireland that informs social and political debate in the region. ARK is based within the Ulster University and Queen’s University, Belfast.

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