Northern Ireland: A Divided Community 1921-1972

General editors: Dr Senia Paseta, St Hugh's College, Oxford and Dr Marc Mulholland, St Catherine's College, Oxford.

Northern Ireland: A Divided Community 1921-1972 is an online publication in partnership with the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland. It offers researchers an electronic, fully text-searchable publication of the Cabinet Conclusions files from the Northern Ireland Government (CAB/4). For the first time users will have access to a detailed, flexible format in which to study this complex and turbulent history. The documents here have been described as the best continuous record of government activity and decision-making in the world, and show "how government actually worked".  


  Northern Ireland: A Divided Community 1921-1972 presents a full record of every cabinet meeting for the duration of the Stormont administration, the devolved government of Northern Ireland, 1921-72. Separate files exist for each Cabinet meeting and include minutes and memoranda. The discussions and decisions reflect the wide range of problems and activities involved in making the new administration work.

Topics debated and reported in just one sample year of the Troubles (1970) include: policing, arms and explosives, social need, Prevention of Incitement to Religious Hatred, Army occupation of factories, road spiking, routing of Orange Day parades, dock strikes, law and order, riots and the roles of the Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) and the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC).

With immediate access via browseable indexes of organisations, subjects, places and people (cabinet members, politicians, senior civil servants and police officers), in addition to full-text searching of the typed minutes themselves, this digital archive will be essential not only to teachers and researchers in Irish and British History, but will support students of politics, peace studies and conflict resolution.

Topics covered include:

  • Housing and Transport
  • Prevention of incitement to religious hatred
  • Road spiking
  • Dock strikes
  • Trade and Industry
  • Routing of Orange Day parades
  • Role of the Ulster Defence Force
  • Policing
  • Prisons
  • Army occupation of factories

Commissioned essays with direct links to documents include:

  • The formation of the Northern Ireland State by Dr Paseta
  • Northern Ireland and the Second World War by Dr Paseta
  • Sectarianism by Dr Mulholland
  • The IRA by Dr Mulholland
  • Civil Rights by Dr Mulholland
  • The end of the Stormont and imposition of direct rule in 1972 by Dr Mulholland

The introduction and one of the essays is available here (left column)