- This newsreel clip was shown to British audiences in 1920. It describes
the situation in Ireland at the time.
- The clip shows British forces on the streets of an Irish town. The
Irish Republican Army (IRA) often ambushed these forces, although it
was more common for ambushes to take place in the countryside. This
clips shows two IRA suspects after they had been shot by British troops.
It is not clear exactly what happened.
- In January 1919 the Sinn Fein MPs who had been elected in the December
1918 election set themselves up as Dail Eireann to govern Ireland. In
many areas of the country people accepted this new government and refused
to co-operate with the British authorities.
- At the same time, Republicans were also using armed force (hit-and-run
tactics) against the RIC (police) and British army units. Both the IRA
and the British forces used increasingly brutal tactics as the year
- The British poured troops into Ireland, but could not defeat the IRA.
By the end of 1919 there were 43,000 British troops in Ireland, costing
Britain £860,000 per year.
- As this clip shows, the problems in Ireland continued into the
1920s. As well as the cost in lives and money, Britain faced increasing
criticism for its policies, especially in America. By the end of 1920
the British were eager to find a solution to the problem of Ireland.