I used two sources of data for this post, the first covers the period from 1970, killings actually started in 1969, also the first data source is missing data from 1993:
"National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START). (2016). Global Terrorism Database [Data file]. Retrieved from https://www.kaggle.com/START-UMD/gtd"
The second source:
As always the code used to produce graphics is available in my code blog.
This is not an attempt to give a full historical account of the Northern Ireland conflict, there are many resources availbale to people who are interested. I grew up during the 'Troubles' as they were euphemistically referred to so I am aware of the stories behind the statistics, it is important to remember that the statistics presented here were real people who were murdered in horrific ways. The data sources do not to mention the unarmed civilians murdered by the British Army in events like Bloody Sunday and the Ballymurphy masacre. It is also important to remember that the conflict, despite what some people think, is still ongoing. There are still groups, particularly on the Republican side, willing to use guns and bombs to 'advance' their political point of view i.e. they want to force everyone in Northern Ireland to be part of a single Irish state. The sectarian divide is perhaps more entrenched in Northern Ireland society than at any time in history. I have already mentioned in this blog that I believe the political side to the 1990s peace agreement is flawed and has helped to perpetuate the sectarian divide that in part gave rise to the conflict back in the 1960s and 70s. However it is clear from the graphic below that the number of casualties dropped significantly after the peace agreement. This is to be welcomed, my concern is that without tackling the underlying causes of the conflict the various groups involved have failed to create a lasting peace. There are indications that the violence is returning which could mean more people will lose their lives in the future.
All casualties per year (includes all groups: civialians, government forces and members of paramilitary groups)
This graphic shows an encouraging trend towards zero casualties however the next graph shows an increase in the number of attacks:
2015 is particularly worrying as it shows an increase in both Republican and Loyalist violence. There have also been warnings from the PSNI about possible terrorist attacks, for example, BBC and from the UK gov: UK gov site. If violent attacks continue to increase in number then it is only a matter of time until the number of casualties begins to increase.
Geographical distribution of attacks:
the most striking difference is the proportion of Loyalist to Republican violence, Loyalist groups were less active during the 1980s compared to the 1970s.
Geographical distribution, There was a definite shift in the distribution of attacks, with the majority being in the Eastern half of Northern Ireland:
There was an increase in attacks after the 1998 peace agreement mainly due to groups opposed to any settlement.
Many attacks in Derry/Londonderry and Belfast. The cluster of attacks in Derry means the number of violent attacks has incresed for the fisrt time since the 1990s, also the number of attacks has obviously increased.
I believe the Stormont government has failed to address the following issues: