Northern Ireland news

Further documents added to the CAIN archive

Gerry Conlon emerges from the Old Bailey Court in London in October 1989 as the Guildford Four are released after their convictions were quashed. Picture by Hugh Russell.

DOCUMENTS detailing high profile cases including the Birmingham Six and Guildford Four are among almost 1,000 records now available to view online as part of a Troubles related archive.

A batch of some 960 documents, covering events related to Northern Ireland from1986-88, were added to the Conflict Archive on the Internet (CAIN) website this week as part of an ongoing partnership involving Ulster University and the National Archives of Ireland (NAI).

The history of the unique archive was thrown into doubt earlier this year when Ulster University said that unless extra funding can be found to curate CAIN it would become a “static archive” – not a live project which is constantly updated and expanded.

However, the archive was saved after the Irish government announced funding for a new project which will now be maintained and updated by NAI.

The newly released material covers a wide range of topics from the workings of the Anglo-Irish Agreement in its initial phase to how the governments in Dublin and London sought to manage their relationship in the face of challenging issues.

This included legal debates about the extradition of those suspected of paramilitary offences or the high profile cases such as the miscarriages of justice of the Birmingham Six and Guildford Four.

It also includes documents on the IRA Enniskillen Bomb in November 1987 and the aftermath of the SAS killings in Gibraltar in March 1988.

Catherine Martin, TD, Minister for Media, Tourism, Arts, Culture, Sport and the Gaeltacht, 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, said: "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 archive can be viewed at

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