Lynch’s call on Battle of Bogside has stood test of time

Then taoiseach’s courage and political skill avoided a disastrous civil war

The Battle of the Bogside in August 1969 led to the deployment of the British army to Northern Ireland and the start of what became known as the Troubles. Video: Enda O'Dowd & Ronan McGreevy

Fifty years ago this week this country teetered on the brink of an all-out conflagration that would have seen the Irish Army invade the North as the Battle of the Bogside raged. The consequences, in terms of loss of human life and this State’s future prospects in the world, are incalculable.

That it did not happen was due mainly to the character and decency of then-taoiseach Jack Lynch, who fought a rearguard action against the most powerful members of his government, Neil Blaney, Charles Haughey and Kevin Boland. They, and others in the cabinet, saw the events of that week as an opportunity to achieve the goal of a united Ireland no matter the cost.

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