Ministry of Home Affairs archive (HA/32/1)

Published in 20th-century / Contemporary History, Features, Issue 6 (Nov/Dec 2012), Northern Ireland 1920 - present, Volume 20

As the political ideology of communism and socialism spread after the formation of the USSR in 1922, many Western countries began to consider it a potential threat to national security and stability. In Northern Ireland the Ministry of Home Affairs, responsible for gauging this threat, was created in 1921 as a consequence of the Government of Ireland Act 1920. Its remit included monitoring (socio-) political activities within Northern Ireland. These files are held in HA/32/1 and were, at the time, marked ‘secret’. HA/32/1 currently contains both open files that are available to view in the PRONI and closed files that require the sending of a written request for access. The secret files archive comprises c. 1,400 files from 1920 to 1970. This article, however, focuses on the files of the earlier decades of the twentieth century. This archive may be considered an invaluable resource for the history of communist organisations, their activities and how the authorities in Northern Ireland dealt with them.

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