Disagreement on how to relate to a dramatically changed situation had led to the Republican Movement splitting in January 1970 into the Officials and Provisionals. Both groups had benefited from events since 1968.
Recruits were relatively easily found among the ranks of teenage rioters. Support for republicanism among northern Catholics generally was greater than it had been for decades. Both IRAs began making ready for an armed campaign.
In June 1970, three IRA members, Thomas McCool (40), Joseph Coyle (40) and Thomas Carlin (55), together with two of McCool’s daughters, Bernadette (9) and Carol (4), were killed in a premature explosion in Creggan. The men had been preparing bombs for use in trouble that had erupted following the arrest of Bernadette Devlin MP for her involvement in the Battle of the Bogside. She was to serve four months in prison.
There were further outbreaks of serious rioting in October 1970. Around the same time came the first evidence of a limited IRA campaign, with seven bomb explosions between 15 September and the end of the year.