Calendar of Newspaper Articles dealing with Civil Rights issues, 1 Jun 1968 - 9 Dec 1968 by Alan Scott
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CIVIL RIGHTS: [Menu] [Reading] [Summary] [Background] [Chronology] [Main_Pages] [Newspaper_Articles] [Sources]
October 1968: | 1-5 | 7-12 | 14-19 | 21-26 | 28-31 |
28 - 31 October: | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | Top |
28 October, 1968
London summit fixed
Leader: The O'Neill-Wilson
meeting is almost certain to take place next week, and it appears
that the Northern Ireland cabinet is close to reaching a formula
for presentation to Wilson that is not simply a restatement of
the present timetable for change. The company vote may be one
casualty of reforms. Another possibility is the
inauguration of a crash housing programme. Wilson will probably
not expect the immediate introduction of one-man-one-vote, realising
as he does O'Neill's difficulties.
Bloodshed mars march from Strabane to Derry
Leader: A civil rights march from Strabane to Derry is attacked by protestant extremists; marchers complain of a lack of police protection. Film is discovered of the incident in Derry on 5 October in which Fitt received a head wound. He says that this evidence proves conclusively that he was attacked by police, and that Craig's explanation is a lie which discredits the minister. Bradford has warned that Unionists must keep up with the pace of changes in society or risk being swamped by them. McAteer says that the police were informed that there might be trouble on the Strabane-Derry march, but did little to prevent it: 'it is high time that the police began to act like impartial upholders of law and order to protect all citizens, and less like uniformed Unionists.' The incidents on the march are condemned by the north Tyrone branch of the NDP, which asserts that the Black Preceptory has always marched unhindered through Strabane, and that an equal right has been denied the civil rights demonstrators.
[BT, 26 October]
3 in civil rights march injured
Report: Three of the marchers are injured in the attack.
RUC failed to prevent ambush says McAteer
Report: McAteer is critical of police
for their failure to prevent the attack on the Strabane-Derry
marchers, despite a warning given to police by the DCAC. 'It
is high time police began to act like impartial upholders of law
and order to protect all citizens, and less like uniformed Unionists.'
North Tyrone NDP compares the
'bigotry and intolerance' signalised by the attack with the fact
that a Black demonstration is allowed
to pass peacefully every year in Strabane. Fitt
now claims to have film evidence of the attack on his person in
is seeking a meeting with O'Neill
to protest at the government's 'campaign of slander' against the
Mr Bradford's stern warning to the Unionist Party
Report: Bradford feels that 'we must demonstrate beyond doubt that the government is generally trying to meet social needs such as houses.' He calls for a crash housing programme for Derry. He also says, 'we must act now to clear our name of any allegations of injustice. To do nothing is to invite shame as well as violence. To hesitate is to disregard right as well as reality.' He also suggests that government take a look at the 'archaic company vote.'
Bradford: let us not invite shame
Report: He draws a distinction between two issues he perceives
as entirely separate from one another: 'the social grievance which
is real and largely affecting catholics, and the political demand
for changes in franchise which has largely been whipped up and
manufactured for party purposes.'
No change in vote policy
Report: Craig and Bradford, while recognising the existence of problems in local government, express the sentiment that a universal franchise would not solve these problems.
Ulster has a free hand - Craig
Report: Craig argues that constitutional convention dictates that Britain cannot intervene in Northern Ireland without Northern Ireland's consent. He lauds the government's record, and feels that the introduction of one-man-one-vote or the abolition of the company vote would have no real beneficent effect on the real issues at stake in local government affairs.
Craig and 'franchise tinkering'
Report: Craig feels that abolishing
the company vote would have little effect on the problems faced
at local government level.
Don't panic says MP
Report: McMaster feels that civil rights demands are being used by some unscrupulous people to attack the constitution.
[BT, 26 October]
Clear call from Larne
Editorial: Three sane speeches from Larne have done much
to redress the political imbalance, created by 'wild talk of UDI
in Northern Ireland and the deplorable attacks on the Strabane-Derry
civil rights marchers.' Craig has repudiated
rumours of a cabinet split; the party is united, he says, in its
aim of dealing with 'all of Ulster's problems.' He may have over-stated
the support of some backbenchers, but at least this will help
scotch any plans they might have had for a 'palace revolution'
to be championed by leading figures in the party. The Unionist
Party must stand behind O'Neill,
strengthening him in his imminent talks with Wilson.
Bradford and Kelly, in calling for Unionism to meet the challenges
of a changing society, have offered good advice to their party.
Who'll take the high road?
Editorial: Roy Bradford is 'one Unionist in the government
[who is] dropping the pretence that the minority is proclaiming
imaginary grievances.' His words 'sound to us like a last despairing
counsel to Unionists to stop pushing the minority around before
it is too late - either for the survival of Unionism
or the relevance of it as a source of decent, democratic government.'
Hatred has no future - former moderator
Report: A former moderator of the presbyterian
church hits out at a 'small faithless, fear-ridden
protestant minority,' which obstructs better community relations.
'Because we have not lived up to our own slogan of step-by-step
with England, with one-man-one-vote, we have deliberately put
a stick into everybody's hands to beat us with.' O'Neill's
professed aims deserve support: 'it is not enough to deplore the
extremities that were so exploited by outsiders as to stain the
fair name of an ancient city. We must demand that their causes
be explored and treated urgently and seriously. Nor let us be
ashamed of doing it under duress.'
Dean backs primate's statement
Report: The Church of Ireland
dean of Belfast feels that the previously silent should now speak
out in favour of reform. He feels that the church's
bishops are right to say that there is widespread support for
such a policy.
Belfast QC poses four questions for Unionist MP
Report: Belfast QC James McSparran, in a letter to the
Observer, challenges Robin Chichester-Clark
over discrimination in Northern Ireland.
The Westminster MP, says McSparran, has raised 'the IRA
bogeyman' in the guise of the civil rights movement. The IRA
campaign is however suspended, so what, he asks, is its relevance
to discrimination? He asks Chichester-Clark about gerrymandering
in Derry, about one-man-one-vote, about discrimination in housing,
and about levels of catholic employment by government
agencies. If Chichester-Clark denies the implications of these
questions, then he should not object to an impartial inquiry designed
to ascertain their accuracy. The British government, he adds,
can no longer afford to ignore Northern Ireland. The vast majority
of decent citizens would welcome reforms. Anne Kerr,
writing to the Sunday Times, says that police attacked
demonstrators first on 5 October.
O'Neill's 'surrender to die-hards'
Report: McElroy feels that O'Neill is giving in to the die-hard extremists in his party. This is foolish, since these people can never be appeased. Northern Ireland is a 'de facto one party state'; if partition is to remain, then the area would at least benefit from direct rule from Westminster, decided by referendum. Unionists can afford to be generous, and by doing so would improve their political position. They could easily implement British franchise laws, issue a points system for housing allocation to local authorities and the Housing Trust, as well as implementing Murnaghan's Human Rights Bill in order to combat discrimination in employment. These measures could be supplemented by 100% grants to catholic schools and an annual grant to the Mater Hospital. Half of the catholic population, naturally conservative, would soon come around to casting their votes for these reformers. Murnaghan claims that there is as little interest on the Nationalist benches at Stormont in civil rights as there is on the government benches. She rejects a call for her abstention from Stormont. Oliver Napier claims that the only hope for reform lies with Westminster, which should set up a complaints tribunal for Northern Ireland. McElroy praises McAteer for his 'restraint and wisdom' following the events in Derry.
[BT, 26 October]
Liberal tells PM to quit if obstructed
Report: The conference of the Northern Ireland Liberal
Party is told by one speaker that O'Neill
should resign if his efforts towards reform are obstructed
by the right wing of the Unionist Party.
Two other speakers argue respectively for and against the abstention
of all opposition parties from Stormont.
Speed-the-houses talks: 67 invitations
Report: Invitations to the forthcoming housing conference
have been sent out. It is expected that the conference will pay
special attention to the problems of Derry.
Special Powers Act 'startles' appeal judge
Report: Lord chief justice MacDermott expresses his surprise
during a court case that the Special Powers Act
can be used to ban a club because of its name, or 'at [the minister's]
Fitt draws a contrast
Report: Fitt intends to highlight at Westminster the contrast between police handling of a London anti-Vietnam demonstration and the conduct of the RUC in Derry on 5 October. He is also taking to Westminster film of himself being struck by police batons.
[NL, 29 October]
is expected to decide soon on whether to hold a demonstration
in Armagh on 16 November.
Civil rights body's concern over police activities
expresses concern at police Special Branch interrogations of some
supporters of the civil rights movement. It reasserts its non-political,
non-sectarian credentials, denying any communist
or IRA links. The apparent withholding
of police protection from the Strabane-Derry marchers
is also condemned. NICRA is to hold a demonstration in Armagh
on 16 November. Officers of the NICRA council hope to meet O'Neill
'in order to make a personal protest at the government's present
campaign of slander and to condemn the conspiracy which, with
the aid of the police, the ministry of home affairs is conducting
against the Association.'
Answers to civil rights issue not to be found in America
Letter: The answer to civil rights problems lies in Ireland.
The tone of recent Unionist speeches would indicate that concessions
are on the way, but people should be wary: 'they [the Unionists]
will try to fool the people and divide the people.' The Armagh
Nationalist Party has wisely suggested
a united opposition at Stormont. October 5, in Derry, and the
brutality shown to the civil rights marchers was worth more to
the Six County minority than all the forty-five years of play-acting
Mr Currie replies to Mr Bailie
Letter: It is disappointing to observe Bailie retract comments he made at the Christian Brothers Past Pupils' Union debate on democracy in Northern Ireland. The movement for civil rights is not just about providing rights for non-Unionists; Unionists like Bailie need to be freed from the kind of pressure that forced him to make his retraction, and that forces young Unionists to join the Orange Order.
Recalling advice of Griffith
Letter: The niceties of attendance or abstention from Stormont
should be ignored in favour of the formation of a 'united front
demanded by the workless, the homeless and the voteless.
Letter: The demands for civil rights made by the PD are not those of 'parochial sectarianism' but 'part of an international ferment for basic political rights and standards that ought to be common to all people.' Only one Unionist MP was willing o put his signature to a list of basic demands for human rights during the protest. The PD hopes to continue with its activities until its demands are met.
(Kevin Boyle, Bernadette Devlin, and others)
[NL, BT, 31 October]
Constructive actions needed
Letter: Building a few houses in Derry will not remedy
the city's problems: constructive measures are needed not only
in housing, but also in employment, the franchise,
and in the form of the abolition of the Special Powers Act.
The rights of students
Letter: Students have the right to demonstrate for reform.
Furthermore, student protest is not under republican control:
'I attended all the preparatory meetings of the People's Democracy
and soon discovered that almost everyone was doing their utmost
to avoid political or sectarian [identification].'
Few members of the movement are aiming for an immediate all-Ireland
republic, while even a Paisleyite was
given the chance to speak at the City Hall rally. Condemnation
makes the task of those advocating restraint much more difficult.
29 October, 1968
British re-appraisal could be dangerous, O'Neill says
Leader: O'Neill warns that
a change in the British attitude to Northern Ireland could be
dangerous. Three opposition councillors from Dungannon
UDC have not been selected to attend the forthcoming conference
on housing in Northern Ireland, so threaten to picket it unless
they are invited. They state that another unjust allocation
has very recently been made, and fear a whitewashing of the problem
at the conference. Currie will raise the
matter at Stormont.
To picket conference
Report: Dungannon opposition councillors
threaten to picket the housing conference called by O'Neill
unless they are invited to represent the electors in their area.
PM on if 'Ulster is to be right'
Report: O'Neill says that those grievances that exist must be investigated; any other course would be a denial of Northern Ireland's place within the United Kingdom. If they are ill-informed, 'let us be eager to expose the truth.'
Premier says duty is clear
Leader: O'Neill warns of the danger of a reappraisal of Northern Ireland's position. He adds that where grievances are real, they should be acted upon; where they are 'ill-founded and rooted in malice, let us be eager to expose the truth.'
No constitutional crisis if we do jobs right - PM
Report: O'Neill argues that
'wisdom, fairness and patriotism' can avert any tendency towards
'intervention, interference or constitutional crisis.' He argues
that Northern Ireland must accept all the implications of being
an integral part of the UK.
Danger of cheap victory
Report: O'Neill argues, 'if
we allow recent events to frighten the moderate men in our community
into a retreat from the middle ground, then we will have presented
a cheap victory to the engineers of these events. The motive
force of statesmanship has to be more than a reflex reaction.'
Britain would in any case never accept such a reversal.
Ulster must be right
Editorial: O'Neill's recent
speeches contain the wisdom that the old dictum 'Ulster will fight
and Ulster will be right
can only have relevance today if
it is backed by thinking in keeping with the times
time is not on Ulster's side. So much damage has already been
inflicted; so much criticism has been heaped on Stormont that
the application of the corrective forces which the prime minister
has long had in mind must emerge for open debate.'
Force of logic
Editorial: O'Neill has made
a statesmanlike - albeit defensive - speech to the Unionist Society;
he has identified arguments which are 'as self-evident to some
are they are hidden from others - the need to satisfy the highest
standards of democracy, the indispensability of economic integration,
the very real danger of precipitating a constitutional crisis
in which Ulster would not this time have Britain's sympathy.'
Many fear that catholics will eventually be able to vote Northern
Ireland out of the Union; the best way of addressing this concern
is to give catholics an equal share of the benefits of the Northern
Ireland state. However, further demonstrations will only serve
to make the prospects for such reform less bright.
Premier should be cautious - paper
Report: The Daily Telegraph asserts that a Northern
Ireland of bigotry and intolerance does not hold a secure place
within the Union. To impose reform however, would
be a mistake, and impossible given the climate of potential civil
war that exists. O'Neill must tread
carefully, while continuing to pursue change. The Times
agrees that reform is difficult to achieve in a society of such
differences, and feels that local government
reform should be given particular priority. The Irish Times
speaks of O'Neill's difficulties in combating the power of 'his
all-too-influential Unionist backwoodsmen.'
Barrage of questions to O'Neill
Report: O'Neill asserts at Stormont that all government-controlled public appointments in Northern Ireland are open to all citizens on the basis of merit. Boyd objects to what he sees as insufficiently wide representation of opinion at the imminent housing conference, while Currie views the conference as a farce. Diamond asks if it will consider housing allocation, but receives no answer.
[IN, NL, 30 October]
Prominent catholic to join Unionists
Report: A leading catholic hotelier and member of Bangor borough council is to join the Unionist Party, believing that religious barriers must be crossed and O'Neill's policies given support.
Letter: Northern Ireland is now at a 'crossroads': its people can return to old mistrusts, or can move forward together. Outside pressure is unhelpful; the Unionist Party, led by O'Neill, is the only body capable of providing a solution. 'The great amorphous, apolitical mass in the centre of Ulster politics undoubtedly support[s] him, but by their long silence and lack of political commitment have left a clear field for extremists on both sides.' Now support for O'Neill must make itself heard.
[IN, NL, 30 October]
Achievements in Derry 'must be recognised'
Report: The secretary of the Ulster Young Unionist Council
argues that while Derry does have problems, the positive aspects
of government achievements in the city are rarely stressed, for
example with regard to housing and industry.
Opposition not stifled [says] Unionist
Report: Ferguson feels 'sick[,] sore and tired of the representatives
of the Labour Party coming over from England, taking a superficial
look at carefully selected areas and topics and then starting
to pontificate about what is wrong with Northern Ireland. No-one
is trying to stifle opposition of constructive criticism, but
merely to criticise for the sake of criticising [is unhelpful
Section 75 is 'not stick to beat Ulster'
Comment: Wilson clearly believes that
the Northern Ireland government is lagging behind in its declared
policy of promoting goodwill and discouraging religious discrimination.
He also believes that efforts towards reform are
being thwarted by extremists. However, 'to legislate over the
heads of the Ulster government would be to weaken that government,
and [such a move] is likely to be resorted to only after much
else had failed.' Many endeavours short of constitutional change
could equally satisfy Wilson; hopefully O'Neill
will present answers to the British prime minister that will help
restore confidence in Northern Ireland.
'Reception party' for O'Neill
Report: O'Neill, opening an
art exhibition, is met by peaceful PD protesters.
Attack on marchers 'deplored'
Report: Strabane urban council condemns
the recent attack on civil rights marchers, and protests to Craig
over inadequate police protection. One Unionist says that he
supports the first part of the motion, but not the second.
To march or
Summary: McAnerney says that NICRA
will soon decide whether to hold a demonstration in Armagh
on 16 November.
'Concern' over student demonstrators
Report: Tyrone Education Committee members express unhappiness that tax-payers' money is going to support students involved in sit-down demonstrations. The chairman however expresses pride in the right to 'free speech and free assembly' in Northern Ireland.
Sit-down students come under fire [Report]
Student sit-down criticised [Report]
Derry main conference item
Report: Housing in Derry is expected to be given particular
attention at the forthcoming housing conference.
Curb on council motions sought
Report: A resolution is to be put before Belfast city council calling for motions likely to promote community divisions to be prohibited. Kennedy and Eileen Paisley have already withdrawn opposing motions on Craig and the RUC with regard to events in Derry.
[NL, 30 October]
Government should pay
Report: Derry corporation calls on government to foot the
bill for the destruction caused in the city on and after 5 October.
Strabane UDC condemns the recent attack on civil
rights protesters marching from Strabane to Derry.
Leader: At a meeting of Derry corporation, uproar occurs after an attempt by the Derry Labour Party to address the housing issue from the public gallery. Criticism is levelled at anti-democratic minority rule in the city, and the meeting is temporarily adjourned amid scenes of chaos. Bitter exchanges take place between Nationalist and Unionist councillors.
[IN, NL, 30 October]
Derry inquiry call by local Churches Industrial Council
Report: Derry Churches Industrial Council
calls for an impartial inquiry into discrimination
in housing, employment and the election system
in the city. 'Restraint and self-discipline' are called for,
in the name of good community relations.
Judge blames outsiders for Derry trouble
Report: Mr Justice Lowry blames undesirable elements from outside Derry for most of the trouble caused following the 5 October civil rights march. McAteer feels that this is an unwarranted intervention in politics by the judiciary, and says that the people were goaded into revolt.
[IN, 30 October]
'Government not on same wavelength' - Labour chief
Report: Boyd says that recent Unionist speeches on abolishing the company vote do not go nearly far enough towards redressing grievances such as discrimination and the need for one-man-one-vote.
Not on same wavelength, says MP [Report]
'Not on same wavelength'
Report: The speeches highlight the gaps between the government and 'those seeking British standards in Northern Ireland.' The NILP wants '(a) appropriate machinery to deal with allegations of discrimination; (b) a system to ensure the allocation of all publicly owned houses for let based solely on need; (c) an end to discrimination in employment on the part of local authorities and other public bodies.'
Fitt and the RUC
Report: Fitt intends to amend a Westminster motion to draw a contrast between the recent actions of the London police in handling a demonstration, and those of the RUC in Derry.
[BT, 28 October]
Wilson and Lynch meet tomorrow
Report: Wilson and Lynch
will meet tomorrow, though the British prime minister is not expected
to discuss Northern Ireland in detail.
Future role of Nationalist Party
Report: At a meeting of the Newry branch of the Nationalist Party, criticism is voiced against politicians from the Republic of Ireland, who are said to have used the Derry situation for their own ends. The future of the Nationalist Party's role is also discussed, and it is suggested that a full programme of civil disobedience would be impractical. Support for the civil rights movement is deemed essential, since it is seen to have highlighted minority grievances more effectively than any previous stratagem.
Police 'made for Nationalist Party' in Derry
Report: Newry Nationalists are told that they
should back the civil rights movement. One speaker feels that
Craig's folly has handed Nationalists a victory
they have not enjoyed since partition. A small government gesture
will no doubt be made, 'but the minority must insist on a policy
of all or nothing and press on till the civil rights demands are
met.' Republic of Ireland politicians are criticised for their
use of events in Northern Ireland to bolster their own domestic
Nov 17 day of decision for Nationalists
Report: The cabinet is once again meeting to discuss the
line to be taken at O'Neill's talks
with Wilson. The Nationalist Party
will hold a special conference on 17 November to decide on whether
or not to pursue a campaign of non-violent civil disobedience.
Feeling in the constituencies has hardened since Derry and the
moderates may find they have a difficult task in preventing the
acceptance of a new departure. The ultimate decision of the conference
may depend on the outcome of O'Neill's meeting with Wilson. It
is expected that a crash housing programme for Derry and the abolition
of the multiple company vote will be agreed upon at the meeting
between the two prime ministers.
Lesson from London
Editorial: The decision to allow an anti-Vietnam War demonstration
in London to go ahead, despite fears of violence, is a lesson
for the Northern Ireland government. Protest usually stems from
North's tarnished image on view for Americans
Letter: A recent television broadcast in the USA has highlighted
still more clearly the injustice that exists in Northern Ireland.
According to the Craig dictionary
Letter: Craig appears to have given
novel meanings to some words. 'Right,' he would appear to define
as, 'any decision etc, taken by the Unionist Party,
or accepted by them [sic]'; 'wrong,' on the other hand, is defined
as 'any thought, word and/or deed indulged in by a non-Unionist
i.e. catholics, communists, Labour members, etc (see also under:
"revolution").' He casts about for people to accuse
of treachery rather than examine the true issues.
Endorsing O'Neill policies
Letter: The Church of Ireland's
endorsement of O'Neill's policies
is no new departure. Injustices should be righted.
Letter: Robert Porter has expressed concern about the situation in Derry; as to the general franchise question however, that is a matter for debate within the Unionist Party. While a fair system of universal suffrage would appear to be desirable, he does not have a closed mind on the subject, and is willing to listen to alternative suggestions.
The piper and the tune
Letter: The idea of a boycott of local government
revenues is absurd; people are too attached to the benefits they
receive - mostly, it must be added, from Unionist pockets.
Why did they keep silent
Letter: Why were there no civil rights demonstrations when
three protestant ministers were sent to prison for protesting
against 'the Romeward trend at the General Assembly [of the presbyterian
church]?' Students would be better employed in
study than in 'uncivil rights marches.' Catholics may have a
disproportionate role in some areas and professions.
Letter: 'Where are the "refugees" in our society?'
'With all the evil which is imputed to Ulster one would expect
to see hordes of deprived, down-trodden, suffering, persecuted
citizens fleeing for their lives on the road to Buncrana. At
times I wish I was one of the "deprived" in our city
of Londonderry. What bliss to draw up to £13 per week for
doing nothing! What bliss to rise at noon and commute to bookmaker's
shop and pub!'
Hands off Ulster
Letter: Wilson is pandering to the
disloyal Irish vote and supporting the actions of thugs in Derry.
'Does Harold Wilson want to go down in history as the man who
brought bloodshed to Ulster?'
30 October, 1968
Stormont tense as talks loom
Leader: The Stormont cabinet meets again amidst speculation as to what line the Northern Ireland government is likely to adopt over reform during O'Neill's talks with Wilson. The housing issue is likely to be a central concern of the talks. Craig has taken the view on the franchise that one-man-one-vote will not be introduced before the reform of local government boundaries. It seems likely however that the company vote will be abolished. Wilson is said to be seeking a high level commitment to a fair system of housing allocation. Faulkner has told Down Unionists that a government should not resort to panic measures simply to rectify its image.
Ulster's image vital - Faulkner
Report: Though he does not feel that government should
resort to panic measures to improve its image, he admits the importance
of the image of Northern Ireland. Its portrayal in the media
as a ghettoised police state denying a large minority its political
rights is wrong. Increasing numbers of the minority community
are seeing the benefits of government policy, but republicans
are trying to reopen old divisions, while people such as Fitt
and Currie are furthering their own political
Reality, not the image, is vital - Faulkner
Report: Faulkner says that no government
should take panic measures designed merely to improve its image;
rather, decisions should be taken with regard to the government's
knowledge of the situation, and in the best interests of all the
people. Economic and social problems, he says, are aggravated
rather than solved by 'street fighting.'
Says Craig: hooligans from whatever quarter will be 'dealt with'
Report: Craig says that the police did take some measures to protect the Strabane-Derry march. He condemns hooligans on all sides but argues that the possibly provocative nature of demonstrations should be taken into account by their organisers. The organisers of this particular march had no public support for their venture.
Police role at march is explained
Report: O'Connor alleges at Stormont that police accompanying
the Strabane-Derry civil rights march moved away
from the protesters when the latter were attacked. Craig
says that steps would have been taken to prevent the attack had
it been anticipated. He agrees with Phelim O'Neill that
hooligans, from whichever side they come, must be dealt with.
He adds that the march evidently did not have much public support,
since only 12 people participated. He feels that the police handled
the event well.
British interference is thought unlikely
Report: The talk in Unionist circles at Stormont is that
British interference through any abrogation of Stormont's powers
is thought unlikely. 'Any such move
would be completely
rejected by the Northern Ireland government.' Wilson
is expected to offer no more than 'friendly advice.'
Unionist MPs take firm line
Report: The Unionist '66 committee appears to be adopting
a strong position against early local government
reform, feeling that it should be considered as part
of the overall reshaping of local government.
Editorial: The possibility of a Royal Commission on the
UK constitution turning its gaze on Northern Ireland is very real.
Unionists should be attempting to prove that the minority population
can share in the benefits of majority rule. The alternative road
is dangerous, since 'Britain does not owe us a living, unless
we prove worthy of it.'
Wilson-O'Neill talks on Monday
Report: A date for the talks between Wilson
and O'Neill is set. The Liverpool
branch of the Connolly Association writes to Wilson calling for
a public inquiry into events in Derry.
Top public jobs given on merit, O'Neill says
Report: O'Neill denies that legislation against discrimination in the distribution of high government posts is necessary: 'I affirm unequivocally that all public appointments under the control of the government of Northern Ireland are, and will continue to be, open to all sections of our population on the basis of merit alone.' Various opposition members cite examples to the contrary.
Jobs charge is denied [Report]
[BT, 29 October]
Conference on housing today at Stormont
Report: Opposition members at Stormont express scepticism
as to the likelihood of a constructive outcome being reached by
the forthcoming housing conference summoned by O'Neill.
Hassard, NILP councillor
on Dungannon UDC, notes that the council's chairman
has not refuted his allegations on an allocation
that went to someone who had been on the housing waiting list
for only five days, while another person, who had waited for seventeen
years, was passed over.
Special housing conference today
Report: O'Neill, asked at
Stormont whether the housing conference will consider the matter
of allocations, says that the conference
has been called to look into ways of accelerating the house-building
programme. 'He recognised that no single factor could do more
to reduce tension and improve the entire conditions of life in
many areas than a further improvement of the housing situation.'
Stormont presses for more houses
Report: O'Neill tells the housing conference that local authorities should take a fresh look at their housing policies in an attempt to ascertain if and how they can be improved upon. O'Neill is met by protesters, including students calling for one-man-one-vote, and opposition Dungannon councillors, protesting at their not having been invited to the conference.
[IN, NL, 31 October]
Editorial: O'Neill has followed
Bradford's recent example in the expression of liberal sentiments,
but is not much of this designed to impress Wilson?
No matter how sincerely held however, 'this is not the kind of
revelation likely to find acceptance among the Orange
zealots who rule in places like Derry, Dungannon
and Enniskillen.' Nevertheless, recent publicity means that 'there
are signs around that the upholders of a now discredited political
belief and the defenders of untenable positions are finding the
going hard.' The question now is: what will Wilson ask of Unionism?
Diamond calls Bradford's cures 'trifling'
Report: Diamond feels that while Bradford has recognised that problems exist, the remedies that he proposes are 'trifling.' O'Reilly calls for government actions instead of words, especially on the introduction of a points system for housing allocation. Minister of finance Kirk defends the government's housing record, and argues that some complaints about allocations, when 10,000 houses are being provided every year, are almost inevitable.
[IN, NL, 31 October]
Devolution proposals in queen's speech
Report: The establishment of a Royal Commission on the
constitution, announced during the queen's speech at Westminster,
is likely to be of particular interest for the people of Northern
Ireland, since this is the only part of the United Kingdom currently
enjoying devolved regional government.
Women support Captain O'Neill
Report: Windsor Women's Unionist Association
expresses its support for O'Neill's
Council motions face ban
Report: 'Belfast city council is to be asked to ban motions in the council chamber which are "likely to exacerbate public feeling or promote tension between sections of the community".'
[BT, 29 October]
Hatred taught here: Dr Tyndall
Report: The Church of Ireland
bishop of Derry and Raphoe criticises the divisive activities
of extremists in Northern Ireland; most people reject such actions.
Reconciliation needed more than ever in Ulster
Report: The presbyterian moderator
calls for reconciliation in Northern Ireland.
Appeal to outlive history of differences
Report: A former presbyterian
moderator calls for moderate people to come together in reconciliation
and not permit their future to be shaped by extremists.
Electoral Bill does not tackle scandal
Report: Lennon feels that undemocratic local government in Northern Ireland is damaging community relations, and that the removal of the company vote fails to address the real questions of reform. If something is not done soon, events may conspire to make government by Unionism impossible. O'Hare argues that one-man-one-vote must, in order to be effective, be supplemented by an end to gerrymandering.
More changes in electoral law on the way?
Report: Nationalist members of the senate oppose the second
reading of the Electoral Law Bill because it does not provide
for one-man-one-vote at local elections. Lennon comments: 'I
am desperately afraid that time is running out in this matter
and that even now conditions may be coming to a pitch where the
government will totally lose control of the situation.' Andrews
argues that Nationalists should accept the Bill: 'it does not
prejudge any of the equally important issues which have to be
considered in due course in relation to local government.
RUC to prosecute in Derry
Report: A number of summonses are expected to be issued in connection with the Derry disturbances.
[NL, 31 October]
'Minimal injuries' story
Report: Altnagelvin Hospital managers claim that the statement made on injuries sustained during the 5 October disturbances did not have their sanction, and is deplorable in its lack of objectivity.
Reports on Derry injured 'did harm to hospital' [Report]
Fitt 'astounded' by judge's comment on Derry
Leader: Fitt criticises as 'partisan and political' comments made by Justice Lowry on trouble in Derry: 'for a judge to describe the troubles in Derry as having originated from the presence of "undesirable elements from outside the city" is nothing short of ridiculous.' McAteer feels similarly that 'October 5 was a goaded citizens' revolt against long-standing oppression.' He also finds it strange that the judge spoke of the 'patience and discipline' of the police.
[BT, 29 October]
Demonstrators 'take seats' in corporation
Report: Disturbances at a meeting of Derry corporation result from an attempt by the Derry Labour Party to address the body on housing. Undemocratic minority Unionist rule in the city is singled out for criticism, and the meeting is temporarily adjourned amid scenes of chaos. Cooper warns the Unionists that inaction will lead to anarchy in the city. Police clear the public gallery and opposition members of the corporation walk out.
[BT, 29 October]
Taoiseach and Wilson talks on North's ills
Report: Lynch, when he meets Wilson,
will outline his conviction that partition lies at the root of
Northern Ireland's problems. Meanwhile, the three Westminster
MPs who were at the October 5 demonstration in Derry meet Callaghan,
who decides to send their report on events to O'Neill.
Democrats 'reject' Lynch interference
Report: Queen's University National Democratic group criticises Lynch for interference in Northern Ireland affairs. The problems of the state must be resolved by its people within the existing constitutional framework.
[NL, 31 October]
Derry my reason for seeing Wilson - Lynch
Report: Lynch ascribes the problems of Northern Ireland to what he sees as the evils of partition. QUB National Democratic group criticises Lynch's remarks, arguing that Northern Ireland's problems should be addressed within the existing constitutional framework.
[IN, NL, 31 October]
O'Neill hits back
Leader: Lynch has spoken of the evils that have resulted from partition; O'Neill hits out at what he perceives as unwarranted interference in Northern Ireland affairs, designed to make political capital out of the situation. It will, he argues, only have a detrimental effect on relations within Northern Ireland and Ireland as a whole.
[NL, 31 October]
INF support for squatters' action praised
Report: Con McCluskey feels that,
despite the return of the same Unionists as ever to Dungannon
council after the last election, 'the ordinary decent protestant
citizens were not represented by them in their views on "the
various outrages which had been committed against the minority
in the North".' Protestant church leaders
have failed in their duty to condemn these. The High Chief Ranger
of the National Foresters for the Six Counties appeals to all
clergy to speak out for fair play and human rights.
'He said it would appear that Southern leaders had forgotten
about the people of the North.'
'Work shy' remark draws reply
Report: The Derry Labour Party retorts to a comment made
by Burns suggesting that the people of Derry are work shy: 'Mr
Burns was trying to cover up for the inadequacies of the government
in steering work to Derry.'
'Work' cards burned in Derry
Report: A protest is held in a Derry unemployment exchange against comments made by Burns to the effect that the unemployed of Derry are 'work-shy.'
[IN, NL, 31 October]
Principal objective must be more and more facts for Westminster
Letter: The facts of the Northern Ireland situation should
be made widely known, and especially at Westminster. O'Neill
has done little more than talk about reform, and
even attempted to blame the Derry demonstrators for the events
of 5 October, though television pictures have demonstrated the
opposite to be true. Even one-man-one-vote, in isolation, is
unacceptable. It must be complemented with a reform of gerrymandered
boundaries. For anti-unionists, 'one ounce of fact is worth a
ton of oratory' in the campaign for civil rights.
How legitimate demands may be frustrated
Letter: O'Neill will claim
that he wants better community relations
and will make clear to Wilson that he is
threatened by hard-liners and requires time to implement reform.
Better community relations really means 'an acceptance without
protest of the Orange yoke in return for the
goodwill of those who maintain it.' The prime minister will suggest
the abolition of the business vote instead of providing for universal
suffrage in local elections; he will argue for a speeding-up of
the house-building programme, but will not tackle the core issue
of discrimination in housing allocation;
he will see the redrawing of local government
boundaries as sufficient to refute charges of gerrymandering,
which it is not, since any new boundaries will also be rigged;
he will proclaim fairness in government appointments, saying that
catholics are reluctant to participate in the state, or are insufficiently
educated to qualify. All of this is a cover for discrimination.
Change of tune
Letter: Words will not placate the victims of injustice;
actions must be taken.
Catholic support for Captain O'Neill [Letter]
[see BT, 29 October, All right-thinking people must support
Letter: Student demonstrators are to be praised for attacking
bigotry and discrimination; perhaps they
can wake their elders to a changing world.
Letter: Integrated schooling is not necessary for good
community relations, as the Swiss demonstrate.
'He who pays the piper '
Letter: The ratepayer franchise is justified, even if central
government money is used to support local government.
Most taxpayers, after all, are also ratepayers. Also, the NILP's
lack of representation in Northern Ireland has nothing to do with
electoral boundaries, but with that party's policies.
Fact and fiction
Letter: It is not O'Neill
who is being blackmailed by 'thugs' but Wilson,
by the enemies of the state of Northern Ireland. The so-called
civil rights march on 5 October was prepared for trouble, but
the RUC thwarted 'the well-known
tactics of the enemy.' Wilson should consider the contribution
to the defence of the British way of life that has been provided
by the people of Northern Ireland.
31 October, 1968
Britain doesn't want border - taoiseach
Leader: Lynch meets Wilson and discusses the Derry situation. He ascribes Northern Ireland's troubles to the existence of partition.
Derry riots were evils of partition - Lynch
Report: Lynch describes recent events in Derry as 'surface manifestations of a sense of injustice felt by a large proportion of the population of Northern Ireland.'
[BT, 30 October]
Lynch anxious to see O'Neill
Report: Lynch, after meeting Wilson,
says that he wishes to meet O'Neill.
He sees an end to partition as 'a just and inevitable solution
to the problems of Ulster.'
O'Neill deplores 'interventions'
Report: O'Neill deplores what he sees as Lynch's attempt to make political capital out of the Northern Ireland situation.
[BT, 30 October]
'Keep out,' students tell Lynch [Report]
[NL, 30 October, Democrats 'reject' Lynch
Differences of opinion no barrier to talks, says Lynch
Report: Lynch states that he had every
right to comment on the situation in Northern Ireland, since his
government believes in human rights. He is
particularly concerned about the local government
franchise, but also believes that discrimination
in housing and jobs must be seriously addressed.
Clock put back - O'Neill
Leader: O'Neill launches a strong attack on the Fianna Fáil government of the Republic of Ireland, arguing that it is attempting to switch attention away from its recent referendum defeat by focusing on the old anti-partition arguments. Wilson reaffirms Attlee's constitutional pledge on Northern Ireland's position within the UK; however Lynch's statement is likely to increase polarisation in Northern Ireland, making improved community relations more difficult.
[IN, NL, 1 November]
Faulkner hits at behaviour of Eire police
Report: Faulkner criticises Lynch's
recent pronouncements on Northern Ireland, and argues that the
actions of Gardaí 'made Londonderry police activity look
like a Sunday school picnic.'
From bad to worse
Editorial: Lynch's attack on partition
is highly unwelcome and extremely naïve. He cannot expect
anyone to believe his denials of political capitalisation on events
in Northern Ireland. While attention remains focused on the border,
Unionists will be less inclined to look at the internal problems
of Northern Ireland.
O'Neill warns housing authorities on allocations, standards
Report: At the housing conference, O'Neill says that 'justice in allocation must not merely be done, but be manifestly seen to be done.' He does not wish to impose a points system, but calls on all local authorities to examine their existing systems of allocation. PD protesters call for a points system and one-man-one-vote. The three Dungannon opposition councillors fulfil their promise to picket the conference in view of their not having received an invitation.
Housing conference picketed
Report: PD supporters picket the housing conference, calling for one-man-one-vote. Currie also pickets, pointing out his belief that nationalists are not being represented. O'Neill in his speech to the conference recognises the imperfections of the present housing situation, and argues that the issues must be tackled.
[BT, 30 October]
Editorial: Government must not only consider the speed at which houses are built; it must now examine the manner in which they are allocated. Guidelines for a fair points system should be provided.
Housing minister not to interfere
Report: It would appear that many local authorities
would support the drawing-up of government guidelines to decide
upon degrees of need with regard to housing allocations.
O'Neill did outline at the conference
a points system as one possible solution,
but emphasised that he would not impose any solution. Beatty
feels that Derry's housing programme is already going ahead at
No special body for Derry plan
Report: Fitzsimmons indicates
in the commons that no special commission is envisaged to oversee
the Derry area plan.
Ulster has revolutionary virus: Elder
Report: Newry Unionist Association
passes a resolution of support for Craig
in his handling of the Derry situation. 'Senator Elder said that
if every family in Northern Ireland were housed and every adult
person in employment the agitation for a united
Ireland would continue.' He appeals for an acceptance of Northern
Ireland's position within the United Kingdom and for an end to
O'Neill is boohed at Unionist election meeting
Report: O'Neill and Bradford
are met by Protestant Unionist protesters at a gathering in support
of Ferguson's parliamentary candidature for south Antrim. O'Neill
says that there is no need for the existence of bodies like the
PD, since 'people here have their democracy. Let them use it
properly and put aside methods of action which are in essence
undemocratic. Let us have a proper debate not a monologue.'
Government must remedy real grievances, but will not stand for
poorly-informed criticism. Violence will not provide jobs or
houses. Accusations that Northern Ireland is a police state are
evidently ridiculous, when students are permitted to protest within
parliament itself. He speaks of great efforts towards progress
in industry and housing that do not receive the same press coverage
as conflict and violence. Bradford argues that the Unionist Party
must change, bringing itself into line with British standards.
Ulster in the dock - candidate
Report: The Unionist candidate for north Down argues that
reform of the local government
franchise is essential; Britain has lost respect for Northern
Ireland, and this must be rebuilt.
O'Neill hits out at 'ill-informed criticism'
Report: O'Neill condemns the
portrayal of Northern Ireland as a repressive society. Free speech
has been and is permitted. Civic Weeks do not make the news,
he says, whereas violent confrontation is much more attractive
to journalists eager for a story. Economic prospects are damaged
by adverse publicity.
'Vital to make a firm stand'
Summary: O'Neill says that 'pushing the police about and breaking shop windows would not provide in Londonderry a single job or house.' He says it is vital to take a stand in favour of parliamentary government.
We should have fought back - Unionist
Report: Taylor says that one-man-one-vote does not apply in Britain or the Republic of Ireland, where multiple votes exist, just as they do in Northern Ireland. He also defends the ratepayers' franchise, which he claims provides ratepayers with the civil right of a say in local government. The system should not be changed before the local government review has reached its conclusions.
Taylor opposes voting reform
Report: Taylor feels that the debate
on local government is political rather
than sectarian in nature. He feels that socialists
are seeking a means to enable non-ratepayers to control local
government. If one-man-one-vote is to be introduced, then some
form of local taxation will also be necessary. Reforms
should be introduced where they are required, but must not be
introduced simply for their own sake. It is possible to exercise
the multiple vote not only in Northern Ireland local elections,
but also in those held in the rest of the UK and in the Republic
Cabinet talks on devolution of government
Report: The cabinet will meet again to discuss the case
that will be presented to Wilson. O'Neill's
speech to the housing conference has come as close as one could
reasonably expect to giving reassurances on housing allocation.
'Justice in allocation must not merely be done but be manifestly
seen to be done.' He has also indicated that some local authorities
find a points system useful. A Westminster
commission on the British constitution, possibly looking into
devolution, would affect Northern Ireland, so that Stormont will
be keen to examine the situation with regard to local government.
The '66 Committee claims its support for government efforts
to improve community relations.
Wilson accepts Attlee pledge
Report: Unionists express their satisfaction at Wilson's restatement of Attlee's pledge on the constitutional status of Northern Ireland.
Attlee pledge is affirmed by Wilson
Report: Wilson states his commitment
to Attlee's pledge regarding the constitutional status of Northern
Ireland. He also asserts that the Royal Commission on the constitution
should take into account any actions in Northern Ireland resulting
from his coming talks with O'Neill.
More scrutiny expected
Editorial: O'Neill will soon
meet Wilson. It is to be hoped that Wilson
will press for Northern Ireland to be brought into line with Britain,
particularly with regard to standards of equality and justice
Bradford's speech in Larne raised at Stormont
Report: Diamond expresses the opinion that Bradford's speech, acknowledging the existence of minority grievances, was a familiar exercise in government kite-flying, designed to ascertain how little nationalists would be prepared to accept by way of reform. The government 'pay lip-service to British standards.' He questions the value of attending parliament. O'Reilly claims that people are sick of talk of reform without matching action. Herbert Kirk, minister of finance, points to the success of the government, which is building 10,000 houses every year.
Bradford speech is under fire
Report: O'Reilly calls for the introduction of a points system in housing allocation.
[BT, 30 October]
Report: Summonses relating to the events of 5 October in Derry are expected to be issued.
[BT, 30 October]
Dramatic protest by jobless Derry men
Report: A teach-in protest is held against unemployment in Derry. A telegram is sent to Burns, accusing him of lying when he said that the unemployed of Derry are work-shy.
'Job' cards burned in Derry
Report: A teach-in is held in a Derry employment exchange in protect at the city's high level of unemployment.
[BT, 30 October]
Four more parades planned in Derry
Report: In addition to the forthcoming DCAC march, three
Orange parades are to be held in the near future
Has support of the Peoples' Democracy
Report: The PD announces its support for the forthcoming Derry civil rights march.
Rights march [Summary]
Public out of parade in Derry
Report: DCAC parade organisers stress that the public should not participate in the committee's march, but should line its route in silent protest, before proceeding to the Diamond to hear the reading of the Declaration of Human Rights. Stewards will receive a final briefing.
[IN, 1 November]
Decision on 'rights' march tomorrow
will tomorrow decide on whether to hold a civil rights march in
Armagh. A local UPV
division has warned of a counter-demonstration should the civil
rights march go ahead.
McAteer demands an amnesty
Report: McAteer calls for charges
not to be brought against participants in 5 October march, and
for the removal of the causes of the grievances which brought
about the march.
Loss at polls start of trouble - Coulthard
Report: Coulthard feels that Labour's losses at the last
Stormont election enabled politics to revert to the old 'orange
and green' issues. He says that the NILP
is ready to tackle social and economic issues such as housing,
employment and education.
Letter: The protestant churches in Dungannon have failed to condemn outrages against justice in that town. This is not necessarily true of the protestant churches throughout Northern Ireland.
Glasgow resolutions on civil rights in the North
Report: A Glasgow meeting, claiming to have no sectarian
or political motives, expresses its support for civil rights in
Northern Ireland and condemns the 'unprovoked brutality of the
People[']s Democracy [Letter]
One Unionist MP signed [Letter]
(Kevin Boyle, Bernadette Devlin, and others)
[see IN, 28 October, People's Democracy move at Stormont]
Is Aghalee not in the UK?
Letter: Unionist MPs at Westminster often pronounce on English affairs. Are not English MPs in their turn entitled to take an interest in Northern Ireland, as an integral part of the UK?
Justice for minorities
Letter: Most reformist elements in Northern Ireland are
not from the old Unionist families, but have had substantial contact
with Britain and 'British ideals of fair play.' British MPs at
Westminster have as much right to look into Northern Ireland affairs
as do their Northern Ireland counterparts with regard to British
Living in harmony with neighbours
Letter: Fitt and Currie will not have the support of the majority of catholics if trouble starts. 'As far as discrimination is concerned, it just doesn't exist in our part of the country [i.e. Ballymena].'
Letter: Student demonstrations are galling, especially
when one considers that the interests of students have been given
priority over the needs of ordinary householders in relation to
the provision of facilities for the university in residential
Advice to students
Letter: Students should face up to their responsibilities
and conduct themselves accordingly; they should be able to say
'no' to 'any dubious proposal.'
Letter: Students at Queen's University
are biting the hand that feeds them by 'lying about the streets
annoying the whole community'; they should have their grants withdrawn.
Letter: Labour members who complain of discrimination
in Northern Ireland should be aware that Republic of Ireland citizens
are permitted free entry into Britain, whereas Commonwealth citizens
are heavily restricted.
Letter: The civil rights campaign has damaged job prospects
in Northern Ireland; those who talk so much about civil rights
have done little to attract employment.
Bid to alter Orange rule on catholic occasions
Report: The Orange Order is to consider a change of rules that would allow its members to attend some forms of catholic worship.
[IN, 1 November]
Support for Mr Craig
Report: The South Derry division of the UPV
pays tribute to Craig's actions with regard
to the 5 October demonstration, and expresses disappointment in
O'Neill's lack of support for them.
October 1968: | 1-5 | 7-12 | 14-19 | 21-26 | 28-31 |
28 - 31 October: | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | Top |
CAIN contains information and source material on the conflict and politics in Northern Ireland.
CAIN is based within the University of Ulster.
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