Calendar of Newspaper Articles dealing with Civil Rights issues, 1 Jun 1968 - 9 Dec 1968 by Alan Scott
[KEY_EVENTS] [Key_Issues] [Conflict_Background]
CIVIL RIGHTS: [Menu] [Reading] [Summary] [Background] [Chronology] [Main_Pages] [Newspaper_Articles] [Sources]
November 1968: | 1-2 | 4-9 | 11-16 | 18-23 | 25-30 |
4 - 9 November: | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | Top |
4 November, 1968
Votes key issue
Leader: Wilson will expect movement from the Northern Ireland government on the local franchise as soon as possible. O'Neill and the Northern Ireland delegation to the Downing Street talks are likely to stick by their position that such will have to be considered in relation to the restructuring of local government; he will indicate a willingness to deal with multiple votes and to speed the government's housing programme along. The Royal Commission on the constitution will also be discussed. The Connolly Association agrees with Lynch's assessment of the Northern Ireland problem, and calls on the British government to introduce a Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland.
O'Neill flies out for Wilson talks
Report: O'Neill and his colleagues
leave for the talks at Downing Street. A leading source reveals
to the News Letter that Faulkner
and Craig are not holding out against reform,
but are seeking to accelerate the programme for the reorganisation
of local government. 'Most progressive
elements in the Unionist Party regard the
current trend of the Roman catholic minority towards claiming
the full rights of British citizenship (in spite of the fact that
it is being exploited for different purposes by certain people)
as a natural and healthy one.' The reform of local government
is believed to be viewed by members of the government as the means
for the putting in place of such citizenship. A note is handed
in at Downing Street calling either for an independent Northern
Ireland state or for full democratic government to be extended
to the area.
'Social justice' memo to Wilson
Report: The CSJ outlines local government grievances to Wilson and Callaghan, and warns that the abolition of the company vote would not be sufficient remedy to the problem. A universal local franchise and the redrawing of local government boundaries are necessary. The Evangelical Protestant Society speaks of the necessity for O'Neill to maintain Northern Ireland's cause in his meeting with Wilson. The Ulster Young Unionist Council declares that all people of goodwill support O'Neill in his meeting with Wilson.
Local government system's three defects
Report: The CSJ sends
out memoranda to Wilson, Callaghan,
the CDU and the press,
identifying local government as the primary
issue on which O'Neill and Wilson
must focus in their talks. Ward boundaries, the franchise and
plural voting must be addressed, in that order of priority. The
Campaign feels that the presence at the Downing Street talks of
Craig and Faulkner
means that no concessions will be made, unless on the company
vote. The Unionist delegation will talk of the reorganisation
of local government, but in Fermanagh, where this has already
begun, it has been entirely under the control of Unionists, and
has worked to their advantage.
Window-dressing reform offer would be act of folly
Report: The CSJ warns
that O'Neill should not simply offer
up minimal reforms in his meeting with Wilson.
Such a move would constitute an act of folly in a very dangerous
situation. The Connolly Association will protest at Downing Street,
having already taken part in a march that ended at the prime minister's
residence, after which a note calling for a British Northern Ireland
to enjoy full democracy was handed in. A demonstration encompassing
a number of groups will be held in Oxford at the end of the month.
The Oxford District Trades Council has already condemned the
ban on 5 October march and police brutality used against it; the
British government has also been asked to introduce safeguards
for the minority in Northern Ireland, full democratic rights,
and to abolish the Special Powers Act.
Oxford Labour Party has called for a commission of inquiry into
Northern Ireland to be established by the British government.
The newly-formed Oxford CRA
also condemns incidents in Derry and calls for British intervention.
A PD demonstration and Paisleyite counter-demonstration
will take place today in Belfast.
Editorial: The talks at Downing Street will not be conventionally frivolous and polite. Callaghan and Wilson 'know that Mr O'Neill is a well-meaning man; they also know that he is not a strong man, otherwise many of the reforms about which he has descanted, in and out of parliament, would long since have been adopted and there would have been no need for civil rights movements and campaigns for democracy. Mr Wilson must tell Mr O'Neill that the Unionists cannot any longer have it all their own way all the time; that the end to double-talk is now long overdue; and it may, in fact, be a tribute to the civil manners of the minority that it has so long tolerated this double-talk as acceptable political action.' Some Unionists 'are finding it convenient to pretend that [partition] is the issue, rather than the more immediate constructive solutions to the problems of franchise, discrimination in housing and employment, and gerrymandering of local wards.' Unionist allusions to partition are not simply designed to deflect attention from the real issues; they are also a sign of fear.
Two leaders face to face
Comment: O'Neill will be able
to tell Wilson when the two meet of the Northern
Ireland government's commitment to tackle one of the root causes
of the present discontent - housing - and its determination to
speed up the remodelling of local government.
He can also lay emphasis on the fact that 'the multiple company
vote is on the way out.' 'Outside this, the talks would enter
the party political field, the question of the franchise, the
influence of extremism, the matter of '"civil rights".'
Pickets greet O'Neill
Report: O'Neill and the Northern
Ireland delegation accompanying him to the Downing Street talks
are met by protesters on arrival.
Students plan to lobby City Hall councillors
Report: When today's PD march culminates at Belfast's City
Hall, members of the group hope to lobby councillors on the one-man-one-vote
issue, which they feel may not be resolved by the meeting between
O'Neill and Wilson.
PD demonstrators will also hand in a letter at 10 Downing Street
explaining their case.
March in Belfast
Report: The PD calls a march in Belfast and another to
Downing Street; Paisley will also hold
a meeting in Belfast, and says that students should not march
through the protestant Sandy Row area.
Support for Paisley
Report: The PD expresses its support for the civil right
of Paisleyites to march in Derry.
Student rights marchers in clash with RUC
Report: PD marchers break through a police cordon when their march is redirected by police as the result of a UCDC counter-demonstration. One speaker claims that there are people in Northern Ireland who cannot any longer contain their frustration, but that the PD is a peaceful movement.
[IN, NL, 5 November]
Next civil rights parade is planned
Report: The DCAC thanks Derry citizens for their part in
another peaceful protest, an illustration of the fact that such
events need not lead to violence. A date for the next demonstration
will soon be fixed.
Action marchers state new claim for civil rights
Report: 'Fifteen men and an 11-year-old boy have shown that a demonstration for the rights of man need not end in baton-charges, beatings and bloodshed . . . even in Derry City.' Police were not needed, save to prevent Paisleyites from coming into contact with the DCAC demonstration. The Loyal Citizens of Ulster, led by Major Ronald Bunting, were prevented from disrupting the DCAC march, their own demonstration having been rearranged by police. A DCAC spokesman says that the peaceful protest highlights the needlessness of any bans on marches. Another march is planned within the next fortnight. Roughly 3,000 people were in the Diamond to hear readings from the Declaration of Human Rights. Craig commends the police for their handling of 'a very difficult situation.'
[BT, 2 November]
No clash between marchers [Report]
Man who had something to say
Report: A catholic man tells a BBC reporter, once both
have moved sufficiently far away from the DCAC demonstration:
'I just want to say
that there is great respect for the prime
minister of Northern Ireland, Captain O'Neill.
And I'm a Roman catholic.'
Change boundaries, say Derry Nationalists
Report: Nationalist members of Derry corporation will put down several motions calling for reforms with regard to Derry housing, among which are proposals that a points system be introduced and that religion play no part in deciding allocations. Another motion calls on government immediately to redraw Derry ward boundaries on a more representative basis.
Derry Nationalists draw up housing plan for city [Report]
Labour will put case for Derry housing
Report: At the special meeting of Derry corporation where
these motions will be introduced, a deputation from the Derry
Labour Party will also put across its views on housing. The party
challenges Burns to repeat his comment on the 'work-shy' nature
of Derry's unemployed to those very people.
Labour Party proud of Derry people
Report: Derry Labour Party expresses its pride in the fact
that the two rival demonstrations in Derry passed off peacefully.
This proves Craig's assumptions about a
probable clash on 5 October to have been unfounded. The revelation
has silenced the two guards sent with O'Neill
'A pact between Unionists'
Report: Coulthard accuses the Unionist Party
in south Antrim of having entered a pact with Protestant Unionists
to defeat the Labour challenge. This demonstrates that O'Neill's
honeyed words are a con trick; Unionism stands only for sectarianism.
Labour offers, unlike Unionism, a constructive policy for the
whole community. He will press, if elected, for reforms,
among other areas, in the electoral system, housing, and for fair
representation on public boards.
Hopes revived by the civil rights movement
Letter: 'The civil rights movement is the first one in
fifty years that has begun to stir the hearts of our people.
Hearts benumbed by Nationalism, completely cynical of the ability
of our Southern countrymen to take their heads out of the lion's
mouth, faintly amused at the thought of justice from the Unionist
cabal, but ever hoping, with an ever dwindling hope, that some
day a nation will be born.' People should pray for justice, and
should publicise as widely as possible the existence and nature
of injustice. No action is expected to result from the forthcoming
Local government voting figures
Letter: If Unionists can justify majority control in Belfast,
why cannot they support it also in Derry? Additionally, Minford
has stated that two-thirds of local government
money comes from the coffers of central government. A voting
system that allows some people to have two votes and others who
contribute at least equally to the prosperity of the state to
have none, is reprehensible.
Unwilling to face reality
Letter: Agnew has attacked various nationalist
groups for their inaction over the years. He and his fellow republicans
should be reprimanded for permitting some Westminster parliamentary
seats in the west of Northern Ireland to go to Unionists by splitting
the nationalist vote. If republicans had not done this, then
perhaps injustices in Northern Ireland might have been highlighted
at Westminster before now.
Letter: Allegations of injustice must be investigated and, if found to be true, the injustices must be remedied. O'Neill is working towards a fair deal for all, and sufficient numbers of people support him in this endeavour to make its success possible. Change cannot be brought about by force.
A fair deal for all citizens [Letter]
[NL, 8 November]
Letter: The fact that the NILP
in Belfast received one-third of the votes of the Unionist Party
at local election level, yet only succeeded in returning one candidate
is, despite Unionist dismissals, scandalous.
English debt to Ulster
Letter: O'Neill has spoken
of the financial debt that Northern Ireland owes Britain. Perhaps
the British ought to remember the debt owed by themselves to Northern
Ireland for its sacrifices during two world wars.
Putting a foot down
Letter: Government should suspend grants to student 'law-breakers,'
who clearly are not at university to learn.
Letter: The recent demonstration at Stormont 'must have
made the blood of every decent Ulster man and women boil.'
Give these areas to Eire - speaker
Report: At a Unionist gathering, a speaker suggests that the Bogside and Creggan areas of Derry should be handed over to the Republic of Ireland, in view of residents' complaints about Northern Ireland, and the heavy drain on the state's resources that their presence within it constitutes. Perhaps Lynch will have more success in remedying the complaints of these areas. Other 'politically sick' areas should also be handed over. Fitzsimmons says that differences stretching back over hundreds of years cannot be healed overnight, and that many catholics will refuse to associate themselves with civil disobedience. Almost 100 Lisburn people send a letter of support to O'Neill, telling him that his economic and social policies have the support of the vast majority of the people of Northern Ireland. The situation in Derry is not seen as widely representative, though there are a number of similar areas in which 'improvements could be considered necessary.' Extremists receive much of the publicity, to the detriment of the moderates. The PD deplores what it sees as Lynch's attempt to reap political benefit from events in Northern Ireland, and advises him that he should concentrate on civil rights infringements in the Republic of Ireland.
[BT, 2 November]
TV blamed for tense political situation
Report: Mary Whitehouse, general secretary of the National
Viewers' and Listeners' Association, blames television coverage
of Northern Ireland for heightening political tensions there.
Selective journalism only depicts the most controversial, and
not necessarily representative events.
Minority's moves the 'cause of unrest'
Report: Norman Porter, director of the Evangelical Protestant
Society, accuses catholics of stirring up trouble in Northern
Ireland by their calls for civil rights. Protestants try to uphold
civil and religious liberty, but 'when [they] stand up for their
rights they are charged with all kinds of bigotry and discrimination.'
O'Neill support message rejected
Report: Coleraine borough council rejects a motion calling
for a telegram to be sent to O'Neill,
supporting his policies and deploring outside interference in
Northern Ireland's affairs. Councillors do not wish to become
involved with politics.
Bradford on the franchise
Report: Bradford says that the local franchise question
will be considered as part of the overall investigation into a
reorganisation of local government.
Injustices exist - church magazine
Report: A local presbyterian
magazine claims that no matter that the civil rights movement
has been infiltrated by IRA or communist
elements, 'discrimination and social injustice
exist, of this there is no doubt, and a large measure of the guilt
for this is ours.'
Protestant churches must speak out on burning issues
Report: A presbyterian minister feels that the churches should not fear to speak out on the issues of housing, voting and discrimination, even though some ministers have been victimised as a result of their expressions of concern.
[BT, 2 November]
5 November, 1968
Period of grace
Editorial: Wilson has dismissed the issue of partition as irrelevant to the present situation in Northern Ireland. Unionism now enjoys the scarcely deserved luxury of a period of grace. It must give its full backing to O'Neill. 'The threat to Northern Ireland's future is not Mr Wilson or Mr Lynch or the IRA or even nationalism. It comes from protestant Ulstermen who will not allow themselves to be liberated from the delusion that every Roman catholic is their enemy.'
Commitment from O'Neill
Editorial: Information on the O'Neill-Wilson
talks is scarce, but it would seem plausible to suggest that Derry,
and thus the franchise, housing discrimination,
gerrymandering, 'and the reasons why Mr O'Neill
has been so tardy in introducing the social and political reforms
whose absence has led to the backbench pressure on Mr Wilson,'
were high on the agenda. 'It is to be hoped that Wilson obtained
from O'Neill a commitment to immediate and necessary changes.
Failure to act will bring even greater pressures to bear against
the British prime minister.'
O'Neill: next step
Leader: Wilson clearly recognises
that reform cannot be brought about overnight, and
that O'Neill must be given time to
implement British standards in Northern Ireland. His task now
must be to persuade his party, the attitudes of many members of
which have hardened in the wake of recent events, of the necessity
for reform. The introduction of an ombudsman for Northern Ireland
would now appear a possibility, but the effectiveness of the office
will depend upon how closely such an office would mirror its British
equivalent. The issue of the local franchise will probably not
be addressed immediately, but rather through an acceleration of
the ongoing investigation of local government
with a view to its reorganisation.
Secrecy cloaks meeting of Wilson and O'Neill
Leader: At O'Neill's meeting with Wilson, it is understood that among issues discussed were the appointment of a parliamentary commissioner for Northern Ireland, the local government franchise, housing allocation, recent events in Derry, and the Special Powers Act. Wilson also reaffirms Attlee's 1948 pledge on the constitution of Northern Ireland. Faulkner interprets this as a pledge of Westminster non-interference in the affairs of Northern Ireland. Demonstrators assemble at Downing Street and hand in letters of protest to Wilson. The British prime minister is 'known to be impatient at the slowness of reform of local government franchise in the North.' McAteer asserts: 'as I sense the mood of Derry, there must be early evidence of real change. Delay is dangerous.' Fitt feels that reforms would have the support of the vast majority of the people of Northern Ireland. Robin Chichester-Clark expects one-man-one-vote to have been implemented by the time of the next election: O'Neill is 'moving as fast as he could on the matter.'
Ulster given pledge
Report: Unionists have in the past argued against an ombudsman
on the grounds that such a post is unnecessary given the closeness
of MPs to their constituents in Northern Ireland. Pressure for
an ombudsman is however likely to grow and it is difficult to
see the Unionist Party adopting a hard-line
stance on the issue. O'Neill, after his meeting with Wilson,
tells a gathering of Westminster MPs that Northern Ireland's constitutional
position should not be at issue. A meeting of the Unionist parliamentary
party is likely in the near future to discuss matters arising
from the talks. Wilson is also told at the
Downing Street meeting of the Northern Ireland government's intentions
in reshaping local government and of its
desire to see an energetic housing programme, with allocation
on the basis of need and a scrupulous Stormont eye kept on fairness.
Representatives from more than 20 radical groups demonstrate
on O'Neill's arrival, and a petition is handed in calling for
no compromise on civil rights.
O'Neill back from London talks sees chief whip
Report: O'Neill meets with
Bradford and leading Unionist officials to discuss the steps that
will be taken in light of the exchanges that have taken place
with Wilson. An early meeting of the Unionist
parliamentary party would seem a likely possibility.
McAteer welcomes the possibility of an ombudsman,
but stresses that the office would have to carry with it the power
to investigate complaints against local government
authorities, and that this reform is not in itself
sufficient. It is clear from replies given by O'Neill to a gathering
of British MPs, meanwhile, that the Northern Ireland prime minister
'has not committed himself to any dramatic step-up of the pace
of reform,' arguing instead that advances will take time. Fitt
stresses the non-sectarian nature of the civil
What they said today
Report: Wilson says that the issues
of the local franchise, housing allocation,
events in Derry, the Special Powers Act
and the appointment of an ombudsman were discussed at the 10 Downing
Street meeting. He feels that an impartial inquiry should be
conducted by the government of Northern Ireland, and is sending
the reports of the three Labour MPs who were in Derry to O'Neill.
O'Neill himself has declined to comment on the talks. Lynch
feels that the Northern Ireland prime minister is trying to secure
Premier pleased by reiteration of Attlee pledge
Report: Wilson's reiteration of Attlee's
constitutional pledge on Northern Ireland at the talks is believed
to have gratified O'Neill. Wilson
made clear the pressure to intervene in Northern Ireland to which
he is being subjected; O'Neill is understood to have emphasised
that intervention would only serve to fuel extremism. An ombudsman
is also seen by him as less than essential, given the closeness
of parliamentary representatives in Northern Ireland to their
Be guided by facts, not emotions, says Ulster premier
Report: O'Neill feels, in the light of Lynch's pronouncements on partition and of the forthcoming Royal Commission on the constitution, that people should engage in calm deliberation on Northern Ireland; a united Ireland is not an option.
'Ulster has valid right of consent to change'
Report: O'Neill tells Westminster MPs of the extreme similarity between the Stormont and Westminster franchises, and adds that the university seats and business vote in this regard are to be abolished. The boundaries of parliamentary constituencies in Northern Ireland are such that in some cases a smaller number of electors return opposition MPs from some areas than vote for Unionist members in others. 'Candidates who support the existing constitutional position have greatly out-polled all others.' He defends Northern Ireland's constitutional position.
Setting the record straight
Editorial: O'Neill has outlined
to a gathering of Westminster MPs Northern Ireland's history and
put its constitutional status in context, defending its right
to remain part of the UK. This is a useful retort to the distorted
facts and figures about Northern Ireland advanced over the previous
months. O'Neill has put Lynch in his place
and 'exposed the pretensions of Mr Fitt who
protests about electoral anomalies and yet represents the tiniest
constituency in Northern Ireland.'
O'Neill's speech 'appeal to the past'
Report: The Irish Times feels that Wilson's
reaffirmation of Northern Ireland's constitution will enable O'Neill
to go ahead with his attempts at reform. The Daily
Telegraph asserts that while reform in Ireland is necessary,
it cannot easily be achieved while nationalists can continue to
look for support to Dublin and to a vocal lobby at Westminster.
'Low level sniping' by enemies of Ulster, says Kirk
Report: Herbert Kirk feels that tensions in Northern Ireland make police action to prevent violence all the more necessary. 'I have no doubt there are perfectly sincere people who wish to see changes in present practices but unfortunately their protests are seized on by unscrupulous politicians and others who have no object but notoriety - allied, of course, with the overthrow of the constitution.' Bad publicity has damaged industrial prospects.
Minister criticises his critics [Report]
Unionists and Fitt clash in Ulster debate
Report: Fitt says at Westminster that if civil rights are not granted in Northern Ireland, then people will take to the streets. Thorpe feels that O'Neill is trying to control the more hard-line elements in his administration, but that, even bearing this in mind, it is difficult to credit the good intentions of his government when it continues to refuse to extend the Race Relations Act or the powers of the parliamentary commissioner to Northern Ireland, and when Murnaghan's Human Rights Bill is opposed. Fitt feels that Westminster must acknowledge its ultimate responsibility for human rights under Stormont. He also charges that 'the only violence used [in Derry] was by the police force.' He adds, 'the present situation is in no way geared towards the achievement of an Irish republic. The question of partition does not enter into it. It is a demand for civil rights.' The central issue is the local government franchise. Reforms would be supported by all sections of the community. Robin Chichester-Clark says that Thorpe's remarks will drive people in Northern Ireland into entrenched positions, and speaks of progress towards reconciliation. Fitt's speeches are 'an incitement to violence.' Wounds cannot be healed overnight, and Fitt deliberately caused trouble by leading a civil rights march into an area where people holding similar beliefs do not normally go.
Fitt puts 'Ulster' record right for British MPs
Report: Robin Chichester-Clark accuses Fitt of being more interested in ending partition than in civil rights. Catholics who try to make a valuable contribution to the Northern Ireland community are often singled out for vilification by their co-religionists, as indeed are protestants who wish to see catholics playing such a role. Intervention will only serve to destroy moderation.
Unionist MPs' [sic] flay Fitt in Westminster debate
Report: Robin Chichester-Clark
says that the Derry parade was not banned, but was simply re-routed
away from areas where it was not wanted.
Stop rights march in Armagh: councillor
Report: An Armagh councillor calls on people
to do everything in their power to prevent a civil rights march
through the city, and to communicate the message that discrimination
is not practised there. Trouble and damage to property must be
avoided. An opposition councillor deplores violence but feels
that people should be permitted to exercise their right to march.
9 arrests as students, police clash in City Hall march
Report: When police redirect a PD march in Belfast because of a Paisleyite counter-demonstration, protesters break through a police cordon and some minor clashes ensue.
9 arrested in marches [Leader]
[BT, 4 November]
Students plan another City Hall rally
Report: A further PD demonstration outside Belfast City
Hall is planned; the Loyal Citizens of Ulster declare their intention
to hold a march in Derry.
Placards at court as nine are charged
Report: PD protesters demonstrate outside the Belfast court where participants in yesterday's march are charged with regard to their conduct. Eight of the nine are represented by members of the Northern Ireland Society of Labour Lawyers.
[IN, 6 November]
Methodist support for Capt O'Neill
Report: 'Junior ministers of the methodist
church in Ireland have expressed their support
"for the progressive policies of prime minister Capt O'Neill,"
and called for electoral reform to take place at
an early date.'
'Our people rise above bitterness'
Report: A local Church of Ireland publication claims that bad publicity about Northern Ireland has made people strongly aware of its faults; its good points must be more strongly emphasised.
Attitudes to the partition issue
Letter: The attacks made by the PD and particularly by
the National Democratic group at Queen's University
on Lynch's statement that the root of Northern
Ireland's problems lies in partition, are to be deplored.
No letters of support?
Letter: Has the Irish News received no letters agreeing with the recent call by prominent people for support for O'Neill?
Editorial reply: The newspaper has received no such correspondence.
Letter: Certainly, it is true to say that UK citizens have
the right to examine what is taking place in any part of the kingdom,
but those living in Britain should recognise the shortcomings
of their own areas as well as those of Northern Ireland.
Letter: 'The underprivileged minority has been conspicuously
enjoying unlimited abundance in the form of family allowances
and other state benefits,' while contributing nothing in return
but a higher birth-rate. 'Housing should be for sale and not
governed by a couple's capacity to breed children. Education
is a state concern and must be free from religious indoctrination
and segregation. The reorganisation of local government
is urgent - six local authorities, one for each county, would
be generous and should be elected by voters on the parliamentary
register of electors; staffing and allocations
of housing to be the responsibility of the central government.'
Northern Ireland should have more independence, not less, and
should be free from London interference. Those who wish to leave
are free to do so.
Letter: Students should consider how relatively well-off
are all the people of Northern Ireland before they protest.
Ballycastle UC suffrage call
Report: Ballycastle urban council calls on government to
introduce 'the principle of one-man-one-vote with universal manhood
suffrage for all local government and
parliamentary elections.' Discrimination
should also be ended and employment opportunities
Councillor's notice of motion
Report: Hassard is to call on Dungannon UDC to hand over control of the house-building programme to the Housing Trust.
Armagh's 'forgotten 26' still waiting for new houses
Report: The plight of 26 catholic Armagh families
who have been living in squalid conditions for years without being
allocated new houses is seen by many as a vivid illustration of
the existence in the area of blatant discrimination.
A Labour view on civil rights drive
Report: McCann, speaking to NUU students, says that the struggle for civil rights has forged a broad alliance stretching from the far left of politics to a position to the right of the Nationalist Party. He feels that the civil rights issue has offered reactionary elements a cloak of respectability. They are prepared to campaign for fairness in electoral practice, housing and jobs, but not for a redistribution of wealth. 'The greatest achievement of the civil rights campaign has been its success in involving thousands of ordinary people in significant political events, and, by taking the struggle outside normal constitutional channels, thereby short-circuiting the political process. It is this achievement which we must, in the next few weeks, safeguard. Diversion of the struggle back into the reformist ruts of parliamentary manoeuvre and silly shuffling between official and unofficial opposition - as if it mattered - will hand the initiative back to those whose failures created the need for the movement in the first place. I would say, therefore, that we need a Housing Action Committee rather than questions in the house.'
'We need a mass march' - McCann [Report]
6 November, 1968
Wilson may tighten aid to Ulster
Report: Wilson's statement that, under
certain circumstances, the British government would have to make
'a very fundamental reappraisal of its relations with Northern
Ireland' is being seen as a warning that financial pressure may
eventually be placed on Stormont should an accelerated programme
of reform not be put in place. He calls for a public
inquiry into the Derry disturbances, with particular reference
to the actions of police. He also emphasises more strongly than
ever his support for O'Neill. The
political temperature however has undoubtedly been raised by these
comments; it is likely that some Unionists may adopt more entrenched
positions in opposition to reform. Even some strong O'Neill supporters
deem the comments damaging. Another possibility raised by Wilson's
comments is the removal of some powers from Stormont to Westminster.
O'Neill is expected to make a full statement in the commons of
his government's position as soon as possible. Craig
remains opposed to an inquiry into police methods in Derry, to
an ombudsman, which post he considers unnecessary for Northern
Ireland, and to the abolition of the Special Powers Act.
Boyd and Simpson will put down motions at Stormont calling for
the appointment of an ombudsman and the establishment of a broadly-based
development commission in Derry. Secretary of the Unionist '66
committee, Austin Ardill MP, asserts that an ombudsman would
achieve little, but making such an appointment may be worthwhile
if it placates a small, vociferous minority. He sees the real
problem as a need for more houses and more jobs. Present Unionist
policies of progress, he says, should be continued, and there
will be no danger to O'Neill's leadership of the Unionist Party.
Wilson warns, 'if O'Neill is ousted'
Report: Wilson says that if O'Neill or his policies are overthrown, then the British government will have to conduct a fundamental reappraisal of its relationships with Northern Ireland. He calls for an impartial inquiry to be conducted by the government of Northern Ireland into events in Derry. He adds that his discussions with O'Neill centred on the immediate future, rather than on the role of the constitutional commission, an issue which was not raised. Labour MP Frank Judd feels that many British people consider conditions in Northern Ireland to be an affront to democracy. Wilson stresses the importance of the local government franchise, but admits that progress may take time.
O'Neill remains tight-lipped but Wilson speaks out
Leader: O'Neill reveals little about the Downing Street talks with Wilson, but will brief his cabinet tomorrow. Wilson warns against the overthrow of O'Neill, which he says could bring about a serious reappraisal of Westminster-Stormont relations. He is most concerned about issues of discrimination and the Special Powers Act, and calls for an inquiry into recent events in Derry. Labour MP Frank Judd speaks of 'much in Northern Ireland which is an affront to standards of democracy and human rights.' Wilson feels that addressing the local franchise problem will take time. He will send the report authored by three Labour MPs on the Derry disturbances to O'Neill. Heath calls for support for moderate policies.
MPs' row over Ulster talks
Report: Additionally, Wilson praises the Northern Ireland government's housing record, but says that discrimination should be ended.
Wilson's warning shocks Ulster
Report: 'Political circles in Northern Ireland were in
turmoil last night' following Wilson's remarks.
Craig 'categorically' rejects the call for
an inquiry into Derry, feeling there to be no 'evidence or reasonable
grounds' for such an investigation. 'Political agitation' is
not sufficient reason for it. A source reveals that the idea
of an inquiry was raised at the Downing Street talks, where Craig
argued strongly against it. The Stormont cabinet will meet tomorrow;
additionally, a meeting of the Unionist parliamentary party
is expected in the near future. O'Neill
reveals little about the Downing Street talks or the course of
action that his government may now take.
Time for cool heads
Editorial: Wilson has made it evident that he will brook no further delay over reform, and has warned of a serious reappraisal of relationships between Britain and Northern Ireland, should the Unionist Party drop O'Neill or his reform programme. This could mean anything from the curtailment of the powers of Northern Ireland MPs at Westminster to the curtailment of Stormont's power, or a tightening of the British purse-strings. Unionists must acknowledge Wilson's determination, together with the possibility of more strife in Northern Ireland, and must make a credible statement of intent that is capable of securing widespread backing. 'The cabinet will be judged not on its pugnacity but on its statesmanship.'
What, and how soon?
Editorial: Wilson has clearly decided
that reform is necessary in Northern Ireland, and
has placed pressure on O'Neill to
secure it. The Northern Ireland prime minister will have to confront
those still opposed to change. If he can do this soon, then there
may be cause for some optimism.
Case for an ombudsman
Editorial: It is reassuring that Wilson
has chosen to disregard Lynch's arguments, and
it is clear that he does not intend to 'intrude in Northern Ireland
affairs.' While there is not an overwhelming need for the appointment
of a parliamentary commissioner, such a move may prove useful
in allaying some, notably English, fears.
Faulkner puts stress on bread and butter
Report: Faulkner, speaking at a pre-election rally in south Antrim, says, 'it is time, and more than time, to come down to solid ground from the clouds of distortion, exaggeration and prejudice in which we have all been enveloped for the past few weeks. Discrimination, gerrymandering, civil rights, Irish unity, may be the stuff that martyrs are made of, but they will not put butter on the bread or one penny in the pay packet.' Boyd, at a separate meeting, accuses Unionists of wanting to break the link with Britain: 'they don't want either British standards or the British way of life here. What they really want to do is renounce everything British and declare UDI to maintain their undisputed control over every facet of Ulster life.' Coulthard says that he favours a universal local franchise, and sees its denial as a significant cause of much unrest. Houses should be allocated on the basis of need alone.
Faulkner slams the 'martyrs'
Report: It is employment, he feels, that
provides people with the opportunity the enjoy a decent standard
of living. He also lauds progress in house-building.
Banner-carriers not real patriots - O'Neill
Report: O'Neill criticises those who carry banners and cause inconvenience in time of peace, and compares their false patriotism to be real sacrifice made by the men at the Somme in 1916, who wanted 'to make Ulster a part of the United Kingdom held in high respect by all.' Lord Dunleath says, 'I think the voice of the more extreme element has been heard out of all proportion to the body of opinion which it represents. The vast majority of the people in Northern Ireland are basically of moderate outlook and they don't tend to express their views so loudly. But if the need came the extreme element would be surprised to find the solid support for the prime minister and what he is trying to do.'
British and proud of it, says O'Neill [Report]
'They were the true patriots'
Report: O'Neill talks of the true patriotism of the men who gave their lives in defence of freedom, and feels that people in today's society are fond of making demands of the state, but give back little in return.
Catholic support must be welcomed - Unionist
Report: Duncairn Unionist Association is told that the Unionist Party should be prepared wholeheartedly to accept as members responsible catholics. Unionism's future depends upon an acceptance at grass-roots level of liberal reforms in the political and social spheres. O'Neill receives a vote of confidence and is sent a telegram of congratulation.
[NL, 7 November]
Presbytery supports PM
Report: East Belfast presbytery expresses support for O'Neill
and deprecates those who stand in the way of an atmosphere of
goodwill. Opponents of the government should however speak and
act with restraint.
Bishops' statement welcomed
Comment: The statement by the Church of
Ireland bishops on community
relations has been widely welcomed;
it is a sad comment on Northern Ireland life that such a pronouncement
had to be made at all, and that it had not been made long before.
Vital for security of Ulster
Report: It is sad to see social justice lacking in any
part of the UK, comments a writer in a local presbyterian
publication. It was wrong for Derry demonstrators to force a
confrontation with the police, a confrontation that showed signs
of having been engineered, nevertheless, Craig
must take his share of the blame for subsequent events. Communists
or the IRA may have infiltrated the
movement, but the 'the rights and wrongs of the movement can be
argued till the cows come home, but does this advance a solution
to the underlying grievances by one iota...What are the grievances?
There are three - allocation of houses
(the impressive building figures shed no light on the problem
whatsoever); electoral rights in local council elections, and
the arbitrary fixing of ward boundaries. There is ample evidence
of available to substantiate housing, the rightness of the other
two are [sic] self-evident.' Houses and jobs should be obtainable
on merit. 'To hear a prospective Unionist candidate say it is
open to anyone to take legal proceedings who thinks he has been
discriminated against and in the next breath
to suggest that since none has been taken none exists must be
very naive...Discrimination and social injustice exist. Of this
there is no doubt, and a large measure of the guilt for this is
ours.' The Christian way ahead is to tackle this social injustice.
Taoiseach expects 'some improvement'
Report: Lynch tells the Dáil that
he expects improvements in the civil rights situation in Northern
Ireland in the wake of the O'Neill-Wilson
talks. He says that he outlined to Wilson his belief that partition
is the root cause of the recent problems. He believes that O'Neill
is 'anxious to promote civil rights.'
Appeal for full anti-Unionist vote today
Report: Coulthard calls for votes in favour of reform on the eve of the south Antrim by-election, and pledges his support for an ombudsman, fair representation on all public boards, an end to political patronage and a genuine improvement in community relations, that can be brought about only be a non-sectarian party. He also wishes to see the introduction of a universal franchise in local government, and of a points system for housing allocation.
Polling today in south Antrim
Report: Coulthard argues that an improvement in community
relations can be achieved by a non-sectarian
party representing ordinary people.
Reject UDI philosophy, asks Mr Boyd
Report: Boyd says that some Unionists would rather declare
UDI than face any degree of control in Northern Ireland, an idea
which he condemns.
Housing conference 'dismays'
Report: A Strabane meeting of the NDP
is told by a speaker of his disappointment with the recent housing
conference, which largely failed to address the real issues.
'I regret to say that much more pressure is needed on the government
before they change their ways and who can deny that the only voice
that is listened to is the roar from the streets?' It would seem
that O'Neill would like to see fair
play in housing but, as usual, is not prepared to press for it.
Police strength at civil rights march
Report: Currie tells Craig
in the commons that large numbers of police were not required
to deal with the Dungannon march. Diamond
accuses the reserve force of possessing a reputation for brutality.
Craig says that demonstrators did not necessarily wish to maintain
the peace, and that inciting speeches from the platform had not
List of desired reforms in PD letter to 'no. 10'
Report: A PD letter handed in at 10 Downing Street calls
for universal franchise in local government,
from participation in which many taxpayers are excluded; the establishment
of machinery to deal with discrimination;
allocation of housing according to a
points system, possibly administered
from the centre and thus more immune to local prejudices; the
reduction of powers vested in the executive by the Public Order
Act, so that such powers may be exercised in the interests of
public order alone; the repeal of the Special Powers Act, in view
of the fact that the ordinary law is capable of dealing with extremists;
the eventual re-drawing of local government boundaries, though
this is a process that should not slow up universalisation of
the franchise; and an end to the rife practice of political patronage.
These issues can be addressed within the framework of the Union.
Nine accused after march in Belfast
Report: PD demonstrators protest outside the Belfast court where nine people face charges for their part in the most recent PD march.
[BT, 5 November]
Bunting and Paisley blamed by PD
Report: The PD states that the cause of trouble at its last march was the action taken by supporters of Paisley and Bunting. The PD wished to show solidarity with fellow-demonstrators at Downing Street, and to lobby Belfast councillors on the local franchise issue. The claim is advanced that the group has always co-operated with police.
Violence not our fault - statement
Report: The PD dissociates itself from the violence which
occurred on its most recent march. The intention of the demonstrations
was to show solidarity with fellow-demonstrators in London, and
to lobby Belfast councillors, highlighting to them the inequity
of the franchise.
Votes in Derry [Letter]
Letter: Those condemning student protest should accept
that free expression is a democratic right.
The People's Democracy
Letter: The Belfast Telegraph's reporting of the
recent PD demonstration was mostly fair, but students were at
no point urged to adopt particular tactics. The PD has no leaders
as such, and is a thoroughly democratic body.
Tighten up purse strings on those students
Letter: Student demonstrations are not only causing disruption
and inconvenience, but are also costing public money. Higher
education is a privilege, and students should be forced to realise
this; action should be taken by the granting authorities.
Ashamed to be a student
Letter: PD demonstrations are insincere, brought about
by boredom and egotism. All views have been expressed regarding
the present situation in Northern Ireland. There is no need for
Letter: It is shameful that students who speak out in favour
of justice did nothing to prevent Queen's University
from depriving children of playing space.
Cause of strife
Letter: O'Neill's success
at promoting improved community relations
is unwelcome to nationalist and republican leaders, who wish to
destroy the Northern Ireland constitution. They have turned to
the fashionable cause of civil rights to perpetuate division.
'The point I am trying to make is that selfish extremists on
both sides have ruined O'Neill's attempt to solve the "Irish
question" whereby he aimed at stabilising an amicable and
loyal Ulster community wherein he could safely legislate to get
rid of problems which exist and so establish a fully democratic
and law-abiding state.'
Letter: The press, with unconcealed political sympathies,
provides a proper forum for the debate of issues such as the recent
events in Derry. The sensation-seeking coverage offered by television
offers only propaganda of which Goebbels would be proud.
Letter: Television, by concentrating on sensationalism,
has portrayed Northern Ireland in a false light.
Letter: 'God bless our RUC
men, the finest force in the world.'
Letter: Mr Justice Lowry has pointed out that the trouble
in Derry was caused by outsiders. The march had clearly been
infiltrated by opponents. If police had not stopped it when they
did, they would have permitted more trouble than actually took
place. Craig's decision on the march is
Letter: The British Labour Party is willing to barter Northern
Ireland's constitutional position within the UK to appease republicanism.
Civil rights demands are merely a fashionable means to achieve
the republican end.
Offer the Bogside
Letter: An end might be put to the Derry affair if the Northern Ireland government was to hand over the Bogside and Creggan areas of Derry to the Republic of Ireland. It was a mistake on the part of Lord Craigavon not to implement the findings of the Boundary Commission in the 1920s.
7 November, 1968
Votes gap widens
Leader: A Bill published in Britain today will, is passed into law, lower the voting age to 18, abolish non-residential and thus multiple votes in all areas of Britain bar London. Such a measure would widen the legislative gap between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
[IN, 8 November]
Callaghan to see MPs on Ulster
Report: Callaghan will meet with the parliamentary Labour group on Northern Ireland on 21 November. He has told the parliamentary party that some things will have to be done in Northern Ireland that cannot wait for the proposed constitutional commission.
Matters here 'needn't await constitutional commission'
Report: Callaghan tells a gathering
of British Labour MPs that some changes in Northern Ireland need
not await the findings of the constitutional commission established
by the British government.
Crucial cabinet meeting today
Report: The cabinet meets today to discuss the Downing
Street talks. Unionist backbenchers are unsure of what reforms
will be asked of them, but feel that O'Neill
must be supported in attempts to mend strained relations with
Westminster. Many believe the government will agree to the appointment
of an ombudsman. Some feel that a re-examination of the Special
Powers Act may be necessary, while others
subscribe to the harder line adopted by Craig.
It is thought that government will accelerate its programme for
the re-shaping of local government, but
many feel strongly that the one-man-one-vote issue cannot be considered
independently of this review. Proponents of a points system
for house allocation feel that government
has the right to demand such a system, in view of the considerable
public expenditure on this area. Wilson's
warning is being taken to indicate a preparedness to tighten Westminster's
purse-strings if liberal Unionism is obstructed.
Craig calls for cool heads on the Unionist side, so that a crisis
can be avoided. He also dismisses speculation on a Unionist split.
Boyd and Simpson table a motion at Stormont, calling for the
appointment of an ombudsman for Northern Ireland.
Unionist MPs to be told
Report: The Unionist parliamentary party
is to meet soon to hear a report on the Downing Street talks.
The cabinet is meeting today to discuss the same issue. It is
unlikely that O'Neill will be ready
with a definitive statement of government policy. Today's cabinet
meeting may be the most important since O'Neill came to power.
The wrong way to help
Editorial: Wilson's latest words on
Northern Ireland 'carried an unnecessary hint of duress' that
is embarrassing rather than helpful to O'Neill.
They will not make the prime minister's task of persuasion any
easier. 'At this stage the least [sic] that is said in Westminster
or in public in Northern Ireland the sooner it should be possible
to reach a solution, which, if it is not acceptable to all, will
have the endorsement of the mainstream of Unionist thought.'
O'Neill requires the solid backing of his party. Craig
was right to turn down Wilson's request for a public inquiry into
events in Derry, and he knows best the reasons for the retention
of the Special Powers Act. Wilson is
to be commended for his reassurance on the constitutional issue.
Something more than words is needed now
Comment: For all the rush of events over the past week,
little appears to have changed in Northern Ireland politics.
O'Neill, it would appear, has once
more been given time by Wilson. 'This is
hardly going to satisfy the civil rights marchers, whose faith
in Capt O'Neill's goodwill has largely been exhausted.' It seems
that peaceful marches gain much less British media attention,
and it would appear that British politicians, given half the chance,
would rather forget about Ireland. With so many demonstrations
and counter-demonstrations, tragedy is turning to farce, as illustrated
by the LCU counter-demonstration in Derry. No-one really takes
student demonstrations very seriously, because students tend to
feel strongly about almost anything. 'There is, I think, within
the civil rights movement, a core of practical people who are
concerned with the concrete realities of poor housing and lack
of jobs. They are not trying to make political capital out of
religious discrimination, or to advance themselves
personally, but merely to tackle specific areas in Ulster life.'
O'Neill must find something concrete to offer these moderate
Craig hits 'onslaught on Unionism'
Report: Craig talks of a great onslaught on the Northern Ireland constitution, conducted by way of a propaganda smear campaign. Unionists must not permit tensions to escalate. Issues within the competence of the government and parliament of Northern Ireland will be dealt with by those bodies, in accordance with the wishes of the people. The leader of the Unionist Party will be chosen by the party on the basis of merit. 'There is no power struggle within the Unionist Party.' A resolution is passed supporting Craig's defence of peace, order and the constitution.
Unionists warned 'to play it cool' [Report]
'Unasked for intrusion into our affairs' Boal says
Report: Boal criticises Wilson's recent comments on Northern Ireland as an 'unwarranted and unasked-for intrusion into the affairs of the Ulster Unionist Party, who can have whatever leader they want [sic] at any given time they want.' The interference is not only constitutionally improper, but also comes from 'a member of another party.' Phelim O'Neill describes Diamond as an extremist on the one side, and Boal as an extremist on the other.
Mr Wilson gets a Boal broadside
Report: In addition to Boal's comments, Diamond asserts that the constitutional issue has nothing to do with the demand for civil rights. O'Neill has said much but done nothing over the course of his period in office; he should now put together a timetable for reform and put it to the electoral test. Craig's actions have ruined O'Neill's policies, and it is difficult to understand how they remain in the same cabinet. O'Neill replies that the government must consider carefully what its next step should be.
It has to be cabinet first on London talks
Report: Diamond, speaking in parliament,
argues that the constitutional issue is at the present time a
political red herring; the real issue is that of civil rights,
and it must be addressed. A definite timetable for reform,
much more than liberal sentiment, is now required. Craig's
conduct has left O'Neill's policy
'in ruins.' O'Neill retorts that he is entitled to defend Northern
Ireland's constitutional position, in view of Lynch's
intervention. He adds that no decisions were taken at the Downing
Street meeting. Boal accuses Wilson of constitutional
blackmail, and feels that the British prime minister has no right
to interfere in the affairs of the Northern Ireland parliament
or of another political party. The Unionist Party
can have whichever leader it chooses. O'Reilly plans to test
the government's good intentions by the introduction of an Ombudsman
Bill. He expresses concern about partiality in the administration
of the law. No marches should be permitted to pass through areas
where their presence is unwelcome, and counter-demonstrations
should not be used as an excuse for banning the originally-proposed
march, so long as fair notice has been given. Phelim O'Neill
accuses both Diamond and Boal of extremism, a charge which both
Paramilitary suggestion far-fetched - Craig
Report: Craig refutes a suggestion made by Diamond that the LCU is a paramilitary group.
Diamond's query on existence of paramilitary force
Report: Boal wonders why Diamond has not in the past asked similar questions about the IRA. Craig blames student demonstrators for the recent trouble in Shaftesbury Square, Belfast.
Far-fetched conclusions on Derry [Report]
LOL backs Mr Craig
Report: A Belfast district Orange Lodge
lends its support to Craig and to the police
for their handling of the 'riotous mob' in Derry, and condemns
MPs and others who 'while masquerading as leaders in the cause
of civil liberty, are fomenting civil strife.' Paisley,
writing in reply to a British Legion request calling upon him
to cancel a march, argues that his demonstration will not in any
way detract from activities organised by the Legion.
'Paisley for ombudsman'
Report: Bunting suggests that
the role of ombudsman for Northern Ireland should be filled by
Civil rights protesters under fire
Report: Student demonstrations which disrupt traffic are criticised at a meeting of Belfast city council police committee, students being accused of denying others their civil rights.
[NL, 8 November]
Welcome to RCs
Report: Duncairn Unionist Association is told that the party should be prepared to welcome more catholics to its ranks.
[BT, 6 November]
'Housing bias' sets problem for churches council
Report: The Irish Council of Churches, meeting
in Belfast, discusses means whereby it can address the problem
of housing discrimination.
Paisley and workless to hold Derry meetings
Report: An Unemployed Action Committee in Derry plans a teach-in on housing and unemployment, closely coinciding with a Paisleyite rally, though it is emphasised that it is not intended as a counter-demonstration, and Paisley has been invited to speak. Bunting has served notice of a march, planned to take place before the Paisleyite meeting.
Derry jobless for action committee [Report]
Paisley gets invitation from
Long winter of protests
Report: It would appear that there is likely to be little
slackening in the pace of protest and counter-protest in the near
future. The PD plans a public meeting for Belfast City Hall;
the UCDC will hold
a rally in Derry, 'which will be one of the largest ever held
in the Maiden City,' while Bunting
has given notice of a parade on the same day; NICRA
plans a rally in Armagh on 16 November.
Summonses for Fitt, - McAteer?
Report: It is rumoured that both Fitt
and McAteer will receive court summonses
for their part in the 5 October civil rights demonstration. Observers
feel that this is a victory for the extremist faction in the cabinet
over O'Neill's desire not to raise
the political temperature further.
Derry Labour Party man calls for Mr Craig's dismissal
Report: McCann, addressing a PD meeting at Queen's University, says that if O'Neill is serious in his desire for improved community relations, then he must dismiss Craig from his government post. It is impossible for the minority to feel any confidence in a government of which Craig is a part. The idea that liberal schemes are likely to be held back by extremists if O'Neill is not supported ignores the fact that the extremists are already in control of the Northern Ireland government. Liberal talk has not been matched by reformist action. Paisleyism is a paper tiger used by government to justify its unwillingness to change. 'A few derisory sops - like the abolition of company votes or the appointment of a so-called "parliamentary commissioner"' are not sufficient. The campaign for civil rights should continue with another mass-march in Derry.
'Scared pants off the govt' [Report]
QUB group advised on speaker
Report: The vice-chancellor of Queen's University advises organisers at the Students' Union not to invite McCann to meetings on a regular basis, since he has previously been expelled from the university. McCann speaks at a Queen's gathering of O'Neill's reformist words and lack of corresponding actions.
McAteer promises new attitude
Report: McAteer says that when discrimination is removed, Nationalists will have to think deeply about a new approach to their ideological goals.
Forecast of startling changes in Nationalist thinking
Leader: The Stormont cabinet also meets today to discuss the Downing Street talks. Craig urges people to use their influence to keep the situation in Northern Ireland cool. He says that the Unionist Party is not divided by a power-struggle.
[NL, 8 November]
Scottish call for government inquiry
Report: The East of Scotland Irish Association calls for
a British government inquiry into the situation in Northern Ireland,
for which it believes Craig carries a substantial
weight of the blame. British standards of democracy must be implemented
and be seen to be implemented in Northern Ireland.
Majority rule for Ireland
Letter: Some people tend to favour the concept of good
government over national government; others tend to believe that
good government is practically impossible without national self-determination
for Ireland as a whole.
Support for those who deny rights
Letter: Those now calling for support for O'Neill
should realise that they are asking those who have been deprived
of rights to support the regime that is responsible for this deprivation.
'It was last straw'
Letter: Students, as citizens, have the right to free expression.
That open-air birth
Letter: If civil rights supporters hate everything British,
why are they demanding British rights? Additionally, Orange
and Paisleyite marches have enjoyed police
protection, while demonstrators in Derry were defenceless.
RUC accused of brutality
Letter: Police made no effort to restrict the Paisleyite
protest in Belfast, while making sure that the PD had not the
same freedom. The force engaged in some brutal conduct towards
PD protesters. The government is under the thumb of the extremists,
but rather than having broken the civil rights movement, Stormont's
actions have strengthened it.
Sympathy for police
Letter: The PD does its cause no service with its continuous
demonstrations and disruptions. The organisation is practically
a front for the QUB Republican Club, and
has made the terms 'democracy' and 'civil rights' meaningless.
Sympathy must be extended to the police, who have to endure 'abuse
and provocation,' and who have been forced 'to put up with cancelled
leave.' Taxpayers should not have to foot the bill for these
students or for the disruption they cause.
Open letter to the Yank
Letter: A recent letter from an American discussing events
in Derry should be sent to some leading English or American publications
as a corrective to 'biased press and television.'
Change of heart
Letter: 'Let the prime minister know that we will never
be united under his weak and compromising leadership which has
brought Ulster to its present sorry state.'
Letter: 'Ulster loyalists will never unite under [O'Neill's] leadership, but only when he has been replaced by someone with the stature of Craigavon or Brookeborough.'
8 November, 1968
No moves yet on Ulster reforms
Leader: No decisions have yet been taken by the government
on reform. The cabinet will meet once again, before
a wider gathering of the Unionist parliamentary party,
though this meeting can expect to hear no more than an interim
report. Some ministers are said to be unhappy at the way majority
opinion in the cabinet is moving. Wilson's
words on Northern Ireland are being interpreted as unquestionably
a threat to Northern Ireland's financial position. Fitzsimmons
calls for calm and reason to prevail on all sides, with fewer
protests, charges and speeches from all, which serve a destructive
rather than constructive purpose. He talks of the progress that
has been made under O'Neill, and
lauds the prime minister's efforts towards a 'just and prosperous
society in which all its citizens can play a full and equal part
in which it is the intention to see that justice is done and is
seen to be done.'
Local watchdog would need to have more teeth
Comment: 'On the face of it the appointment of an ombudsman
could meet a lot of the grievances of the socially and politically
discontented faction in the community. But to do so, Ulster's
watchdog would need to have more teeth than his British counterpart,
a view which Mr Wilson might very well have
expressed to Capt O'Neill and his
two cabinet colleagues in London.' Additional powers would have
to include an ability to investigate malpractices in local government.
Force of destiny
Editorial: Claims of Unionist Party
unity behind O'Neill are farcical
and disguise the position of some hard-liners whose views are
difficult to differentiate from those of the Paisleyite
faction. Some are simply unwilling to make the effort to convince
bigoted constituency parties of the merits of progress. The catholic
community may be seen to have 'repaid its portion [to the Northern
Ireland state] by being law-abiding and showing a patient spirit
in face of penalties and exclusions that have caused many decent
men and women to plumb the depths of bitterness and hurt.' A
better society will be built, whether the Unionists try to resist
it by holding onto the past or not.
'Votes-at-18' Bill adds to Fitt's 'count'
Leader: The proposed reduction of the voting age in Britain to 18 will 'add more urgency to the study by Stormont of electoral reform in Northern Ireland.' Diamond calls for all electoral disparities between Northern Ireland and Britain to be eliminated.
[BT, 7 November]
Spirit of goodwill will prevail, says Lynch
Report: Lynch believes that O'Neill
is seeking a fair deal for all the people of Northern Ireland,
and that a 'spirit of goodwill will prevail.'
More talks at Downing Street within weeks?
Report: Wilson's clearly hardened
stance on Northern Ireland, and his recent hints in the commons
of a restriction on financial assistance, may mean that another
set of talks between the two prime ministers can be expected soon.
Even leader of the opposition Edward Heath
has talked of progress to be made in Northern Ireland 'in the
way which most members want.' The British Society of Labour Lawyers
is being urged to speed up work on its report lest it be overtaken
Ulster has to stand firm - Sir Knox
Report: People should not be ashamed of Northern Ireland, Cunningham says, and should prepare to stand firm on the difficult road ahead.
We must stop apologising for Ulster [Report]
2 dangers confronting Ulster - Capt Orr
Report: Orr warns an Orange
gathering of two dangers to the future of Northern Ireland. Panic
measures of half-baked reform must be avoided, as
must a tendency towards UDI. The Northern Ireland government
should maintain its present course of progress, and if there are
real injustices, it should tackle them, while preserving what
needs to be preserved. Intimidation from within or without must
not succeed. He says also that opponents of Northern Ireland
have switched their fire from the partition issue, because they
cannot receive great support from the minority on the ground;
instead, they are now attempting to discredit the Unionist government.
John Maginnis MP feels that angry protesters in Derry and Belfast
are typical of those who wish to see Northern Ireland's downfall.
'Leave us alone' plea
Report: 'The Voice of Ulster's Christian Ladies in a letter
to Mr Wilson says that his government is
majority rule in Rhodesia, but in Ulster he
appeared to disregard majority rule by the only people who were
in a position to solve her difficulties
The letter deplores
interference by threats, using the tactics of blackmail, merely
to satisfy Irish republican voters in England.' It is also felt
that birth control is the only solution to the housing problems
in Derry; such problems do not exist in Derry alone, but in other
parts of the UK also.
Reform: cabinet undecided
Report: Faulkner's absence during
the coming week means that no final cabinet response to the Downing
Street talks is likely within the next two weeks. Thus, any statement
made by O'Neill to the Unionist parliamentary
party can be only provisional in character.
Unionist resolution criticises the NDP
Report: The North Tyrone Unionist Association
criticises the NDP for failing
to give the government credit for its achievements in the local
area, an attitude that is viewed as detrimental to community relations.
A further resolution passed by the association reads: 'we are
behind Captain O'Neill in his stated
endeavour to have more harmonious relations in our Province and
put an end to malpractices. We deplore any manifestation of violence
or extremism and call for tolerance and agreement to differ where
difference cannot be resolved.'
No bowing of knee [says] O'Neill
Report: O'Neill views the result of the south Antrim by-election as a victory for the kind of Unionism that he is trying to promote - 'a decent, sane, orderly march towards social and economic progress in which we ask all citizens to play a part.'
PM on victory in south Antrim
Report: Simpson criticises extremists on both sides. The vice-chairman of the Ulster Young Unionist Council says that threats from Wilson will not help O'Neill, and any financial sanctions will not aid social and economic progress in Northern Ireland.
Unionist extremists rapped by O'Neill
Report: O'Neill condemns Unionist
extremism as unrepresentative and out of step with the kind of
Unionism that he advocates.
All MPs respect O'Neill - Clark
Report: Henry Clark, Westminster MP for north Antrim, tells a Unionist meeting that O'Neill is held in great regard by members of all parties at Westminster, especially in view of the recent speech to some of them. 'It is common among the prime minister's critics to complain that little has been achieved in the past five years, but Capt O'Neill's real achievement is that there is a change in the minds and hearts of people This is far greater than anything which can be achieved by laws and statutes.'
Need for houses, jobs 'greatest'
Report: The vice-chairman of the Young Unionist
Council feels that Wilson could only harm
progress in Northern Ireland were he to impose financial sanctions
on Stormont. The priorities of more houses and more industry
require continued aid from Westminster.
Minister pleads for calmness
Report: Fitzsimmons calls
for 'fewer speeches, statements, comments, charges and counter-charges,
protests and counter-protests which are likely to raise further
the political temperature so that we can all get down to doing
the things that really matter.' He speaks of progress in the
economy and in community relations,
and says that he is 'firmly and squarely behind the prime minister
in his declared policy of building in Ulster a just and prosperous
society in which all its citizens can play a full and equal part
and in which it is the intention to see that justice is done and
is seen to be done.'
Labour treats us well - Dr Nixon
Report: Robert Nixon, MP for north Down, calls for greater
respect from Unionists for Wilson, who has
treated them well. He suggests the appointment of an ombudsman
and the allocation of public housing
according to a points system. There
is little sympathy in the Conservative Party for Unionist intransigence.
He admires the idealism of the Belfast students.
Urgent need for reforms - churches
Report: 'Further demonstrations which threatened public peace would tend to impede reform progress - but the government and local authorities must more urgently consider the need for reforms, especially in respect of work opportunities, allocation of housing and local franchise, said a statement of the Irish Council of Churches.'
Appeals for restraint welcomed
Report: The Irish Council of Churches states:
'we wholeheartedly support
appeals for restraint and for
the urgent investigation and remedy of authentic grievances
believe that further demonstrations which threaten the public
peace will tend to impede progress in reform, but that both the
government and local authorities must
now the more urgently consider the need for reforms,
especially in respect of work opportunities, allocation
of housing and local franchise.' Catholics and others for their
part ought to reconsider policies that tend to divide.
Plea against prejudice in new Belfast
Report: A Belfast councillor expresses his desire to see
a new Belfast where religion is a private affair. He feels that
supporters of O'Neill's policies
ought to stand up and be counted.
Report: The prospective NILP
candidate for the Shankill constituency calls on O'Neill
to purge his party of extremists, who he argues are placing Northern
Ireland's constitutional position in danger.
Exorcise extremists - plea
Report: The chairman of the Northern Ireland human rights
committee calls on ordinary decent people to take their place
in the structures of Northern Ireland politics, especially in
the Unionist Party. The extremists must
be exorcised and pressure utilised to secure human rights for
Solve housing 'or Derry goes out of control'
Report: Cooper warns that the situation
in Derry will 'get out of control' unless the city's housing problem
is solved within 18 months. He demands an immediate points system,
rent assessment officer and crash housing programme. Beatty talks
of the achievements of the city's existing housing programme;
in addition, 'the mayor, who allocates houses himself, said that
he took into consideration a points scheme devised by the ministry
and other pertinent factors brought forward by the housing manager.'
Nationalist motion on Derry houses passed
Report: 'A Nationalist-sponsored motion calling on the housing sub-committee to base the allocation of houses on a points system approved by the council was passed unanimously at a special meeting of Londonderry corporation today.'
[IN, NL, 9 November]
Alderman attacks protesting students
Report: A Belfast councillor criticises student demonstrations for their recent disruption of traffic in Belfast, which he says constitutes a denial of civil rights.
[BT, 7 November]
'Protestant is second class'
Report: A Unionist councillor on Newry rural
council expresses the view that, in the light of the breaching
of a gentleman's agreement on housing by the council, protestants
on one estate in the rural district are being treated as second-class
citizens. The allegation is rejected; houses in the area are
allocated on the basis of 'need rather than creed.' A catholic
councillor argues that catholics are second-class citizens because
they are denied better jobs and democratic representation. The
Unionist councillor in question retorts that no protestants are
employed by the council. A motion calling for the introduction
of a points system for housing allocation
will be put before the council by another member.
Plan for mass civil rights march in Derry
Report: The DCAC announces a mass civil rights march for
16 November in Derry. Civil rights supporters are urged to avoid
being provoked by or offering provocation to the forthcoming Paisleyite
demonstration in the city. Belfast and District Trades Union
Council expresses the hope that Wilson's
concerns about Northern Ireland will be addressed by the Northern
Ireland government. The council fully supports the cause of civil
rights for all, as the only means whereby sectarianism
can be eliminated. PD meetings will tomorrow be held in Belfast
and Newry, as part of a 'Plan to Inform the People.'
North Tyrone Unionist Association
condemns extremism on both sides, and argues that extremist protestant
interference with legal marches demeans the Unionist belief in
'civil and religious liberty.' 'We are all behind
his stated endeavour to have more harmonious relations in our
Province, and put an end to malpractices. We deplore any manifestation
of violence of [sic - or] extremism, and call for tolerance and
agreement to differ where the differences cannot be resolved.'
Keep away from Paisley parade, Derry people told
Report: Hegarty tells Derry people to stay away from the
Paisleyite parade that is to take place
in Derry, both to demonstrate their tolerance and their abhorrence
of Paisley's disruptive activities. The DCAC invites NICRA
to attend a 16 November march planned for Derry. The teach-in
planned by the city's unemployment action committee
is still to go ahead the Saturday before, and will encourage Poppy
Day collections. A demonstration is planned in Lifford against
the 'denial of basic human rights in the Six
Support for civil rights meeting
Report: The CRA
wishes to receive support from 'all sections of the community'
for a meeting to be held on 1 December in Belfast, its purpose
being 'the extension of the movement in Northern Ireland.'
Statement on minister's letter
Report: The QUB Republican Club
condemns Craig's written reply to its letter
concerning the relationship of Rory MacShane to the club. Full
civil rights cannot be established in Northern Ireland while the
present Unionist administration remains, since it thrives on 'dictatorship,
sectarianism and bigotry.' Such rights can
only be obtained in a 32-county socialist republic.
McAteer forecasts changes in party
Report: McAteer predicts that the removal of discrimination will engender a change in the Nationalist Party's approach to the achievement of its ideological aims.
[IN, BT, 7 November]
Speed up change in local areas, plea
Report: O'Reilly urges Fitzsimmons to speed up the reform of local government, but Fitzsimmons replies that the process requires time. O'Reilly feels that the local franchise issue cannot be ignored while the review proceeds; action must be taken soon.
[IN, 9 November]
Summary: Wilson replies to a telegram
from Derry Trades Council alleging police 'excesses' during the
disturbances in the city.
Fitt to ask about RUC men on charges
Report: Fitt will question Craig at Stormont as to whether any police have been charged over their role in the Derry disturbances. Brooke will ask whether charges are to be brought against marchers. Gormley will call for talks with the government on an inquiry into the Derry disturbances.
Diamond raps Burns over 'job-shy Derry catholics' speech
Report: Burns' comment on the 'job-shy' catholics of Derry, who receive more in benefits than they would in wages, is criticised by Diamond, who deems it insulting, provocative and damaging to community relations.
Speech is described as insult [Report]
Protest at 'queen' on Falls Road
Report: The Hospitals Authority receives a telegram calling
for the removal of a statue of Queen Victoria from the Falls Road
side of the Royal Victoria Hospital in the interests of good community
Bullet head sent to Mr Paisley
Report: Paisley receives a threatening
letter purporting to come from 'Queen's University
Republicans.' The QUB Republican Club
denies involvement. Paisley is to stage a march in Belfast prior
to a protestant rally.
Letter: Those who call for support for O'Neill
do not understand what it is to be homeless or voteless. They
should be ashamed of their support for a man who recently claimed
in Stormont that there is no discrimination
in government appointments.
Step by step [Letter]
[see BT, 6 November, 'If injustice has been done it ought
to be remedied': canon, IN]
Time for hierarchy to give Stormont full recognition
Letter: Examples of good community relations
are more representative of life in Northern Ireland than the distorted
image portrayed by the press. The refusal of the catholic hierarchy
fully to recognise Stormont means that normal politics cannot
flourish. Catholics are increasingly taking up their places in
Letter: Wilson's threats to Northern
Ireland amount to nothing less than political blackmail.
Queries for Mr Fitt
Letter: Does Fitt really advocate British citizenship for all the people of Northern Ireland? Does he advise his electors of its many benefits? Will he condemn the IRA?
[see BT, 11 November]
Freedom of worship
Letter: Lynch should be asked to sign
the PD petition on civil rights, since civil rights are infringed
by the pre-eminent position enjoyed by the catholic church
in the Republic of Ireland.
Letter: In Derry, 'the system of discrimination
[in employment] is sewed [sic] up tight,' as
the figures clearly show. 'Emigration or the dole are the only
Judge was right
Letter: Lowry was right in saying that the trouble in Derry
was caused by outsiders: 'that was obvious from Lynch's
talk on the radio when he said there were some people from the
South. They blame the police for brutality and also if they take
no action. Do they really know what they want?'
Praise for Scots
Letter: Scottish support for loyalists has been generous
and their warning against interference by Wilson
is to be welcomed. It 'should make some of our lukewarm loyalists
get a grip of themselves and stand with the same determination
with most Ulstermen who will not be dictated to by outsiders and
professional upstarts whose aim is to disrupt.'
Letter: Students are no better equipped to solve the world's
problems than any other group; some participate in marches without
knowing what are their purpose. Why should they be allowed to
get away with causing trouble and damage?
Cut their hair off
Letter: Good tax-payers' money is being used to support
unruly and 'un-law-abiding' students, who should be rounded up
in order that their hair can be cut.
Letter: Those in authority at Queen's University should act 'to prevent a minority of both students and university staffs endeavouring to disrupt the life of the ordinary and orderly citizen.'
9 November, 1968
About-face on housing in Derry
Report: Derry corporation accepts six Nationalist motions
calling for housing allocation according
to a points system and a crash housing
programme with a definite timetable for change. It is agreed
that a committee should be formed to prepare guidelines for local
authorities regarding methods for allocation.
The Nationalist motion calling for an immediate review of ward
boundaries is however rejected. Beatty talks of Derry's good
housing record, but councillor James Doherty calls for a system
free from 'all suspicion of political or religious privilege.'
Notice of a motion calling for a points system is given at a
meeting of Dungannon UDC.
The home seeker wins on points
Leader: Nationalist councillors send telegrams to O'Neill and Wilson informing them of the defeat of the motion calling for the reform of ward boundaries.
[BT, 8 November]
Editorial: Derry corporation's acceptance of a points system
for housing allocation and of a crash
housing programme is encouraging. It is to be hoped that a fair
system can be worked out, and that it can be implemented equitably.
There was no similar acceptance of the Nationalist motion on
ward boundaries, and it is this issue, along with that of the
local franchise, that is key. However, 'it is impractical to
look for boundary changes until the proposed new pattern and Londonderry's
place in it are known.'
Bomb scare on train
Leader: The train carrying Paisleyites to Derry is halted temporarily while police search for a bomb. Between 300 and 400 marchers take part in the Paisleyite march in Derry. The Unemployed Action Committee teach-in is attended by around 150 people. Further demonstrations of this kind are planned. PD meetings will take place today also in Belfast and Newry. NICRA lodges plans for a civil rights demonstration in Armagh on 30 November.
[IN, NL, 11 October]
'Followers' of march in scuffle
Report: At the UCDC march in Belfast, a scuffle breaks out after a young man is heard to shout 'something about civil rights.'
Paisley parade quiet [Report]
150 turn up at the City Hall
Report: The PD holds a meeting outside the City Hall in
Civil rights march in Armagh
Report: NICRA calls a civil rights march for Armagh for 30 November. Notice of the march has been handed in to the RUC.
[NL, 11 November, BT, 13 November]
Eire minister flays Fitt
Report: Blaney launches a scathing attack on partition, and chides those who pretend that the sole issue is one of civil rights alone, rather than the root cause of such abuses, partition.
Blaney speech 'ill-timed' says McAteer
Report: Republic of Ireland Minister for Agriculture Neil Blaney's hard-hitting speech, critical among other things of a 'bigoted [Unionist] junta,' is not welcomed by nationalist politicians in Northern Ireland. Fitt feels that it is damaging to both the cause of civil rights and that of Irish unity.
Cross-border talks futile says Eire minister
Report: Blaney also asserts: 'Capt O'Neill never backed his talk with action. And his bluff has been finally exposed by the disgraceful scenes which we witnessed recently in Derry City when defenceless people were batoned for attempting to march through the streets.'
Blaney blasts O'Neill over the border
Leader: Better housing and a reformed franchise, adds Blaney,
are not enough. What is required is the ending of partition.
'Craig has failed'
Report: The Six County regional executive of the Republican
Clubs reaffirms its support for the civil
rights cause and says that Craig has failed
in his attempt to convince people that the movement is under republican
or communist control. Republicans should support the 16 November
march in Derry.
Summary: Copies of the call for the removal of a statue
of Queen Victoria from the Falls Road side of the Royal Victoria
Hospital have been sent to the police and the ministry of health
and social services.
Co Fermanagh holds its own in housing discrimination
Comment: Fermanagh county council clearly drew no lessons from the Caledon housing controversy, only weeks after which it made a similar allocation to an unmarried protestant man instead of one of two catholic families. This is no new practice; it was originally made possible by the gerrymandering of the county in 1924. The area in which the allocation was made is strongly nationalist, and no housing projects have been undertaken there since the inception of the Northern Ireland state. On the other hand, extensive building went on in Unionist areas. For example, 'Tempo, in a catholic area, has the unique total of 12 council houses erected since partition, and 10 of them given to Unionists and two to catholics.' Police batons in Derry were required to wake the UK and the world to such 'criminal neglect and injustice.' 'And Mr O'Neill may ponder, too, whether it is enough merely to express in words a pious hope that they [local authorities], steeped in the sins of housing commission and omission, will miraculously mend their ways and see the light of true charity through the dark clouds of bigoted sectarianism which have enshrouded them for half a century.'
Fitzsimmons is urged to speed LG reform
Report: O'Reilly urges government to speed up its programme for local government reform. He also feels that, because it will take some time to resolve the issue, the local franchise question should be treated separately, since it must be tackled soon.
[NL, 8 November]
Derry housing drive to get 'utmost help'
Report: Fitzsimmons welcomes
the decision reached by Derry corporation on housing, and pledges
government assistance for the newly-agreed crash housing programme.
McAteer welcomes the corporation's actions
but expresses disappointment at the lack of movement on ward boundaries.
Nationalist members of the corporation send telegrams protesting
against the decision to O'Neill and
'Co-operate no more'
Report: Molyneaux claims that Lynch 'has
let the cat out of the bag and revealed what his fifth column
in Ulster tried to conceal - that violent agitation[s] about houses,
jobs and votes are only weapons in the battle to end partition
and destroy Ulster
[Now] there must, inevitably, be a halt
to concessions which will now only be hailed as witness and submission
TV critic explains
Report: Mary Whitehouse apologises for having appeared
to take sides on Northern Ireland affairs when she criticised
media distortion of facts. Her comments did not relate specifically
Facing - and accepting - the facts
Letter: Partition may not be palatable, but it is a reality
nonetheless. Those aggrieved by the present system cannot expect
a miracle to change it. The task is one in which people must
McAteer on rethinking
Letter: McAteer's courageous ideas
on rethinking Nationalist policies should be implemented now,
beginning with greater respect for institutions held dear by Unionists,
all of which sprang from European roots, nurtured in Ireland during
the middle ages. Protestants and catholics can unite around their
Segregated education charge 'political gimmick'
Letter: Robin Chichester-Clark's claim in the Observer that segregated education in Northern Ireland is divisive ignores the fact that the practice is not confined to Northern Ireland, and that its existence in other places does not result in sectarian strife.
November 1968: | 1-2 | 4-9 | 11-16 | 18-23 | 25-30 |
4 - 9 November: | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | Top |
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