Calendar of Newspaper Articles dealing with Civil Rights issues, 1 Jun 1968 - 9 Dec 1968 by Alan Scott
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November 1968: | 1-2 | 4-9 | 11-16 | 18-23 | 25-30 |
11 - 16 November: | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | Top |
11 November, 1968
Paisleyites' day out in Derry passes without much trouble
Report: The UCDC demonstration in Derry passes off relatively peacefully. It is estimated that less than 20% of participants are inhabitants of Derry. The train carrying some of the demonstrators is halted temporarily on its way to Derry because of a fears of a bomb onboard. Slogan-shouting by rival factions at the meeting is followed by a brief period of stone-throwing by youths from a catholic area. Numbers at the DUAC teach-in are swollen by civil rights supporters opposed to the Paisleyite demonstration. Paisley tells supporters that constant government concessions have brought closer a new and more determined than ever IRA campaign. Bunting announces a voluntary ban on marches in Derry until 1969 in order to give police respite.
'Glad that Mr Paisley is in Derry'
Report: The teach-in held by the Derry Unemployed Action Committee is told by O'Leary that 'the unemployed would get nothing from the politicians, but only by taking part in the civil rights movement.' Melaugh feels that Paisley's presence in Derry should be welcomed, in that it brings attention to Derry. The teach-in is not seen as a counter-demonstration.
Derry police hit with stones
Report: 'Police were pelted with stones by republican supporters during a tense afternoon in Derry on Saturday.' That the constant threat of violence was not realised during the demonstration 'was due to police presence of mind, for on several occasions they intervened to stop an enraged section of the loyalists from rushing the taunting, jeering republicans.' A spokesman for the Northern Ireland Society of Labour Lawyers states that the society has no connection with the newly-formed Derry Unemployed Action Committee.
[BT, 9 October]
Parade days give bonus to criminals
Report: RUC figures detailing crime during the month of October indicate that criminals have taken advantage of the concentration of police resources on the control of demonstrations and counter-demonstrations.
[IN, NL, 12 November]
McAteer one of 40 served with 'Derry' summons
Report: McAteer is one of 40 people to receive a summons for his part in the Derry parade of 5 October.
[IN, 12 November]
Rights drive succeeding
Report: Paddy Devlin attributes what
he views as the success of the civil rights movement to the sinking
of political differences in a concerted drive to place pressure
for reform on the Stormont and Westminster governments.
It has resisted outside attempts to make political capital out
of its efforts.
Why the campaign for civil rights is succeeding
Report: The movement has also resisted attempts to involve
it in violence or smear it as sectarian.
RUC men injured in Derry clashes
Report: Three members of the police are injured in dealing
with youths hostile to the Paisleyite
gathering in Derry.
Summary: NICRA arranges a civil rights march for 30 November in Armagh. Notice has been given to the RUC
[IN, 9 November, BT, 13 November]
Lawyers begin a Derry inquiry
Report: The Northern Ireland Society of Labour Lawyers is to set up a committee to look into housing and local government in Derry, with a view to submitting findings to the ongoing inquiry being conducted by its British parent society.
British lawyers' call for urgent report on the Derry set-up
Report: 'The NI Society has had a marked impact on the present situation here and is acknowledged as a logical calm but radical voice in a situation fraught with emotional overtones. It is a highly-skilled, professional body and commands a wide and powerful influence within the civil rights movement [Its members] are widely regarded as being influential in containing extremist elements in the civil rights movement.' The British mother society 'carries considerable influence with the government in matters that fall within the scope of its activities.' Its request for a report on Derry 'must be taken as highly significant and an important phase in the progress of the relationships between Westminster and Stormont.'
Labour Lawyers' new
No answer to QC's questions
Report: James McSparran QC feels that the questions he has asked Robin Chichester-Clark in the columns of the Observer have not been answered successfully. 'His reference to IRA activity can only be relevant to the issue of discrimination, if he implies, as I imagine he does, that, since a minute proportion of 1 per cent of the minority promotes incidents, the remainder of the minority deserves all it gets.' McSparran also asks whether the fact that injustices with regard to ward boundaries were put in place many years ago is sufficient justification for their maintenance. That the parliamentary franchise is universal is irrelevant to the debate on the local franchise, and the abolition of the business vote 'will have an infinitesimal effect.' Is the obvious bias in public appointments, which Unionists deny, merely coincidental? He also asks why the suggestion of an impartial inquiry should be dismissed with such contempt by Chichester-Clark.
Difference between scenes in Derry and Fermanagh
Report: Carron feels that television coverage of recent
scenes in Derry is the only significant distinction between events
in that city and similar scenes in Fermanagh in earlier years.
The Unionist party, he believes, secured its position in the
county through gerrymandering and discrimination.
There is a need for injustice in jobs and housing to be remedied.
McAteer to see Stonham
Report: McAteer will meet with Stonham in London. It seems likely that current events in Northern Ireland, and especially the Derry situation, will be discussed.
McAteer to see Stonham [Report]
[NL, 12 November]
Blaney's weekend speech 'inconsistent,' says Fitt
Report: Fitt criticises Blaney's recent speech on Northern Ireland, saying that Fianna Fáil supporters were advised not to associate themselves with the civil rights movement. The sudden burst of anti-partition rhetoric from the party is an attempt to divert attention away from the party's own failings. McAteer feels that the speech was ill-timed, and 'rather upsets my political chessboard.' Paedar O'Donnell, 'the writer and Old IRA man saw the civil rights demonstration in the Six Counties as "the most promising agitation in the North for a long time".'
Replies to 'chameleon' charge
Report: Fitt says that Fianna Fáil
supporters were advised by the party, before the Derry disturbances,
not to have anything to do with the civil rights movement in Northern
Putting their feet in it
Editorial: Blaney's remarks about a 'bigoted junta' in Northern Ireland and his accusation that O'Neill's 'liberal image is a sham' is embarrassing for Lynch, who had tried to make amends for his own damaging remarks. He has also embarrassed McAteer, who last week put forward 'constructive suggestions.' The obvious lesson is that the government of the Republic of Ireland should avoid meddling in the internal affairs of Northern Ireland.
Words on the border
Editorial: Reaction among nationalists to Blaney's recent
speech on Northern Ireland is likely to be mixed, 'but because
the protesting voices of civil rights marchers are being heard
in the right place, Westminster, the general reaction to his speech
is that the manner and timing of it is unfortunate, and that at
this moment, impassioned oratory will not help the civil rights
cause.' This need not be so however, since 'Wilson
is plainly determined to see that there is action from Stormont
on civil rights, discrimination, housing
and voting which admit of immediate solution.' Few will disagree
that cross-border 'tea-parties' have done nothing 'to improve
the lot of the minority.'
Report: The Young Socialist Alliance criticises attempts
by Republic of Ireland politicians to make political capital out
of recent developments in Northern Ireland. Such critics should
examine the deprivation of civil rights in the Republic of Ireland
before looking to abuses in Northern Ireland.
Statement by Young Socialist Alliance
Report: The Young Socialist Alliance reaffirms its support for the civil rights cause, which is neither a solely catholic issue, nor one restricted to reform within the present Tory-dominated system. The body will continue its present campaign for 'pure' civil rights, but will also 'take direct action to draw attention to the shocking housing situation and chronic unemployment in the North,' not restricting itself to 'marches and demonstrations.'
'Direct action' threat [Report]
Paisley movement attacked at Remembrance Day service
Report: The Church of Ireland bishop of Derry and Raphoe criticises the Paisleyite movement, warning of the rise of 'an ideological force based on invective and hatred.' O'Neill's policies of charity and justice are praised, and moderates asked to champion their cause against the bigots.
[NL, 12 November]
Take day to think Ulster is urged
Report: Withers urges that all Christians take a day to reflect on attitudes of bigotry and hatred.
O'Neill lays wreath in
Provocation the cause of all the trouble
Report: 'No political programme founded on a contempt for any section of the community or upon a disregard of their hopes and a ferocious hatred of their faith should ultimately prevail, said Dr John Withers yesterday.' Recent disturbances, he also feels, have at their root political and religious provocation. 'Protestant fears of papal tyranny are easily aroused, while catholic grievances of discrimination are so emotionally publicised that one misplaced word, one noisy demonstration, is enough to convert this shared tension into a shattering tornado Fanatics on both sides try to take advantages of such a climate by fomenting tensions in order to discredit their opponents, using the tactic of systematic provocation Each violent disturbance renders the task of reconciliation more difficult and retards the progress of goodwill and tolerance, without which there simply cannot be community.' There is a duty to live together and promote justice for all.
Labour Lawyers and Derry 'teach-in'
Letter: The Northern Ireland Society of Labour Lawyers has no association with the Derry Unemployed Action Committee.
Unemployed 'teach-in' [Letter]
Moderation our most powerful political weapon: Mr Warnock
Letter: The reaffirmation of Northern Ireland's constitutional guarantee and the appointment of a commission to examine devolution are highly important, and highlight Northern Ireland's relative strengths and weaknesses, its impressive record with regard to the economy, and its at best moderate success in the field of community relations. 'Fifty years of one-party government, with an immensely strong government in power, and a relatively weak opposition has had the almost inevitable result. Government has very gradually become less democratic, and more autocratic. Granted that most of the allegations of discrimination and the like have generally had a larger content of exaggeration than of truth, it should be remembered that the complaints (not always devoid of substance) were made on the floor of the house of commons, the proper forum, and the government might and should have done more by way of inquiry. If the complaints were substantially devoid of substance, that would have been demonstrated. If they were justified a remedy for any injustice might have been devised' without any sacrifice of principle. Concessions that if previously granted willingly might have evoked a generous response may now be forced from the government. The events of the previous weeks might have been avoided had not that which was offered been seen as 'too little too late.' O'Neill's lead is to be welcomed, and 'moderation, at the present time is the most powerful political weapon available to all the people of Northern Ireland.'
[see NL, 8 November, Queries for Mr Fitt]
Letter: O'Neill is no traitor;
he is genuinely concerned for both protestants and catholics.
The pretensions of Fitt and McAteer
to a desire to be British fool no-one. It is they who have an
unhealthy influence over community relations.
Letter: 'The Ulster catholic, due to the intransigence of their [sic] church, has been unable to admit and recognise our Ulster constitution.'
12 November, 1968
Editorial: It is too early to tell the extent of reform
that will be brought to Northern Ireland, but McAteer
is right to suggest a new approach for Nationalism. He may not
however represent hard-line Nationalist opposition, which will
undoubtedly press at the forthcoming special party conference
for a campaign of civil disobedience. Such a campaign would be
counter-productive now that Northern Ireland is moving in the
Report: McAteer will meet Stonham in London later in the week.
[IN, BT, 11 November]
'Come off pedestal' attack on Craig
Report: O'Connor castigates Craig for his recent action.
[IN, NL, 13 November]
Lynch appeals for renewed spirit of goodwill
Report: Lynch calls for a calm approach to relations between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Additionally, 'he appealed for an end to demonstrations and harsh words so as to give urgent and desirable reforms the chance of becoming reality.' Evidence of the Northern Ireland government's sincerity in the quest to produce reforms will ease strains between Dublin and Belfast.
Vast majority of people desire to live in harmony
Report: 'The taoiseach, Mr Jack Lynch, last night called on North and South, in a spirit of genuine brotherhood and mutual understanding to clasp hands together as joint champions of fundamental human rights and social justice, of peace and of harmony.' He feels that events in Derry made a focusing on partition inevitable, but says that harsh words must be ended in order to give reform a chance. 'Clear evidence of sincere intent to speedily give effect to these reforms would go a long way towards easing tensions.'
Olive branch from Mr Lynch [Leader]
Derry march planners meet tonight
Report: DCAC organisers will meet tonight to finalise plans
for their Derry demonstration on 16 November, which will take
an almost identical route to the march of 5 October. The LCU
may organise a 'teach-out' in opposition to the march.
Civil rights meeting in Strabane
Report: A public meeting will be held in Strabane with the purpose of forming a local civil rights committee. The committee will be asked to ratify a planned march from Strabane to Derry on 16 November, linking up with the DCAC march there.
Rights march for Strabane
Report: A civil rights march is planned to take place from
Strabane to Derry, where it will link up with the
proposed DCAC march. The proposal will be put before a public
meeting, where the question of establishing a civil rights committee
in the area will be considered.
Silent PD picket for O'Neill visit
Report: The PD plans to hold a silent protest when O'Neill
visits Queen's University to
distribute prizes. An organiser of the protest says that the
demonstration has been called to highlight the need for civil
rights and to demand the dismissal of right-wing ministers.
Debate challenge to O'Neill
Report: The PD challenges O'Neill
to an open debate on civil rights. It also announces its intention
to hold a silent picket at Queen's University
where O'Neill is to distribute prizes.
3 civil rights MPs among 40 summonsed
Report: Fitt, McAteer and Currie are among those who receive summons relating to their participation in the 5 October civil rights march. Cooper also receives a summons. Consideration is being given to the idea of serving Craig with a summons to appear in court to testify in the cases. Derry Nationalist Party claims knowledge of the identities of the 'ringleaders' of the attack on the Strabane-Derry marchers, and expects prosecutions to be undertaken.
Three MPs to appear in court
Report: McAteer, Fitt and Currie receive summonses relating to the 5 October civil rights march, as does Cooper. O'Connor, as McAteer's solicitor, is considering calling Craig to give evidence in the case.
[BT, 11 October]
Parades send up October crime list
Report: The RUC reports that crime figures in Belfast increased during October as a result of the stretching of police resources by the various demonstrations and protests that took place during that month.
March time, crime time [Report]
[BT, 11 November]
When the cop's away
Editorial: Protests have annoyed some ordinary people,
who see the issues behind them as academic; criminals have taken,
and no doubt will continue to take advantage of them.
Summons for Craig as Derry witness?
Report: Craig may receive a summons
to appear as a witness when McAteer appears
in court to answer charges on his conduct on 5 October. Agnew
and Cooper have now also received summonses
for their part in the march.
Dungannon says 'no' to housing points system
Report: A motion put before Dungannon UDC and calling for the introduction of a points system for housing allocation is rejected, a Unionist councillor claiming that no such system is perfect and that the council already allocates houses in response to need based on the suitability of an applicant's present accommodation. The council's policy of housing segregation is challenged.
Dungannon slap-in-the-face for O'Neill
Leader: 'Last night's refusals and denials would seem to
confirm that Dungannon's Unionist council members
are almost 100 per cent anti-O'Neill
and extremist-supporting.' Hassard calls on the government to
legislate for a points system.
No points system for Dungannon
Report: Dungannon UDC rejects a motion
calling for the introduction of a points system
for housing allocation.
'Wrong stress' by mass media
Report: Newe feels that media coverage of recent events has tended to focus on the more sensational aspects of protest rather than on its causes. This kind of focus, he feels, can harm the community.
Human rights and personal duties
Report: Newe says, 'It is right that people should make
their voices heard and express their concern about injustices.
It is also possibly true that the ordinary man in the street
can only make his voice heard, can only really feel involved,
when with his peers he engages in protests. But the subject of
protest must never be submerged in the "action of protest."
This must, inevitably, be bad for the community. What we must
ever keep in mind is that, while pressing to have legitimate grievances
remedied, the common good of the whole people is the overriding
consideration in practice as well as in theory.'
Summary: Victoria Unionist Association
passes a motion of confidence in O'Neill.
The Unionists face Westminster
Comment: The British government has given Stormont time to introduce reforms, but this time is not unlimited. Wilson's intervention, designed to bolster O'Neill's position, has proved counter-productive. Expressions of support for O'Neill are one thing, but it is clear that few Unionists have made any attempt to hammer home in the constituencies the changes in attitudes that are inherently a part of the prime minister's policy. Attacks on Unionists have been counter-attacked by them, but no effort has been made to seek an approach that will silence them. Unionism is thus ill-prepared for the challenge it now faces. Ministers must now give O'Neill their open and unambiguous support for reforms that will satisfy Westminster. The threat of a financial squeeze on the Northern Ireland treasury is very real, so Unionists must evince a willingness to reform, even if Wilson cannot expect to see all desired reforms implemented immediately. The alternative is to place the Union in jeopardy.
PM faces party MPs on reforms
Report: O'Neill will today
present to the parliamentary Unionist Party
an interim report on the outcome of his discussions with Wilson.
The decision taken by Derry corporation on housing allocation
'has paved the way for a step-up in top level encouragement to
other local authorities to change their
approach to the vexed problem of allocations.' Some MPs view
the appointment of an ombudsman as helpful in showing that justice
is done and seen to be done, a slightly more prevalent opinion
is that any appointee would have to be granted much wider powers
than are enjoyed by the Westminster ombudsman. Craig
asserts that there is no disunity in the cabinet, praises the
RUC, and says that extremists
from all sides must be dealt with. Phelim O'Neill
sees such extremists as the curse of Northern Ireland.
Kirk gives £ s d side of Wilson talks
Report: Kirk outlines to the parliamentary Unionist Party the figures demonstrating Northern Ireland's dependence upon Wilson for financial support, in order to stress the foolishness of resisting British government demands for reform. Another meeting will be held to review the government's decisions, once these are made. 'MPs from west of the Bann are known to be strongly of the view that any change in the franchise should await the reform of the structure and function of local government. The traditional stand has consistently been held most emphatically by Mr Craig. But among other MPs, and indeed ministers, there are signs of a growing feeling that a declaration in favour at least of the principle of universal suffrage may be unavoidable if an outright confrontation with the British government is to be averted.'
[NL, 13 November]
UDI here disastrous - Pounder
Report: Pounder condemns violence and adds, 'in recent weeks we have seen in Ulster a handful of do-gooders and idealistic student protesters ruthlessly exploited by an assortment of militant left-wing revolutionaries and republican extremists.' UDI would be a disastrous course for Northern Ireland. 'It should be remembered that under the guise of civil rights, some demonstrators have been primarily concerned with civil disturbance, while others have seen it as an opportunity to attempt to undermine the constitutional integrity of Northern Ireland.'
[NL, 13 November]
Reaction of Unionism to reform
Report: Taylor asserts that two broadly opposing elements within Unionism - one always saying no to reform, and the other always yes - are damaging to Unionist principles. 'No useful purpose was served by the automatic rejection, or acceptance, of suggested reforms, be they from Unionists, civil rights [supporters] or Harold Wilson. All ideas must be considered on their merits, but by no means could affairs in Ulster be settled by the imposition of demands by English socialists or Southern Irish anti-partitionists.' The Northern Ireland constitution must be defended, especially by the constituency associations, and the threat of financial blackmail from Westminster should not be taken very seriously. Only UDI poses a serious financial threat.
Cabinet working as team - Craig
Report: Craig reiterates that there are no divisions in the cabinet. He hopes to see present tensions pass so that government can return to the task of creating maximum opportunity for all. There must be a clamp-down on extremists from whichever quarter they come. Phelim O'Neill describes them as a curse.
No cabinet split, says Craig
Report: He commends the work of the RUC,
whose task is a difficult one. He rejects suggestions that the
area west of the Bann has been neglected.
Apology demand to bishop
Report: The Church of Ireland bishop of Derry and Raphoe attacks Paisleyism, which he feels consists of 'battalions of bigots.' He asserts that moderates should follow the course adopted by O'Neill in the fight against bigotry. Bunting demands an apology from the bishop. He also has tentative plans for a 'teach-out' in Derry on 16 November.
[BT, 11 November]
Bishop asked to apologise
Report: Bunting asks the Church
of Ireland bishop of Derry and
Raphoe to apologise for his condemnation of Paisleyism.
Minority disabilities: where the blame lies
Letter: 'The issue is
not merely one of civil rights
under suppression by a minority government set up by Britain,
and maintained by Britain, but one of the ultimate liberation
of all Ireland from British control.'
Letter: McAteer's proposed change in Nationalist thinking, should discrimination be remedied, is a betrayal of the Irish nation, as is Fitt's radio endorsement of the idea.
[NL, 14 November]
Attack on Mr Fitt
Letter: Robin Chichester-Clark's
Westminster attack on Fitt is typical of the
Unionist tendency to avoid discussing the real issues.
Disease of bigotry
Letter: 'It is strange that people calling themselves stalwart protestants should so abuse a prime minister who has a real Christian policy to eliminate the disease of bigotry and intolerance that has bedevilled our Province for so long and sullied its reputation everywhere.'
Praise for RUC
Letter: Allegations made in a UTV discussion about RUC
mistreatment of people in Derry cannot be true. The force engages
in much worthy community work, helping people out regardless of
Letter: Once again QUB students have disgraced themselves
by their protests: 'the roars of "one man one vote"
for such a contingent of adolescent freaks seemed as reasonable
as a suggestion that the franchise should be extended to the monkey
house at Bellevue [Zoo].'
Letter: Support for law-breaking civil rights marchers is inconsistent with support for the imprisonment of protestant ministers, like Paisley, who 'refused to be silenced.'
13 November, 1968
Paving the way
Editorial: Unionism may be hurt in some areas by local government reform, but this is no excuse for failure to implement it. Also questionable is the presumed need to wait for the restructuring of local government before looking at the franchise question. Any new local bodies will have to be elected by universal suffrage. Government should set a date by which its local government reforms must be completed, and should pledge to implement the universal franchise alongside this reorganisation. Additionally, central government should not have to appeal for better or fairer housing, but should itself enjoy any powers which would assist local administration in extricating itself from the realm of party political controversy.
Beginning of change?
Editorial: The Unionist Party is obviously
divided on the issue of reform, and some have not
taken seriously Wilson's threat of a reappraisal
of Northern Ireland's position. Unionists like those who refused
to introduce a points system for housing
allocation in Dungannon
'must be the despair of the prime minister in his present endeavours
to "sell" reform to a divided cabinet and party.' Government
will have to act against this type of Unionism, which sees nothing
but danger in change. 'Political labels aside, the minority no
longer exists as a mass of second-class citizens, captive of a
Unionist overlordship. It is freer and more articulate in expression
than many Unionists have dared to think. In the search for civil
rights the minority has been joined by a young, educated world
crying out to the older authoritative Unionist world to stop and
to listen. Mr Wilson has lent his voice of concern to the chorus.
In truth, we are only at the beginning of change in this part
'Routine' cabinet meeting
Report: Further consideration by the cabinet of reform
is unlikely until next week, when a statement of the British government's
position will be available. There is a divergence of opinion
in the Unionist Party over the seriousness
of Westminster's financial threats, but there is considerable
opposition to the immediate granting of a universal franchise
in local government elections.
MPs told cost of 'rebellion'
Report: At the meeting of the parliamentary Unionist Party briefing MPs on the recent Downing Street talks, O'Neill and Kirk are at pains to highlight the 'serious financial implications' of continued conflict with Westminster. A section of the party still remains entrenched in a die-hard stance. A further meeting of the parliamentary party will take place. At a local Unionist gathering, O'Neill and Minford receive a vote of confidence.
[BT, 12 November]
Report: Victoria Unionist Women's Association passes a
vote of confidence in O'Neill.
Confidence in premier
Report: A Unionist meeting at Randalstown passes a motion
of confidence in the government, O'Neill
Derry: 'bid to tarnish good image'
Report: Pounder accuses Northern Ireland's traditional opponents of blatant exploitation of the Derry situation. He feels that the definite improvement in community relations has been set back by a hardening of attitudes. There is no doubt that Derry's industrial prospects have been damaged by recent events. UDI is not the answer to Northern Ireland's problems.
[BT, 12 November]
Christian Ladies slam bishop
Report: The Voice of Ulster's Christian Ladies criticises
recent remarks by the Church of Ireland
bishop of Derry and Raphoe. 'Captain O'Neill's
appeasement policy, which you are defending, has brought us to
this crisis that the republicans will never be satisfied and surely
you can see that discrimination is being
used as a means of achieving a united Ireland.'
Marchers and Wilson threat to Ulster
Report: Ardill feels that Northern Ireland is not only threatened by those posing as civil rights marchers, but also by blackmail by the British government. Unionists must stand firm against Wilson, who cannot dictate who should lead the Unionist Party, though there is presently no leadership crisis. A resolution supporting O'Neill and calling on government to resist pressure harmful to the constitution is passed.
[NL, 14 November]
1,000 besiege O'Neill
Leader: O'Neill is greeted by a noisy protest at a prize distribution ceremony at Queen's University. Moderate students urge their fellows to calm, one of them arguing that others should not be denied their civil rights.
[IN, NL, 14 November]
Civil rights plan for Armagh
Report: NICRA plans a march for Armagh on 30 November, though the arrangement will depend upon Stormont's reaction to Wilson's demands. Police have been notified of the intended route. A local extreme protestant organisation has warned of a counter-demonstration.
[IN, 9 November, NL, 11 November]
Armagh march through city centre
Report: The route for the proposed Armagh civil rights march is announced. The local UPV division has already stated that it will counter any demonstration in the city.
Armagh CR march route
Report: The route to be taken by the 30 November Armagh
civil rights march is announced, and support called for. A public
meeting will be held to discuss the march. Notice is given to
police of the planned 16 November DCAC march.
Loyalist 'teach-outs' in Derry
Report: Bunting announces that
the LCU will stage two 'teach-outs' in Derry to prevent 'placard-carrying
rebels' from passing inside the city's walls.
RUC man in Derry incident is named
Report: Fitt names a police constable
he believes to be implicated in brutality towards a marcher in
Derry on 5 October. Craig rejects the charge.
Impartiality of RUC defended
Report: O'Hare feels that police do not act with the same
vigour when facing Paisleyites as they do when confronted by other
marchers. Andrews defends the police record and feels that the
force faced a difficult situation in Derry.
Memorial protected, says Derry committee
Report: In response to concerns expressed by a presbyterian
clergyman, the DCAC indicates that it employs stewards to protect
war memorials from damage during its demonstrations. Mid-Down
Labour Party criticises Unionist extremists for placing the constitution
Court refuses summons on Craig
Report: Craig will not be summoned with regard to his role in the events of 5 October.
[IN, NL, 14 November]
Summons for NILPYS chairman
Report: Cyril Toman, chairman of the NILP
Young Socialists, receives a summons arising out of the 5 October
demonstration in Derry.
Summonses: 'incitement to public disorder' - CRA
Report: The CRA
calls for intervention by Wilson and O'Neill,
stating that summonses served in relation to events in Derry on
5 October constitute an incitement to public disorder and possibly
prefigure a ban on the forthcoming DCAC march.
Case against squatters adjourned
Report: The court case against the Caledon squatters is adjourned after evidence is heard from one of the bailiffs concerned. Civil rights supporters protest outside the court building.
Caledon eviction cases adjourned over
submission by the defence [Report]
Troubles in Derry 'living disgrace'
Report: The chairman of the South Antrim Unionist Association condemns riots, marchers and counter marchers in Derry, but adds that if allegations of malpractices are true, then these should be addressed and the wrongs righted.
[NL, 14 November]
'Browbeaten Derry now fighting back'
Report: Janet Wilcock feels that the people of Derry are
now fighting back against their long-time oppressors, and will
not cease their demands for rights until they have been met.
Craig under fire from O'Connor at Stormont
Report: Craig is attacked by O'Connor at Stormont over his recent conduct.
Commons tribute to Lord Erskine [Report]
[BT, 12 November]
Craig questioned on billeting of RUC men at naval base
Report: Fitt asks Craig
about the billeting of RUC men
at the Derry naval base during the October disturbances. In reply
to a further question, Craig says that no disciplinary charges
have been brought against any member of the police force following
Patrick's Day not to be public holiday
Report: Government declines to support a motion making St Patrick's Day a public holiday in Northern Ireland, despite the suggestion that such a move would help improve community relations.
Saint Patrick's Day not to be public holiday
Report: Those supporting the motion generally assert that the legislation would help overcome division in Northern Ireland.
St Patrick's Day not to be public holiday [Report]
Summary: Wilson refers a parliamentary
questioner back to a written reply made following his Downing
Street talks with O'Neill, outlining
the content of the discussions.
Westminster query on Derry jobs
Report: A Labour MP at Westminster tables a question on
employment in Derry.
'To make partition a live, urgent issue'
Report: The Christian Democratic Party of Ireland will
hold a press conference in Belfast to outline its position on
Tribute to McAteer's leadership
Letter: McAteer has often placed the
interests of the people of Northern Ireland before his Nationalist
principles; if only O'Neill would
reciprocate, he could do much to solve the problems that exist
within the state.
Discrimination in Armagh
Letter: An Armagh councillor has called for
the planned civil rights march in the city to be stopped for fear
of a counter-demonstration; he has also claimed that discrimination
does not exist in Armagh. If he chooses to look at certain areas
however, he would know that it is very much a reality.
The Derry 'teach-in'
Letter: The DUAC is aware of the position of the Society of Labour Lawyers; any representative who attended its teach-in would not have been seen as having done so in an official capacity. Furthermore, 'the national press reported that some 300 people attended, whereas in actual fact upwards of 1,500 were present when the meeting finally concluded.'
Statement clarified [Letter]
'Action today on ward boundaries of Derry an absolute necessity'
Letter: Boundary reform must not be delayed.
'The revision of Derry's ward boundaries could be effected well
in advance of the local government elections
of 1970, so that a democratically-elected corporation would be
enabled to take part in the reshaping of the "Greater Derry"
The vast majority of the citizens are no longer prepared
to be less than equal to a privileged minority. Anger is growing
daily, and anyone who thinks that "some day" is soon
enough to face up to the political repercussions for the Unionist
Party of a revision of the wards, falls far
short of appreciating the explosive potential of the present position.'
An inquiry is a 'must'
Letter: 'Innocent men have nothing to fear from a public
inquiry. If, however, it is refused, the suspicion cannot fail
to grow that dirt has been brushed under the administrative carpet
which those in authority fear an inquiry may bring to light.'
Protestants especially should speak out in favour of an inquiry.
Scenes at Dunmurry
Letter: It is true that loyalists attended a Dunmurry gathering
at which O'Neill was present to protest
against his policies of appeasement. They will do so again if
Letter: A recent contribution to the News Letter
entitled 'minority enjoyment' is deserving of widespread publicity
in Britain to counteract misinformation on Northern Ireland there.
Reduce their grants
Letter: Students who engage in political activity should
receive no grants. Similar restrictions should apply to university
Letter: Northern Ireland is headed towards anarchy unless someone strong takes charge of government. Universities should be above party political activity. Leaders of the disruptive student demonstrations should be expelled from university.
14 November, 1968
Craig's 'mischievous misuse of ministerial power'
Leader: McAteer will make vigorous protests to Stonham on the decision to ban all marches within Derry's walls for a month. Craig feels that the decision is necessary to allow an easing of tensions in Derry, but the DCAC views the move as 'inflammatory,' especially in view of the recent decision to allow a Paisleyite parade to go ahead. The committee further states, 'we are marching peacefully on Saturday over the route which we have announced.' Wilson is asked in a telegram to protect fundamental citizens' rights. Hegarty feels that Craig's stated aim is reducing tensions is a joke in poor taste, considering the highly provocative nature of the summonses over the October disturbances and this latest ban. The PD condemns the decision and will take part in the march at the DCAC's invitation. A meeting will today be held in Strabane in order to form a local branch of the CRA. Armagh civil rights organisers are told that they will not be able to use the City Hall for a meeting on the day of their planned demonstration. The LCU accepts Craig's ban and asks supporters to stay off the streets on 16 November.
Protest and power
Editorial: Craig's ban on marches within Derry's walls for one month is likely to have the very opposite effect to that of engendering a cooling-off period. Protest has been organised not to promote violence but to highlight injustice, and in this it has had considerable success. Protest will end when the necessary reforms are granted.
Editorial: Craig's re-routing of the
latest Derry march may not be the wisest course, in view of the
fact that the last number of demonstrations in Derry have passed
off peacefully when permitted to march along their chosen route.
People are tired of constant demonstrations, but the surest way
to bring them to an end is for government to reach a quick decision
on reform, including on the franchise question.
The real problem in Northern Ireland is an unwillingness to countenance
change. However, Derry marchers have made their point and should
reconsider their defiance.
Too much at stake
Editorial: Northern Ireland's prosperity depends heavily
on Westminster's financial contribution; in the interests that
prosperity, of Northern Ireland's image, and of harmonious community
relations, those Unionists who still
entertain ideas of defying Westminster should think again.
Tension in Derry
Leader: Craig's decision to re-route
the forthcoming civil rights parade in Derry in view of fears
of extreme protestant retaliation may lead to more confrontation
in the city, since indications are that the ban will be defied
by the DCAC. The Industry for Derry Committee feels that recent
publicity has not made Derry unattractive to industry; rather,
it has highlighted the city's large pool of unemployed labour.
The Derry Labour Party challenges O'Neill
to justify the ban.
Water cannon query for Craig
Report: At Stormont, Carron will ask Craig
a question on water cannon.
'We'll not change route,' marchers tell Craig
Report: The DCAC says that its march will go ahead as planned, irrespective of the ban on certain sections of it. A telegram of protest is sent to Wilson. It is felt that Craig's decision is provocative, especially in view of the fact that he permitted last week's Paisleyite demonstration to take place in the city. Derry citizens should uphold their dignity with non-violence. Craig is 'trying to promote public disorder in order to vindicate his personal attitude.' McAteer will protest to Stonham about what he perceives as 'this mischievous abuse of personal power.'
March to go as planned
Report: The DCAC announces that its planned march will
go ahead as planned, despite a re-routing imposed by the ministry
of home affairs. Derry Nationalist Party
will meet in emergency session to discuss the new development.
Armagh City Hall refused for 'rights' rally
Report: The CRA is denied permission to hold a rally in the Armagh City Hall, a decision which a spokesman for the Association criticises as undemocratic. The local UPV division will decide, in conjunction with the UCDC, what tactics are to be employed to counter the civil rights demonstration.
[IN, 15 November]
Noisy reception for O'Neill
Report: A noisy protest greets O'Neill at a prize distribution ceremony at Queen's University.
PM is mobbed at private function [Leader]
[BT, 13 November]
Queen's may act against extremists
Report: Queen's University may take action against the splinter-group of student protesters - condemned by the PD - who disrupted O'Neill's recent visit to the university. Three of the university chaplains condemn the protest as 'a travesty of all that the civil rights movement stands for.' There are many sincere people involved in the movement, seeking a better society.
[IN, 15 November]
'Summons for Craig' attempt fails
Report: Craig will not be summoned to court to testify with reference to his role in the events of 5 October.
Summons attempt on Craig failed [Report]
[BT, 13 November]
McAteer tells Stonham of anxiety
Report: McAteer tells Stonham of his anxiety about the latest developments with regard to Northern Ireland in general and Derry in particular, with reference to Craig's re-routing decision.
Fitt asks - who can blame people for taking to the streets[?]
Report: Fitt feels that people have turned to street protest because their grievances have gone unheeded in parliament. He deplores the lack of any prosecutions against police following the Derry disturbances. Both Fitt and Diamond feel that there is widespread resentment among the police that the force's reputation has been allowed to become tarnished by Craig. Diamond also deplores the inaction of many clerics over the years, who are now speaking out in fear of the undermining of the state. O'Reilly criticises the use of the British naval base in Derry to assist in the suppression of liberty, and calls for the implementation of Wilson's call for an inquiry into events in Derry. Craig defends parliamentary democracy in Northern Ireland and criticises the opposition statements as inflammatory. He attacks Fitt's lack of condemnation of violence in the city, and describes as a smear campaign allegations made against the RUC, challenging opposition MPs to produce evidence to back up their charges. An inquiry will not be held while no evidence is forthcoming. Prosecutions relating to the Derry events, contrary to opposition claims, have been brought about through the due legal process, and without any political interference. O'Connor feels that progress in community relations has been endangered.
'Wild' statements, 'smear' campaign [Report]
Blaney reaffirms loyalty to Lynch as taoiseach
Report: Blaney makes clear his support for Lynch's
leadership, following the taoiseach's re-emphasis of the regret
he feels at Blaney's recent remarks on Northern Ireland.
Blaney in the lead in anti-Lynch moves
Report: Lynch again decries Blaney's comments on Northern Ireland as regrettable.
Lynch 'disowns' Blaney [Report]
Unity from civil rights - Sinn Fein
Report: Sinn Féin feels that Lynch and Blaney are out of touch with the true situation in Northern Ireland, where civil rights demands constitute a powerful uniting force, on which party advantage should not be permitted to encroach. Most Northern Ireland politicians have avoided this temptation.
[IN, 15 November]
No gain for workers with unity: claim
Report: McCann asserts that Irish unity would not especially benefit Irish workers, whether protestant or catholic. Civil rights agitation, he feels, is having more effect than its nationalist counterpart, and could provide a new focus for anti-Tory politics.
'Whole basis of politics challenged'
Report: He feels that the movement in Derry, in particular,
is firmly rooted in civil rights issues.
Reply to critics of McAteer and Fitt
Letter: Those who believe that MPs' protests will be solved
by political flag-waving should think again. 'Ireland's fight
has never been against Britain - only against injustice.'
Fianna Fail indifference to minority here is resented
Letter: 'The callous indifference of Mr Lynch and his government to the plight of the catholic minority in Northern Ireland is bitterly resented here. Their resentment is intensified by the cynical effort now made to revive the partition issue, which, save for occasional references to it, at Easter and thereabouts, has been dormant in the archives of Fianna Fail for almost fifty years.' The ill-timed intervention was a gift for Unionists. The minority is less interested in relations between Belfast and Dublin than in relations between themselves and Stormont, 'which denies them the normal rights of citizenship.' Patricia McCluskey and Gerry Fitt have done the most to highlight injustice to the British people.
'British and proud of it'
Letter: O'Neill has condemned
street brawls, but his government, by denying justice, is responsible
for them. Wilson is also hypocritical in
demanding majority rule for Rhodesia but not for Ireland.
How cardinal can improve relations
Letter: It is too readily assumed that O'Neill
alone can help improve community relations.
There are however others who could make a valuable contribution
in this direction, such as Cardinal Conway. He could begin by
offering full recognition to the state and government of Northern
Ireland. He could end the 'damaging religious apartheid' in education,
an attitude which in the past has helped to keep catholic representation
in the professions lower than it ought to have been. There is
nothing unjust about a franchise in local elections that is representative
of those who contribute to local finance: if a universal franchise
is to be introduced, it should be accompanied by a universal local
government tax. Additionally, with reference
to housing, why should couples who choose to limit the size of
their families be penalised for that decision? One might also
question whether there is a natural right to an ideal job in the
place of one's birth.
Is McAteer serious? [Letter]
[see IN, 12 November, Another great sell-out?]
Summary: 'Moneymore branch of the South Derry Women's Unionist Association passed a unanimous vote of confidence' in O'Neill and James Chichester-Clark.
Ulster's living 'disgrace'
Report: The chairman of the South Antrim Unionist Association condemns riots, marchers and counter marchers in Derry. However, if allegations of malpractices are true, then they should be examined and any wrongs righted.
[BT, 13 November]
Let this be a lesson to the young
Report: 'Belfast city council [should] withhold their [sic] grant to Queen's until the university authorities have put their house in order.'
[IN, BT, 17 November]
Ulster at 'crossroads'
Report: Ardill says that Northern Ireland is under threat from those who disguise their true intentions under the cloak of civil rights, and also from British government blackmail. Wilson cannot dictate to another political party who it should have for its leader, although there is presently no leadership crisis in the Unionist ranks.
[BT, 13 November]
15 November, 1968
Fears of new head-on clash in Derry growing
Leader: Derry Churches Industrial Council will present O'Neill with a petition calling on government to allow the DCAC march to go ahead. All-night prayers will be held in two cathedrals. Wilson feels that there is 'the strongest case' for an inquiry into the previous disturbances, and says that reform in Northern Ireland has so far been 'too moderate.' Stonham will convey McAteer's anxiety about the situation in Derry to Wilson and Callaghan following his meeting with the Nationalist leader. McAteer plans to participate in the march, and calls on the British government to extend British rights to the part of Ireland it claims as its territory. Derry Nationalist Party calls for O'Neill to take action in line with his liberal sentiments, and also feels that Craig will carry the blame for any trouble in Derry. All sections of the Derry populace should support the civil rights campaign. The Young Socialist Alliance condemns Craig's ban as 'provocative and dictatorial,' and stresses the significance of the permission given for the recent Paisleyite demonstration, and the fact that the new ban will expire in time for a December Apprentice Boys' parade. All those who believe in civil rights should march. Trouble, if it comes, will come from police batons, not from the people of Derry, where there is no real opposition to the march. Craig should be dismissed from office and the ban lifted.
Wilson says reform in Northern Ireland could be faster
Report: In addition to Wilson's comments at Westminster, Ogden wonders at the contrast between O'Neill's liberal sentiments and Craig's ban on peaceful demonstration, and asks who is in control of Northern Ireland. McNamara calls for the ban to be rescinded and questions Craig's impartiality. Wilson says that the Derry question played a central role in the recent Downing Street talks.
Reform Ulster faster, urges Wilson
Report: Wilson feels that reform in Northern Ireland could proceed at a faster pace, and adds that there is 'the strongest case' for an inquiry into events in Derry on and following 5 October. Ogden wonders who is in control of Northern Ireland, in light of the contrast between O'Neill's liberal expressions and Craig's ban on peaceful demonstration. McNamara calls for the lifting of the ban and questions Craig's impartiality. Wilson says that Derry was central to the recent Downing Street discussions.
Reforms in Ulster could go faster - Wilson
Report: Wilson reiterates at Westminster
his support for O'Neill's reformist
policies, but feels that they are progressing too slowly. Ogden
criticises Craig's Derry banning decision.
McNamara criticises Craig, questioning his impartiality by comparing
the ban on the DCAC march with the permission previously extended
to Paisleyites to march in Derry. Wilson replies that Derry featured
prominently in his discussions with O'Neill, and reiterates his
call for an inquiry into the events of 5 October.
The time runs out
Editorial: Craig is wrong to state
that the DCAC march is a deliberate provocation, but the organisers
must weigh up the benefits of publicity with the need to keep
the situation calm enough for the process of reform
to begin. If Craig cannot adjust to changing attitudes, then
he cannot remain in office.
Where we came in
Report: Many Unionists feel that Craig
had little choice but to impose the month-long ban on all parades
within Derry's walls. The opposition view is that the decision
will inflame rather than cool passions. It would seem that Craig
would have been criticised no matter what his decision had been,
and it is undoubtedly true that the reform issue
will have to be addressed before the situation can cool. There
is still strong backbench Unionist resistance to any idea of altering
the franchise before the reorganisation of local government
Craig gives his reasons
Report: Craig says his ban was imposed on police advice. He dismisses charges of favouring Paisleyism, arguing that a DCAC march was permitted the week previous to Paisley's parade. He speaks of an element determined to cause trouble: 'certainly one is conscious of a very left-wing revolutionary element involved in these activities. There is evidence of IRA participation.' He feels that the situation on 5 October would have been worse had no ban been imposed. He adds, 'demonstrations may be a safety valve when used sensibly and in moderation, but when they become a weekly or daily occurrence then they become an instrument of provocation.' He tells a Larne Unionist Association that the DCAC march is a deliberate provocation, and that 'all decent people must call a halt to the politics of revolution.'
Craig gives civil strife warning
Report: Craig calls for an end to
'the politics of revolution,' a situation 'aggravated because
much of the protest is deliberately aimed at provoking public
disorder,' and is resented by 'the vast majority of people in
Northern Ireland.' He feels that no bona fide civil rights
movement would offer such provocation.
Unionist appeal to restraint
Report: The UUC executive calls for restraint in the interest of peace. O'Neill briefs the body on his talks with Wilson.
[IN, 16 November]
O'Neill in 11th-hour plea
Leader: O'Neill calls for
a cooling-off period, and stresses that the government is examining
the underlying causes of unrest. The Derry Churches
Industrial Council calls for a relaxation of the ban. The executive
of the Ulster Unionist Council also
appeals for restraint. Murnaghan says that the cause of civil
rights will not be advanced by violence, and advises Derry people
not to allow themselves to be used as pawns in an internal Unionist
Party struggle. The Grand Orange
Lodge of Ireland warns of serious consequences unless there is
a cooling-off period in Derry, and thus supports Craig's
one-month ban on all parades and meetings within the city's walls.
Deliberate provocation must be contained by the forces of law
and order. The recent QUB demonstration is condemned.
Derry churches intervene
Leader: A delegation from the Derry Churches
Industrial Council will meet with Craig to
urge a lifting of his ban on the DCAC civil rights march. The
churches in Derry also plan all-night prayer vigils in the city's
two cathedrals. 48 teachers from St Columb's College send a telegram
to O'Neill, calling for the ban to
be rescinded. Craig is criticised by the Derry Labour Party.
McAteer forecasts that 'trouble and strife'
will result from the march. Bunting
says that if the ban is lifted, 'I will be there with 5,000 men,
and I will do my very best to ensure that the integrity of Londonderry's
walls, which are symbolic of unionism, will
be preserved, should it cost me my life. And many others think
the same way.' Derry Nationalist Party
condemns Craig and says that the blame for any trouble resulting
from the ban will rest on his shoulders. Paisley
is prepared to rally loyalists 'in defence of their hard-won heritage,'
and feels that 'the protestant clergy of Londonderry's so-called
Churches Industrial Council have been unmasked as supporters of
the law-breaking, communist-inspired seditious amalgam of the
so-called civil rights movement.' Robin Chichester-Clark,
in a letter to Wilson, supports Craig's action,
welcoming the cooling-off period and adding that the citizens
of Derry 'have recently suffered a good deal from the sheer hooliganism,
very often wholly unpolitical, which follows some of these demonstrations.'
Churches seek ways to ease Derry situation
Report: The Derry Churches Industrial Council
calls for the ban on marches within the walls of Derry to be lifted
until after the DCAC demonstration, after which a cooling-off
period must be allowed. Support for the march however seems to
have been heightened by the ban. The DUAC
plans a further teach-in.
Two Derry cathedrals to hold all-night vigil
Report: All-night prayer is organised by the Derry churches
in hope that peace will prevail.
'Bans and batons will not suppress just demands'
Report: The prospective Liberal candidate for south Down
condemns Craig's ban as 'unjust and immoral,'
and feels that it will not suppress the cause of human rights.
The minister will be directly responsible for any violence resulting
from his decision. O'Neill should
restore his own tarnished reputation by rescinding Craig's ban
and sacking the minister.
Nationalists appeal to O'Neill
Report: Derry Nationalist Party
calls on O'Neill to take action against
Craig's decision to ban the DCAC march from
passing through certain areas, and adds that the blame for any
ensuing disturbances will rest with Craig alone. Support for
the civil rights campaign is called for.
I will march tomorrow - Eddie McAteer
Report: McAteer says that he will
fight for civil rights in Northern Ireland before tackling partition.
He feels that confrontation in Derry has not been between catholic
and protestant, but between people and police. The Nationalist
Party will revert to its role as official
Stormont opposition only when Stormont becomes a normal parliament
with respect for the opposition.
Young Socialists will march in Derry
Report: The Young Socialist Alliance says it will take
part in the Derry march, and accuses the ministry of home affairs
of bowing to Unionist extremists. It is hoped that there will
be no trouble, but if there is, then it will undoubtedly be due
to Craig and the RUC
batons. Craig is practically inciting a counter-demonstration,
and his biased handling of recent events warrants his dismissal.
March court cases may be adjourned
Report: An adjournment of the court cases against participants
in the 5 October civil rights demonstration is expected to be
granted. Fitt has now received five summonses
in connection with the event.
Republicans get 'march' summonses
Report: The Six-County Regional Executive of the Republican
Clubs reveals that a number of republicans
have received summonses in relation to the October disturbances
in Derry. A statement asserts: 'the action of Mr Craig
in banning all parades and meetings within the sacred walls of
Derry has shown the fear within the Unionist junta of the broad-based
popular appeal of the civil rights movement. Let not the people
be bullied or batoned into being afraid to march and demand their
CRA refused the use of City Hall in Armagh
Report: The CRA is refused the use of Armagh City Hall for a meeting on 30 November. The UCDC will decide whether or not to hold a counter-demonstration in the city.
[BT, 14 November]
Strabane has civil rights branch
Report: The newly-formed CRA
branch in Strabane sends a telegram to Wilson
calling for the lifting of the Derry march ban; also, following
a DCAC request, the branch will join the Derry parade rather than
march from Strabane to Derry.
3-man committee to allocate Derry houses
Report: A committee has been set up to allocate housing
in Derry along lines suggested by the government's recommended
points system, subject to the committee's
amendment. Religion or political affiliation will not be taken
into account when considering applications.
Let's stop rehashing Derry now
Comment: The proroguing of parliament on 12 December will
provide a welcome escape from speech after speech playing the
same old political tune on Derry, and throwing around unsubstantiated
charges, all of which can do nothing to promote community harmony.
Re-thinking call: McAteer explains
Report: McAteer says that it is not a betrayal of anti-partition politics to ask for civil rights along the way. He feels that television has helped reveal to the world injustice in Northern Ireland.
McAteer sees his possible 'political death'
Report: McAteer tells the Irish Club
in London, 'I must at this moment make a choice of [political]
emphasis, for the fact remains that there is quite an early possibility
of getting these civil rights, whereas, if we over-stress the
partition claim at present, we might not bring unity any nearer
and then an early casualty would be the civil rights movement.'
McAteer also tells Stonham of his concerns
at recent developments.
Political growth key to progress in west - Currie
Report: Currie argues that while political problems remain west of the Bann, economic, social and cultural development in the area will always be stunted.
Sinn Fein views on civil rights, partition
Report: Sinn Féin condemns Lynch and Blaney, viewing both men as out of touch with the fact that civil rights demands in Northern Ireland constitute a powerful unifying force. Most involved politicians in Northern Ireland have recognised that party political advantage should not be permitted to damage this development.
[BT, 14 November]
We fail to project true image - MP
Report: Scott opines, 'I am convinced our greatest weakness
today is we have failed to project Northern Ireland's true image
to people both at home and abroad and a few minor illnesses have
been presented as a major disease.' Nowhere in the world is it
possible to claim that full and equal rights prevail, 'though
this is an ideal we must strive for.'
Craig is 'impartial'
Report: Robin Chichester-Clark
sends a letter to Wilson listing parades
allowed in Northern Ireland since 19 October, and argues that
this is a demonstration of Craig's impartiality.
Letter: There is no real freedom in Northern Ireland, unless
it is the freedom of the supporters of British occupation to march
where they will, while those who oppose it are restricted in demonstrating
for their civil liberties.
Ulster and 'Ulster'
Letter: Basic rights are denied to non-Unionists in Northern
Ireland; such abuses do not exist in the three free counties of
Dr Tyndall asked to apologise
Report: The Church of Ireland
bishop of Derry and Raphoe is asked by a local Young Unionist
Association to apologise for having
labelled many Derry counter-demonstrators as bigots.
Letter: Paisley's criticism of
the Church of Ireland
bishop of Derry and Raphoe is unwarranted and out of touch.
Letter: The Church of Ireland bishop of Derry and Raphoe is unrepresentative of the people of Derry in his attack on the Paisleyite demonstration that recently took place in the city.
Tribute to 'Viewpoint'
Letter: The Belfast Telegraph's coverage of the
passage of events since Derry has been eminently fair.
Chaplains condemn students' protest
Report: Three QUB chaplains feel that the civil rights movement at the university is generally sincere, but that most students will condemn the actions of protesters during O'Neill's visit. The university's pro-vice-chancellor calls for a report on the incident. The PD condemns the splinter-group responsible.
[BT, 14 November]
Students condemn PM mobbing
Report: President of the Queen's University
Students' Representative Council Rory MacShane condemns the unruly
nature of the protest against O'Neill
at the recent prize-distribution ceremony at the university.
It is learned that the institution is considering disciplinary
action following the incident, and its pro-vice-chancellor asks
for a report on events. A PD spokesman condemns the disruption
of the group's protest. Three of the university chaplains also
condemn the protest, arguing that most civil rights activity at
the university is well-conducted and sincere. The PD plans further
demonstrations, but states its commitment to the achievement of
civil rights through non-violent protest. An apology from Fred
Taggart and Louis Boyle to O'Neill states that
the action of some demonstrators was unrepresentative, and carried
out by militants.
In bad taste - and immature
Editorial: 'Any sympathy that there might have been for
the student protesters evaporated rapidly and irrevocably on Wednesday'
with the disorderly protest against O'Neill.
The university authorities should take action. 'Preservation
of law and order is of paramount importance, though there will
be many who will question the wisdom of Mr Craig's
month-long ban on meetings and marches within the walls [of Derry].
In the event the effect could be more inflammatory than tranquillising.
A great deal will depend on how the police, who bear the brunt
of demonstrations and counter-demonstrations, handle yet another
PD sends apology on incidents [Report]
2 Queen's students apologise to Capt O'Neill and MCB
Letter: 'It is against the background of the absence of
a viable alternative constitutional political party and the failure
of the Unionist Party itself to respond to
a changing situation, that the unarticulated grievance[s] of a
minority of Ulster people have been channelled into a civil rights
movement.' Civil rights should not be a divisive political issue.
That action of a few unrepresentative militant students is in
no way reflective of the broader spectrum of moderate opinion
within the PD. A firm stand should be taken against extremists
on all sides.
Not representative [Letter]
(Louis Boyle, Fred Taggart)
Letter: 'To those who wish to see a more just society evolve
in Ulster I must apologise on behalf of many students for those
students who would drag your cause into disrepute.'
Appeal to students
Letter: Students can only alienate sympathetic observers
of their demands for civil rights when they behave as they did
towards O'Neill on his recent visit
to Queen's University.
The only product
Letter: Ordinary people can distinguish between the pursuit
of justice and the inconvenience caused recently by students.
Jeers for soldier
Letter: A soldier was jeered by PD supporters in Belfast,
who also refused to buy commemorative poppies because of their
pacifism. They should respect those who bought their current
freedom with their lives.
Letter: Violence or civil disobedience do not provide a
way towards desirable changes in society. Extremists should not
force their views on others.
Letter: PD protests have earned students a poor reputation
and staff at Queen's University
have similarly shown irresponsibility, for which they should be
disciplined by the university authorities.
Letter: Unionism is in a strong position,
with a two-to-one majority in Northern Ireland; it should thus
grant one-man-one-vote, break its ties with the Orange Order,
provide equal opportunities for all and hit out at the Paisleyite
faction. Many catholics 'are in no hurry to join the South,'
and constructive measures from Unionists would serve to increase
this tendency towards acceptance of the status quo.
Letter: Those who display the Union Jack in Northern Ireland and consider their displays a mark of their British culture should think again. They are displaying a distinctly Northern Irish culture, and should therefore use the Northern Ireland flag.
MPs and LG franchise
Letter: At a recent meeting of the Unionist backbench '66 committee, unanimous support was expressed for the idea that any change in the franchise should await the broader reform of he structure of local government.
(John Dobson, Austin Ardill)
Editorial reply: The Belfast Telegraph's reporting
on this subject has been fair and accurate.
Religion in jobs
Letter: Those who complain of discrimination
against catholics in Derry employment should
produce evidence. One might turn the tables on these people and
ask how many protestants are employed, for example, in Northern
Ireland's hospitals. Religion should play no part in recruitment
Letter: Anti-Paisleyite demonstrators
brought matters dangerously close to confrontation in Derry during
Paisley's peaceful meeting there. Civil rights supporters should
condemn this attempted denial of civil rights to others.
Letter: Why have civil rights supporters or the mass media
not spoken out against the despicable attack on a Derry policeman
trying to preserve law and order in the city?
Won't vote Labour
Letter: Wilson's recent intimidatory
statement on a re-appraisal of Northern Ireland's position is
to be condemned, and 'I have no doubt that [it] was issued to
placate his Labour colleagues, whose antipathy towards Ulster
arises from the fact that the people here have consistently shown
a preference for Unionist candidates.'
Our wailing wall
Letter: Those catholics not content with British rights should be financially assisted to move to the Republic of Ireland, though it is difficult to see the benefits of residence there.
16 November, 1968
Hundreds join in all-night prayers for peace in Derry
Report: The all-night prayers held in two Derry cathedrals see a call for peace in the days ahead.
Derry prays for peace: march goes on as planned
Leader: Cooper says that the DCAC has made no changes to its plans for the march, though the protest should be non-violent. Those who think otherwise are not welcome to participate. He feels also that the ban is provocative and supported only by a minority of extremists. Hegarty says O'Neill has been forced give in to extremism. NICRA calls for a dignified demonstration in Derry, and condemns O'Neill's hypocrisy in calling for calm while acquiescing in a measure that will promote tension. The NILP says that O'Neill has had years to promote rational discussion on civil rights, but such discussions have been fruitless. He should now lift the ban and declare his intention to introduce reforms. Sinclair sends a telegram to Wilson, calling on him to protect the marchers. The Northern Ireland Liberal Party calls for no defiance of the ban, since it is felt that the violence that could result from such a strategy would play directly into Craig's hands. O'Neill calls for 'maximum calm and restraint' and a necessary 'cooling-off period.' The chairman of the Derry Churches Industrial Council feels that the march should be allowed to go ahead, especially in view of the previous decision to allow a Paisleyite parade. 48 teachers at St Columb's College urge on O'Neill the lifting of the ban.
A prayer for peace
Leader: A night of prayer is held in Derry's two cathedrals.
Cooper tells the DHAC's
450 stewards to ensure non-violence. Bunting
calls upon 'Her Majesty's liege subjects in Londonderry to ignore
the continued provocation
and remain calm
contact with coat-trailing rebels and co-operating fully with
the forces of law and order.' Barry Desmond, chairman of the
Irish Labour Party, says that any trouble will be the sole responsibility
of Craig and O'Neill,
whose 'obdurate behaviour in placing a general ban on demonstrations
in Derry so soon after permission was granted to Mr Paisley
to hold a demonstration, reflects the desire of the extremist
element in the Unionist Party for a confrontation
on the civil rights issue.' The NILP
criticises O'Neill over his call for a rational discussion of
the issues, arguing that he and his government have over the years
refused to engage in such discussion. O'Neill should announce
his intention to introduce reforms, and should lift
the ban on the DCAC march, according marchers their right to protection.
West Belfast Unionist Association
states its support for Craig and the RUC.
McMaster says that the right to march does not encompass the
right to riot or provoke riot. A Paisleyite meeting expresses
support for Craig, as does the Irish Methodist
Revival Movement, which criticises some protestant clergymen in
Derry over their supposed support for the principles espoused
Derry march: McAteer's appeal to police
Report: McAteer urges police not to allow themselves to be used 'in this unsavoury attempt to trample down fellow citizens.' O'Neill's statement points out that the rights of all citizens depend upon the maintenance of the law. He calls for calm, adding, 'no rational discussion of any matter can be expected against a background of communal violence and it is well known that the government are [sic] closely examining the underlying causes of the present unrest.' Craig says that he has not been convinced that there would be no danger in permitting the march to go ahead, and he stresses that the view expressed to him by the Derry church delegation is not the unanimous view of the clergy of the city. Also, an inquiry into the conduct of the RUC might serve to end 'political agitation,' but that is no reason to allow a slur to be cast on the reputation of the RUC. The council for its part claims not to be against a temporary suspension of marches, but questions the timing of Craig's ban, and compares it with his decision to allow the Paisleyite parade of one week pervious to proceed.
'What we need now is calm' - PM
Report: The cabinet, in a special meeting, is understood
to have discussed the ban and reform, and some progress
towards a definite policy on the latter is believed to have been
made. Craig feels that extremists on both
sides wish to cause trouble. 'The law in Northern Ireland will
be maintained in the interests of all. We cannot and will not
allow it to be flouted
No cause other than the cause of anarchy
will be served by further riots and commotion in our streets.'
O'Neill calls for calm, saying that
the government is examining closely the causes of unrest. He
feels that a cooling-off period is essential. Craig remains unconvinced
by the arguments in favour of the lifting of the ban advanced
by the Derry Churches Industrial Council, and says
that their view is not the unanimous view of the city's clergy.
Also, an inquiry might serve to put an end to political agitation,
he says, but that is not sufficient reason to call into doubt
'the integrity and reputation of the RUC.'
The executive committee of the UUC
appeals for calm and restraint.
Shopkeepers put up the shutters
Report: Derry shopkeepers are preparing for what could
be the worst violence in the city for 40 years by taking protective
measures on their premises.
On the march in Derry
Editorial: Craig should not have banned the DCAC march, but rather should have offered it police protection from those elements which he deems likely to cause trouble. Maximum calm and restraint are now required. 'The widespread goodwill which the cause of civil rights has created will only suffer degeneration if the marchers play into the hands of those anxious to see the batons and water cannons out again.' Civil rights is a worthy, non-sectarian cause. Westminster will ensure that reform comes. Craig's ban will not placate extremist protestants, who want to see the civil rights movement destroyed completely.
Derry's anxious hours
Editorial: The decision to ban the DCAC march, resting
as it does on police advice, must be respected. If this is done,
'respect will redound not only upon the ancient city itself but
also on those who have made civil rights their banner. The effectiveness
of that campaign, which cannot be denied, must hang this afternoon
on the slender thread of responsibility.'
Thousands join march
Leader: 4,000 people set out on the banned Derry civil rights march, and are joined by sympathisers along the route. Counter-demonstrators gather behind police lines. The organisers renounce violence. A PD contingent also joins the march. Another summons is served on McAteer for his 5 October activities. The '66 Committee is to meet with Westminster Unionists next week; a church delegation will meet O'Neill, and is expected to call for an inquiry into the underlying causes of unrest.
Workless told to join march
Report: A meeting of the DUAC
issues a statement offering support for the DCAC march.
Newry gets civil rights committee
Report: A civil rights committee is established in Newry under the auspices of the PD. A motion calling for the exclusion from some posts of members of other political bodies is carried, and leads to the walk-out of some members of the local Republican Club.
Newry now has People's Democracy committee
Report: Some republicans walk out of the meeting following
a decision not to elect a republican to the position of vice-chairman
for fear of being accused of bias in that political direction.
People's Democracy regret Whitla Hall scenes
Report: The PD is forwarding apologies to all those concerned following its recent protest, which it says was too hastily organised. The principle of non-violence is stressed.
'We're sorry,' says the People's Democracy [Report]
Fitt and Currie get two more summonses
Report: Fitt and Currie
receive further summonses in connection with the events of 5 October
Believe they will vote in favour of civil disobedience
Report: At the special Nationalist Party
conference taking place on 17 November, delegates are expected
to vote in favour of civil disobedience, following the decision
by Dungannon UDC to reject a housing points system.
New society in Stockport condemns regime here
Report: A Stockport society calling itself the Ulster Constitution
Reform Committee calls on Wilson
to put an end to the 'fascist tactics of the Northern Ireland
government' and its denial of human rights.
Rescind ban, teachers tell O'Neill
Report: 17 Belfast primary school teachers advise O'Neill
to lift the Derry ban in the interests of peace.
Republican call to 'defy the ban and march'
Report: 'The executive committee of the Tyrone Republican Club, in a statement issued yesterday, said that the ban on the civil rights march in Derry was obviously a forerunner to a complete ban on civil rights marches in Northern Ireland.' The march should go ahead in 'dignified and peaceful' fashion.
Craig ban 'mistake' - delegate
Report: The chairman of the Derry Churches
Industrial Council feels that Craig's ban
was ill-timed, though he does profess to understand the need for
a cooling-off period.
Craig has 'fears of riots'
Report: Craig says that the Derry
church deputation that met with him has failed
to convince him that there will be no violence should his ban
be lifted. If demonstrations have to take place, he says, they
should be non-provocative. Both extremes of the political spectrum
wish to foment disorder.
Unionist Council calls for 'calm' in 'critical period'
Report: The Ulster Unionist Council
calls for a cooling-off period at this dangerous juncture.
Grand Orange Lodge offices support ban
Report: The Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, supporting the government plea for a cooling-off period, feels that Craig's ban is justified in order to achieve this end, given its view that serious consequences may result if the march goes ahead.
'Cooling-off period needed' [Report]
Presbyterian plea for restraint
Report: Presbyterian clergymen
meet the DCAC, asking that marchers adhere to the prescribed route
in order to avoid violence. The committee responds that all possible
measures will be taken to ensure peace and safety. Those who
do not agree with non-violence are not welcome on the demonstration.
There will be no response to the provocation of the ban or of
the unrepresentative extremists who support it. The committee
adds that church leaders should call on O'Neill
to launch an investigation into the present unrest.
Further protests 'can only harm'
Report: 'The presbytery of south Belfast says the cause of community relations and just reforms can only be harmed by further demonstrators at this time and has called on protestant and Roman catholic church leaders to join publicly together in urging restraint.' The statement views most demonstrators as genuine, but some extremists are seen to have used the situation to promote their own political ends through civil strife. Presbyterians should speak out in favour of tolerant and magnanimous policies.
Churchmen call for restraint
Report: South Belfast presbytery condemns interference with the peaceful right to protest, but argues that the continuation of protest will merely facilitate the cause of extremists who seek to use the civil rights movement to achieve party advantage. Leading protestant churchmen call for restraint.
Ulster extremists are warned by Kirk
Report: Kirk warns of the financial consequences for Northern Ireland of extremism.
Value of UK connection
Report: Kirk warns that extremists must not be allowed
to endanger the financial benefits that Northern Ireland gains
as a result of its position within the UK.
Stormont 'must have support'
Report: Civil rights campaigners, says Stanley McMaster,
should weigh the consequences of Northern Ireland of any breach
of the peace, however unintentional. He criticises a certain
element within the movement determined to discredit the government
and police. Pressure against Northern Ireland is building in
the Labour Party, he adds, but feels that cool heads must be kept.
Summary: A north Armagh Unionist Association
branch passes a vote of confidence in O'Neill.
Many shocked by flare-up - Long
Report: Long feels that many people have been disappointed at the way in which the progress of community relations in recent years has so easily been replaced by the old attitudes of suspicion. Tolerance and understanding are necessary qualities.
'Never such need for tolerance' [Report]
TV publicity has delivered staggering blow to Unionism
Letter: The worldwide publicity generated by events in
Derry in October revealed to a vast audience the abuses of the
Unionist regime. The recent summonses served on Derry marchers
provide a golden opportunity for more publicity. Civil rights
supporters should do everything to make their case known overseas,
and their demonstrations should continue.
Achieving a united opposition
Letter: Unless a united opposition party is created, and
if matters in Northern Ireland become worse, then differences
of political principle among non-Unionists will cease to matter,
since the real battle will be taking place in the streets.
Prime minister must challenge Unionist bigots
Letter: Craig's ban on part of the
DCAC's proposed route cannot be seen as impartial or designed
to keep the peace. He will be responsible for any violence that
ensues. As to the 5 October march, 'if there is nothing to hide
what are the objections to an inquiry?' It is difficult to imagine
anything more provocative than last Saturday's Paisleyite
parade in Derry, and one wonders why it was not banned. 'In the
interests of Northern Ireland the prime minister will have to
challenge the bigots within the Unionist Party
and cabinet. I believe he is now in a position to do so, although
so far he has shown little inclination to do it. If Mr Craig
cannot reconcile himself to the winds of change at present blowing
and ensure justice and impartiality to all citizens of the community
he should vacate the office he has so abused.'
Students who support PM
Letter: Many students who gathered when O'Neill
spoke at Queen's University were
there not to oppose but to cheer him. 'I, like hundreds of my
fellow students, am disgusted at being grouped or connected with
the extremist, so-called, civil rights group.'
PD a small minority
Letter: The vast majority of Queen's students dissociate
themselves from the disgraceful behaviour of the PD. 'To the
People's Democracy I say, give your fellow students their civil
rights - to call themselves students and be proud of it, which,
after Wednesday's incident, we certainly cannot do.'
Withhold grants [Letter]
Whitla Hall disturbance [Letter]
[NL, 14 November, Let this be a lesson to the young]
Housing - a moral issue of family life
Comment: There can be little doubt about the existence
of housing injustice in Northern Ireland, and the churches
should perhaps be doing more to tackle it.
Summary: A newly-elected councillor tells Dungannon RDC that he will make allocation recommendations to the council for his area based on decisions adopted by a local committee, according to a points system.
November 1968: | 1-2 | 4-9 | 11-16 | 18-23 | 25-30 |
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CAIN contains information and source material on the conflict and politics in Northern Ireland.
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