Calendar of Newspaper Articles dealing with Civil Rights issues, 1 Jun 1968 - 9 Dec 1968 by Alan Scott
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July: | 1-6 | 8-13 | 15-20 | 22-27 | 29-31 | Top |
Editorial: McAteer will present two motions at Stormont concerned with his belief in the excessive power of the Orange Order over MPs. 'Can impartiality be expected from those who govern when they retain membership of an organisation whose illiberality is a byword?' This is an important issue, 'no less than the conditions of housing in Dungannon.'
[NL, 28 June, BT, 27 June]
Nothing to fear but fear
Editorial: There is no incompatibility between honouring one's obligations to the Orange Order and adherence to one's 'formal public duty.' The damaged relationship between government, churches and Orange Order can be restored by an Orange recognition of this principle.
Order and the Government
Letter: The Orange Order 'must not become the tool of any political party.' McAteer should not interfere in Orange affairs. The Order, as a protestant organisation in a protestant state, should have an influence in government, much as the catholic church has in catholic states. Previous criticism of such views offered by a News Letter commentator seems unjustified.
Orange dilemma [Letter]
[BT, 28 June, Orange Order will have to move with ecumenism]
Order aids community relations
Report: James Molyneaux says that 'for generations before the field became cluttered with stunts and gimmicks…the people of this land lived together in a spirit of true tolerance based on respect for the sincerely held beliefs of others.'
Letter: The Nationalist Party should adopt a firm stance in favour of civil disobedience.
Dungannon shows how to run a sectarian housing policy
Feature: The housing deficiencies that can be uncovered in Dungannon are scandalous. 'It was a shattering experience…to see in action a policy designed to crush and degrade one section of the people whose only "crime" is to be catholic!' Local opposition councillors claim discrimination not merely against catholics but also against 'those who support the labour cause.' A number of examples are described in detail, and opposition councillors suggest that such squalid conditions as exist in Dungannon justify civil disobedience, normal channels having failed to deliver change.
Dragging faith into the gutter
Report: The Church of Ireland archdeacon of Connor hits out at protestant extremists, who are a 'major obstacle to good community relations.' These relations have been improved by the fact that, until a few years ago, government, churches and Orange Order were pursuing 'a united policy.'
'Romeward trend' in church is barefaced lie
Report: Extremists are accused of turning a blind eye to non-churchgoers and yet condemning those who practice Christian charity. While the Orange Order, the government and the churches worked together, there was 'hope and harmony in the community.'
Caravan protest in Derry
Report: The DHAC blocks a main thoroughfare for the second week in succession, with the caravan of the Wilson family, in protest at the council's housing policy.
'Militancy' threat in caravan home protest
Report: The DHAC threatens 'more militant' protest following its second successful obstruction of a major road with a caravan. The Committee's protests have so far received support from some local Labour and Republican Clubs members.
Letter: The Caledon allocations were unjust in allotting a house to a single girl rather than a family. 'Where all other fair means have failed it is both correct and courageous to protest by all means, even squatting, to highlight injustice.'
McAteer hopes to meet U Thant
Report: McAteer hopes to meet U Thant to raise nationalist grievances in Northern Ireland.
[BT, 29 June, 11 July]
City Hall clash over Somme service
Report: Nationalist councillors in Belfast are attacked by Unionists over their failure to attend a ceremony commemorating the Battle of the Somme. They are accused of neglecting to consider the consequences of their actions on community relations.
[IN, NL, 2 July]
Taylor defends Ulster on US TV
Report: John Taylor defends the record of Northern Ireland on an American television show, where criticisms are levelled at Unionist practices.
[IN, 5 July]
2 July, 1968
Public inquiry into Derry's £2,000,000 re-housing scheme
Report: At a Derry housing inquiry, the redevelopment of housing in the city is discussed. Eamon Melaugh raises objections that the scheme is being planned with political expediency rather than the interests of tenants in mind.
Editorial: The victory in Belfast city council for the Sunday opening of playgrounds is to be welcomed, but it does not signal the end of the influence of 'narrow protestantism,' which is inherent in the political structures of the state.
Sunday swings vote row
Report: The decision is taken by Belfast city council to open 17 of 21 play-centres on Sundays. Some supporters of the measure are jeered from the public gallery with taunts of 'Lundy' and 'traitor.' The press are accused by one councillor of brainwashing people over the issue, but a supporter of the measure accuses his opponents of bigotry.
Uproar with decision to open 17 play centres
Report: Supporters of the measure endure taunts of 'no pope here.'
The parties, not the people, in need of unity
Letter: The nationalist parties should come together and stop 'playing games over housing, jobs or votes…Until we tackle the problem of partition on a National basis the evils will remain.'
Absence of the opposition at 'Somme' meeting
Report: Opposition members of Belfast city council are criticised for their non-attendance at the Somme commemoration, and are said by unionists to lack the much-talked-of community spirit.
Opposition criticised for absence [Report]
Dungannon RDC chairman replies to priest's allegations
Letter: In relation to the land dispute between trustees and council of Laghey parish and Dungannon RDC, charges of duplicity on the part of the latter must be categorically rejected. Statistics indicate that of the 1691 houses owned by the council, 713 have catholic occupants, while of the 415 built in the post-war period, 379 are tenanted by catholics.
[NL, 3 July]
RC allegation is answered
Leader: Father Eustace, the Dungannon priest at the centre of the housing controversy, is accused by the chairman of the council of distorting the overall picture by presenting housing figures only for Unionist areas.
Reply to allegations by priest [Report]
Council reply to Dungannon parish priest [Report]
Call for the separation of Orange Order from politics
Report: A resolution will be read at the gathering of the Independent Orange Order on 12 July, calling for the separation of the Orange Order from politics.
'Safeguard Sunday' call at Mosside
Report: The Independent Orange Order will advance resolutions aimed at preventing changes to Sunday laws; it also wishes to see the separation of the Orange Order form politics.
MP was fulfilling his duty
Letter: Recent comments by Norman Porter are surprising; his Christianity should compel him to support the improvement of community relations. Phelim O'Neill was right to do his duty, since he was 'elected to represent a constituency and not one section of it.' Porter is also wrong to deny the right of those outside the Order to criticise it: the institution is, after all, involved in public life. Hard-liners should take cognisance of the meaning of their professions of loyalty to the crown and take note of recent anti-discrimination legislation at Westminster. 'Consideration for one-third of our population' is not 'appeasement'; nor is it 'anti-protestant.'
Debate on Orange Order is ruled out
Report: A meeting of the Unionist parliamentary party's backbench '66 committee discusses the Orange Order's relationship with the party. The committee chairman, Burns, feels that this is not the appropriate forum for such a discussion since some committee members are not in the Order. Another MP views the discussion that took place as 'reasonable and moderate.' Burns claims that there was a feeling at the meeting also that Nationalist criticisms should be 'forcefully answered,' an example seen to have been set by John Taylor on American television.
Orange Order and Unionism are one and indivisible
Letter: There can be no separation of the Orange Order from the Unionist Party; and the Order cannot be expected to 'dilute' its 'blood,' since so much of its essence lies in 'hatred and suppression of all things Roman catholic.' The majority of protestants and catholics wish to live in peace and harmony under the Union. The Unionist Party 'maintains its hold' so successfully because it supports this constitutional link. A new political party is necessary, a party which pledges to maintain the Union, and one which 'at the same time pledges justice under the rule of Christ.' Such a party would 'sweep this hatred-ridden, secretly-directed and hypocritical Unionist Party to where it belongs…We are sick and tired of witnessing injustices being inflicted on defenceless people and of hearing the government office-holders supporting these injustices by denying their existence.'
Summary: Taylor claims at a meeting that nationalists are providing 'selective and deliberately misleading' figures on housing allocation.
Protest as Derry bridge is opened
Report: A DHAC sit-down protest is held on Craigavon Bridge.
[NOTE: No report of the demonstration is actually given.]
[IN, 4 July]
Cookstown gets tough on squatters
Report: Cookstown rural council votes to authorise its clerk to take immediate action against squatting, should any cases occur.
[IN, NL, 4 July]
3 July, 1968
Dungannon RDC chairman replies to priest's allegations [Letter]
[see IN, 2 July, Dungannon RDC chairman replies to priest's allegations]
Setting out the facts
Editorial: If the statistics provided by the chairman of Dungannon rural district council are accurate, then 'the Nationalist case is shown to be a hollow one.' Factual statements like this help to clear up persistent rumours which are created by a lack of communication, and they help in improving community relations. Local authorities certainly 'require a lesson or two in the art of public relations.'
City Hall Unionists and Somme ceremony
Letter: The Somme commemoration by Unionist councillors in Belfast provides an example of the kind of 'innuendo and misrepresentation' of nationalism that Unionists have been practising for years. With this kind of behaviour, they cannot expect responsible opposition: 'when the Unionist Party places its house in order only then will "community" relations improve.'
[NL, 9 July]
Civil rights movement
Letter: Recent proponents of the creation of a civil rights movement should recognise that one already exists and is not designed to achieve the political ends such people have suggested. A true civil rights movement 'must concern itself with citizens' rights, not their politics.' Nationalists should demand from O'Neill local government reform and an ombudsman. If such demands are not met, opposition members should boycott Stormont; such a withdrawal should be 'accompanied by a very strenuous and unorthodox campaign of protest.'
4 July, 1968
Derry housing group protest
Report: The DHAC warns that 'a situation is brewing in Derry which will make the Caledon affair look like a tiff at a tea party.' Something must be done about 'degrading and sub-human' housing conditions. The authorities are accused of 'cynicism and disinterestedness [sic].' This follows upon a protest held as the city's mayor opened a new section of Craigavon Bridge.
[BT, 2 July]
Derry caravan protest
Report: Recent Derry by-election candidate Janet Wilcock is fined along with another ten people following the DHAC protest in which a caravan was used to obstruct traffic. She says she will not pay the fine because it would help 'perpetuate this revolting system.'
[IN, NL, 5 July]
Cookstown council would take action against squatters
Report: Cookstown rural council authorises its clerk to take immediate action against squatting, should any cases arise.
Council move on squatters [Report]
[BT, 2 July]
Letter: Currie is 'the subject of eulogistic references' for his statements on civil disobedience, but McAteer advocated such a course long ago, with less than impressive results.
Setting a costly precedent in Craigavon [no article-specific heading]
Comment: The Unionist Party undoubtedly has the right to discuss the Orange Order, since its rules can affect party members, and could 'inhibit them from doing their proper jobs.'
5 July, 1968
Unionists accused of plan to 'pack' parish
Leader: Patricia McCluskey accuses the chairman of Dungannon rural district council of being highly selective in the figures he has published on housing allocation in the area. The broad picture remains one of partiality on the council's part. Another councillor on Dungannon urban council, John Donaghy, praises the recent actions of the DHAC: 'it's a great pity that our parliamentary leaders have to be given good example by their constituents…As usual the people are ahead of them in thought and action.' Councillor Jack Hassard warns of civil disobedience if something is not done, civil disobedience that may, he implies, become violent.
'Protestant area build-up' [Report]
Unionist MP 'not proud' of Special Powers
Report: John Taylor appears on American television to defend the record of Northern Ireland, which is described by his opponents as 'a police state where civil liberties are suspended under the Special Powers Act and "where free elections, as we know them, are unknown".' Taylor denies many accusations but admits that he is not proud of the Special Powers Act.
[BT, 1 July]
Moral defence of prosecuted housing protest group
Report: Kevin Agnew defends the DHAC protesters in court: they may have broken the law, and 'it is a pity that decent law-abiding citizens have to do this, but they had tried to bring some little bit of light on this problem.'
Derry housing committee 'ran out of patience'
Report: A statement issued by Mrs Wilson, a member of the family at the centre of the protest, asserts that 'if nothing is done…the oppression of the people will erupt into violence and all will deplore this while realising it would be justified. This is why we have resorted to non-violent militant action.'
[BT, 4 July]
Caravan protest penalties 'too severe'
Report: The chairman of the Derry Trades Council criticises the severity of the penalties imposed on the DHAC protesters; their actions and those of Austin Currie are 'to be commended.' Another member urges a more active stance from the Trades Council over injustice, pointing out that the Housing Trust is only granted permission to build where the results are not likely to be politically inexpedient for the council. Nationalist political representatives are told to adopt a more active role in opposing these trends in housing.
6 July, 1968
Republican ban protest in Derry
Report: A meeting protesting at the ban on Republican Clubs is to be held in Derry. 'Strong attacks' on housing conditions and the sentences imposed on the DHAC protesters are expected.
Craig defines Orange viewpoint
Report: Craig, speaking in Cookstown, claims of Orangemen that 'we identify ourselves with both religion and politics and it is wrong for anyone to try to exclude either from our institution…The enemies of our heritage realise it is the Orange Institution which maintains the British heritage and democracy in Ulster. They realise it is upon the Orange Institution that Ulster depends for its continued existence.'
8 July, 1968
Threat as great as ever, says Craig
Report: Craig claims that the threat to Northern Ireland's constitution is as great as ever. He speaks of IRA policy and goes on to say that 'the Roman catholic minority have no grounds whatever for feeling that they get less than justice. I would say to them that if they have the desire for peace and good neighbourliness then they should take good care who speaks for them.' Nationalist and republican politicians 'openly advocate taking part in acts of civil disobedience, the very sort of activity that the IRA envisage [sic] in its policy.' If nationalists do not start accepting 'the democratically elected government of Northern Ireland, they could not expect much consideration or generosity from those who did believe in it.'
Minister's warning to Ulster RCs [Report]
We will not tolerate this - Craig [Report]
Porter on the duty of protestants
Report: Norman Porter claims that community relations must be of 'the highest possible standard.' Despite the great gulf between protestant and catholic doctrine, 'this does not mean that there must be hatred, animosity, uncharitableness towards those with whom we differ…Hooliganism and extremism are not part of the Christian message, but neither are compromise and betrayal.'
Disunity 'due to ecumenism' [Report]
McAteer going to London
Report: McAteer will meet Callaghan and Stonham in London and will stress 'the feeling of frustration and disillusionment' among nationalists.
[NL, 9 July]
Protest penalties 'savage' - Labour
Report: The penalties imposed on the DHAC demonstrators are condemned by the executive of the Derry Labour Party. A statement asserts that 'every citizen should wonder how or when Derry corporation will be prosecuted for obstructing the building of houses.'
Sever official ties with Orange Order
Letter: '"Civil and religious liberty" is a splendid slogan to bandy about but if the new leaders of the Orange Order…really believe in civil and religious liberty they would not have objected to Mr Phelim O'Neill's action of attending, as a minimal civic duty, a Roman catholic ceremony.' The Order has become more rather than less inflexible, so it is time that the Unionist Party severed its connection to the institution, 'if Captain O'Neill's progressivism is to have any genuine significance - indeed, if it is not to seem a snare and a delusion.'
9 July, 1968
Party vote stops Dungannon move for points housing
Leader: Dungannon urban council blocks a motion that urges upon it the consideration of a points system for housing allocation. Councillor Michael McLaughlin contests that housing allocation has been decided on the basis of politics, and claims the allocation of '45 new houses since the War for new catholic families' and '217 built to accommodate the growth of the protestant community.'
'Party housing' invalid says QC
Report: A judge rules that the three-party division of housing allocation practised by Newry council is invalid.
'Denied there is Nationalist majority in Derry'
Letter: John Taylor, on the American TV show on which he appeared recently, denied that there was a majority of Nationalist voters in Derry. This is depressing, given the fact that 'one generation after another' is 'deprived of the right to work and get houses and even the right to vote.'
Craig blunder brings it out in open - Currie
Report: Currie views Craig's recent speech on the defence of the constitution as a huge blunder: 'at last it is out in the open. Unionists will discriminate against those who oppose them politically…Those who stick to their principles cannot expect consideration, generosity or even equal treatment.' Catholics certainly do not get a fair deal in Northern Ireland. On civil disobedience, Currie comments that it is only necessary because 'the Unionist government has not the guts to say "no" to its own Stone Age backwoodsmen.' Civil disobedience will be unnecessary only when housing allocations are decided on the basis of need rather than votes.
McAteer to query PM on Craig speech
Report: McAteer is to ask O'Neill about the import of Craig's recent speech to an Orange demonstration on the position of nationalists in Northern Ireland.
[IN, NL, 10 July]
McAteer to see Home Secretary
Report: McAteer is to meet Callaghan and Stonham to voice 'the feeling of disappointment among nationalists over the lack of progress to remove their legitimate grievances,' a situation that is causing frustration and disillusionment in the community.
[IN, 8 July]
Natural home of Orange Order
Report: The proper place for the Orange Order, says a clergyman, lies in the church. 'Too often, he said, the Order had yielded to being the pawn in the game of politics, the platform for petty provincial bigotry, even the vehicle for religious intolerance and personality hatred.'
Where is the Orange Order marching to now?
Interview: L. P. S. Orr, Imperial Grand Master of the Orange Order, feels that the institution must not 'follow any narrow-minded part or copy the mediaeval Roman church in restricting the liberty of conscience of our members.' There is, in his opinion, no absolute prohibition on attendance of catholic church services, provided that one does not approve of the catholic doctrine. Orange influence over the Unionist Party is 'benign' and should be retained, though not necessarily in an institutional form. He also asserts that 'the Order has repeatedly supported the Ulster government in its general aims of improving community relations, and I hope it will continue to do so.'
[NL, 10 July]
Letter: A previous writer does not possess a clear insight into Orangeism; Phelim O'Neill was expelled from the Order for religious reasons. 'Protestants and Orangemen are sick sore and tired of constant brainwashing by the press.'
Letter: It is small wonder that Northern Ireland has a narrow-minded image at a time when community relations are supposed to be improving: the Sunday swings controversy, the Phelim O'Neill affair, the nationalist refusal to attend the Somme commemoration; all are symptomatic of an unhealthy politics. People in public life should sever connections with 'cliques' so that they will be able to 'serve all classes and creeds without fear or favour…Only when we stop beating drums, making provocative speeches, waving flags in each others [sic] faces, hating each other for the love of God' will 'true peace and democracy be achieved.'
Roman catholic dead [Letter]
[see IN, 3 July, City Hall Unionists and Somme ceremony]
10 July, 1968
McAteer challenge to PM on the Craig speech
Report: McAteer challenges O'Neill to provide examples of the fair deal which Craig has claimed that the minority is receiving. If the government wants more from the nationalist community, then it must be prepared to offer something in return.
Question on Craig's speech
Report: McAteer intends to ask O'Neill in parliament about Craig's speech and 'whether it is meant as a serious basis for discussion with minority representatives.'
[BT, 9 July]
'High time O'Neill gave Craig the push' - NDP view
Report: Joe McCann claims that it is time for O'Neill to dismiss Craig from his cabinet post. 'He cannot be trusted to dispense justice impartially.' If Craig truly believes in democracy, then he must implement one-man-one-vote measures.
Editorial: Dungannon urban council's refusal to consider a fair points system for housing allocation illustrates the Unionists' wish to pursue hegemony, through a 'policy of discriminatory manipulation' that makes 'catholics the only sufferers.'
Housing in Caledon
Letter: John Taylor's figures for Caledon housing allocations are inaccurate. If community tensions are not to rise, then allocations must be decided 'on a need basis instead of a religious one.'
Letter: Austin Currie's actions at Caledon are to be praised, and best wishes offered to the Derry protesters. People should come along and witness for themselves the poor housing conditions in which 'the other half' has to live.
Letter: Discriminatory practice in housing allocation has the approval of government. The practice is pursued because the government wishes to keep the catholic population at a level of one-third of the total population of Northern Ireland. This is achieved through 'denied opportunity in housing and jobs.'
Catholics and Nationalists in Derry
Letter: Accusations that John Taylor denied the existence of a Nationalist voting majority in Derry are to be criticised. To assume that all catholics are Nationalist supporters is 'fundamentally sectarian,' and even if one considers the less than satisfactory boundaries of the electoral wards, it is still true that in the majority catholic Foyle constituency, Eddie McAteer has always obtained less than 50% of the vote. 'Perhaps some day Nationalist politicians will cease their sectarian policy of claiming to speak on behalf of all catholics.'
Orangemen can attend RC events, says Orr
Report: Orr has no objections to attendance at catholic events, though joint services should be 'scriptural.' On the Orange Order's relationship with the Unionist Party, he claims that the institution could make a greater effort on the public relations front, but stresses that he is an Orangeman first and a politician second. A Liberal Party spokesman claims that Orr has said before 'that it was right and proper that the Unionist Party should be controlled by the Orange Order.' His refusal to condemn specifically the expulsion of Phelim O'Neill is, the spokesman asserts, an 'implied approval of that priceless piece of bigotry.' Many moderate Unionists, he says, are anxious to end Orange dominance in a party which they are best advised to leave.
Joint services: Orr's view [Report]
[BT, 9 July]
Case for catholic Unionists
Letter: 'The only way for the Unionist Party to be liberalised is for large numbers of Roman catholics (and progressive protestants) to join it. Reasonable criticism from within the party is much more likely to be listened to by the powers that be than attacks from outside.'
Ceremony for Somme
Letter: The Battle of the Somme is certainly worthy of remembrance, but so are the events of Easter 1916. Nationalists do not accuse Unionists 'of sabotaging community relations by absenting themselves from these ceremonies, just as we should not be accused of not contributing to better community relations by not attending the Somme commemorations.'
Tenancy pledge by councils sought
Report: McAteer asks that those who have been on the housing waiting list for more than one year receive a definite pledge as to when they will be allocated a house. He talks of 'the growing exasperation' of those on the list for a long time. Currie is to ask Fitzsimmons how, if councils do not keep records of the religious make-up of their tenantry, the chairman of Dungannon rural district council has been able to furnish the figures he has recently cited in defence of the council.
11 July, 1968
Question for Mr Taylor
Letter: John Taylor is right in admitting that Derry has a catholic majority. What he has failed to point out then, is why the city's administration is dominated by protestants.
This fact remains
Letter: Even if there is no discrimination against catholics in areas such as housing, the evil of partition remains.
Orangeism: the credibility gap
Comment: The Orange Order's decision to expel Phelim O'Neill and not to punish similarly other public figures who have attended catholic worship, calls into question its real motives: was O'Neill simply expelled for his refusal to attend a disciplinary meeting of his lodge?
Letter: If attendance at catholic worship is to be considered an offence requiring expulsion from the Orange Order, then those who get drunk on marches and those who seldom attend church should also be expelled forthwith.
U Thant goes to Dublin
Report: McAteer will meet U Thant in Dublin to discuss 'alleged interference with human rights in Northern Ireland.'
[BT, 29 June, IN, 1 July]
12 July, 1968
Fitt bid to expose Orange Order to Britain
Leader: Fitt is to introduce a motion at Westminster condemning the influence of the Orange Order over Stormont. A Labour MP, Ben Whitaker, questions the right of Northern Ireland members of parliament to vote on the Race Relations Bill 'while English members could do nothing at all about the religious prejudice and discrimination which existed in Northern Ireland.' Wilson, in reply to this question, states that 'considerable advances have been made under the present premier of Northern Ireland in view of the prejudices and pressure to which he is subjected,' though admittedly these are not yet sufficient. Fitt claims that many in Northern Ireland look to Westminster to remedy injustice.
Fitt attacks Order for interference
Report: Fitt tables a motion at Westminster, attacking the influence of the Orange Order on the government of Northern Ireland, and asking that public service be made incompatible with membership of the Order. Fitt also welcomes Wilson's recent remarks on Northern Ireland, seeing them as a significant indication of changing attitudes in government.
Wilson gives warning on Ulster's future [Leader]
Wilson warns on Unionist role, praises O'Neill [Report]
A force that never fails
Editorial: The Orange Order has come in for much criticism but it 'can carry out the precept of "love thy neighbour" without any abrogation of fundamental principle.' Links with the Unionist Party should be maintained, though not necessarily on an official level, because the two organisations have 'so much in common.' This link must be placed 'solidly behind the constitution.'
Time to choose
Editorial: The Orange Order can, if it acts wisely, remain an ally of the Unionist Party, but it should not exercise control over Unionists. The institution needs the party much more than the reverse. Certainly, 'no member of parliament elected to represent his constituency can be allowed to be controlled by a body that does not declare itself openly and a movement whose privy actions are at variance with its public protestations must be watched with suspicion.'
Letter: The Orange Order is used by politicians. It should be simply a religious order.
PM warns Nationalists
Leader: At an Orange demonstration, O'Neill warns of the dangers of a campaign of civil disobedience. Faulkner, speaking on another platform, calls on Orangemen to demonstrate their tolerance; Orr echoes the call, asking Orangemen to 'defend our good name by the practice of tolerance.' Craig warns of an IRA recruitment drive, but counsels Orangemen to 'oppose extremism in any shape or form.'
[IN, NL, 13 July]
Summary: Support is expressed by some leading Orangemen for the continued link between the Orange Order and the Unionist Party, though Porter does claim that 'this institution is not depending on its links with any political party.'
Order is facing two-pronged attack: Capt Orr
Report: Orr, as Imperial Grand Master of the Orange Order, claims that Orangemen 'are neither bigoted nor uncharitable…we do not seek to injure or upbraid a man on account of his religious opinions.' These sentiments must not remain mere words, but must be 'backed by our behaviour.' He also claims that 'political action' is a necessary ingredient in the defence of civil and religious liberty. Tolerance is seen as necessary to defend the 'good name' of Orangeism.
[IN, NL, 13 July]
Respect for others
Report: Tom Lyons MP says that Orangemen 'must respect the rights of people of other religious persuasions…We feel we have the right to expect the same respect from our neighbours.'
Consolidate 50 years of progress - McConnell
Report: Brian McConnell MP claims that the Orange Order has been 'a great source of strength' in Northern Ireland and has helped maintain the constitution. Orangemen therefore have nothing to fear from extending tolerance and thus giving 'a lead in building up a strong and united community.'
[IN, NL, 13 July]
'Sorry day if links are broken'
Report: John Dobson MP says the Unionist Party and Orange Order must retain their links so as to enable both to defend the constitution. The Order has never exercised anything other than a 'persuasive influence' over the party, and nothing more.
Influence greater than ever
Report: The Orange Order, according to Sir Knox Cunningham (Westminster) MP, 'has a right and a duty to play its part in the political life of Ulster.' The Order encourages, through its principles of civil and religious liberty, 'a spirit of true tolerance based on respect for the sincerely-held beliefs of others; where no man is required to apologise for his faith or is called upon to abandon that faith because of some artificial theory of fabricated unity.' Orangemen are 'the rock upon which the fashionable theme of appeasement will break.'
Lodge the place for criticism
Report: Sam Magowan claims that criticism of the Orange Order should come, if at all, from within Orange lodges and should not be aired in public. 'We will not tolerate interference from Nationalist MPs or anyone else outside the Order.'
[NL, 13 July]
Attacks by 'queer bed-fellows'
Report: Martin Smyth refutes suggestions that 'the government was encouraging people to attend services of alien worship.'
[NL, 13 July]
Ulster people are weary of political mud-slinging - O'Neill
Report: O'Neill expresses his view that most people are sick of political mud-slinging: 'we have men who are unable to see a large new reservoir because they are looking straight ahead at the parish pump; we have men who care more about some squabble over a single house than they do about a housing programme which is booming as never before.' He says that he will not be threatened or bullied by threats of civil disobedience. The minority, he feels, would in any case refuse to follow such a course, a course which is set by 'self-appointed leaders.' People can and should work together: 'I warn those who would play with fire that the gap between civil disobedience and civil strife is not very wide.' However, he asserts that 'there is a bright future for us all, but some would rather brood over their real or imaginary grievances than share in it.'
O'Neill speaks on civil disorder
Report: O'Neill attacks Currie over his call for a campaign of violent civil disobedience.
[IN, NL, 13 July]
Report: Harry West says, 'I think it is outrageous for leaders in Northern Ireland to go over to England and talk of bitterness and intolerance and hatred amongst our people here. This is not the general state of affairs in Northern Ireland. Community relations are not bad here.'
[IN, NL, 13 July]
'Firm beliefs not narrow-mindedness'
Report: 'Tolerance is one of the great fundamental tenets of our beliefs as Orangemen,' says Faulkner. The Order defends the right to liberty of conscience for all.
[IN, NL, 13 July]
United front a priority
Report: James Molyneaux, Deputy Grand Master of Ireland, warns that a 'leaning-over-backwards' policy will not 'transform nationalists into loyal and responsible citizens of Northern Ireland.' He feels that Currie and his militant friends have demonstrated by their 'blackmail and worse' the fallacy underlying such a belief. They are trying to 'obtain a position of special privilege' for nationalists.
[NL, 13 July]
Report: According to Norman Porter, the Orange Order is strong enough not to be dependent on any political party.
Religious influence on wane
Report: The principles of civil and religious liberty, says John Maginnis, apply not only to Orangemen but also to those who differ from them over religion or politics. However, the Order should retain its religious influence in politics.
[NL, 13 July]
Association 'of great strength'
Report: The Orange Order and Unionist Party should retain their links, says Walter Scott.
[IN, 13 July]
Fair share for Roman catholics
Report: A Warrenpoint Orange gathering is told that catholics 'get far more than their fair share of new houses.' A speaker feels that 'opposition parties wished to establish that "100 pc of all houses built by councils and the Housing Trust go to Roman catholics."' Government should publish figures relating to catholic housing and employment: 'we are being deliberately misunderstood and attacked by the press and TV, by liberals, socialists, and all types of nationalists, and most regrettably, by some leading so-called protestant clergy.'
McAteer puts Ulster problems to U Thant
Report: McAteer meets U Thant in Dublin, and raises the Northern Ireland situation. He also expresses pleasure that 'pressure was now being put on O'Neill by Wilson.'
[IN, BT, 13 July]
Liberals back moderator
Report: The Fermanagh Liberal Association expresses its support for the view propounded by the presbyterian moderator that the majority of people in Northern Ireland are against discrimination.
13 July, 1968
Threat to British PM from Orange platform
Leader: At 12 July demonstrations, Orr, Imperial Orange Grand Master and leader of the Unionist group of MPs at Westminster warns that interference in Northern Ireland will not be tolerated. He claims that Orangemen are 'neither bigoted nor uncharitable…and that they treated those who differed from them with all the common courtesies of a civilised community.' O'Neill, at another Orange celebration, claims that most people are sick of political mud-slinging: 'we have men who are unable to see a large now reservoir because they are looking straight ahead at the parish pump; we have men who care more about some squabble over a single house than they do about a housing programme which is booming as never before.' He will not be threatened or bullied by talk of civil disobedience. The minority, he feels, would not follow such a course, set by 'self-appointed leaders.' People can and should work together: 'I warn those who would play with fire that the gap between civil disobedience and civil strife is not very wide.' However, he asserts that 'there is a bright future for us all, but some would rather brood over their real or imaginary grievances than share in it.' Craig, speaking at another demonstration, welcomes improved community relations, and while he feels that the British connection is essential for Northern Ireland, he is prepared to countenance constitutional efforts to the contrary. He will not tolerate anything else, however; the IRA's new strategy is to blend violence with politics 'to gain the sympathy of the minority envisaging protest and demonstrations concerning housing conditions, assistance to squatters and resistance to legal eviction.' The Nationalist Party's decision not to become involved in civil disobedience is welcome. Faulkner and McConnell, again at separate demonstrations, praise the virtues of tolerance; Harry West denies the existence of bad community relations. Walter Scott feels that neither Orange Order nor Unionist Party dominate one another, but share common interests.
[BT, 12 July]
Hands off Ulster, Wilson is told [Leader]
Call to resist attacks [Report]
Peril to meddle with us, says Orr
Report: Orr hits out at the possibility of British intervention.
PM tries to lead all Ulster people [Report]
Must stand firm - Craig [Report]
We must all show our tolerance - Faulkner [Report]
'Keep the Order in politics'
Report: Harry West says that the Orange Order must not divorce itself from politics. He also finds it 'outrageous for some leaders in Northern Ireland to go over to England and talk of bitterness and intolerance and hatred among our people.' Community relations, on the contrary, are 'not bad.'
Bigotry is attribute of weak
Report: McConnell says that 'Orangemen must give a lead in building up a strong and united community. Tolerance is the attribute of the strong and bigotry that of those who are weak and afraid.'
[BT, 12 July]
Napier scorns Orr's warning
Report: Sam Napier of the NILP feels that Wilson is right to push for a liberalisation in Northern Ireland.
Ammunition for Westminster
Editorial: The 12 July Orange speeches have simply provided more ammunition for opponents of the Unionist government. The 'mud-slinging' complained of by O'Neill was a tactic clearly observable on the Orange platforms. All the evidence suggests that 'when Mr O'Neill again speaks about toleration and better community relations, he must realise that he speaks almost alone.' The Order 'remains the sheet anchor' of the government. It is to be hoped that Westminster will soon take some action.
Situation to be watched
Editorial: Wilson's remarks in parliament do not indicate what he intends to do about the Northern Ireland situation, 'but at least the sources of his information that there is "a situation" which he cannot allow to continue indefinitely ought to be called into question and their charges answered.' O'Neill's policies are the way ahead, but the voice of Unionism must continue to be heard in Britain, and government in Northern Ireland must remain impartial and be seen as such. 'Fitt's strictures on the Orange Order…may be looked at in the light of his concern for the proper and impartial exercise of public duties by Her Majesty's representatives.'
Words and deeds
Editorial: Wilson's recent words indicating that the present situation in Northern Ireland with regard to human rights and discrimination 'cannot continue indefinitely' do not necessarily imply Westminster action. 'Mr Wilson…is a master at the subtle art of implying pressure without actually doing anything.' Orr's pledge to fight intervention 'with the last breath,' like Wilson's words, was designed to appeal to a specific audience. Meanwhile, McAteer's meeting with U Thant was commendable from the publicity point of view, but there are 'rather more important matters than Northern Ireland on the United Nations agenda.'
Heckling mars Finaghy speech
Report: Rev Martin Smyth says the government is wrongly accused of 'encouraging people to attend services of alien worship in an effort to improve community relations.'
'Keep out of the headlines' call
Report: Sam Magowan claims 'our opponents are doing everything in their power to destroy all that our Order stands for, but we must strive for a better understanding with all sections of the community, at the same time being firm in the practising of our beliefs.'
[BT, 12 July]
'Desire to drop past bitterness'
Report: Lord Hamilton believes there to be a 'gathering momentum of goodwill.' Decent people believe in human rights, but obligations and duties as well as rights must be borne in mind.
This is not a bar to progress - Long
Report: Long denies that the Orange Order stands in the way of progress.
Order is political: Bradford
Report: Roy Bradford claims that the Orange Order is and always has been political; it has always stood for 'the throne and the Union.'
'Union must remain'
Report: Tolerance is one of the greatest virtues of the Orange Order, and its enemies must be given no chance to twist the truth, says James Chichester-Clark.
Dangers must be recognised
Report: James Molyneaux, Deputy Grand Master of Ireland, warns that a 'leaning-over-backwards' policy will not 'transform nationalists into loyal and responsible citizens of Northern Ireland.' Currie and his militant friends have demonstrated by their 'blackmail and worse' the fallacy underlying this belief. They are trying to 'obtain a position of special privilege' for nationalists.
[BT, 12 July]
Time for 'men of vision'
Report: John Maginnis, Westminster MP, says that the Orange Order should be involved in politics to ensure the promotion of its principles.
Thant promises McAteer to look into minority case
Report: U Thant promises to look into allegations made by McAteer of 'the denial of full democratic rights to the Nationalist minority in the North.'
McAteer puts Ulster problems to U Thant [Report]
[BT, 12 July]
Call for unity of opposition
Letter: Nationally-minded elements must unite to fight for 'social justice and the re-unification of Ireland.'
Unity needed to fight social injustice in North
Letter: Recent militant actions highlighting social injustice are to be welcomed, but it is not working class catholics alone who suffer injustice. 'It is only too clear that it is not a religious issue but rather a class issue.' The necessity is for a 'unity of all religions against social injustice in all sections of the community.' The working class should unite to wreck the system and establish a socialist republic along the lines set down by Connolly.
Mr Taylor's wishful thinking
Letter: John Taylor's views on politics in Derry are 'wishful thinking.'
Comparisons are odious Letter: Comparisons of Northern Ireland, with its discrimination and British subventions, to the Republic of Ireland, which has had to work hard to get to where it now is, are to be condemned. John Taylor is guilty of making such comparisons.
15 July, 1968
MPs think Orr's 'hands off' will harden British stand
Report: Orr's 12 July speech against Westminster interference in Northern Ireland is seen by James O'Reilly as likely to increase Westminster frustration at the fact that Northern Ireland representatives can intervene in Westminster's British jurisdiction, while Westminster representatives have no say in Northern Ireland affairs. 'Assuming that some of these politicians have the good-will to remedy injustices here they can do nothing about it. This hands-off attitude is tantamount to saying that there is no room for reform here.' Currie claims that Unionist protestations of loyalty to Britain are a nonsense: 'the Unionists are dedicated to the maintenance of Unionist control, power and influence and all the jobs and jobbery that this control ensures.'
Mr Wilson and the North
Editorial: Harold Wilson, by his recent replies to parliamentary questions on Northern Ireland, has demonstrated his interest in the situation. Now is an opportune moment for intervention that will 'drive Mr O'Neill and his cabinet along from fine words to positive actions to end the malpractices which dishonour good government in the matter of votes, jobs and houses.' O'Neill takes no actions to follow up his fine words, and his colleagues largely ignore his gestures. He has missed many 'red-hot opportunities…of remedying grievances and ending the positive evils of discrimination.' Craig's hard-line views are the more representative of Unionism; 'the "advances" that Mr Wilson talks about are an illusion.' The 'doubt and distrust' of the intentions of O'Neill's talk 'remains in the mind of the minority.'
Mr Craig and the political system
Letter: Craig can claim to find constitutional opposition to the state acceptable precisely because he is able to define what is constitutional and what is not.
'Twelfth' picket on 'Ulster' Office
Report: The Connolly Association pickets the Ulster Office in London on 12 July, protesting at 'the lack of civil liberties in the Six Counties,' and demanding an end to malpractices.
Setting record straight on Taylor-Heaney TV debate in New York
Letter: Taylor, on the American television show on which he appeared, admitted that he was not proud of the Special Powers Act, and could not explain away 'voting laws which disenfranchise 300,000 people but give 6 votes to the businessman.' It is obvious that 'government without the consent of the governed is the very definition of tyranny.' Taylor was sent to New York to counter the 'public information programme of the American Congress for Irish Freedom,' but patently failed in the task.
Taylor accused after TV clash
Report: Heaney claims that Taylor was unable to defend the Special Powers Act, and could not answer charges that 300,000 voters are disfranchised in Northern Ireland.
16 July, 1968
Wilson should leave Ulster alone
Letter: British politicians know too little about Northern Ireland for their intervention to be wise. Such a course would set back what has been achieved by O'Neill. The improvement of community relations is desirable 'but must never be an end in itself.' The communities should come together as one and, despite their differing aspirations, seek to improve conditions, operating within the framework of the Northern Ireland state.
Religion of tenants not known: claim
Report: Currie questions Fitzsimmons as to how, if government does not keep records of tenants' religion, the chairman of Dungannon rural district council was able to cite the figures he has given for house-lettings by the council. McAteer asks that tenants who have waited for more than one year for a tenancy be informed when an allocation will be made to them.
[IN, 17 July]
17 July, 1968
Republican Labour reply to Mr Craig
Letter: Craig has warned nationalists to beware of the direction taken by their leaders; Republican Labour will pursue 'methods of discussion, debate and all forms of legitimate political action,' and right-thinking Unionists have nothing to fear from this. However, 'when the question of blatant prejudice and unreasonable discrimination enters into the political arena then the party will meet such a challenge' despite any powers that Craig might try to invoke.
How did chairman know religion of the 1,691 tenants?
Report: Currie questions Fitzsimmons over how, if local authorities do not keep records of their tenants' religion, the chairman of Dungannon rural district council was able to compile his statistics so quickly. McAteer speaks of the 'exasperation' of those waiting for houses.
[BT, 16 July]
Nationalist query on Craig speech
Report: McAteer will ask O'Neill at Stormont about Craig's recent speech on the position of the minority within Northern Ireland.
[IN, 18 July]
18 July, 1968
Council chief's housing figures refuted
Leader: Dungannon priest, Father Eustace, refutes the arguments on housing allocation put forward by the chairman of Dungannon rural district council. According to the priest, the council has 'given a new meaning to gerrymandering': of 370 houses it has built since 1945, only eight catholics (within a radius of around three miles of Dungannon) have gone to catholics. Significant allocations to catholics have been made by the council, but these have been in areas that are already perhaps 75-90% catholic in composition. Unfortunately for community relations, the council's poor record relates not only to housing: its practices with regard to employing catholics are 'completely indefensible by any standards of social justice.' Additionally, some members of the council who wish to develop land are accorded different treatment to those who are not members, while 'applications for planning approval for private development are decided by-and large and who you are and how the proposed development is going to effect [sic] the balance of the gerrymandered electoral constituencies in the area.'
Chapel offers site
Report: In addition, Fitzsimmons, in response to a written question from Taylor, produces figures indicating that Dungannon rural district council is one of only six with a waiting list for houses of less than 300 applicants. Taylor feels that the council has been criticised as a political stunt, a stunt which has created sectarian tensions in the area.
[NL, 19 July]
Dungannon's fine 'house' record
Report: Fitzsimmons, replying to a question from Taylor, provides figures indicating that Dungannon rural district council has one of the six shortest housing waiting lists in Northern Ireland. The council, says Taylor, 'has been most unfairly criticised by some people as a political stunt, creating sectarian feeling in the district.'
Query for the Prime Minister
Report: McAteer is to ask O'Neill at Stormont about the speech made by Craig on the minority's position within Northern Ireland.
[BT, 17 July]
Taylor 'blew' American TV show
Comment: Taylor was unable successfully to defend against charges levelled at Northern Ireland in his American TV appearance.
Route ban on Derry Connolly Sunday
Report: A Connolly Commemoration Committee parade proves unacceptable to Derry police; an alternative route through nationalist areas is however unacceptable to the Committee, which contains protestants. McAteer asserts that the police decision gives the lie to Craig's statement that nationalists get a 'fair and generous' deal.
RUC Derry parade route rejected
Report: The Connolly Commemoration Committee rejects the alternative route suggested by the RUC for its march. It is felt that a fair deal is not being offered, since the police raise no objection to the annual parade of the Apprentice Boys.
19 July, 1968
RUC 'acting on Orange orders' in Derry
Report: The Connolly Commemoration Committee accuses police of acting on Orange orders in their decision to reject the route chosen for a march by the Committee. 'We would point out the on the twelfth of August police will be present in force to assure the unhindered progress of a sectarian parade which the majority of the citizens of Derry find provocative, yet we are not allowed to walk peacefully through the streets of our own city.' If peaceful demonstrations are banned, then it will not be surprising if less peaceful demonstrations erupt in the future.
Political action and the Civil Powers Act [sic]
Letter: Craig may say that nationalists are free to pursue their aims within the constitution, but the reality is that nationalists are not accorded the same treatment as unionists. The ban on the Connolly parade in Derry is one such example; unionists can, unlike nationalists, march where they like. Something should be done by nationalists to achieve for themselves 'freedom of political expression.'
Facts from Dungannon
Editorial: Enough evidence of discrimination has been gathered to refute bland denials of its existence. It does not exist only in Dungannon, and it is time that government took action. Those who practice the evils of discrimination are 'betrayers of democracy…and glutted with the arrogance of their Unionist-Orange power, the betrayers are taking too much for granted, confident, no doubt, that however effective the challenge to their actions, they can continue to ride roughshod over every decent principle of justice and fair play, because they can count on the indulgence of a Unionist government at Stormont.'
Discrimination remarks refuted
Leader: Prompted by the latest letter from the Dungannon priest, Father Eustace, Taylor condemns the attacks made on Dungannon rural district council. The kind of allegations made, he says, 'are at best only half the story.' The selective presentation of statistics could prove any allegations, especially in Northern Ireland. Few houses may have been allocated to catholics in one area, but that is a largely protestant area; the reverse is true in catholic areas, the council has given few protestants houses. People should recognise the real achievements of the government's housing programme rather than seek to discredit them.
We'll be generous says RC priest
Report: Dungannon priest, Father Eustace, refutes the arguments on housing allocation put forward by the chairman of Dungannon rural district council. He claims that catholics do receive significant allocations of housing, but these in areas that are already perhaps 75-90% catholic in composition. Unfortunately for community relations, the council's poor record encompasses not only discrimination in housing, but also in employment. Additionally, developers who are members of the council are accorded different treatment to those who are not.
[IN, BT, 18 July]
Dungannon: MP answers protest
Report: Father Eustace has pointed out, says Taylor, that many housing allocations have gone to protestants, and that these have been in majority protestant areas; the equal and opposite approach is taken where the areas under consideration for allocations are predominantly catholic.
Challenge to councils
Letter: Father Eustace, the Dungannon priest, has challenged Dungannon RDC to produce figures relating to the religious make-up of its employees and their salary scales. Lurgan borough council and Moira RDC should do likewise.
Spirit of democracy
Letter: The identification of political affiliation with religious denomination in Northern Ireland, and the appeals made by each political faction to religious sentiment, mean that with the current balance of population, democracy is in a very unhealthy state.
20 July, 1968
Derry Connolly commemoration parade is off
Report: The Connolly Commemoration Committee calls off its parade, the alternative route offered by the police proving to be unacceptable. According to a spokesman, Committee members have been denied their 'democratic right,' and would therefore rather not march, especially in view of the fact that a sectarian march is to be permitted to walk in the city centre on 12 August. 'We must ask ourselves whether there is anything at all to be gained from peaceful constitutional activity in this city. The authorities are creating a situation in which extreme developments, which none of us would welcome, may become inevitable.' If people are not afforded their democratic rights, how can they protest using the normal constitutional channels?
Connolly march in Derry is off
Report: The Connolly Commemoration Committee calls off its march, having rejected an alternative route proposed by the RUC, and claiming that 'the police were not prepared to give us the same co-operation which they give other organisations.'
Derry Connolly parade to be protest march
Report: Following on the RUC ban on the route initially chosen by the Connolly Commemoration Committee and its rejection of a new route because of its 'sectarian' connotations, a protest march will be staged in Derry.
Derry parade restriction
Letter: The RUC's stance on the Connolly parade in Derry gives the lie to Craig's protestation that nationalists are free to uphold their ideals so long as they do so within the constitutional framework. The decision provides 'the latest glaring example of the maladministration of the machinery of law and order.' In view of this fact, 'it is not sufficient to moan about the regular violation of civil liberties here'; rather, nationalists should come together to discuss the means for securing democracy.
First cases lodged with Court of Human Rights
Report: The Campaign for Social Justice, having lodged its first case with the Strasbourg Court of Human Rights, pledges to assist in presenting further submissions. These will be filed under the following headings:
1 The Special Powers Act
2 Voting injustices
3 Discrimination in employment
4 Discrimination in housing
[NL, BT, 22 July]
South Africa cites Ulster Special Powers Act
Report: A South African government publication claims that some South African legislation is less severe than the Special Powers Act. Meanwhile, the CSJ has lodged a number of cases, relating to the Act, to 'voting injustices and discrimination in employment and housing' with the Court of Human Rights at Strasbourg.
Protestantism and political Orangeism
Letter: Orangeism is an essentially negative force which tends to hold back the positive force that can be the protestant religion. Among other things, Orange ideals glorify civil and religious liberty, which are 'suspended under the Special Powers Act.' Orangeism is merely a political vehicle that feeds off anti-catholicism and promotes the aspirations of a political party. Decent protestants should reject it, for only then can mutual community respect be established.
Little joy for Dungannon Editorial: The Dungannon housing dispute has been carried out in an unhelpful way, with both sides using their selective statistics to bolster their own case. Catholics have received a fair allocation of houses, despite the obvious trend towards segregation. Segregation is on balance quite often desirable given the potential for conflict in some - though not all - areas. 'Segregation is the result and not the cause of traditional differences. Father Eustace, in attacking housing segregation, has forgotten the divisive educational segregation to which his church subscribes,' and which is 'a fundamental cause of division in Ulster today.' The current controversy can only strain good community relations.
22 July, 1968
Civil Powers Act 'denial of freedom'
Leader: At the Connolly commemoration in Derry, Fitt claims to accept Northern Ireland's constitutional position as part of the United Kingdom for the time being in order 'to try and redress the wrongs which had existed in the area for so long.' The raising of Northern Ireland's democratic standards to meet those of the rest of the United Kingdom would threaten Unionism. However, if constitutional methods 'do not bring democracy to the North, then I am quite prepared to go outside constitutional methods.' O'Neill's 'pious platitudes' are a 'confidence trick' which has deceived many; people accept him because he walks over them in bedroom slippers rather than hobnailed boots. Roddy Connolly condemns Orange influence over the state as an 'outrage to democracy,' and the British government is told that it should not tolerate this state of affairs. Betty Sinclair claims that there can be no freedom under the Special Powers Act. Eamonn McCann calls for the extension of street protest. The organising committee behind the demonstration reiterates its objection to the ban as undemocratic, and a result of the Unionist desire to dominate the city. The proposed re-routing of the march through a catholic area was a ploy to maintain sectarian divisions 'on which continued Tory hegemony depends.'
Reforms 'by any means' says Fitt [Report]
Derry hears call by Fitt for 'action instead of talking' [Report]
Fitt plans party move into Derry
Report: Fitt plans to establish the Republican Labour Party in Derry where, if he can overcome injustice, it will have been symbolically overcome everywhere in Northern Ireland since 'the problems of Derry were symptomatic of the whole set-up in the Six Counties.' He also expresses the view that Unionists will use the forthcoming reform of local government to ensure the retention of a Unionist voting majority in the Derry area by expanding the local government boundaries.
Human rights charge
Report: The CSJ lodges its first case with the Court of Human Rights at Strasbourg and pledges to assist in presenting further submissions dealing with injustice in Northern Ireland.
Ulster group plans human rights case
Report: The CSJ will lodge a number of cases with the Court of Human Rights at Strasbourg. The group expects that 'the British government will strain every nerve to block the appeals.'
[IN, 20 July]
Wasting the court's time
Editorial: The CSJ is taking the British government to task at the Court of Human Rights at Strasbourg; the Campaign, however, 'has already displayed a considerable capacity for misrepresentation of the situation in the Province.' Orr was right when he said that Northern Ireland would resist Westminster interference. It is to be hoped that Wilson will make every attempt to have the appeals to the court blocked; 'international bodies have had their patience tried before by fruitless speeches on the unity of Ireland.'
Fitt speech - Wilson to get reports
Report: Stratton Mills MP is to send a copy of Fitt's speech on unconstitutional methods to Harold Wilson.
[NL, BT, 23 July]
Post goes to catholic teacher
Report: A catholic is appointed for the first time to a teaching post in a Tyrone county primary school. The local director of education professes worry over how the appointment will affect religious instruction, responsibility for which will be passed to the head teacher. A local representative claims that the school committee would prefer a protestant for the post.
[IN, NL, 23 July]
Letter: Taylor has accepted the arguments put forward by the chairman of Dungannon rural district council, but the figures bear eloquent testimony to the reality of the situation, which is somewhat at variance with this version of events. Is Taylor prepared to dispute the figures?
[IN, 23 July]
23 July, 1968
McAteer on Fitt speech
Report: McAteer claims not to be worried by the proposed foundation of a branch of the Republican Labour Party in Derry. Stratton Mills is to send a copy of Fitt's speech on unconstitutional methods to Harold Wilson.
Stratton Mills reports on Fitt to British PM
Report: Stratton Mills is to send to Wilson a copy of Fitt's recent speech touching upon unconstitutional methods. He accuses Fitt of pandering to extreme elements.
Summary: Stratton Mills has sent a letter to Harold Wilson, expressing his belief that Fitt's recent speech might be viewed as advocating violence. 'Many people of all political parties in Northern Ireland,' states the letter, 'are anxious to improve community relations, but your "honourable friend" seems, from this speech, to be an exception.'
[BT, 22 July]
'Black and white' Ulster
Report: The Down and Dromore Parishes Magazine claims that a system of religious apartheid exists in Northern Ireland, stemming from the mistrust between the communities. 'Whenever a charitable word is said by one party, or a charitable deed is done, the other party looks for an ulterior motive, and…sometimes finds it.' Because the problem is so deep-seated, it will take decades to solve. The segregation of the young must be ended, and the voices of extremism ignored.
Apartheid in Ulster, says church paper
Report: Fear of extremists must be overcome, it continues, and something done about the situation in Northern Ireland.
Playing with fire
Editorial: Fitt's consideration of non-constitutional methods is irresponsible: he should consider O'Neill's warning that civil disobedience can degenerate into violence.
Wilson: MPs to quiz O'Neill
Leader: Brooke is to question O'Neill at Stormont over the recent remarks on Northern Ireland made by Harold Wilson. McAteer will ask the prime minister about Craig's views on the minority, and whether they are representative of wider government policy. Unionist members may also seek to have debated Fitt's Derry speech and the views on constitutional methods expressed therein. Meanwhile, a meeting of the Shankill branch of the NILP is told that 'the government would have difficulty in convincing anyone of a genuine desire for social reform while the Special Powers Act remained.'
How Ulster won TV debate
Letter: Taylor's performance on the American TV show on which he appeared to defend Northern Ireland's record was a creditable one. He refuted 'irresponsible suggestions' of '"concentration camps," "lack of civil liberties," "Northern Ireland being a police state," etc.' Many Americans now know the truth about Northern Ireland, having been 'duped for many years by an organisation more intent on raising funds to further their cause than in publicising the truth.' Any future claims along similar lines must be answered in the same effective manner by the government.
[NL, 25 July]
Dungannon: some questions for Mr Taylor [Letter]
Challenge for Ulster MP [Letter]
[BT, 22 July]
So catholic girl gets the post
Report: A catholic is appointed for the first time to a teaching post in a Tyrone county primary school. The local director of education professes worry over the appointment with regard to matters of religious instruction, which responsibility will be passed to the head teacher. A local representative claims that the school committee 'would like a girl of their own persuasion' to fill the post.
RC gets Tyrone teaching post [Report]
[BT, 22 July]
24 July, 1968
Fitt defends party move into Derry
Leader: Fitt claims that the Republican Labour Party will provide the leadership required in Derry to fight 'bigoted sectarian Unionism.' He feels that steps must be taken to remedy the injustices in the city.
Action will please Unionists
Letter: Fitt's decision to form an RLP branch in Derry will further disunite forces opposed to Unionism. All nationalists should be united in a forward policy for a socialist Ireland; a defensive policy, with Fitt organising only in nationalist areas and merely reacting to issues such as discrimination, is not enough.
Labour call for Special Powers Act repeal
Report: A member of the NILP executive calls for the repeal of the Special Powers Act. The government will have difficulty in convincing anyone that it is serious about social reform if this is not done.
A lively session at Stormont expected
Report: Brooke is to ask O'Neill whether the Northern Ireland government was consulted over remarks made by Wilson at Westminster.
Boal to take action on Fitt speech
Report: Boal is to question Craig on the implications of the Derry speech made by Fitt, with a view to possible prosecution under the Public Order Act, 1951.
Brooke accuses Wilson
Leader: Brooke claims that the people of Northern Ireland will not tolerate Westminster interference in Northern Ireland. He feels that Wilson has perhaps fallen prey to Fitt's 'gross misrepresentations' of the situation and his 'flagrant disregard for facts.' O'Neill emphasises the increasing goodwill in the community.
[IN, NL, BT, 25 July]
More than fair to catholics - O'Neill
Report: In reply to McAteer's question on Craig's speech on the treatment of the minority, O'Neill claims that 'there were many instances of treatment of the Roman catholic minority extending beyond mere fairness to generosity.' This includes state appointments to high office even in time of danger to the state; aid for voluntary schools more generous than that in Britain; and nomination of catholics to various boards (with many refusing to take up the positions offered.)
[IN, NL, 25 July]
Commission on Ulster: Labour plea
Report: Two resolutions on Northern Ireland will be put before the British Labour Party conference later in the year. One will call for a Royal Commission to investigate the administration of government, with particular reference to alleged discrimination in housing and employment, on religious or political grounds, and the continued existence of the Special Powers Act. The second will advocate Westminster intervention under the Government of Ireland Act 'so that British democracy can apply to Northern Ireland.'
[NL, 25 July, BT, 6 September, 30 September, IN, 1 October]
Wilson to see Orr speech
Report: Fitt is to apprise Wilson of Orr's 12 July speech in which he pledged to resist Westminster intervention. This follows similar action by Stratton Mills in regard to Fitt's speech at the Connolly commemoration meeting in Derry.
Mr Wilson and Stormont
Editorial: Westminster is clearly worried by the conduct of Stormont.
Police called as Derry homeless stage 'sit-in'
Report: The DHAC organises a sit-in at the offices of Derry council's housing department, in protest at an allocation of a house made to an ex-prison officer, despite the recent nature of his application. DHAC spokesman Eamon Melaugh claims, 'this allocation highlights the politically diseased and grotesquely squalid system of discrimination in housing.' The city council's housing manager defends the allocation on the grounds that the tenant had previously registered on the waiting list, and has simply re-registered after a period of absence from the city.
[IN, 25 July]
Beyond the classroom
Editorial: At an international teachers' conference in Dublin, there has been talk of the ability of teachers to shape the minds of the young. This power should be exercised in a positive manner, especially in Ireland, where the prejudices of the older generation run deep.
25 July, 1968
Brooke claims to speak for 'all people of North'
Leader: Brooke attacks Wilson's words on Northern Ireland and claims 'we will not stand for this sort of interference.' The British Prime Minister has perhaps been misled by Fitt's 'flagrant disregard for facts.' O'Neill welcomes Wilson's praise for the changes that have taken place in Northern Ireland. The Special Powers Act will be relaxed at the government's discretion, but only when it is deemed safe to do so. Boyd says that no fundamental change of the type of which O'Neill boasts has occurred at all, since one-man-one-vote has not been implemented at local authority level, and parliamentary boundaries have not changed for thirty years. Fitt denies that he has advocated violence; rather, 'he believed that while there was denial of fundamental liberties, the people of Derry and elsewhere should be entitled to have protest marches, sit-ins, and to squat in houses which had been unjustly denied to them.' Wilson's remarks, he says, indicate a growing British government concern about the situation in Northern Ireland.
Wilson remark: O'Neill replies [Report]
Stormont has to 'get on well' with London says O'Neill
Report: At Stormont, O'Neill says that he does not agree with all of Wilson's apparent sentiments on Northern Ireland, 'but I am guided by the principle that it is better to reserve public comment for those rare occasions when some step is mooted which could have grave danger for our constitutional position.' He welcomes Wilson's praise for the progress his government is making. McAteer asks for a 'statesmanlike gesture' to be made soon towards the minority. Boal attacks Fitt's Derry speech as 'an incitement to people to take the law into their own hands,' and expresses the feeling that a legal prosecution may be brought. Fitt claims that he was not advocating 'resort to the bomb or the bullet.' He may, he says, raise the matter of Orr's speech at Westminster. Roddy O'Connor claims that opposition to partition does not mean that nationalists are 'out to destroy Northern Ireland' by unconstitutional means. Craig replies that a substantial body of nationalists are prepared to adopt unconstitutional methods.
[BT, 24 July]
Question on Craig's 'if Nationalists don't accept' speech
Report: McAteer asks O'Neill whether the views expressed by Craig on the lack of consideration for or generosity towards the minority, should it fail to accept the democratically-elected government, are representative of general government policy. McAteer also asks for examples of fair and generous treatment that has been extended in the past. O'Neill suggests that Craig was not expressing government policy, and cites state appointments of catholics during time of danger, and generous educational provision, as examples of positive treatment of catholics. Burns says that the question is one of loyalty rather than of religion. O'Neill says that some catholics were in the past appointed to boards but refused to take up positions; this is now changing, however.
'Nonsense' retort to Fitt's 'jackboot'
Report: In addition, Fitt claims that Craig's recent speech indicates that the jackboot is to be used against opponents of the government. McAteer questions O'Neill on the speech.
[BT, 24 July]
Resentment in Lisnaskea
Editorial: There can be no surprise at the 'extravaganzas of language' employed by Orr on 12 July and, more recently, by Brooke at Stormont, against British intervention; Wilson must however take action, since words alone will 'not bring the unemployed nationalist a local authority vote, or end discrimination in jobs and houses for political ends.' O'Neill's rhetoric 'no longer registers' with the minority since the prime minister does nothing to match his words with actions. Recent events, as Dungannon has shown, 'make nonsense of the prime minister's bridge building claims.' Catholic appointments by the state are not in any case extensive, contrary to what O'Neill has said.
Editorial: Wilson's recent words on Northern Ireland have, unsurprisingly, caused annoyance among some people. Brooke, however, has offered an extreme response, and O'Neill's willingness to 'get on' with successive Westminster governments is to be praised; the prime minister should make no fuss unless Westminster actions seem likely to jeopardise the vital interests of Northern Ireland.
Votes at 18: new pressure on Stormont
Report: McAteer is to use British plans to lower the voting age for Westminster elections 'as a spur to try to bring about the long-awaited reforms of the franchise laws here.' This view is echoed by the NILP.
Mothers' 'sit-in' houses protest
Report: The DHAC stages a sit-in 'at the offices of Derry corporation' to protest at housing allocation in the city, where a recent case involving an ex-prison officer is seen as highlighting a more general injustice.
[BT, 24 July]
Placards out as bridge sit-down cases are heard
Report: Several participants in the DHAC Craigavon Bridge protest appear in court. The Committee proposes to make a door-to-door collection to pay the fines, while asking for signatures on a petition approving its civil disobedience campaign.
[IN, NL, 26 July]
Mr Fitt's 'isolationism'
Letter: Fitt's campaign against discrimination has been conducted well, but he should cease to adopt a 'holier than thou' attitude towards other nationalists and start co-operating with them. The NDP is guilty of adopting the same stance.
Try the courts
Letter: The Government of Ireland Act forbids religious discrimination; those who feel they have been discriminated against in Dungannon or Caledon should take their cases to court, where they might be successful.
Labour resolutions on Ulster
Report: Two resolutions dealing with Northern Ireland are to be put to the Labour Party conference later in the year. One will call for a Royal Commission to investigate the administration of government, with particular reference to alleged discrimination in housing and employment, on religious or political grounds, and the continued existence of the Special Powers Act. The second calls for Westminster intervention under the Government of Ireland Act 'so that British democracy can apply to Northern Ireland.'
[BT, 24 July, 6 September, 30 September, IN, 1 October]
Ulster's case in America [Letter]
[see BT, 23 July, How Ulster won TV debate]
26 July, 1968
Housing Trust widens scope of rebates
Leader: The Housing Trust announces plans to bring more tenants under its rebate scheme. However, the planned rent increases that this scheme is designed to soften, says the secretary of the Foyle Hill Tenants' Association, will 'fan the flames of resentment already starting to flicker in Derry,' unless tenants are consulted. 'Political opportunists' might all too easily take advantage of such resentment. 'By not giving the time and the information necessary to clarify all that these new proposals entail, you leave the field open to these latter-day saviours of the working classes who have recently shown up in Derry.'
Derry housing group's courthouse protest
Report: The DHAC holds a protest outside the court where some of its members face charges over their protest on Craigavon Bridge. Kevin Agnew, defending solicitor, states that 'there is a big feeling in this city that there is widespread discrimination…the political position whereby a minority rules a large majority is a scandal,' and people are therefore prepared to assert their right to demonstrate.
Pickets on patrol at courthouse [Report]
[BT, 25 July]
Fund to pay fines
Report: The DHAC is to make a door-to-door collection to provide funds to pay the fines of those prosecuted for civil disobedience on earlier protests to let the council know 'it is not dealing with a small minority but with an angry majority.'
Votes at 18 for North unlikely
Report: Craig says that Stormont will not automatically follow Westminster's lead in lowering the voting age to 18. McAteer hopes to use the British measure as a spur towards wider franchise reform in Northern Ireland. The NILP, says Sam Napier, will press for the extension of the British measure, and for a speeding up of local government reform.
Working in harmony
Editorial: O'Neill was wise to take issue with Wilson's recent remarks on Northern Ireland; there is no need to strain relationships unduly unless a clear constitutional stand is necessary.
27 July, 1968
Letter: Nationally-minded parties seem unwilling to contemplate unity. McAteer has proven 'gimmicky' on this subject. The RLP is however prepared to co-operate with others, provided that it is not asked to abandon the working class. McAteer has himself said that 'Derry is now a derelict and neglected area and that the Derry people's patience had been magnificent but the fuse of impatience is now burning low.' The establishment fears the working class, whose children have suffered in their education through discrimination, and whose votes, because they 'are feared by the ruling junta,' have had 'the weapon of gerrymander' used against them. The RLP will 'keep clear of the corral that some people allotted for us,' while leaving the door open to co-operation with other nationalists.
Support for Mr Fitt
Letter: The formation of an RLP branch in Derry is welcome, since other opposition groups in the area have been 'ineffective.' 'Malpractices and injustices' must be remedied.
Plea for Bill of Rights
Report: The Connolly Association writes to Wilson, asking that a Bill of Rights be included in the Northern Ireland constitution. Supporters of a united Ireland should be given 'a fair constitutional opportunity to present their case…There is still a section of the country disfranchised. There is gerrymandering in Londonderry, and the Special Powers Act is largely a denial of human rights, it claims.'
Praise for Ulster MP from the US
Report: Taylor's performance on American television was, according to a letter, masterful in defending Northern Ireland. It represented 'a serious reverse for the American Congress for Irish Freedom.' [see BT, 23 July, How Ulster won TV debate, NL, 25 July]
29 July, 1968
Catholics on Hospitals body: two questions for Mr O'Neill
Letter: O'Neill has claimed that while he was minister of health, he appointed a 'considerable' number of catholics to the Hospitals Authority. This is not true, since no more than three have been appointed since the body's establishment.
United party must do more than expose injustice
Letter: Opposition politicians concentrate almost exclusively on exposing and attacking injustice; this should be a matter for a non-party or all-party organisation. Opposition parties should concentrate on building a viable political alternative to Unionism. Concentration on minority grievances is narrow and sectarian.
Ministers' 'Special Powers' are extraordinary
Comment: A summary of the provisions of the Special Powers Act makes abundantly clear its draconian nature.
Hands off, Wilson is told
Report: The Portadown Ulster Protestant Volunteers send a letter to Wilson claiming that Westminster interference in Northern Ireland will not be tolerated. 'Ulstermen and women…are resolutely determined to remain as an integral part of the United Kingdom, under the British crown and protestant constitution.'
UPV statement [Summary]
Propaganda attacks on Ulster deplored
Report: A resolution will be put to demonstrations of the Royal Black Preceptory deploring 'grossly untruthful anti-Ulster propaganda,' although the institution acknowledges 'the democratic right of every class, creed and individual to freedom of such speech and action as are not subversive.' The government must 'protect itself and the Province against further political slander and charges of religious discrimination…by placing in true perspective the just and, indeed, preferential treatment accorded to every political and religious minority within our borders.'
Anti-Ulster propaganda deplored [Report]
Obligations of Orangemen 'must be debated'
Report: A presbyterian minister and leading member of the Black institution claims that Orangeism has by its actions exposed itself to public debate; debate is required, but it would be wrong 'to imply that Orangeism is against the Ulster government in its general desire to improve community relationships.' The Orange institution itself must decide how to deal with its own membership and with the Unionist Party.
30 July, 1968
Derry council warned of non-co-operation
Report: Alderman James Hegarty warns he will end co-operation with the Derry City Council in view of it record on housing. An ex-prison officer recently allocated a house, he claims, should not have received priority treatment. He feels that the allocation has been made on 'purely political grounds.'
[IN, NL, 31 July]
31 July, 1968
Fact-finding fight for civil liberties here
Report: US attorney James Heaney is in Northern Ireland on a fact-finding mission. He has been described by some as 'a mad republican,' but justifies his views by pointing to a system of government under the Special Powers Act that is 'like something out of the middle ages or Nazi Germany.' 'Housing and jobs go to the select few,' he claims. Both the British and Northern Ireland governments have refused to assist in his inquiries into the civil rights situation. He argues that 'the problems facing Northern Ireland today…dictate that partition politics be set aside.' The American Congress for Irish Freedom of which he is president, has already published a report on 'the suspension of civil liberties, disenfranchisement, and the British Government's responsibility for the situation' under the Government of Ireland Act. With this publicity, and with 'civil liberty organisations filing cases against the British Government' for hearing at Strasbourg, it would appear that 'a long overdue solution seems certain to materialise.'
Civil rights lawyer in Derry
Report: Heaney visits Derry to gather evidence about the state of civil liberties in the city, meeting 'people with complaints about housing and job discrimination and the restricted local government franchise.' He feels that 'a protestant element' dislikes the situation as much as catholics.
[NL, 1 August] f
No more co-operation - Derry Nationalist
Report: Alderman James Hegarty says he will stop co-operating with the Derry city council on account of its housing record. He alleges that the ex-prison officer allocated a house recently should not have received priority treatment. The allocation had been made on 'purely political grounds.' A Unionist member of the council's housing sub-committee claims that all that can be done is being done.
Protest over Derry housing record
Report: Of the allocation to the ex-prison officer, he comments, 'this allocation, like others, was purely a political allocation for the purpose of keeping the North ward predominantly Unionist.'
[BT, 30 July]
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