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Calendar of Newspaper Articles dealing with Civil Rights issues, 1 Jun 1968 - 9 Dec 1968 by Alan Scott

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Text: Alan Scott

Introduction     1968:   | June | July | August | September | October | November | December |
October 1968:   | 1-5 | 7-12 | 14-19 | 21-26 | 28-31 |
28 - 31 October:   | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | Top |

28 October, 1968

Belfast Telegraph

London summit fixed

Leader: The O'Neill-Wilson meeting is almost certain to take place next week, and it appears that the Northern Ireland cabinet is close to reaching a formula for presentation to Wilson that is not simply a restatement of the present timetable for change. The company vote may be one casualty of reforms. Another possibility is the inauguration of a crash housing programme. Wilson will probably not expect the immediate introduction of one-man-one-vote, realising as he does O'Neill's difficulties.

Irish News

Bloodshed mars march from Strabane to Derry

Leader: A civil rights march from Strabane to Derry is attacked by protestant extremists; marchers complain of a lack of police protection. Film is discovered of the incident in Derry on 5 October in which Fitt received a head wound. He says that this evidence proves conclusively that he was attacked by police, and that Craig's explanation is a lie which discredits the minister. Bradford has warned that Unionists must keep up with the pace of changes in society or risk being swamped by them. McAteer says that the police were informed that there might be trouble on the Strabane-Derry march, but did little to prevent it: 'it is high time that the police began to act like impartial upholders of law and order to protect all citizens, and less like uniformed Unionists.' The incidents on the march are condemned by the north Tyrone branch of the NDP, which asserts that the Black Preceptory has always marched unhindered through Strabane, and that an equal right has been denied the civil rights demonstrators.

[BT, 26 October]

Belfast Telegraph

3 in civil rights march injured

Report: Three of the marchers are injured in the attack.

RUC failed to prevent ambush says McAteer

Report: McAteer is critical of police for their failure to prevent the attack on the Strabane-Derry marchers, despite a warning given to police by the DCAC. 'It is high time police began to act like impartial upholders of law and order to protect all citizens, and less like uniformed Unionists.' North Tyrone NDP compares the 'bigotry and intolerance' signalised by the attack with the fact that a Black demonstration is allowed to pass peacefully every year in Strabane. Fitt now claims to have film evidence of the attack on his person in Derry. NICRA is seeking a meeting with O'Neill to protest at the government's 'campaign of slander' against the Association.

Irish News

Mr Bradford's stern warning to the Unionist Party

Report: Bradford feels that 'we must demonstrate beyond doubt that the government is generally trying to meet social needs such as houses.' He calls for a crash housing programme for Derry. He also says, 'we must act now to clear our name of any allegations of injustice. To do nothing is to invite shame as well as violence. To hesitate is to disregard right as well as reality.' He also suggests that government take a look at the 'archaic company vote.'

News Letter

Bradford: let us not invite shame

Report: He draws a distinction between two issues he perceives as entirely separate from one another: 'the social grievance which is real and largely affecting catholics, and the political demand for changes in franchise which has largely been whipped up and manufactured for party purposes.'

No change in vote policy

Report: Craig and Bradford, while recognising the existence of problems in local government, express the sentiment that a universal franchise would not solve these problems.

Ulster has a free hand - Craig

Report: Craig argues that constitutional convention dictates that Britain cannot intervene in Northern Ireland without Northern Ireland's consent. He lauds the government's record, and feels that the introduction of one-man-one-vote or the abolition of the company vote would have no real beneficent effect on the real issues at stake in local government affairs.

Belfast Telegraph

Craig and 'franchise tinkering'

Report: Craig feels that abolishing the company vote would have little effect on the problems faced at local government level.

News Letter

Don't panic says MP

Report: McMaster feels that civil rights demands are being used by some unscrupulous people to attack the constitution.

[BT, 26 October]

Clear call from Larne

Editorial: Three sane speeches from Larne have done much to redress the political imbalance, created by 'wild talk of UDI in Northern Ireland and the deplorable attacks on the Strabane-Derry civil rights marchers.' Craig has repudiated rumours of a cabinet split; the party is united, he says, in its aim of dealing with 'all of Ulster's problems.' He may have over-stated the support of some backbenchers, but at least this will help scotch any plans they might have had for a 'palace revolution' to be championed by leading figures in the party. The Unionist Party must stand behind O'Neill, strengthening him in his imminent talks with Wilson. Bradford and Kelly, in calling for Unionism to meet the challenges of a changing society, have offered good advice to their party.

Irish News

Who'll take the high road?

Editorial: Roy Bradford is 'one Unionist in the government [who is] dropping the pretence that the minority is proclaiming imaginary grievances.' His words 'sound to us like a last despairing counsel to Unionists to stop pushing the minority around before it is too late - either for the survival of Unionism or the relevance of it as a source of decent, democratic government.'

Belfast Telegraph

Hatred has no future - former moderator

Report: A former moderator of the presbyterian church hits out at a 'small faithless, fear-ridden protestant minority,' which obstructs better community relations. 'Because we have not lived up to our own slogan of step-by-step with England, with one-man-one-vote, we have deliberately put a stick into everybody's hands to beat us with.' O'Neill's professed aims deserve support: 'it is not enough to deplore the extremities that were so exploited by outsiders as to stain the fair name of an ancient city. We must demand that their causes be explored and treated urgently and seriously. Nor let us be ashamed of doing it under duress.'

Dean backs primate's statement

Report: The Church of Ireland dean of Belfast feels that the previously silent should now speak out in favour of reform. He feels that the church's bishops are right to say that there is widespread support for such a policy.

Irish News

Belfast QC poses four questions for Unionist MP

Report: Belfast QC James McSparran, in a letter to the Observer, challenges Robin Chichester-Clark over discrimination in Northern Ireland. The Westminster MP, says McSparran, has raised 'the IRA bogeyman' in the guise of the civil rights movement. The IRA campaign is however suspended, so what, he asks, is its relevance to discrimination? He asks Chichester-Clark about gerrymandering in Derry, about one-man-one-vote, about discrimination in housing, and about levels of catholic employment by government agencies. If Chichester-Clark denies the implications of these questions, then he should not object to an impartial inquiry designed to ascertain their accuracy. The British government, he adds, can no longer afford to ignore Northern Ireland. The vast majority of decent citizens would welcome reforms. Anne Kerr, writing to the Sunday Times, says that police attacked demonstrators first on 5 October.

O'Neill's 'surrender to die-hards'

Report: McElroy feels that O'Neill is giving in to the die-hard extremists in his party. This is foolish, since these people can never be appeased. Northern Ireland is a 'de facto one party state'; if partition is to remain, then the area would at least benefit from direct rule from Westminster, decided by referendum. Unionists can afford to be generous, and by doing so would improve their political position. They could easily implement British franchise laws, issue a points system for housing allocation to local authorities and the Housing Trust, as well as implementing Murnaghan's Human Rights Bill in order to combat discrimination in employment. These measures could be supplemented by 100% grants to catholic schools and an annual grant to the Mater Hospital. Half of the catholic population, naturally conservative, would soon come around to casting their votes for these reformers. Murnaghan claims that there is as little interest on the Nationalist benches at Stormont in civil rights as there is on the government benches. She rejects a call for her abstention from Stormont. Oliver Napier claims that the only hope for reform lies with Westminster, which should set up a complaints tribunal for Northern Ireland. McElroy praises McAteer for his 'restraint and wisdom' following the events in Derry.

[BT, 26 October]

Belfast Telegraph

Liberal tells PM to quit if obstructed

Report: The conference of the Northern Ireland Liberal Party is told by one speaker that O'Neill should resign if his efforts towards reform are obstructed by the right wing of the Unionist Party. Two other speakers argue respectively for and against the abstention of all opposition parties from Stormont.

Speed-the-houses talks: 67 invitations

Report: Invitations to the forthcoming housing conference have been sent out. It is expected that the conference will pay special attention to the problems of Derry.

Special Powers Act 'startles' appeal judge

Report: Lord chief justice MacDermott expresses his surprise during a court case that the Special Powers Act can be used to ban a club because of its name, or 'at [the minister's] pleasure.'

Fitt draws a contrast

Report: Fitt intends to highlight at Westminster the contrast between police handling of a London anti-Vietnam demonstration and the conduct of the RUC in Derry on 5 October. He is also taking to Westminster film of himself being struck by police batons.

[NL, 29 October]

Demonstration proposed

Report: NICRA is expected to decide soon on whether to hold a demonstration in Armagh on 16 November.

Irish News

Civil rights body's concern over police activities

Report: NICRA expresses concern at police Special Branch interrogations of some supporters of the civil rights movement. It reasserts its non-political, non-sectarian credentials, denying any communist or IRA links. The apparent withholding of police protection from the Strabane-Derry marchers is also condemned. NICRA is to hold a demonstration in Armagh on 16 November. Officers of the NICRA council hope to meet O'Neill 'in order to make a personal protest at the government's present campaign of slander and to condemn the conspiracy which, with the aid of the police, the ministry of home affairs is conducting against the Association.'

Answers to civil rights issue not to be found in America

Letter: The answer to civil rights problems lies in Ireland. The tone of recent Unionist speeches would indicate that concessions are on the way, but people should be wary: 'they [the Unionists] will try to fool the people and divide the people.' The Armagh Nationalist Party has wisely suggested a united opposition at Stormont. October 5, in Derry, and the brutality shown to the civil rights marchers was worth more to the Six County minority than all the forty-five years of play-acting at Stormont.'

Mr Currie replies to Mr Bailie

Letter: It is disappointing to observe Bailie retract comments he made at the Christian Brothers Past Pupils' Union debate on democracy in Northern Ireland. The movement for civil rights is not just about providing rights for non-Unionists; Unionists like Bailie need to be freed from the kind of pressure that forced him to make his retraction, and that forces young Unionists to join the Orange Order.

(Austin Currie)

Recalling advice of Griffith

Letter: The niceties of attendance or abstention from Stormont should be ignored in favour of the formation of a 'united front demanded by the workless, the homeless and the voteless.

People's Democracy move at Stormont

Letter: The demands for civil rights made by the PD are not those of 'parochial sectarianism' but 'part of an international ferment for basic political rights and standards that ought to be common to all people.' Only one Unionist MP was willing o put his signature to a list of basic demands for human rights during the protest. The PD hopes to continue with its activities until its demands are met.

(Kevin Boyle, Bernadette Devlin, and others)

[NL, BT, 31 October]

Constructive actions needed

Letter: Building a few houses in Derry will not remedy the city's problems: constructive measures are needed not only in housing, but also in employment, the franchise, and in the form of the abolition of the Special Powers Act.

Belfast Telegraph

The rights of students

Letter: Students have the right to demonstrate for reform. Furthermore, student protest is not under republican control: 'I attended all the preparatory meetings of the People's Democracy and soon discovered that almost everyone was doing their utmost to avoid political or sectarian [identification].' Few members of the movement are aiming for an immediate all-Ireland republic, while even a Paisleyite was given the chance to speak at the City Hall rally. Condemnation makes the task of those advocating restraint much more difficult.

28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | Top

29 October, 1968

Irish News

British re-appraisal could be dangerous, O'Neill says

Leader: O'Neill warns that a change in the British attitude to Northern Ireland could be dangerous. Three opposition councillors from Dungannon UDC have not been selected to attend the forthcoming conference on housing in Northern Ireland, so threaten to picket it unless they are invited. They state that another unjust allocation has very recently been made, and fear a whitewashing of the problem at the conference. Currie will raise the matter at Stormont.

Belfast Telegraph

To picket conference

Report: Dungannon opposition councillors threaten to picket the housing conference called by O'Neill unless they are invited to represent the electors in their area.

Irish News

PM on if 'Ulster is to be right'

Report: O'Neill says that those grievances that exist must be investigated; any other course would be a denial of Northern Ireland's place within the United Kingdom. If they are ill-informed, 'let us be eager to expose the truth.'

News Letter

Premier says duty is clear

Leader: O'Neill warns of the danger of a reappraisal of Northern Ireland's position. He adds that where grievances are real, they should be acted upon; where they are 'ill-founded and rooted in malice, let us be eager to expose the truth.'

Belfast Telegraph

No constitutional crisis if we do jobs right - PM

Report: O'Neill argues that 'wisdom, fairness and patriotism' can avert any tendency towards 'intervention, interference or constitutional crisis.' He argues that Northern Ireland must accept all the implications of being an integral part of the UK.

News Letter

Danger of cheap victory

Report: O'Neill argues, 'if we allow recent events to frighten the moderate men in our community into a retreat from the middle ground, then we will have presented a cheap victory to the engineers of these events. The motive force of statesmanship has to be more than a reflex reaction.' Britain would in any case never accept such a reversal.

Ulster must be right

Editorial: O'Neill's recent speeches contain the wisdom that the old dictum 'Ulster will fight and Ulster will be right…can only have relevance today if it is backed by thinking in keeping with the times…Today time is not on Ulster's side. So much damage has already been inflicted; so much criticism has been heaped on Stormont that the application of the corrective forces which the prime minister has long had in mind must emerge for open debate.'

Belfast Telegraph

Force of logic

Editorial: O'Neill has made a statesmanlike - albeit defensive - speech to the Unionist Society; he has identified arguments which are 'as self-evident to some are they are hidden from others - the need to satisfy the highest standards of democracy, the indispensability of economic integration, the very real danger of precipitating a constitutional crisis in which Ulster would not this time have Britain's sympathy.' Many fear that catholics will eventually be able to vote Northern Ireland out of the Union; the best way of addressing this concern is to give catholics an equal share of the benefits of the Northern Ireland state. However, further demonstrations will only serve to make the prospects for such reform less bright.

Premier should be cautious - paper

Report: The Daily Telegraph asserts that a Northern Ireland of bigotry and intolerance does not hold a secure place within the Union. To impose reform however, would be a mistake, and impossible given the climate of potential civil war that exists. O'Neill must tread carefully, while continuing to pursue change. The Times agrees that reform is difficult to achieve in a society of such differences, and feels that local government reform should be given particular priority. The Irish Times speaks of O'Neill's difficulties in combating the power of 'his all-too-influential Unionist backwoodsmen.'

Barrage of questions to O'Neill

Report: O'Neill asserts at Stormont that all government-controlled public appointments in Northern Ireland are open to all citizens on the basis of merit. Boyd objects to what he sees as insufficiently wide representation of opinion at the imminent housing conference, while Currie views the conference as a farce. Diamond asks if it will consider housing allocation, but receives no answer.

[IN, NL, 30 October]

Prominent catholic to join Unionists

Report: A leading catholic hotelier and member of Bangor borough council is to join the Unionist Party, believing that religious barriers must be crossed and O'Neill's policies given support.

All right-thinking people must support PM

Letter: Northern Ireland is now at a 'crossroads': its people can return to old mistrusts, or can move forward together. Outside pressure is unhelpful; the Unionist Party, led by O'Neill, is the only body capable of providing a solution. 'The great amorphous, apolitical mass in the centre of Ulster politics undoubtedly support[s] him, but by their long silence and lack of political commitment have left a clear field for extremists on both sides.' Now support for O'Neill must make itself heard.

[IN, NL, 30 October]

Achievements in Derry 'must be recognised'

Report: The secretary of the Ulster Young Unionist Council argues that while Derry does have problems, the positive aspects of government achievements in the city are rarely stressed, for example with regard to housing and industry.

Opposition not stifled [says] Unionist

Report: Ferguson feels 'sick[,] sore and tired of the representatives of the Labour Party coming over from England, taking a superficial look at carefully selected areas and topics and then starting to pontificate about what is wrong with Northern Ireland. No-one is trying to stifle opposition of constructive criticism, but merely to criticise for the sake of criticising [is unhelpful to anyone].'

News Letter

Section 75 is 'not stick to beat Ulster'

Comment: Wilson clearly believes that the Northern Ireland government is lagging behind in its declared policy of promoting goodwill and discouraging religious discrimination. He also believes that efforts towards reform are being thwarted by extremists. However, 'to legislate over the heads of the Ulster government would be to weaken that government, and [such a move] is likely to be resorted to only after much else had failed.' Many endeavours short of constitutional change could equally satisfy Wilson; hopefully O'Neill will present answers to the British prime minister that will help restore confidence in Northern Ireland.

Irish News

'Reception party' for O'Neill

Report: O'Neill, opening an art exhibition, is met by peaceful PD protesters.

Attack on marchers 'deplored'

Report: Strabane urban council condemns the recent attack on civil rights marchers, and protests to Craig over inadequate police protection. One Unionist says that he supports the first part of the motion, but not the second.

News Letter

To march or…

Summary: McAnerney says that NICRA will soon decide whether to hold a demonstration in Armagh on 16 November.

Irish News

'Concern' over student demonstrators

Report: Tyrone Education Committee members express unhappiness that tax-payers' money is going to support students involved in sit-down demonstrations. The chairman however expresses pride in the right to 'free speech and free assembly' in Northern Ireland.

News Letter

Sit-down students come under fire [Report]

Belfast Telegraph

Student sit-down criticised [Report]

News Letter

Derry main conference item

Report: Housing in Derry is expected to be given particular attention at the forthcoming housing conference.

Belfast Telegraph

Curb on council motions sought

Report: A resolution is to be put before Belfast city council calling for motions likely to promote community divisions to be prohibited. Kennedy and Eileen Paisley have already withdrawn opposing motions on Craig and the RUC with regard to events in Derry.

[NL, 30 October]

Government should pay

Report: Derry corporation calls on government to foot the bill for the destruction caused in the city on and after 5 October. Strabane UDC condemns the recent attack on civil rights protesters marching from Strabane to Derry.

Guildhall uproar

Leader: At a meeting of Derry corporation, uproar occurs after an attempt by the Derry Labour Party to address the housing issue from the public gallery. Criticism is levelled at anti-democratic minority rule in the city, and the meeting is temporarily adjourned amid scenes of chaos. Bitter exchanges take place between Nationalist and Unionist councillors.

[IN, NL, 30 October]

Irish News

Derry inquiry call by local Churches Industrial Council

Report: Derry Churches Industrial Council calls for an impartial inquiry into discrimination in housing, employment and the election system in the city. 'Restraint and self-discipline' are called for, in the name of good community relations.

Belfast Telegraph

Judge blames outsiders for Derry trouble

Report: Mr Justice Lowry blames undesirable elements from outside Derry for most of the trouble caused following the 5 October civil rights march. McAteer feels that this is an unwarranted intervention in politics by the judiciary, and says that the people were goaded into revolt.

[IN, 30 October]

Irish News

'Government not on same wavelength' - Labour chief

Report: Boyd says that recent Unionist speeches on abolishing the company vote do not go nearly far enough towards redressing grievances such as discrimination and the need for one-man-one-vote.

Belfast Telegraph

Not on same wavelength, says MP [Report]

News Letter

'Not on same wavelength'

Report: The speeches highlight the gaps between the government and 'those seeking British standards in Northern Ireland.' The NILP wants '(a) appropriate machinery to deal with allegations of discrimination; (b) a system to ensure the allocation of all publicly owned houses for let based solely on need; (c) an end to discrimination in employment on the part of local authorities and other public bodies.'

Fitt and the RUC

Report: Fitt intends to amend a Westminster motion to draw a contrast between the recent actions of the London police in handling a demonstration, and those of the RUC in Derry.

[BT, 28 October]

Belfast Telegraph

Wilson and Lynch meet tomorrow

Report: Wilson and Lynch will meet tomorrow, though the British prime minister is not expected to discuss Northern Ireland in detail.

Irish News

Future role of Nationalist Party

Report: At a meeting of the Newry branch of the Nationalist Party, criticism is voiced against politicians from the Republic of Ireland, who are said to have used the Derry situation for their own ends. The future of the Nationalist Party's role is also discussed, and it is suggested that a full programme of civil disobedience would be impractical. Support for the civil rights movement is deemed essential, since it is seen to have highlighted minority grievances more effectively than any previous stratagem.

Belfast Telegraph

Police 'made for Nationalist Party' in Derry

Report: Newry Nationalists are told that they should back the civil rights movement. One speaker feels that Craig's folly has handed Nationalists a victory they have not enjoyed since partition. A small government gesture will no doubt be made, 'but the minority must insist on a policy of all or nothing and press on till the civil rights demands are met.' Republic of Ireland politicians are criticised for their use of events in Northern Ireland to bolster their own domestic political arguments.

Nov 17 day of decision for Nationalists

Report: The cabinet is once again meeting to discuss the line to be taken at O'Neill's talks with Wilson. The Nationalist Party will hold a special conference on 17 November to decide on whether or not to pursue a campaign of non-violent civil disobedience. Feeling in the constituencies has hardened since Derry and the moderates may find they have a difficult task in preventing the acceptance of a new departure. The ultimate decision of the conference may depend on the outcome of O'Neill's meeting with Wilson. It is expected that a crash housing programme for Derry and the abolition of the multiple company vote will be agreed upon at the meeting between the two prime ministers.

Irish News

Lesson from London

Editorial: The decision to allow an anti-Vietnam War demonstration in London to go ahead, despite fears of violence, is a lesson for the Northern Ireland government. Protest usually stems from genuine motives.

North's tarnished image on view for Americans

Letter: A recent television broadcast in the USA has highlighted still more clearly the injustice that exists in Northern Ireland.

According to the Craig dictionary

Letter: Craig appears to have given novel meanings to some words. 'Right,' he would appear to define as, 'any decision etc, taken by the Unionist Party, or accepted by them [sic]'; 'wrong,' on the other hand, is defined as 'any thought, word and/or deed indulged in by a non-Unionist i.e. catholics, communists, Labour members, etc (see also under: "revolution").' He casts about for people to accuse of treachery rather than examine the true issues.

Endorsing O'Neill policies

Letter: The Church of Ireland's endorsement of O'Neill's policies is no new departure. Injustices should be righted.

Belfast Telegraph

Franchise question

Letter: Robert Porter has expressed concern about the situation in Derry; as to the general franchise question however, that is a matter for debate within the Unionist Party. While a fair system of universal suffrage would appear to be desirable, he does not have a closed mind on the subject, and is willing to listen to alternative suggestions.

(Robert Porter)

Irish News

The piper and the tune

Letter: The idea of a boycott of local government revenues is absurd; people are too attached to the benefits they receive - mostly, it must be added, from Unionist pockets.

News Letter

Why did they keep silent

Letter: Why were there no civil rights demonstrations when three protestant ministers were sent to prison for protesting against 'the Romeward trend at the General Assembly [of the presbyterian church]?' Students would be better employed in study than in 'uncivil rights marches.' Catholics may have a disproportionate role in some areas and professions.

Derry 'refugees'

Letter: 'Where are the "refugees" in our society?' 'With all the evil which is imputed to Ulster one would expect to see hordes of deprived, down-trodden, suffering, persecuted citizens fleeing for their lives on the road to Buncrana. At times I wish I was one of the "deprived" in our city of Londonderry. What bliss to draw up to £13 per week for doing nothing! What bliss to rise at noon and commute to bookmaker's shop and pub!'

Hands off Ulster

Letter: Wilson is pandering to the disloyal Irish vote and supporting the actions of thugs in Derry. 'Does Harold Wilson want to go down in history as the man who brought bloodshed to Ulster?'

28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | Top

30 October, 1968

News Letter

Stormont tense as talks loom

Leader: The Stormont cabinet meets again amidst speculation as to what line the Northern Ireland government is likely to adopt over reform during O'Neill's talks with Wilson. The housing issue is likely to be a central concern of the talks. Craig has taken the view on the franchise that one-man-one-vote will not be introduced before the reform of local government boundaries. It seems likely however that the company vote will be abolished. Wilson is said to be seeking a high level commitment to a fair system of housing allocation. Faulkner has told Down Unionists that a government should not resort to panic measures simply to rectify its image.

Ulster's image vital - Faulkner

Report: Though he does not feel that government should resort to panic measures to improve its image, he admits the importance of the image of Northern Ireland. Its portrayal in the media as a ghettoised police state denying a large minority its political rights is wrong. Increasing numbers of the minority community are seeing the benefits of government policy, but republicans are trying to reopen old divisions, while people such as Fitt and Currie are furthering their own political ambitions.

Irish News

Reality, not the image, is vital - Faulkner

Report: Faulkner says that no government should take panic measures designed merely to improve its image; rather, decisions should be taken with regard to the government's knowledge of the situation, and in the best interests of all the people. Economic and social problems, he says, are aggravated rather than solved by 'street fighting.'

Says Craig: hooligans from whatever quarter will be 'dealt with'

Report: Craig says that the police did take some measures to protect the Strabane-Derry march. He condemns hooligans on all sides but argues that the possibly provocative nature of demonstrations should be taken into account by their organisers. The organisers of this particular march had no public support for their venture.

Belfast Telegraph

Police role at march is explained

Report: O'Connor alleges at Stormont that police accompanying the Strabane-Derry civil rights march moved away from the protesters when the latter were attacked. Craig says that steps would have been taken to prevent the attack had it been anticipated. He agrees with Phelim O'Neill that hooligans, from whichever side they come, must be dealt with. He adds that the march evidently did not have much public support, since only 12 people participated. He feels that the police handled the event well.

News Letter

British interference is thought unlikely

Report: The talk in Unionist circles at Stormont is that British interference through any abrogation of Stormont's powers is thought unlikely. 'Any such move…would be completely rejected by the Northern Ireland government.' Wilson is expected to offer no more than 'friendly advice.'

Belfast Telegraph

Unionist MPs take firm line

Report: The Unionist '66 committee appears to be adopting a strong position against early local government reform, feeling that it should be considered as part of the overall reshaping of local government.

Testing time

Editorial: The possibility of a Royal Commission on the UK constitution turning its gaze on Northern Ireland is very real. Unionists should be attempting to prove that the minority population can share in the benefits of majority rule. The alternative road is dangerous, since 'Britain does not owe us a living, unless we prove worthy of it.'

Wilson-O'Neill talks on Monday

Report: A date for the talks between Wilson and O'Neill is set. The Liverpool branch of the Connolly Association writes to Wilson calling for a public inquiry into events in Derry.

Irish News

Top public jobs given on merit, O'Neill says

Report: O'Neill denies that legislation against discrimination in the distribution of high government posts is necessary: 'I affirm unequivocally that all public appointments under the control of the government of Northern Ireland are, and will continue to be, open to all sections of our population on the basis of merit alone.' Various opposition members cite examples to the contrary.

News Letter

Jobs charge is denied [Report]

[BT, 29 October]

Conference on housing today at Stormont

Report: Opposition members at Stormont express scepticism as to the likelihood of a constructive outcome being reached by the forthcoming housing conference summoned by O'Neill. Hassard, NILP councillor on Dungannon UDC, notes that the council's chairman has not refuted his allegations on an allocation that went to someone who had been on the housing waiting list for only five days, while another person, who had waited for seventeen years, was passed over.

News Letter

Special housing conference today

Report: O'Neill, asked at Stormont whether the housing conference will consider the matter of allocations, says that the conference has been called to look into ways of accelerating the house-building programme. 'He recognised that no single factor could do more to reduce tension and improve the entire conditions of life in many areas than a further improvement of the housing situation.'

Belfast Telegraph

Stormont presses for more houses

Report: O'Neill tells the housing conference that local authorities should take a fresh look at their housing policies in an attempt to ascertain if and how they can be improved upon. O'Neill is met by protesters, including students calling for one-man-one-vote, and opposition Dungannon councillors, protesting at their not having been invited to the conference.

[IN, NL, 31 October]

Irish News

New thinking?

Editorial: O'Neill has followed Bradford's recent example in the expression of liberal sentiments, but is not much of this designed to impress Wilson? No matter how sincerely held however, 'this is not the kind of revelation likely to find acceptance among the Orange zealots who rule in places like Derry, Dungannon and Enniskillen.' Nevertheless, recent publicity means that 'there are signs around that the upholders of a now discredited political belief and the defenders of untenable positions are finding the going hard.' The question now is: what will Wilson ask of Unionism?

Belfast Telegraph

Diamond calls Bradford's cures 'trifling'

Report: Diamond feels that while Bradford has recognised that problems exist, the remedies that he proposes are 'trifling.' O'Reilly calls for government actions instead of words, especially on the introduction of a points system for housing allocation. Minister of finance Kirk defends the government's housing record, and argues that some complaints about allocations, when 10,000 houses are being provided every year, are almost inevitable.

[IN, NL, 31 October]

Devolution proposals in queen's speech

Report: The establishment of a Royal Commission on the constitution, announced during the queen's speech at Westminster, is likely to be of particular interest for the people of Northern Ireland, since this is the only part of the United Kingdom currently enjoying devolved regional government.

News Letter

Women support Captain O'Neill

Report: Windsor Women's Unionist Association expresses its support for O'Neill's policies.

Council motions face ban

Report: 'Belfast city council is to be asked to ban motions in the council chamber which are "likely to exacerbate public feeling or promote tension between sections of the community".'

[BT, 29 October]

Belfast Telegraph

Hatred taught here: Dr Tyndall

Report: The Church of Ireland bishop of Derry and Raphoe criticises the divisive activities of extremists in Northern Ireland; most people reject such actions.

Reconciliation needed more than ever in Ulster

Report: The presbyterian moderator calls for reconciliation in Northern Ireland.

Irish News

Appeal to outlive history of differences

Report: A former presbyterian moderator calls for moderate people to come together in reconciliation and not permit their future to be shaped by extremists.

Electoral Bill does not tackle scandal

Report: Lennon feels that undemocratic local government in Northern Ireland is damaging community relations, and that the removal of the company vote fails to address the real questions of reform. If something is not done soon, events may conspire to make government by Unionism impossible. O'Hare argues that one-man-one-vote must, in order to be effective, be supplemented by an end to gerrymandering.

Belfast Telegraph

More changes in electoral law on the way?

Report: Nationalist members of the senate oppose the second reading of the Electoral Law Bill because it does not provide for one-man-one-vote at local elections. Lennon comments: 'I am desperately afraid that time is running out in this matter and that even now conditions may be coming to a pitch where the government will totally lose control of the situation.' Andrews argues that Nationalists should accept the Bill: 'it does not prejudge any of the equally important issues which have to be considered in due course in relation to local government.

RUC to prosecute in Derry

Report: A number of summonses are expected to be issued in connection with the Derry disturbances.

[NL, 31 October]

Irish News

'Minimal injuries' story

Report: Altnagelvin Hospital managers claim that the statement made on injuries sustained during the 5 October disturbances did not have their sanction, and is deplorable in its lack of objectivity.

Belfast Telegraph

Reports on Derry injured 'did harm to hospital' [Report]

Irish News

Fitt 'astounded' by judge's comment on Derry

Leader: Fitt criticises as 'partisan and political' comments made by Justice Lowry on trouble in Derry: 'for a judge to describe the troubles in Derry as having originated from the presence of "undesirable elements from outside the city" is nothing short of ridiculous.' McAteer feels similarly that 'October 5 was a goaded citizens' revolt against long-standing oppression.' He also finds it strange that the judge spoke of the 'patience and discipline' of the police.

[BT, 29 October]

Demonstrators 'take seats' in corporation

Report: Disturbances at a meeting of Derry corporation result from an attempt by the Derry Labour Party to address the body on housing. Undemocratic minority Unionist rule in the city is singled out for criticism, and the meeting is temporarily adjourned amid scenes of chaos. Cooper warns the Unionists that inaction will lead to anarchy in the city. Police clear the public gallery and opposition members of the corporation walk out.

[BT, 29 October]

Taoiseach and Wilson talks on North's ills

Report: Lynch, when he meets Wilson, will outline his conviction that partition lies at the root of Northern Ireland's problems. Meanwhile, the three Westminster MPs who were at the October 5 demonstration in Derry meet Callaghan, who decides to send their report on events to O'Neill.

News Letter

Democrats 'reject' Lynch interference

Report: Queen's University National Democratic group criticises Lynch for interference in Northern Ireland affairs. The problems of the state must be resolved by its people within the existing constitutional framework.

[NL, 31 October]

Belfast Telegraph

Derry my reason for seeing Wilson - Lynch

Report: Lynch ascribes the problems of Northern Ireland to what he sees as the evils of partition. QUB National Democratic group criticises Lynch's remarks, arguing that Northern Ireland's problems should be addressed within the existing constitutional framework.

[IN, NL, 31 October]

O'Neill hits back

Leader: Lynch has spoken of the evils that have resulted from partition; O'Neill hits out at what he perceives as unwarranted interference in Northern Ireland affairs, designed to make political capital out of the situation. It will, he argues, only have a detrimental effect on relations within Northern Ireland and Ireland as a whole.

[NL, 31 October]

Irish News

INF support for squatters' action praised

Report: Con McCluskey feels that, despite the return of the same Unionists as ever to Dungannon council after the last election, 'the ordinary decent protestant citizens were not represented by them in their views on "the various outrages which had been committed against the minority in the North".' Protestant church leaders have failed in their duty to condemn these. The High Chief Ranger of the National Foresters for the Six Counties appeals to all clergy to speak out for fair play and human rights. 'He said it would appear that Southern leaders had forgotten about the people of the North.'

'Work shy' remark draws reply

Report: The Derry Labour Party retorts to a comment made by Burns suggesting that the people of Derry are work shy: 'Mr Burns was trying to cover up for the inadequacies of the government in steering work to Derry.'

Belfast Telegraph

'Work' cards burned in Derry

Report: A protest is held in a Derry unemployment exchange against comments made by Burns to the effect that the unemployed of Derry are 'work-shy.'

[IN, NL, 31 October]

Irish News

Principal objective must be more and more facts for Westminster

Letter: The facts of the Northern Ireland situation should be made widely known, and especially at Westminster. O'Neill has done little more than talk about reform, and even attempted to blame the Derry demonstrators for the events of 5 October, though television pictures have demonstrated the opposite to be true. Even one-man-one-vote, in isolation, is unacceptable. It must be complemented with a reform of gerrymandered boundaries. For anti-unionists, 'one ounce of fact is worth a ton of oratory' in the campaign for civil rights.

How legitimate demands may be frustrated

Letter: O'Neill will claim that he wants better community relations and will make clear to Wilson that he is threatened by hard-liners and requires time to implement reform. Better community relations really means 'an acceptance without protest of the Orange yoke in return for the goodwill of those who maintain it.' The prime minister will suggest the abolition of the business vote instead of providing for universal suffrage in local elections; he will argue for a speeding-up of the house-building programme, but will not tackle the core issue of discrimination in housing allocation; he will see the redrawing of local government boundaries as sufficient to refute charges of gerrymandering, which it is not, since any new boundaries will also be rigged; he will proclaim fairness in government appointments, saying that catholics are reluctant to participate in the state, or are insufficiently educated to qualify. All of this is a cover for discrimination.

Change of tune

Letter: Words will not placate the victims of injustice; actions must be taken.

'Voices must ring out in massive support for O'Neill' [Letter]

News Letter

Catholic support for Captain O'Neill [Letter]

[see BT, 29 October, All right-thinking people must support PM]

Belfast Telegraph


Letter: Student demonstrators are to be praised for attacking bigotry and discrimination; perhaps they can wake their elders to a changing world.

Derry election: MP accused of 'cynical effrontery' [Letter]

[see IN, 27 October, Voting in Derry wards, NL, 6 November]

News Letter

Sensible people

Letter: Integrated schooling is not necessary for good community relations, as the Swiss demonstrate.

Belfast Telegraph

'He who pays the piper…'

Letter: The ratepayer franchise is justified, even if central government money is used to support local government. Most taxpayers, after all, are also ratepayers. Also, the NILP's lack of representation in Northern Ireland has nothing to do with electoral boundaries, but with that party's policies.

News Letter

Fact and fiction

Letter: It is not O'Neill who is being blackmailed by 'thugs' but Wilson, by the enemies of the state of Northern Ireland. The so-called civil rights march on 5 October was prepared for trouble, but the RUC thwarted 'the well-known tactics of the enemy.' Wilson should consider the contribution to the defence of the British way of life that has been provided by the people of Northern Ireland.

28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | Top

31 October, 1968

Irish News

Britain doesn't want border - taoiseach

Leader: Lynch meets Wilson and discusses the Derry situation. He ascribes Northern Ireland's troubles to the existence of partition.

News Letter

Derry riots were evils of partition - Lynch

Report: Lynch describes recent events in Derry as 'surface manifestations of a sense of injustice felt by a large proportion of the population of Northern Ireland.'

[BT, 30 October]

Lynch anxious to see O'Neill

Report: Lynch, after meeting Wilson, says that he wishes to meet O'Neill. He sees an end to partition as 'a just and inevitable solution to the problems of Ulster.'

O'Neill deplores 'interventions'

Report: O'Neill deplores what he sees as Lynch's attempt to make political capital out of the Northern Ireland situation.

[BT, 30 October]

'Keep out,' students tell Lynch [Report]

[NL, 30 October, Democrats 'reject' Lynch interference]

Belfast Telegraph

Differences of opinion no barrier to talks, says Lynch

Report: Lynch states that he had every right to comment on the situation in Northern Ireland, since his government believes in human rights. He is particularly concerned about the local government franchise, but also believes that discrimination in housing and jobs must be seriously addressed.

Clock put back - O'Neill

Leader: O'Neill launches a strong attack on the Fianna Fáil government of the Republic of Ireland, arguing that it is attempting to switch attention away from its recent referendum defeat by focusing on the old anti-partition arguments. Wilson reaffirms Attlee's constitutional pledge on Northern Ireland's position within the UK; however Lynch's statement is likely to increase polarisation in Northern Ireland, making improved community relations more difficult.

[IN, NL, 1 November]

Faulkner hits at behaviour of Eire police

Report: Faulkner criticises Lynch's recent pronouncements on Northern Ireland, and argues that the actions of Gardaí 'made Londonderry police activity look like a Sunday school picnic.'

From bad to worse

Editorial: Lynch's attack on partition is highly unwelcome and extremely naïve. He cannot expect anyone to believe his denials of political capitalisation on events in Northern Ireland. While attention remains focused on the border, Unionists will be less inclined to look at the internal problems of Northern Ireland.

Irish News

O'Neill warns housing authorities on allocations, standards

Report: At the housing conference, O'Neill says that 'justice in allocation must not merely be done, but be manifestly seen to be done.' He does not wish to impose a points system, but calls on all local authorities to examine their existing systems of allocation. PD protesters call for a points system and one-man-one-vote. The three Dungannon opposition councillors fulfil their promise to picket the conference in view of their not having received an invitation.

News Letter

Housing conference picketed

Report: PD supporters picket the housing conference, calling for one-man-one-vote. Currie also pickets, pointing out his belief that nationalists are not being represented. O'Neill in his speech to the conference recognises the imperfections of the present housing situation, and argues that the issues must be tackled.

[BT, 30 October]

Belfast Telegraph

Homing devices

Editorial: Government must not only consider the speed at which houses are built; it must now examine the manner in which they are allocated. Guidelines for a fair points system should be provided.

Housing minister not to interfere

Report: It would appear that many local authorities would support the drawing-up of government guidelines to decide upon degrees of need with regard to housing allocations. O'Neill did outline at the conference a points system as one possible solution, but emphasised that he would not impose any solution. Beatty feels that Derry's housing programme is already going ahead at considerable speed.

No special body for Derry plan

Report: Fitzsimmons indicates in the commons that no special commission is envisaged to oversee the Derry area plan.

Ulster has revolutionary virus: Elder

Report: Newry Unionist Association passes a resolution of support for Craig in his handling of the Derry situation. 'Senator Elder said that if every family in Northern Ireland were housed and every adult person in employment the agitation for a united Ireland would continue.' He appeals for an acceptance of Northern Ireland's position within the United Kingdom and for an end to segregated education.

O'Neill is boohed at Unionist election meeting

Report: O'Neill and Bradford are met by Protestant Unionist protesters at a gathering in support of Ferguson's parliamentary candidature for south Antrim. O'Neill says that there is no need for the existence of bodies like the PD, since 'people here have their democracy. Let them use it properly and put aside methods of action which are in essence undemocratic. Let us have a proper debate not a monologue.' Government must remedy real grievances, but will not stand for poorly-informed criticism. Violence will not provide jobs or houses. Accusations that Northern Ireland is a police state are evidently ridiculous, when students are permitted to protest within parliament itself. He speaks of great efforts towards progress in industry and housing that do not receive the same press coverage as conflict and violence. Bradford argues that the Unionist Party must change, bringing itself into line with British standards.

Ulster in the dock - candidate

Report: The Unionist candidate for north Down argues that reform of the local government franchise is essential; Britain has lost respect for Northern Ireland, and this must be rebuilt.

Irish News

O'Neill hits out at 'ill-informed criticism'

Report: O'Neill condemns the portrayal of Northern Ireland as a repressive society. Free speech has been and is permitted. Civic Weeks do not make the news, he says, whereas violent confrontation is much more attractive to journalists eager for a story. Economic prospects are damaged by adverse publicity.

News Letter

'Vital to make a firm stand'

Summary: O'Neill says that 'pushing the police about and breaking shop windows would not provide in Londonderry a single job or house.' He says it is vital to take a stand in favour of parliamentary government.

We should have fought back - Unionist

Report: Taylor says that one-man-one-vote does not apply in Britain or the Republic of Ireland, where multiple votes exist, just as they do in Northern Ireland. He also defends the ratepayers' franchise, which he claims provides ratepayers with the civil right of a say in local government. The system should not be changed before the local government review has reached its conclusions.

Belfast Telegraph

Taylor opposes voting reform

Report: Taylor feels that the debate on local government is political rather than sectarian in nature. He feels that socialists are seeking a means to enable non-ratepayers to control local government. If one-man-one-vote is to be introduced, then some form of local taxation will also be necessary. Reforms should be introduced where they are required, but must not be introduced simply for their own sake. It is possible to exercise the multiple vote not only in Northern Ireland local elections, but also in those held in the rest of the UK and in the Republic of Ireland.

News Letter

Cabinet talks on devolution of government

Report: The cabinet will meet again to discuss the case that will be presented to Wilson. O'Neill's speech to the housing conference has come as close as one could reasonably expect to giving reassurances on housing allocation. 'Justice in allocation must not merely be done but be manifestly seen to be done.' He has also indicated that some local authorities find a points system useful. A Westminster commission on the British constitution, possibly looking into devolution, would affect Northern Ireland, so that Stormont will be keen to examine the situation with regard to local government. The '66 Committee claims its support for government efforts to improve community relations.

Wilson accepts Attlee pledge

Report: Unionists express their satisfaction at Wilson's restatement of Attlee's pledge on the constitutional status of Northern Ireland.

Belfast Telegraph

Attlee pledge is affirmed by Wilson

Report: Wilson states his commitment to Attlee's pledge regarding the constitutional status of Northern Ireland. He also asserts that the Royal Commission on the constitution should take into account any actions in Northern Ireland resulting from his coming talks with O'Neill.

Irish News

More scrutiny expected

Editorial: O'Neill will soon meet Wilson. It is to be hoped that Wilson will press for Northern Ireland to be brought into line with Britain, particularly with regard to standards of equality and justice for all.

Bradford's speech in Larne raised at Stormont

Report: Diamond expresses the opinion that Bradford's speech, acknowledging the existence of minority grievances, was a familiar exercise in government kite-flying, designed to ascertain how little nationalists would be prepared to accept by way of reform. The government 'pay lip-service to British standards.' He questions the value of attending parliament. O'Reilly claims that people are sick of talk of reform without matching action. Herbert Kirk, minister of finance, points to the success of the government, which is building 10,000 houses every year.

News Letter

Bradford speech is under fire

Report: O'Reilly calls for the introduction of a points system in housing allocation.

[BT, 30 October]

Derry summonses

Report: Summonses relating to the events of 5 October in Derry are expected to be issued.

[BT, 30 October]

Irish News

Dramatic protest by jobless Derry men

Report: A teach-in protest is held against unemployment in Derry. A telegram is sent to Burns, accusing him of lying when he said that the unemployed of Derry are work-shy.

News Letter

'Job' cards burned in Derry

Report: A teach-in is held in a Derry employment exchange in protect at the city's high level of unemployment.

[BT, 30 October]

Four more parades planned in Derry

Report: In addition to the forthcoming DCAC march, three Orange parades are to be held in the near future in Derry.

Irish News

Has support of the Peoples' Democracy

Report: The PD announces its support for the forthcoming Derry civil rights march.

Belfast Telegraph

Rights march [Summary]

Public out of parade in Derry

Report: DCAC parade organisers stress that the public should not participate in the committee's march, but should line its route in silent protest, before proceeding to the Diamond to hear the reading of the Declaration of Human Rights. Stewards will receive a final briefing.

[IN, 1 November]

Decision on 'rights' march tomorrow

Report: NICRA will tomorrow decide on whether to hold a civil rights march in Armagh. A local UPV division has warned of a counter-demonstration should the civil rights march go ahead.

Irish News

McAteer demands an amnesty

Report: McAteer calls for charges not to be brought against participants in 5 October march, and for the removal of the causes of the grievances which brought about the march.

Belfast Telegraph

Loss at polls start of trouble - Coulthard

Report: Coulthard feels that Labour's losses at the last Stormont election enabled politics to revert to the old 'orange and green' issues. He says that the NILP is ready to tackle social and economic issues such as housing, employment and education.

Irish News

Condemning injustices

Letter: The protestant churches in Dungannon have failed to condemn outrages against justice in that town. This is not necessarily true of the protestant churches throughout Northern Ireland.

(Con McCluskey)

Glasgow resolutions on civil rights in the North

Report: A Glasgow meeting, claiming to have no sectarian or political motives, expresses its support for civil rights in Northern Ireland and condemns the 'unprovoked brutality of the police.'

News Letter

People[']s Democracy [Letter]

Belfast Telegraph

One Unionist MP signed [Letter]

(Kevin Boyle, Bernadette Devlin, and others)

[see IN, 28 October, People's Democracy move at Stormont]

Is Aghalee not in the UK?

Letter: Unionist MPs at Westminster often pronounce on English affairs. Are not English MPs in their turn entitled to take an interest in Northern Ireland, as an integral part of the UK?

(John Coulthard)

Justice for minorities

Letter: Most reformist elements in Northern Ireland are not from the old Unionist families, but have had substantial contact with Britain and 'British ideals of fair play.' British MPs at Westminster have as much right to look into Northern Ireland affairs as do their Northern Ireland counterparts with regard to British concerns.

News Letter

Living in harmony with neighbours

Letter: Fitt and Currie will not have the support of the majority of catholics if trouble starts. 'As far as discrimination is concerned, it just doesn't exist in our part of the country [i.e. Ballymena].'


Letter: Student demonstrations are galling, especially when one considers that the interests of students have been given priority over the needs of ordinary householders in relation to the provision of facilities for the university in residential areas.

Advice to students

Letter: Students should face up to their responsibilities and conduct themselves accordingly; they should be able to say 'no' to 'any dubious proposal.'

Disgusted grannie

Letter: Students at Queen's University are biting the hand that feeds them by 'lying about the streets annoying the whole community'; they should have their grants withdrawn.

A difference

Letter: Labour members who complain of discrimination in Northern Ireland should be aware that Republic of Ireland citizens are permitted free entry into Britain, whereas Commonwealth citizens are heavily restricted.

Unions['] attitude

Letter: The civil rights campaign has damaged job prospects in Northern Ireland; those who talk so much about civil rights have done little to attract employment.

Belfast Telegraph

Bid to alter Orange rule on catholic occasions

Report: The Orange Order is to consider a change of rules that would allow its members to attend some forms of catholic worship.

[IN, 1 November]

Support for Mr Craig

Report: The South Derry division of the UPV pays tribute to Craig's actions with regard to the 5 October demonstration, and expresses disappointment in O'Neill's lack of support for them.

Introduction     1968:   | June | July | August | September | October | November | December |
October 1968:   | 1-5 | 7-12 | 14-19 | 21-26 | 28-31 |
28 - 31 October:   | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | Top |

CAIN contains information and source material on the conflict and politics in Northern Ireland.
CAIN is based within Ulster University.

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