Calendar of Newspaper Articles dealing with Civil Rights issues, 1 Jun 1968 - 9 Dec 1968 by Alan Scott
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June: | 1 | 3-8 | 10-15 | 17-22 | 24-29 |
Age-old British custom may mean Lords debate on the North
Leader: Gerry Fitt announces plans for a petition on electoral grievances and gerrymandering that is to be put to the house of lords. He expresses confidence that 'very many people in our community…will take the opportunity to sign this petition'; support for reform is not to be found only among the minority population. The plan will demonstrate a willingness to use 'every constitutional means' to seek redress. Fitt also talks of an effort to have the Race Relations Act extended to Northern Ireland and religious issues.
Fitt plans to petition Lords on Ulster
Report: The petition will call for the reform of electoral law, the extension of the Westminster Parliamentary Commissioner's powers to Northern Ireland, and the alteration of the Race Relations Bill to include religious discrimination, and its extension to Northern Ireland. A second, similar petition is being drafted by Eddie McAteer for presentation in the British house of commons.
Support for PM
Summary: A youth organisation passes a motion of confidence in Terence O'Neill's efforts to improve community relations.
Conference to discuss housing problem
Report: A call is to be made by the Methodist Conference for the churches to press for housing responsibility 'to come under central government rather than local authority.'
3 June, 1968
Editorial: The Paisleyite rally denouncing the Presbyterian Assembly is to be condemned. 'The general public is growing weary of this sort of wanton protest by people who continue to believe that the way to protest is to stage a demonstration and to attract public attention.' But, 'fortunately for the city at large, the effectiveness of such demonstrations is passing and citizens, generally, are no longer impressed by them.' The religious antagonisms they reveal are an outmoded concept that should be banished from society.
Backing for PM
Report: Four methodist churches pass a resolution in support of O'Neill's policies. The resolution praises 'his determined stand against intolerance' and expresses the hope that that 'his efforts to heal the wounds in our community may meet with the success they so richly deserve.'
4 June, 1968
Shouts of 'Lundy' and 'traitor' greet church dignatories [sic]
Leader: As the Presbyterian Assembly welcomes its new moderator's stand against intolerance, the Paisleyites hurl abuse, seeing the ideas expressed as a 'surrender.'
Solemn pledge to fight bigots
Leader: The new presbyterian moderator, at the meeting of the church's Assembly, pledges to fight religious bigotry: 'he would do all he could to contribute to the spirit of goodwill and tolerance which was just waiting for expression.' Paisleyite protesters jeer and label the moderator a 'traitor.' Paisley describes the demonstration as 'a good protest…within the law.'
Moderator mourns church image, and promises to fight bigotry
Report: The new presbyterian moderator pledges to fight bigotry but feels the church needs to concentrate on more vital issues than at present, so as to make reconciliation more easily achievable.
No charges after incidents at assembly - RUC
Report: Paisleyite demonstrators protest outside the presbyterian assembly, with Paisley indicating that the new moderator, by 'his pledge to fight bigotry' has in reality made 'a declaration of war against protestantism.'
Voice of reason
Editorial: The Paisleyite demonstrators outside the presbyterian assembly are to be condemned. They are the proponents of 'a negative gospel of hate.'
Swings - two sides get a hearing
Report: Belfast city council decides to hear deputations both opposed to and supportive of the opening of children's play areas on Sundays. Betty Sinclair, representing the Belfast Trades Council, claims that opponents cloak in religion arguments that are, in reality, politically motivated. Major Ronald Bunting, speaking for the Ulster Ratepayers' Association, denies such accusations.
5 June, 1968
'Certain members of the Bangor council brainwashed'
Report: A case of discrimination on Bangor council is alleged, following that body's majority decision not to re-elect its only catholic member to the chair of the finance and law committee.
Bigotry clash leads to angry debate at Bangor [Report]
Shouts and proclamations
Editorial: Protestant extremism is threatening the gradual improvement in community relations, and as a result of such scenes as occurred outside the presbyterian assembly 'Mr O'Neill will have to work even harder at presenting "Ulster's" image abroad. Facts continue to have a way of prevailing over his hopes and his illusions.' The extremist elements are those 'people who make the facts which the prime minister has so often to deplore. It is they who hinder the proper development of goodwill in the community…They are chopping away at the foundations of the better community spirit which has been slowly building up and to which men of all creeds have given their support…Mr O'Neill must root out from among his supporters, in high places and low, those who continue to give them encouragement.'
A place in history for Mr O'Neill
Letter: O'Neill's vision is to be praised, but it is regrettable that his 'British nationalism' prevents him from seeing the logic of his pronouncements: an all-Ireland settlement.
Local option on Sunday swings
Report: Belfast city council decides to give each locality in the vicinity of a playground the choice as to whether play areas should to open on Sundays. Councillor Eileen Paisley suggests that the decision is a surrender to 'communists, republicans and "black popery".' An alternative reaction comes from another councillor, who sees the whole issue as having its basis in sectarianism.
People get a voice on Sunday swings
Report: Fitt observes that the closures policy is not sustained by the objections of local residents; rather, it has its roots in bigotry.
Gillies hits out at the abuse
Report: A speaker at the presbyterian assembly condemns Paisleyite tactics and speaks of 'the growing spirit of friendship and good neighbourliness in Ireland.' The 'bitter spirit' of some is being 'discredited by the majority.'
The voice of true leadership
Editorial: The new presbyterian moderator's call for tolerance is to be praised: 'all men and women of goodwill in all sections of this community must welcome his stirring plea for tolerance and his stinging condemnation of bigotry.' Other churchmen must join and amplify his call and the spirit that it represents, so drowning out the 'irresponsible irrelevancy of the noise from the streets.'
'Justice to all' policy sought
Report: The chairman of the north Tyrone branch of the NDP calls for 'a socialist democratic policy which will give justice to all.' Local unemployment is disgraceful, and the prime minister, with his 'hypocritical utterances…thinks but does not act.' Even extreme methods are justifiable if they succeed in getting the government to face up to its responsibilities.
6 June, 1968
'New generation of leaders prepared to follow Connolly'
Report: Roddy Connolly unveils a plaque to his father's memory after a number of speeches. Among other matters raised is the idea that the existence of the state of Northern Ireland has only served to promote sectarian strife, a position inconsistent with Connolly's principles.
O'Neill fosters good relations - vice-chancellor
Report: The vice-chancellor of the New University of Ulster praises O'Neill's efforts 'to foster goodwill between different sections of the community' in spite of facing at times 'very great opposition.'
Blessed are peacemakers
Letter: Paisley's recent actions are to be condemned as un-Christian.
Swings issue: students await council move
Report: Students of Queen's University are to hold a series of sit-ins aimed at securing from Belfast city council a 'democratically acceptable solution' to the Sunday play issue. A student spokesman expresses the opinion that O'Neill's policies of progress 'have much more support, even among non-conservatives, than the pace of progress indicates.' He goes on, 'we will no longer tolerate our society being corrupted and intimidated by the forces of dark and fearful prejudice.'
7 June, 1968
Discrimination, plural voting, gerrymandering here to stay!
Report: Lord Stonham makes clear that Westminster does not intend to involve itself in addressing grievances in Northern Ireland directly, but expresses the hope that the Northern Ireland government can be persuaded of the wisdom of reform. 'Stonham played a well-informed diplomatic hand, and left the impression that the Wilson administration is at least trying to flatten the bumps raised by Unionist policies being swept under the carpet of British democracy.' Stonham himself expresses surprise at the state of community relations, which he maintains are better than anticipated. He claims that 'in Northern Ireland, as elsewhere in the world, you find it's the extremists, the destroyers, who get the headlines, whereas it's the great mass of tolerant people, the builders, who get things done. And I think it's becoming more and more important for the tolerant ones to stand up and be counted.' He talks also of the necessity of building a two-way respect between government and opposition at Stormont.
We'll not interfere - Stonham
Report: Lord Stonham, on his visit to Northern Ireland, pledges not to 'interfere in matters which are domestic to Northern Ireland.' He expresses the hope that 'some things here which are not satisfactory will change,' but indicates that, judging from his communication with political leaders on both sides of the community, the process of change has already begun.
No pressure on Stormont over bias - Lord Stonham
Report: Lord Stonham claims that O'Neill is not being pressurised over discrimination by Westminster, although 'the Westminster government desired fairly rapid change to remove what appeared to be legitimate grievances.' He also feels that Stormont now has an effective official Opposition, and that Opposition must be treated with respect by the government. However, 'this was a two-way business and an Opposition should not look for some dark and dirty meaning behind every proposal.'
Stonham 'frank' - McAteer
Report: McAteer speaks of his frank discussion with Lord Stonham on Northern Ireland problems, but expresses surprise at Stonham's remark that Westminster interference in Northern Ireland would be as much resented by McAteer as by O'Neill. McAteer feels that such intervention would 'speed up Captain O'Neill's lagging footsteps.'
From the people
Editorial: Lord Stonham has been surprised by the level of progress in Northern Ireland, but 'there must be no complacency creeping into the Province as far as community relations are concerned.' Westminster intervention would do little to further progress: 'the impetus for change must still come from below, from the people themselves.' This, even more than economic progress, is the key to reconciliation.
Bishop is praised for swings stand
Report: The Church of Ireland Gazette praises the Bishop of Down and Dromore for his view that the Sunday play issue is not one of religious but of class discrimination 'against one section of the community who have to play in the streets.' The Gazette claims 'there should be nothing partisan about a fight against discrimination. Indeed, it must be an essential part of the campaign for better community relations so dear to the heart of Captain O'Neill.' Discrimination may have originated from religious or political motives, but the result is always to establish privilege [and by implication an underprivileged class].
Withers speech 'showed courage'
Report: The outgoing president of the methodist church expresses support for the attack on bigotry made by the new presbyterian moderator.
Labour want[s] review of law on 'rights'
Report: The NILP calls for a Royal Commission to review Northern Ireland laws so that they may be reshaped to protect 'basic human rights and liberties.' A new system should be designed 'to serve public order and protect minorities from intimidation.' A significant step forward would be the repeal of the Special Powers Act.
The pace quickens in Labour lawyers' inquiry
Report: The Society of Labour Lawyers has been receiving submissions on Northern Ireland affairs, including material on the subject of religious discrimination. No firm conclusions are expected until the autumn, at the earliest.
8 June, 1968
The same old story
Editorial: Westminster intervention in Northern Ireland is desirable; mere friendly prodding from London will not produce the desired results.
Public is silent on government's new White Paper
Report: G. B. Newe, secretary of the Northern Ireland Council of Social Services, expresses dismay at the lack of public response to the government's request for suggestions on the re-shaping of local government. 'I know there are differences of religion in Ulster, but what we are concerned to have is a decent job and an opportunity to view our families in a reasonable, decent standard of living…Partition has never been the most vital issue in Ireland. The far greater problem is that everybody should have a decent standard of living.'
10 June, 1968
Unity theme of Connolly commemoration
Report: Joe McCann, secretary of the NDP, talks of the need for nationalist unity: 'Without a united force you will continue to be discriminated against, walked over and treated as second-class citizens…Divisions are the curse of our people today and weaken our every effort at trying to right our wrongs.' He then points to a number of examples: the housing situation at Caledon and elsewhere, high unemployment in Strabane and Newry, and the Derry situation, in reference to which he says 'democracy was completely ignored and the majority of the city's people denied their rights as equal citizens.' No injustice was tolerated by Connolly, and he would be sickened by the divisions within northern society. The state cannot claim to be democratic because of the injustices it permits.
Rally call for united opposition [Report]
Labour indifference to reform in Six Counties
Letter: Lord Stonham's visit demonstrates the Westminster government's 'indifference' to injustice in Northern Ireland 'despite all the evidence' of 'discrimination, gerrymandering and Unionist abuses against democratic practice.'
Protests sent to Wilson and Callaghan
Report: Details of the prosecution of three members of a Republican Club at Swatragh are sent to the government, to the CDU and the Labour Lawyers' group.
An Ulster without hatred
Editorial: O'Neill's speech against violence at the opening of a commemorative hall is praised. 'A spirit of tolerance and goodwill' is growing, but it 'cannot be artificially forced.'
Stormont 'should control housing'
Report: The methodist conference adopts a recommendation that housing policy in Northern Ireland should come under central rather than local government control, as a result of continuing housing shortage and a lack of action on the issue.
11 June, 1968
Grand Lodge may expel Mr Phelim O'Neill
Report: If Phelim O'Neill is expelled from the Orange Order for his attendance at a catholic function, it will 'raise searching questions about the role of a Unionist public representative in fulfilling his duty as he sees fit.' O'Neill himself is defiant, citing his 'minimum inescapable public duty' in defence of his actions.
Let opposition groups unite
Letter: The 'nationally-minded' political groupings are in a state of 'disgraceful disunity.' 'The nationalist ideal should be put before all else…Then we shall stand a better chance to achieve unity and social justice for our people.'
Swings a 'class' issue
Letter: The Sunday play debate is not over religion but class. It is about 'parents who live in homes without gardens and who don't possess cars.'
Example of hypocrisy
Letter: The Sunday play issue is not a religious dispute; it is a class issue, and parents 'who live in houses without gardens and who don't possess cars' should have their say.
Letter: A Church of Ireland bishop's attack on discrimination leads to the question: what 'team' is the bishop playing for? Is he not running the wrong way down the field, preparing to score for the opposing team?
12 June, 1968
Grand Lodge may take no action
Report: The Grand Lodge of Ireland at its meeting in Omagh, it is hoped, will take no action against members in technical breach of its rules on attendance of catholic events. The lodge should 'take cognisance of the contribution such occasional public and private attendances at Roman catholic functions make to better community relations.'
Republican Club wins in court
Leader: The first prosecution of a member of a Republican Club since the ban on such organisations fails.
[NL, 13 June]
'Too much publicity' for critics of church
Report: The Church of Ireland bishop of Connor claims that the actions of extremists receive too much media coverage, and create a very negative image of a bigoted and intolerant Northern Ireland. The reality, he says, is different, with increasing co-operation between the churches evincing the progress made.
[NL, 13 June]
The national ideal first, and always
Letter: Social justice is certainly desirable, but the priority must be 'the national ideal first and always.' The reasoning behind this is simple: 'all social injustices stem directly from partition.' Thus, there must be unity among all of those who support the nationalist cause.
PR would make gerrymandering impossible
Letter: Proportional representation at elections would provide a just level of representation for each community, and would do something towards shattering the illusion that voting patterns are based around confessional allegiance.
Letter: The churches should demonstrate some courage by showing support for the Sunday opening of play areas; this would constitute a stand, in part, against 'bigotry and intolerance.'
What we can do to end this hate and violence
Letter: Parents should take steps 'to encourage toleration in our children,' so as to 'improve community and international relations.'
13 June, 1968
Orange Order rules here, says Fitt
Report: Gerry Fitt, following the expulsion of Phelim O'Neill from the Orange Order, says he will make known at Westminster his concern at the Order's 'unhealthy influence' over the Northern Ireland government.
Phelim is ruled out of Order
Leader: Phelim O'Neill is expelled from the Orange Order for his attendance at a catholic church service. Gerry Fitt condemns '"the ridiculous pressure" which the Order wields in the Northern Ireland political scene.' William Craig denies that the Order is anti-catholic.
Leader: Many Unionist MPs are worried by the Orange Order's decision to expel Phelim O'Neill. It is seen as 'an open challenge to one of the main objectives of government policy - improvement of community relations by involvement at local level.' Any further expulsion may lead to a split between the Order and the Unionist Party.
MP seeks 'early clarification of relationship'
Report: Phelim O'Neill reacts to his expulsion from the Orange Order, and asserts that the Orange Order has 'far too much political power as a pressure group.'
[IN, NL, 14 June]
Editorial: The Orange Order's expulsion of Phelim O'Neill is to be condemned; it places the relationship between the Order and the Unionist Party in question, and makes nonsense of protestations that the Order is not anti-catholic. The move has damaged the prime minister's efforts at improving community relations. In the end, a stark choice must be faced: 'either the Order alters its out-dated rules or surrenders its influence in party affairs.'
[IN, NL, 14 June]
Bishop slams Ulster's bigotry image
Report: The Church of Ireland Bishop of Connor dismisses the image of Northern Ireland as it is often seen abroad, claiming that this image of bigotry is created by certain 'noisy and unruly elements.' The real situation is that 'today there is a far greater spirit of goodwill and co-operation in the churches of this land than ever before.'
[BT, 12 June]
Big debate on Republican Clubs today?
Report: Nationalist MPs criticise the ban on Republican Clubs, following the first (failed) prosecution of a member of such a club under the Special Powers Act.
[BT, 12 June]
Republican Club case: crown to appeal
Report: The defeat of the government's case against a Republican Club member will go to appeal.
[IN, 14 June]
True Orange teaching is 'love' - Craig
Report: Craig, speaking at the Orange meeting at which Phelim O'Neill is expelled from the Orange Order, asserts that the body is not anti-catholic.
14 June, 1968
Dismissal of Republican Clubs case being appealed
Report: Opposition MPs at Stormont protest at William Craig's attempt to enforce the ban on Republican Clubs, seeing it as an infringement of civil liberties. Protest at the power of the Orange Order is also raised, and strong action is advocated to curtail the influence of extremism on government. Craig however justifies the ban, describing the clubs as a part of the IRA machinery.
Republican clubs part of IRA set-up - Craig
Report: Craig defends the ban on Republican Clubs by describing them as part of the IRA organisation, designed to mix politics with IRA violence. 'I regard the IRA as a threat to the peace and the happy community relations that there could be in Ireland.'
[BT, 13 June]
MP is 'not unduly worried' about Orange expulsion decision
Report: Phelim O'Neill claims he had only been trying to further good community relations by his attendance at a catholic church service; he asserts it is now time for the Orange Order to decide whether it is 'a religious institution' or 'an extreme political organisation masquerading under the cloak of religion.'
Worry over implications of O'Neill expulsion
Report: Some Unionists express worry about the Orange Order's expulsion of Phelim O'Neill from the Orange Order, since many of them, William Craig included, have technically breached the Order's rules. Phelim O'Neill asks 'is the order a religious institution or is it an extreme organisation masquerading under the cloak of religion?' He expresses the opinion that it has 'too much political power as a pressure group.'
Magnificent start to the silly season
Comment: Other Unionist MPs are privately worried at what Phelim O'Neill's expulsion from the Orange Order might augur for themselves. They want freedom to represent all of their constituents, of whatever religion, and must be able to attend functions as a courtesy. They will not speak out openly: 'without the support and approbation of the powerful Order few Unionists could hope to hold their seats.'
[BT, 13 June]
'Infringement of MP's rights'
Report: Harry Diamond alleges that the Orange Order is able to exert 'undue pressure' on MPs. Austin Currie challenges the prime minister to demonstrate his good intentions by leaving the Order.
Leave Orange Order, PM is challenged
Report: Currie asserts that it is essential that O'Neill demonstrate the sincerity of his convictions by leaving the 'sectarian' Orange Order.
I stand with Phelim O'Neill - Cramsie
Report: Colonel Henry Cramsie, expelled from the Orange Order under similar circumstances to those under which Phelim O'Neill was expelled, says that he stands by the MP. A London Evening Standard columnist says that the expulsion decision is a blow to Captain O'Neill's policies of reconciliation.
Party and Lodge
Editorial: The Orange Order is failing to practice the principles of civil and religious liberty that it preaches. The link between the Order and the Unionist Party is to be condemned, in view of the power that the former exercises over the latter.
The Order and the Party
Editorial: With the government adopting a new community policy and pursuing closer relations with the Republic of Ireland, it will be necessary for officials, as a matter of courtesy, to attend catholic functions. 'True, it is the government and not the Orange Order which has changed its community policy, and to that extent the Grand Lodge's position is understandable. But any institution which hopes to retain the confidence of the country does not forever preserve its rigidity and it would be no sign of weakness if the Orange Order were to broaden in conformity with the mood of the times.' The dispute must not be allowed to damage the Order's association with the Unionist Party, because both form the 'backbone of the state.'
Can Unionists now claim to be non-sectarian?
Letter: The Unionist Party cannot claim to be non-sectarian while it maintains links with the Orange Order, the sectarianism of which is evident from the Phelim O'Neill affair. Goodwill alone on the government's part is not enough; O'Neill must take action.
Letter: It is hypocritical for the Orange Order to expel those who attend a catholic function as a matter of respect, while it does nothing about members who never attend church, and go out drinking following Orange events.
Comment: The Orange Order seems to be losing touch with 'its concepts of tolerance and charity,' a tendency that could prove dangerous.
Stormont swinging into history!
Report: A petition is presented at Stormont demanding Sunday play facilities for children. The organisers claim intimidation by protestant extremists as a reason for the unwillingness of some protestants to sign. The influence of extremism such as this will merely, they assert, increase community divisions.
Petition for Sunday swings [Report]
If unity is to be achieved
Letter: With reference to nationalist political unity, the national ideal always comes first among nationally-minded people; it must be achieved through purely constitutional means, including 'agitation.'
Castlereagh backing for Mr O'Neill
Report: Castlereagh rural council passes a vote of confidence in Terence O'Neill's 'policies for progress.'
Council backs O'Neill policies
Report: The council believes that O'Neill's policies of liberalisation are 'elementary to a democratic society.'
Squatters must go, says council
Report: Dungannon rural district council says that the Goodfellow family must leave the house in Caledon in which they have been squatting.
[IN, NL, 15 June]
Tiny minority are bigots - Faulkner
Report: Faulkner states that only a 'tiny and misguided minority' in Northern Ireland are 'bigoted and intolerant men who discriminate against their Roman catholic and nationalist fellow-countrymen.' The press and the opposition parties should be fairer to the Unionist Party whose members, in condemning extremism and seeking to improve community relations, 'are tacitly being forced into endorsing the criticisms of our predecessors and of Unionist policies, and allegations of unfair treatment towards the nationalist minority.'
[NL, 15 June]
15 June, 1968
Craig is grilled in Dublin on bans and no bans
Report: William Craig speaks at a Dublin hotel, at a gathering picketed by Sinn Féin protesters, who object to 'the denial of democracy in the Six Counties.'
Mr Craig is picketed by Sinn Fein [Report]
Protest greets Craig
Report: Sinn Féin protests at 'the denial of democracy in Northern Ireland and in particular the ban on Republican Clubs, also the denial of one-man-one-vote in local elections.'
Caledon squatters to move
Report: Dungannon rural council decides to evict the Goodfellow family, which has been squatting in a Caledon house.
Caledon 'squatters' must go
Report: The house will be allocated to a catholic family in need; the squatters had moved in from another house, in Markethill, the council claims [the implication being that there are families in greater need of accommodation.]
[BT, 14 June]
Vast majority support policy of government
Report: Brian Faulkner speaks at an Orange meeting, claiming that Northern Ireland does not deserve the image of an intolerant society. He also claims that Unionists are in a difficult position, for by repudiating extremists, they tacitly seem to endorse opposition criticism. The programme of community bridge-building is, however, progressing well.
[BT, 14 June]
Not spirit of Christ
Letter: As a visitor to Northern Ireland, the writer is dismayed at the 'religious discrimination and bitterness which seems to exist here.'
Letter: The methodist call for the centralisation of responsibility for housing is welcome; local authorities do not have sufficient finances to cope with the situation alone.
17 June, 1968
'Stormont inquest' on expulsion
Report: Samuel Magowan MP, speaking at an Orange meeting, denies the right of Nationalist MPs to question the Orange Order's recent actions; however, he has 'nothing against' catholics and believes that people should live together.
Deputy GM on 'Orange inquest'
Report: He also believes that many catholics are in disagreement with the nationalists.
Plain talk in Dublin
Editorial: With reference to Craig's Dublin speech, the Dublin government's refusal to recognise Northern Ireland provides extremists with ammunition to be used against O'Neill's drive for greater community co-operation.
Nationalists to discuss parade rights
Report: The Nationalist Party conference is to discuss the right to protest freely. Among other resolutions to be submitted is one calling for 'British Labour MPs to speed up their inquiry into Northern Ireland affairs' and another demanding the extension of the parliamentary franchise to the area of local government. A further resolution will record disillusionment with the 'pace of change' in Northern Ireland, and declare support for a campaign of non-violent civil disobedience.
[NL, 19 June]
McAteer to query 'Orange influence'
Report: McAteer is to ask a parliamentary question about what he sees as the excessive influence of the Orange Order. Phelim O'Neill has continued to receive messages of support following his expulsion from the Orange Order.
18 June, 1968
Currie to ask about Caledon house lettings
Report: Currie 'will ask the prime minister "whether, in view of the fact that he has publicly identified himself with efforts to improve community relations, he will intervene to prevent communal strife in the village of Caledon resulting from the decision of the local council to allocate a house to a 19-year-old unmarried girl while next door a family, which includes three young children, is threatened with eviction".'
PM asked to stop house allocation [Report]
A strain on friendship
Editorial: Comments made by McAteer in a BBC interview on 'the studied ill-treatment of the Roman catholic minority' put a strain on community relations.
Orange influence - speaker to rule
Report: Following a question from Eddie McAteer, the speaker of the Stormont house of commons, Sir Norman Stronge, is to rule on whether the influence of the Orange Order over MPs constitutes a breach of parliamentary privilege.
Caledon squatters evicted
Report: The Goodfellow family is evicted from the Caledon house in which it has been squatting.
[IN, NL, 19 June]
King William was not an enemy of catholics
Letter: Orangeism is inconsistent in canonising a tolerant monarch such as William III, while at the same time indulging in its own acts of intolerance, more evidence for which was provided by the expulsion of Phelim O'Neill from the Orange Order.
A service for all?
Letter: The controversy over Phelim O'Neill's expulsion from the Orange Order is misdirected: the matter is a religious rather than a political one. O'Neill was expelled for his arrogant defiance of the Order. There is nevertheless no reason why a form of church service acceptable to all denominations cannot be settled upon for civic occasions.
19 June, 1968
Family dragged out in Caledon eviction 'battle'
Report: The Goodfellow family is evicted from the Caledon house where is has been squatting for some eight months. During the proceedings, force is used, and Currie claims that 'feeling was running very high in the Dungannon district…the Goodfellow affair would certainly go down as the most outrageous scandal that had ever been perpetrated by any local authority in the country.'
Five-hour 'battle of Caledon'
Report: The Goodfellow family is evicted, by force, from the house in which it has been squatting at Caledon.
[BT, 18 June]
Civil rights protest
Report: The Civil Rights Association plans 'an emphatic protest' against the Caledon eviction: 'when the house next door to the one from which a family of five has been evicted is occupied by an unmarried girl of 19, we can only conclude that the principles on which Dungannon rural council makes its allocations are neither those of Christian charity, nor the plain humanity of the Declaration of Human Rights.' They ask all catholics and protestants alike, who feel 'that the Province has been disgraced' by the scenes broadcast on TV, to join the protest.
Rights group protest at Caledon eviction
Report: John McAnerney, CRA secretary, asks that catholics and protestants alike protest at the 'shocking scenes' witnessed at Caledon.
Statement by tenants' body on rent issue
Report: Cullingtree Tenants' Association defers talks with the Northern Ireland Housing Trust, but points out that tenants will not accept an unfair rent system, seeing 'this fight as only one stage in the struggle for social justice.'
McAteer on Orange expulsion
Report: McAteer asks Stronge to rule on whether the influence of the Orange Order and similar bodies over MPs is a breach of parliamentary privilege. He asks if Northern Ireland is to be 'ruled by this chamber or from secret Orange cloisters.'
Editorial: Stronge is to rule on whether the influence of Orange institutions on MPs is a breach of parliamentary privilege. Not only is this undue influence to be condemned but, 'by its bigoted actions, [it] destroys the image of the Six Counties as a civilised society moving rapidly into the twentieth century, which the prime minister, Mr O'Neill, strives so valiantly to present to the outside world.' It is to be hoped that O'Neill will take a stand against the Order's 'outmoded bigotry', which is standing in the way of his 'genuine and praiseworthy desire to improve civic and communal relations…and to foster goodwill towards the rest of Ireland.'
McAteer tells speaker 'resign as RBI head'
Report: McAteer expresses his belief that the speaker must resign from his high position within the Royal Black Preceptory since it is in conflict with his officially impartial role in the commons. This follows Stronge's ruling that the influence of the Orange Order does not breach parliamentary privilege.
[NL, 20 June]
Two may escape Orange expulsion
Report: If speculation that two senior Unionists may escape expulsion from the Orange Order is correct, then the danger of a split between Order and Party may be lessened.
Letter: The catholic church has been undergoing a process of reform; the Orange Order, if it truly believes in 'civil and religious liberty,' should follow suit.
Letter: The Orange Order has rendered great service to Northern Ireland over the years; now, however, to continue that good service, it must reform itself.
Into the open
Letter: The Unionist Party would be better if 'divorced from Orange influence'; Phelim O'Neill should have resigned from the Order rather than have waited to be pushed from it.
O'Neill expulsion [Letter]
Encourage the liberals
Letter: If the Orange Order truly is the defender of 'civil and religious liberty,' then it must allow its members to attend catholic functions.
Letter: Gerry Fitt and Harry Diamond have used the Phelim O'Neill case to blacken the name of the Orange Order, assisted in their 'Romeward trend' by the press. The Order has exposed the moderates who court 'Fenian' involvement in the state; protestantism must be defended, and 'Orangeism and politics must go hand in hand.'
Breach is eyewash [Letter]
Debate on right to demonstrate
Report: The Nationalist Party conference is to debate freedom to demonstrate, and the violation of that right by the authorities' use of counter-demonstrations as an excuse to impose bans on protest.
[BT, 17 June]
Caledon will follow PM's lead - minister
Report: William Fitzsimmons, minister of development, feels that the actions of squatters cannot be condoned. Currie claims that the incident calls into question the sincerity of government protestations over community relations: 'It was bad enough for a family not to be able to get a house but when they could see no other reason for them not getting a house other than their religion or politics, then the feelings of that family were much worse.' He argues that 'the system is open to abuse and should be changed immediately.'
Bigotry, transplants on synod agenda
Report: A motion supporting O'Neill's policies will be placed before the synod of the non-subscribing presbyterian church.
A strong local government structure needed - PM
Report: O'Neill makes a speech dealing with the issue of local government reform, asking for public submissions to aid in the development of new structures.
[NL, 20 June]
20 June, 1968
Mr Currie ordered to leave house at Stormont
Leader: Austin Currie condemns in strong terms the Caledon eviction, seeing it as a 'shocking indictment' of the system. He believes that talk of good community relations must be backed by decisive government action against the kind of behaviour represented by the Caledon affair. The government must also 'prevent what led up to the squatting.' Caledon is representative of a wider situation in Tyrone. It shows a clear-cut case of bigotry, and the government would have the support of all decent people, of whatever denomination, if it were to intervene, as it must. Diamond talks of the value of a points system for housing allocation in the light of this outrage. John Taylor justifies the allocation to the unmarried protestant and avows Republican Club involvement in the trouble at the Goodfellow eviction. Currie is ejected from the house for accusing Taylor of being untruthful in presenting his case. Eddie Richardson suggests the appointment of commissioners in place of corrupt local authorities. Joseph Burns claims that, above all, the rule of law must be upheld. Minister of development, William Fitzsimmons, claims that the situation is being blown out of proportion by the opposition, and that tensions do not appear to have risen in Caledon as a result of recent events.
Uproar in Caledon debate
Report: A Stormont debate on the eviction at Caledon sees Austin Currie ejected from the chamber after accusing John Taylor of lying about the circumstances of the allocation of the adjoining house to a 19-year-old unmarried girl, Emily Beattie. Currie says that the allocation was made on political grounds and that decent protestants are disgusted. O'Neill must prevent another Caledon if his plans for improved community relations are to succeed. Taylor accuses Currie of causing the trouble, and of damaging community relations. He refutes accusations of partiality by Dungannon council. Opposition members stress the unjust nature of allocations; Unionists emphasise adherence to the law.
[BT, 19 June]
Squatting not to be condoned - minister
Report: Fitzsimmons claims
that extending special treatment to the Goodfellow family would
merely set an undesirable precedent, showing that squatting can
be a successful tactic. He agrees that 'the scenes at the eviction
had been deplorable, but, he said, they were the results of the
action taken by people illegally in possession of property.'
This follows upon the ejection from the house in Caledon.
Taylor describes the whole affair as a 'political
stunt,' of which many catholics disapprove.
Spirit that didn't spread to council
Feature: Mrs Goodfellow, evicted from the Caledon
house in which she had been squatting, tells of her experiences;
that her family was shunned on their initial arrival in Caledon
'more because we had taken the stand we did than because we're
catholics'; that the family had come to be accepted by local people
as they came to realise the difficulty of the Goodfellows' position.
The Caledon case is a throw-back to nineteenth-century Ireland
that makes a travesty of the latest 'bridge-building' ideas.
A lesson for the councils
Editorial: Events at Caledon illustrate why squatting should not be tolerated: 'whatever sympathy there is for the plight of one family it should always be tempered by the knowledge that it is wrong for anyone to jump the queue.'
Who goes home?
Editorial: Whatever the rights and wrongs of the Caledon
affair, it 'must alert public attention again to the seriousness
of Ulster's housing shortage.' More houses must be built, but
the authorities must see to it that houses are allocated with
'scrupulous impartiality.' While it is mainly the local authorities'
responsibility to carry out this duty, the government must 'exercise
some supervisory powers'; it must consider a 'thorough inquiry'
into housing allocation if civil disobedience
is not to escalate.
McAteer urges speaker to quit RBP
Report: The speaker rules that the influence of the Orange Order over MPs is not to be referred to the privileges committee. McAteer accuses him of failing to tackle the issue, and urges his resignation from his position of authority in the Royal Black Preceptory.
[BT, 19 June]
Orangeism is facing challenge of future
Comment: The Orange institution should
reconsider its attitude towards attendance by its members at catholic
Anatomy of unrest
Comment: 'There is clearly some feeling in Orange
circles that the Order should be less directly involved in politics.
But if the Orange Order is not a political pressure group, what
is it?' If the link between the Unionist Party
and the Order is ended, there might well be 'an upsurge of independent
unionist or protestant Unionist candidates.'
A new political party wanted here?
Letter: Attendance at catholic services whether in pursuance of civic duty or as a mark of friendship is right. Voting in Northern Ireland tends to take place along confessional lines because the alternatives are either unrealistic or distasteful. A new cross-community party is necessary to 'promote what the majority of people feel are the best interests of Ulster as a whole.'
Invitation to public by premier
Report: O'Neill calls on the public to offer submissions for the re-organisation scheme for local government. He does not refer explicitly to community relations but talks of building a 'new Ulster.'
[BT, 19 June]
An odd silence
Editorial: No public suggestions have been submitted towards
the government's scheme for the reform of local administration.
People should take notice since they will be affected by the
Currie squats in house
Leader: Currie begins, along with
two other men, to squat in the Caledon house of
Minister deplores action by MP
Report: Currie's latest protest -
his squatting at Caledon - is condemned as unjustifiable
by Fitzsimmons. Conventional
political channels are seen by opposition MPs to have failed,
with a resulting build-up of frustration. More houses, according
to McAteer, are not in themselves enough;
fair allocation is the crux of the matter.
Church to probe Ulster bigotry
Report: The non-subscribing presbyterian
church passes resolutions supportive of O'Neill's
policies of reconciliation, and of the presbyterian moderator's
attack on bigotry. A committee is formed to investigate the source
and extent of bigotry.
21 June, 1968
Mr Austin Currie becomes a squatter
Leader: Currie and two other men are ejected from the house in Caledon that has been allocated to the 19-year-old unmarried girl, Emily Beattie. Currie claims that they were protesting against inadequate housing provision and a system of allocation not based on need. Fitt proposes to take a dossier on the Caledon affair to Westminster. He also claims that the Unionist government was warned of tensions in the area, and must carry responsibility for developments there. Joe McCann of the NDP claims that nationalists need to re-think their strategy and should consider civil disobedience.
A sledge hammer end to sit-in
Report: Currie and two other men are forcibly ejected from the house of Emily Beattie in Caledon, where they had begun squatting. Currie claims that the protest 'highlights the injustice of the system of allocation of houses in this area.'
Nationalist MP's sit-in ends [Report]
Any sense in our attending Stormont - McAteer
Report: Eddie McAteer speaks of increasing frustration among nationalists that the opposition is never paid much heed at Stormont. 'He had been searching the horizon to find out from where the torch could come to ignite the dry heather. What might now be taking place in Caledon might very well be the prelude to another period of turmoil and strife.' It could set back community relations by years. Joseph Burns asserts that Currie's irresponsibility was the spark for any possible trouble. One unionist MP suggests that the Minister for Development try to reach some kind of agreement on housing the Goodfellow family, but other of his colleagues assert that squatting cannot be seen to have succeeded.
'Desperation act' by MP
Report: Additionally, Fitzsimmons claims that there is 'no infallible system of allocating houses.'
Caledon incident: minister accused
Report: McAteer expresses frustration
at the inability or unwillingness of the government to deal with
the housing situation: 'it makes me wonder whether there is any
bloody sense in our coming here [to Stormont] at all.' Fitzsimmons
is failing to resist the 'local powers of darkness.' The minister
feels that Caledon is an isolated incident that
has been blown out of all proportion, and that there can be no
infallible system for allocating houses.
Currie is silent on police visit after sit-in
Report: Police visit Currie in connection
with his squatting at Caledon. He will speak at
a protest meeting on the eviction that has been organised for
Time for government action
Editorial: The government must take action to prevent housing
allocation on the basis of religion or
politics rather than merit. The problem is not confined to Caledon,
as published statistics have made clear.
Into battle with colours flying
Comment: The scenes at Stormont over the past week have
done the institution no credit at all. More will undoubtedly
be heard about the Caledon affair. 'The scenes
of a family being evicted have caused an almost universal revulsion.
But the rule of law has to be upheld; the alternative is anarchy.'
Currie plans to ask the Nationalist Party
conference to declare in favour of 'non-violent civil disobedience.'
'Most nationalist grievances are at local authority
level which so far has remained largely unaffected by the momentum
of change.' The week has seen a polarisation in politics. 'What
price community relations now?'
Letter: Squatting cannot be condoned, but there are surely
more humane methods of dealing with it than were evident in the
No extension to Race Bill
Report: A backbench Labour attempt to have the Race Relations Bill extended to Northern Ireland fails. A Unionist at Westminster comments: 'we do not have a problem of discrimination on racial colour or ethnic grounds in Northern Ireland at all.'
Race Bill - Ulster voted out
Report: A Unionist MP argues that the Race Relations Bill
is not applicable to Northern Ireland. Rather, the region faces
the problems of community relations
and religious discrimination.
The Orange Order
Letter: The press is to be condemned for its intrusion
upon the affairs of the Orange Order. The
Order has a perfect right to act in the ways that it sees fit.
Letter: The Orange Order should not tolerate those who flout its rules; it should however practice Christian teaching and 'pray for' and 'not hate' catholics.
Call for new political party
Report: A presbyterian minister calls for the formation of a new political party that will allow protestants and catholics to work together.
A new political party for Ulster [Letter]
A party for the common good of Ulster [Letter]
[see IN, 20 June, A new political party wanted here?]
22 June, 1968
Eviction protest meeting tonight in Dungannon
Report: Currie talks of support for his actions being strong, and expects a large turn-out at the demonstration organised in Dungannon.
All was quiet in Annalong
Report: Two rival marches pass off peacefully in Annalong; the nationalist marchers hear a speech advising that nationalists should stand up for their rights; words describing the improvement in community relations do not necessarily mean that things have become easier for nationalists.
None of McAteer's business - Porter
Report: The expulsions from the Orange Order are not the concern of Nationalists, a meeting is told; Orangemen would not question the expulsion of Nationalist MPs from the Ancient Order of Hibernians or a Gaelic sports society. This speech follows the marching of both an Orange and a nationalist parade in the same area, both having passed off peacefully.
Spotlight on the Orange [Order?]
Report: Brian Faulkner stresses at an Orange meeting the continuing need for the Order's participation in politics. The constitution is still in danger and the churches do not fear to speak out on political issues. There is therefore no reason why the Orange institution should proceed any differently.
Keep political links, Orange Order told
Report: By its involvement in politics, claims Faulkner, the Order retains its relevance to the modern world. But for its efforts, Northern Ireland would not exist.
Principles of Orangeism shine bright
Report: An Orange meeting is told that while the Order's rules might be in need of modernisation, its principles remain untarnished.
The people and the parties
Editorial: Proposals for a new political party in Northern Ireland are fascinating but unrealistic. Existing loyalties are too strong, despite growing criticisms. Criticism is constructive, and will help the growth of new outlooks.
Editorial: O'Neill has talked of a 'proper dialogue' between government and people over local government reform; his government cannot rest easy until it makes some positive proposals; only then can the 'haggling' over the final forms begin.
Summary: The executive committee of the Unionist Party calls for the planned reform of local government to be postponed until a report is published in England on the same question.
Housing protest in Derry street
Report: The Derry Housing Action Committee moves a caravan onto a busy road in protest at the general housing conditions in the city. Chairman of the Committee, Matt O'Leary, claims that 'this is the beginning of a series of such incidents because it is obvious that the normal channels are of no avail.'
[NL, 24 June]
24 June, 1968
Nationalist Party considering non-violent civil disobedience
Leader: The east Tyrone branch of the Nationalist Party expresses its disillusionment with the pace of change and calls for a programme of non-violent civil disobedience 'to wreck a system which has as its basis a deliberate policy of denying equal treatment and equal opportunity for all.' The executive of the party is to consider the request. Currie claims that O'Neill initially raised hopes when he came to the premiership, but has delivered only 'pious platitudes and damn all else.' Civil disobedience, he contends, would constitute 'a safety valve against the possibility of violence' - violence which, while he disapproves of it, he feels is likely to occur as tensions build. Normal channels for redress have failed: 'if we cannot have justice we must make a government based on injustice unworkable.' Another MP, James McGarvey, claims protestants who are not members of the Orange Order or the Unionist party suffer the same injustices as catholics, and so could join in such a campaign. Others voice caution, some fearing that civil disobedience could all too easily lead to violence.
Rebuff for the defiant ones
Leader: The moderates at the Nationalist Party conference have prevented the unqualified acceptance of a policy of civil disobedience by the party, though the executive has been asked to examine the implications of such a policy. McAteer proclaims the unhealthy state of affairs in Northern Ireland politics, but advises his followers that 'we must not allow ourselves to be goaded into precipitate action which could only set the clock back a very considerable time and which, indeed, might not be fully supported by the body of our people.'
McAteer warns of resentment danger
Report: McAteer speaks at the Nationalist Party conference of the frustration of nationalists at the lack of political progress.
Nationalists to shelve civil disobedience
Report: The Nationalist Party conference votes to consider the implications of a policy of non-violent civil disobedience rather than declare support for it immediately. Nationalists, claims one speaker, 'have long since lost all belief in the efficacy of co-operation.' The conference calls on the parliamentary party to introduce a Bill for the reform of local government, without waiting for its reorganisation by the government.
Nationalists at bay
Editorial: Nationalist representation at Stormont has achieved little, but civil disobedience is too risky and unlikely to achieve anything in the face of the laws the government can invoke. The creation of a strong and united nationally-minded opposition inside or outside Stormont would be a positive development.
Nationalists 'should sink differences'
Report: An Irish News editorial claims that opposition bodies should form 'a great united minority body, determined to fight for its rights and to explore every way of securing justice - whether inside or outside Stormont does not really matter.' In such a scenario, the government, claims the editorial, would find inaction increasingly difficult.
Editorial: Despite the stand-off between moderates and radicals at the Nationalist Party conference over non-violent civil disobedience, the issue remains a live one, 'with as much threat to the Nationalist Party as to the peace of the Province…No-one could say where it would end'; it could degenerate into violence. However, the moderates are clearly under pressure, because their 'honest toil' at Stormont has 'achieved little more than acceptance of one-man-one-vote in Stormont elections, leaving the real stuff of politics at local government level, relatively unchanged.' The government should not delay local government reform, which would help restore confidence in constitutional methods; if the government continues 'talking better community relations without a strong enough follow-through', then there is the danger of a Nationalist split, and the resulting problems that would be created by the more radical faction.
Statesmanship from Mr O'Neill now needed
Letter: The Caledon affair affords O'Neill the perfect opportunity to demonstrate the reality of his professed good intentions.
Mr Currie's frustration
Letter: Currie's actions are justified given the failure of Stormont to tackle the issues: 'Everyone who has any human feelings must join in this fight against discrimination not only between religions but every form of this inhuman practice.'
Social justic [sic] battle will continue, says Currie
Report: Currie, at the Dungannon meeting, claims that the fight for social justice will continue, and will use all the 'many weapons in the arsenal of non-violence and civil disobedience.' The situation in Northern Ireland is the same as that in the southern states of the USA or that in South Africa, the sole difference being that discrimination in Northern Ireland is based on religion rather than colour. Good community relations are desirable, but these can be established firmly only on the basis of 'justice and equal treatment for all sections of the community.' Currie, along with McAteer and Fitt, emphasises the failure of normal channels of redress for grievances. Patricia McCluskey says that the CSJ has been campaigning for many years on housing allocation, but the campaign has so far failed. Fred Heatley, CRA chairman, speaks out in favour of civil disobedience, though this means the abandonment of the Association's 'neutrality' policy. Kevin Agnew voices the opinion that, since nationalists pay taxes, and are 'condemned to live under the Union Jack,' they should join Currie in demanding their due from the state.
I'll go to jail to fight homes injustice - MP
Report: Austin Currie, speaking at a strongly attended Dungannon meeting, says that Caledon was a 'blatant example of religious discrimination…The injustice exposed there is only the tip of the iceberg.' The failure of government to implement its promises has led to the use of 'other methods' by the minority community in its frustration at the lack of progress. A policy of 'non-violent civil disobedience' is worthy of support, since it would 'publicise injustice' and force the government to act. Good community relations are certainly desirable, but 'they must be based on justice and equal treatment for all sections of the community…If we do not have justice we will make a government system based on injustice unworkable.'
NILP warns O'Neill about 'real danger'
Report: The NILP warns that Caledon may not prove an isolated incident if ministers 'persist in pretending that no problem exists in housing allocation.' Central government cannot duck responsibility. McAteer desires a meeting with O'Neill to make clear nationalist frustration at the lack of progress. The NILP statement points out that 'glaring injustices' will continue so long as a system of 'party patronage' is not replaced by a fair points system.
[NL, 25 June]
'Alternative policy to Unionism needed'
Report: James Doherty, chairman of the Nationalist Party, talks of the need for a nationalist policy that will 'root out sectarianism and the idea that one section of the community was not fit to rule or to contribute to the ruling of the country.'
Appeal to Mr Faulkner from Orange platform
Report: Faulkner is praised at an Orange gathering, while the Nationalist Party is told to 'mind its own business' so far as the affairs of the Orange Order are concerned. 'We do not go around poking our noses into the religious and political ventures of the Hibernian Order.' Moderate Unionists are, on the other hand, welcome to question the Orange Order's links with their party; however, they must realise that the maintenance of the state of Northern Ireland depends, to some degree, on the Order. Churchmen who object to it are accused of attempting to 'curry favour with the church of Rome.'
More Orange sackings
Report: Other "Phelim O'Neill's" [sic] exist within the Orange Order, a meeting is told, and they must go. Faulkner's attitudes are praised; generally, however, Orangemen are tired of 'politicians seemingly using this great institution.' Faulkner himself speaks favourably of the secular power of the catholic church and urges protestants to adopt a similar stance.
Is Grand Lodge placing a new meaning on Orange obligation?
Letter: The rules of the Orange Order do not prohibit attendance at catholic worship; rather, they prevent agreement with its tenets. Phelim O'Neill was not in any way 'countenancing' the principles of catholicism; he was merely partaking in a catholic service in a 'spirit of goodwill.'
Just new tactics
Letter: The improvement in community relations is questionable, while the Orange Order is too readily criticised. It has always respected catholics.
Chaos as Derry family protests
Report: The DHAC moves a caravan onto a main roadway in Derry as a protest against housing conditions in the city.
[BT, 22 June]
25 June, 1968
Girl tenant's story 'brings out truth'
Report: Emily Beattie's disclosure in a Sunday newspaper of how she secured her controversial tenancy is cited by Currie as evidence of corruption. The Northern Ireland Liberal Party leader, Rev Albert McElroy, condemns the system as open to abuse, and demands a points system. A similar view is put by the NILP.
Action sought to end 'bias' in housing
Report: McElroy demands government action to end unfair housing allocations. Government should not 'sweep matters under the carpet and disclaim responsibility.' A points system is necessary to reform this 'long-standing' abuse.
Housing points system plea
Report: The NILP calls for a points system for the allocation of housing. Fair allocations cannot take place, it is stated, under a 'system of party patronage.' Ministers must take responsibility since the matter involves the expenditure of public money.
[BT, 24 June]
Answer to Caledon
Editorial: The victory of the moderate faction at the Nationalist Party conference in the vote on the advisability of civil disobedience is to be welcomed. Reasoned negotiation is the best way forward. The establishment of ministerial supervision of local councils or even a complaints tribunal would ensure fairness.
Letter: The opposition at Stormont takes every available opportunity to 'blacken and slander our Province and people,' harping on 'manufactured grievances' and 'exploiting and misrepresenting every imaginable incident.' Attacks on the Orange Order are not justified when one compares that body's influence at Stormont with the influence of the catholic church over Dáil Éireann.
Unionist walk-out as Currie speaks
Report: Currie returns to Stormont for the first time since his expulsion from the house; Unionist backbenchers leave the chamber on his arrival. Currie maintains his belief that John Taylor is not providing a true picture of the facts about the Caledon allocations.
[NL, 26 June]
McAteer asks to address cabinet
Report: McAteer meets O'Neill, asking to discuss 'Nationalist grievances and frustration over the pace of political reform' with the cabinet. Among other issues, McAteer raises housing allocation and the franchise.
[IN, 26 June]
Techs close the divisions in community - Long
Report: Minister of education, Captain Long, says that technical colleges help close the gap between the communities by allowing students to come to know and respect one another's views.
26 June, 1968
PM determined to 'keep a tight lip'
Report: McAteer meets O'Neill to inform him of the frustration of the nationalist community over the issue of reform. McAteer's own priority for reform lies in the area of 'local authority administration.'
[BT, 25 June]
Unionists boycott Currie's speech
Report: Unionist MPs stage a mass walk-out on the return to the chamber after his brief exile of Currie, who maintains his belief in the inaccuracy of Taylor's statements on the Caledon situation. McAteer meets O'Neill for brief talks, expressing his belief that there is a feeling, not simply among nationalists, that change is necessary.
[BT, 25 June]
MPs make new move on Caledon
Report: Currie and Fitt bring forward a motion critical of Taylor's statements on Caledon.
[NL, 27 June]
Allocation of house in Caledon
Letter: Currie's arguments on the unfairness of the allocation in Caledon to Emily Beattie can be refuted.
Editorial: A points system should be established for the allocation of housing; by doing nothing, the government is sanctioning injustice.
Non-violent civil disobedience
Letter: Non-violent civil disobedience should be planned with great care if it is to succeed. It should rely on establishing the making known the truth behind the grievances, and should avoid bitterness.
New party must be a genuine coalition
Letter: A new political party, it should be emphasised, must cut across religious boundaries and provide for genuine community co-operation.
General interest in Orange affairs
Comment: People have the right to take an interest in the affairs of the Orange Order: it is opposed to one of O'Neill's major policies, and has wielded its threatening influence against an MP.
Proud of Stormont
Letter: The institution of Stormont, since its foundation, has governed impartially, and catholics share with protestants the benefits of the welfare state, housing programmes, transport and health. If discrimination and bigotry really existed, then why has there been 'no mass exodus to Eire'? There is no need to be 'concerned with Ireland or its outdated backwoodsmen.'
27 June, 1968
The Nationalist Party and civil disobedience
Letter: The Nationalist Party ought to adopt wholeheartedly the policy of civil disobedience advocated by Austin Currie.
Towards a united opposition party
Letter: All parties in opposition [the NILP is not mentioned in this regard] are in favour of a united Ireland and are at one in opposing discrimination and gerrymandering. But they are at odds in other spheres, making a united opposition impossible.
A negligible political force
Comment: The Nationalist Party has no real power in opposition because it will never have the opportunity of forming a government in Northern Ireland. Change has come through government initiative rather than opposition pressure; hence Currie's advocacy of a policy of non-violent civil disobedience. Such a policy might have more effect on government, if properly orchestrated. 'But it would appear that the minority is too satisfied with its lot, and with the gradual changes taking place, to get into the messy business of protest marches and sit-ins.'
Caledon house tenancy
Letter: Emily Beattie's criticism of Austin Currie is unwarranted.
Caledon censure motion
Report: Currie and Fitt put down a motion of censure against John Taylor for 'grossly inaccurate and deliberately misleading' statements on the Caledon affair, contrary even to an explanation given by Emily Beattie in the previous edition of the Sunday News.
[BT, 26 June]
Family of ten on waiting list for home since 1964
Report: Tom Boyd (NILP) is critical of a system that has kept a large family waiting for years to be allocated a house. Joseph Burns refers to some allocations, pointing out that similar numbers of homes have been given to catholic and protestant alike in the predominantly protestant Limavady area.
She hates Kate
Letter: The biased reporting of Northern Ireland in the press threatens improving community relations.
Speaker told 'resign or leave Black post'
Report: McAteer and O'Reilly call on Stronge to resign either from the speaker's chair in the house of commons, or from his high position in the Royal Black Preceptory. They also table a motion stating that Orange attempts to 'regulate an MP in the full discharge of his duties to all his constituents, irrespective of their denomination, constitutes a contempt of this house.'
[IN, 1 July, NL, 28 June]
28 June, 1968
Letter: A united nationalist party would be in a strong enough position to emulate the American civil rights movement. Nationalists should think along these lines: 'not civil disobedience, but civil rights.'
Letter: The Nationalist Party should stop talking about, and actually take some concrete action, if it truly wishes to combat discrimination. It should begin by refusing participation both in central and local authorities.
Orange Order, RBP motions
Report: McAteer puts down two motions at Stormont, the first protesting at the undue political influence of the Orange Order, and the second calling on the speaker to resign either his chair or his position within the Royal Black Preceptory.
[IN, 1 July, BT, 27 June]
Connolly parade banned
Report: A Derry Connolly commemoration parade is banned; the organisers protest that the march would be non-sectarian, and see behind the decision the influence of ultra-conservatives who wish to stop people marching peacefully through their own town.
A matter of principle
Letter: Orangeism can live in good-neighbourliness with others, but this does not mean that it should compromise its principles.
Orange Order will have to move with ecumenism
Letter: There is no need for the formation of a new political party; there are enough of these already. Orange influence over the government is undesirable, as was demonstrated by the Phelim O'Neill affair. Religion should not be a deciding factor over one's political allegiance; however, many catholics will not join the Unionist Party while it retains its links with the Orange Order.
Homes sweet homes
Editorial: Housing has been one of the government's success stories in recent times, a few areas excepted.
Dungannon priest accuses council of religious bias
Report: A Dungannon priest accuses the Dungannon council of religious bias in a dispute over a piece of land.
[IN, 29 June]
Squat in house - father
Report: A Maghera man threatens to begin squatting, citing Magherafelt rural council's failure to keep a promise of an allocation for his family.
Democracy body praises Mr Currie
Report: The CDU sends a letter to Currie praising his recent actions, and urging him to 'persevere in your efforts to achieve civil rights for all the people of Ulster.' His was a 'courageous stand against discrimination.'
29 June, 1968
204 new houses since 1944: two go to catholics
Report: An open letter to the chairman of Dungannon rural district council points to the duplicity on the council's part in a dispute over an area of land purchased for the 'development' of the local catholic parish by the trustees of that parish. It is revealed that of the 204 new houses built under the council's jurisdiction since 1944, only two have been allocated to catholics. The council is accused of perpetrating a 'gross miscarriage of justice' based, it is hinted, on its anti-catholic prejudices.
[BT, 28 June]
Orangeism - 'liberty for all men'
Report: Orangeism, states Faulkner at an Orange ceremony, is a tolerant creed that respects civil and religious liberty, and wishes to live in good neighbourliness with others. Orange involvement in politics is justified; it represents the kind of popular participation to which all groups in society are entitled.
Orange Order 'has no wish to dominate'
Report: Faulkner says the Order has a right to a voice in the affairs of the community since, like many organisations, it is a 'group of individuals united by a common interest.' The Order should not be seen as bigoted; rather, it believes in civil and religious liberty. Its involvement in politics is beneficial.
The 'mask' of Mr Faulkner
Letter: Faulkner has some praiseworthy ideas on politics. The Orange Order is entitled to participate in politics, as is the catholic church. Membership of the Order, however, should not be necessary for Unionists to have successful political careers. Society can be improved by the 'breaking down of outworn attitudes of fear and suspicion based on ignorance'; this can be achieved only through dialogue. Faulkner must wear a mask sometimes to cloud his moderation.
McAteer has word to say to U Thant
Report: McAteer hopes to meet UN Secretary-General U Thant and 'remind him that there is a problem here - that there is interference with human rights in the north of Ireland.'
[IN, 1 July, BT, 11 July]
Mr Currie was right
Letter: Currie was right to take a stand on the unfair allocations at Caledon.
June: | 1 | 3-8 | 10-15 | 17-22 | 24-29 |
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