Calendar of Newspaper Articles dealing with Civil Rights issues, 1 Jun 1968 - 9 Dec 1968 by Alan Scott
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October 1968: | 1-5 | 7-12 | 14-19 | 21-26 | 28-31 |
7 - 12 October: | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | Top |
7 October, 1968
Derry rocked by further riots and baton charges
Leader: Rioting has continued in Derry following the confrontation on the civil rights march between police and marchers. Appeals for calm have been made by John McAnerney and by Ivan Cooper, secretary of the Derry branch of the NILP, among others. Two British Labour MPs have sent telegrams to Wilson, Callaghan and O'Neill, calling for an inquiry and for measures to be taken against those responsible for police brutality. They see the violence as the logical outcome of discrimination and the denial of civil rights. A London march by the Connolly Association and republicans has called for an investigation into the banning of the march and the dropping of all charges against those arrested during the course of the day.
Steel-helmeted police in new Derry clashes
Leader: Violence continues in Derry. Lynch
condemns the violence and calls for the people of Derry to be
given their democratic rights. Cooper says
that an agreement had been reached with the police that would
have allowed the demonstrators to pass police lines, but that
the police then attacked the marchers. Tomás MacGiolla,
president of Sinn Féin, asserts
that his party has no special role or undue influence within the
civil rights movement, although the party does sympathise with
the movement's aims.
Derry clears the debris
Report: Derry has seen its worst rioting in 40 years.
Craig denies charges of police brutality
and speaks of the infiltration of the civil rights movement by
the communist-dominated IRA. The
three Westminster MPs who attended the march are demanding that
Callaghan institute an impartial inquiry.
The executive committee of the Northern Ireland Communist Party
condemns RUC tactics as Gestapo-like.
Duke Street brutality reveals the face of the 'new Ulster'
Report: 'The indiscriminate police brutality and Orange-style
tactics of the RUC storm-troopers
the true face of Mr Terence O'Neill's
"New Ulster".' Good community relations have been
set back by ten years. The organisers did admittedly defy the
ban on their march by walking through police lines, but they did
not seek violence; clearly then, police orders must have called
for an iron-fisted response to the march. 'The police did not
discriminate and to be present in Duke Street was cause enough
for a savage beating.' Even when it was clear that the demonstration
had broken up, police obviously still wanted to teach those who
were hiding in doorways or still walking the street a lesson,
and thus used water-cannon to hammer home their message. Disgusted
protesters who later assembled at the Diamond
were also driven off with water-cannon. As the night came in,
barricades were erected and rioting began.
All out of step except Mr Craig and the police
Report: Fitt talks on a BBC radio programme about the Derry march, expressing the feeling that the police intended violence from the first. Unionists, he says, cannot 'afford to apply British standards of democracy because it would erode their own edifice.' He says also that the fight for civil rights will continue. Craig asserts that 'the civil rights march was banned because they [sic] were proposing to march through areas that would provoke serious riot [sic].' The marchers well realised that their actions would provoke 'widespread riot' throughout Northern Ireland, so large numbers of police were certainly necessary. 'The police used no more force than was absolutely necessary, and showed a great deal of restraint.' They were attacked first. Two Labour MPs insist however that police tactics were brutal.
Craig backs RUC action
Report: Craig feels that the RUC performed its duty 'beyond any criticism,' in the face of a march deliberately planned with a view to creating disorder. He feels that the Dungannon parade in August was held under the command of the IRA: 'from the conduct and behaviour of some of the speakers and organisers at the Dungannon parade it was clear that the civil rights organisation was allowing the platform to be used by extremists and trouble-makers for the purpose of preaching violence and stirring up hatred among people.' He says that the DHAC is synonymous with the Connolly Association. The chairman of East Down Unionist Association expresses support for Craig.
Craig 'totally rejects' brutality charges
Report: Craig denies police brutality
and claims that marchers attacked police before the RUC
took any action. He is prepared to hear evidence for brutality,
if its exists, but not to hold an inquiry 'on political agitation.'
He is relieved that major rioting throughout Northern Ireland
was avoided, and emphasises that the march was never banned, but
rather restricted from entering areas where it would constitute
'a direct provocation,' in breach of traditional marching convention.
He sees the movement as a republican front, infiltrated by the
IRA, now itself under the influence
of communists. He regrets having been forced to ban the Apprentice
Boys parade which he says 'had
every right to take place.' He will forward a report to Callaghan
if asked to do so.
Civil rights infiltrated by red IRA, says minister
Report: Craig claims to have photographic
evidence of IRA participation in the
civil rights march. This, he says, helps discredit the notion
that the movement is non-political or non-sectarian;
he sees it rather as a predominantly republican body. He does
not believe that all participants in the march were associated
with the IRA, but feels that such people were ill-advised in taking
part. He also praises the police who, he says, were attacked
first, and who prevented the development of a more serious situation.
Wilson wants urgent Derry report
Leader: Wilson has asked Callaghan
for a report on the disturbances. O'Neill
says that an inquiry is 'unlikely' and adds that deaths rather
than 'scratches and bruises' might have resulted had the ban not
been imposed. The Northern Ireland government will send its own
report to Callaghan. Wilson is being pressed from several quarters
to hold an inquiry. O'Neill feels that Westminster interference
would be unwise. Nationalist Party leaders
will meet to reconsider their role as official the Stormont opposition
party. McAteer calls for Craig's
dismissal and the temporary administration of justice by Westminster
in order to allow tempers to cool. McAteer and Fitt
both deprecate violence but understand the bitterness of Derry
citizens. Cosgrave sends two fact-finders to Derry. The Northern
Ireland committee of the ICTU
calls for Westminster intervention to ensure that British citizens'
rights are extended to Northern Ireland. McElroy
feels that both civil rights marchers and police bear responsibility
for the development of a violent situation, the one for breaking
the law, and the other for using excessive violence. The Liberals
call for Craig's dismissal and the holding of an impartial public
inquiry. Lynch will lodge a protest with Wilson.
Things hotted up a bit - premier
Report: O'Neill hopes that
calm will prevail but fears the damage that has been done to community
relations by events in Derry. He says
that the franchise cannot be looked at in isolation from the reorganisation
of local government.
Call for Craig to agree to an inquiry
Report: The Guardian condemns police brutality and calls for the establishment of a Royal Commission on Northern Ireland. The Derry march's provocative value is questionable, since no crowds appeared to oppose it but the police themselves. Despite O'Neill's merits as a reformer, progress under his government has come at 'snail's pace.' The Irish Times calls for an inquiry into police behaviour and Craig's ban.
[IN, NL 8 October]
MPs ask BBC for transcript
Report: Westminster Unionist MPs ask the BBC for a transcript
of a programme on Derry which they feel to have been biased.
Millions see Derry riots on television
Report: The events on and following the Derry march have
received widespread publicity through television and radio coverage.
Russell Kerr, a Labour MP at Westminster, says that the police
attacked the civil rights demonstrators first. The three Labour
MPs present in Derry are to report to Callaghan
on what they saw.
Editorial: The minority has the right to express its grievances, and if any good has come of the events in Derry, then it is the publicity that the march has provided for the problems of Northern Ireland. The Apprentice Boys march was clearly a contrived affair, but Craig chose to use it as a pretext for banning the legitimate expression of real grievances. 'Decisions by the government's home minister should reflect realities, not the bigoted partisanship by which the government seeks to rule.' Pressure for change is coming from inside Northern Ireland, not outside it as Craig has claimed. Britain may now be forced to look into Northern Ireland's situation. The whole Derry episode has highlighted 'the mocked gestures of goodwill which are proclaimed on high by Mr O'Neill but [which] never seem to reach down to the level of some of his ministers; and certainly not of the prime minister's supporters.'
Let that be an end to it
Editorial: Those with a desire to damage Northern Ireland's reputation can feel satisfaction at the events in Derry which, no doubt, will be broadcast around the world. 'It is our responsibility and that of everyone who can exercise influence that nothing is said or done that might further inflame passions. And this applies perhaps particularly to those who do not know Northern Ireland and who might be tempted to think that they do.' Responsibility for the trouble must be shared between police and demonstrators.
Editorial: Those who breached the police cordon should
not be surprised by the resulting violence. 'When a bad example
is set there will always be young hooligans to join in the mischief.'
Despite the IRA's more subtle approach
to destabilising Northern Ireland, this was not the main issue
raised by the march. The real issue is 'the speed at which Northern
Ireland is pursuing its rightful policy of political and social
advance.' Real progress has been made, but 'the civil rights
movement has its origin in those fields where progress has been
too slow and where a bitter sense of grievance can always be exploited
by men like Mr Fitt, who are ready to go to
the limits of public protest and beyond.' If O'Neill
and his supporters do not assert themselves in addressing real
problems, including 'fairer shares in local government,'
then, 'Northern Ireland will be faced with more disturbance, followed
by intervention by Westminster, and a new polarisation of protestant
and Roman catholic, possibly another Nationalist abstention, that
will set the clock back 25 years.' Peaceful demonstration should
be permitted, but parade organisers and the RUC
must exercise responsibility in their actions.
Americans see the new Derry 'siege'
Report: Fitt, recovering in hospital
from injuries sustained on the Derry march, has received many
calls of sympathy. He says that both protestants and catholics
took part in the demonstration, and that allegations of IRA
involvement are 'an attempt to delude the British electorate especially
in view of the fact that the affair had got world wide publicity.'
NI Labour calls for full-scale British judicial inquiry
Report: Paddy Devlin calls for a full
judicial inquiry into events in Derry. He condemns the Unionist
failure to recognise the existence of a problem and the tactic
of casting aspersions upon the civil rights campaign in the hope
of discrediting it. The Young Socialist Alliance condemns the
'violent and savage repression' that it feels was practised upon
the protesters. In its view, the ban was unjustified since the
march was non-sectarian and would not therefore
have lead to any conflict. 'We regard it as typical of the Unionist
Party's authoritarian mentality that any
criticism of their regime is seen as unconstitutional, and proscribed.'
'Non-violent direct action' was necessary because of the lack
of democracy in Derry. The NILP
Young Socialists claim that violence was not on the minds of the
marchers, but was introduced into the equation instead by the
police. The government has been exposed, they go on to say, as
a 'neo-fascist dictatorship.' The Irish Republican Party condemns
police tactics; the Society of Friends condemns the violence.
The Six County Regional Executive of the Republican Clubs
pledges the support of all Clubs for the CRA;
Craig has tried to make the IRA
into a 'bogey man' of the civil rights movement but has in this
context made untrue statements. The executive hopes that 'protest
marches will continue until full equality, social justice and
fair play are enjoyed by all citizens irrespective of class or
McAteer gives hint of 'hard line politics'
Report: McAteer suggests that Derry may provoke a change of Nationalist Party policy. He wonders if 'there is any use in parliament [which is] providing a cloak for what is a one-party system here.' Taoiseach Jack Lynch has joined the chorus of condemnation. Wilson is sent a telegram by the Derry Trades Council, and another, separately, by the Irish Labour Party, the latter of which calls for a special commission of inquiry to be established. Currie calls for Craig's dismissal from the government, adding that 'the so-called liberal policy of this prime minister now lies in blood-soaked tatters.' He demands an investigation into the working of the Government of Ireland Act. Police brutality is widely condemned by many groups.
Political bombshell from McAteer
Report: McAteer feels that events in Derry have pushed the Nationalist Party closer to a policy of civil disobedience and abstention from Stormont. He criticises Craig for refusing an inquiry into events in Derry, and feels that either County Inspector William Meharg of the RUC, or Craig himself, should be dismissed. He asserts that O'Neill's policies have received a severe setback in Derry: 'you can't enlist the people with batons.' Derry Labour Party condemns the 'calculated brutality' of the RUC. Both it and NICRA have sent telegrams to Wilson, while the British MPs who were present in Derry intend to report what they have seen to Westminster.
Nationalists may boycott Stormont [Report]
Report: The Northern Ireland Communist Party
condemns the denial of free assembly and free speech represented
Participants and onlookers describe the violent scenes
Report: Fitt feels that there will be
many more marches in Derry. Ivan Cooper says
that he had reached an agreement with the police whereby the demonstration
would disperse peacefully after symbolically penetrating police
lines, but this was nullified when the batoning began. Anne Kerr,
Westminster MP, is appalled at the police who, she says, were
'looking pleased' with their conduct. She and her husband are
sending a report to Wilson, as is another
Labour MP. Paddy Fox of the NDP
opines: 'it would appear that the Northern Ireland government
is prepared to use the full power of force at its command to retain
iniquitous practices and stifle genuine protest.' Civil rights,
not excessive force, will promote good community relations.
IRA leader denies he was there
Report: Cathal Goulding denies the
alleged IRA connection with the Derry
civil rights march. Lynch condemns the trouble
in Derry; Corish sends telegrams to both the taoiseach and British
prime minister expressing the Irish Labour Party's concern; MacGiolla
feels that allegations of IRA involvement in the events in Derry
are simply Unionist scaremongering tactics, designed to prevent
the 'growing awareness by people of all creeds and political persuasions
that there is a denial of basic civil rights in Northern Ireland.'
The Irish Republican Party condemns police brutality. The NILP
Young Socialists characterise the Northern Ireland government
as 'a neo-fascist dictatorship.'
Students picket minister
Report: QUB students picket the home of William Craig. A protestant churchman speaking in Belfast condemns those who broke the law by going ahead with the banned march as 'morally responsible for any suffering that ensued.' The Young Unionists support Craig's actions. Cathal Goulding denies that the civil rights movement is inspired by the IRA. The chairman of the Queen's University Conservative and Unionist Association calls for a government inquiry into events in Derry.
Students heckle minister [Report]
Sit-in by Maydown trainees
Report: A sit-in is held by a number of Derry trainees
against Craig's ban on the civil rights march,
and at 'the lack of jobs, homes and civil rights in Derry.'
Action is supported
Report: The Ulster Unionist Labour Association sends a telegram of support to Craig.
[NL, 8 October]
Ban 'a blot' Barr says
Report: The president of the Confederation of Shipbuilding
and Engineering Unions condemns the Derry ban and police brutality.
Fitt to be speaker
Report: A meeting of the all-Ireland Council of Labour
is expected to be convened in the light of recent events.
Defiance of law attacked
Report: A Belfast churchman feels that those who defy the
law are morally responsible for ensuing suffering.
Letter: Civil rights marchers deliberately chose a provocative route for their march; the movement in which they are involved is neither non-political nor non-sectarian, a point amply demonstrated by the presence at its events of Currie and Fitt, who seek to promote civil strife. The attempt to march through a Unionist area was blatantly provocative. The parade's leaders deliberately chose the route in order to be sure that it would be restricted. The claims that the march was banned are unfounded; it was merely prevented from passing through Unionist areas, where its presence would have been provocative. Craig deserves support for his courageous decision.
[see NL, 15 October]
Faulkner warning over civil rights
Report: Faulkner sees civil rights as a republican flag of convenience and 'he did not believe that the vast majority of the nationalist citizens of Northern Ireland believed one word of it.' A 'distorted and corrupt picture of the community' endangers investment in, and therefore the future of all citizens of Northern Ireland. So-called civil rights marchers in Dungannon ended their demonstration with a republican song; their goal is clearly not reform, but the weakening of the constitution.
[BT, 5 October]
Will Derry affair spur Westminster government to act?
Letter: Craig's ban on the Derry civil
rights march was 'arrogant and undemocratic.' Faulkner's
attempt to tar the entire civil rights movement with the brush
of republicanism was deplorable. Police brutality in Derry is
to be condemned. However, the publicity that has been given to
the weekend's events may spur Westminster finally into taking
action on Northern Ireland. Demands for a vote, a job and a decent
house are not revolutionary, and the Unionist government should
not hesitate to implement simple reforms. These
rights, after all, exist in Britain.
Letter: The police in Derry 'conducted a carefully planned and brutally executed repression of a peaceful assembly.' Craig 'puts the demands of the extremists within his own party before the interests of the community.' He has slandered the civil rights movement by accusing it of association with the IRA.
[see IN, 8 October]
Single seat system
Letter: The claim that the abolition of proportional representation
has not affected the composition of Stormont to any great degree
is not an especially convincing one. Queen's University
elections, decided on a PR system, have witnessed changes in the
types of candidate elected over the years. Such an 'evolution'
of representation at Stormont has been prevented by the continued
use of the single seat system for all other Stormont constituencies,
which means that elections are decided solely on the issue of
the Union, with each voter in possession of only one vote and
thus deciding to cast it on that issue alone. The persistence
of the single seat system also prevents the selection of catholic
unionists; under PR in the Republic of Ireland, protestants are
selected for constituencies with little difficulty.
8 October, 1968
Petrol bombs thrown as police vehicles crash Derry barricades
Leader: Further violent flare-ups in Derry follow another day of tension in the city. Wilson has invited O'Neill to Downing Street to discuss the situation. The CRA refutes Craig's charge that it is run by communists and republicans. Dublin city council strongly condemns the Northern Ireland authorities. NICRA pledges to 'carry on our campaign until social justice has been secured for all the citizens of Northern Ireland.' The association has been invited to organise further demonstrations at a number of venues. It reiterates its demand for 'rights which are already enjoyed by the citizens of Great Britain:
One - fair distribution of houses and jobs
Two - franchise laws in conformity with those of a democratic society
Three - end of gerrymandering'
In addition, the repeal of the Special Powers Act is deemed essential.
Land Rovers hit by petrol bombs
Leader: Clashes between inhabitants of the Bogside area and police have continued amid scenes of looting in Derry.
Derry cooler despite petrol bombs
Report: Though violence has continued in Derry, the tensions
in the city are waning.
Derry people sad and bitter after riots
Report: The people of Derry are 'sad because of the disruption
in the life of the community; bitter because it had put the clock
back and perhaps imperilled further industrial development.'
Few are prepared to condone the violence, while many condemn it
in strong terms. The mayor of Derry issues a statement calling
for no further disorder. McAteer asks O'Neill
whether Craig's actions on Derry had cabinet
approval, and goes on to suggest that issues of law and order
might be better administered if transferred, at least temporarily,
to the jurisdiction of Westminster.
Report: Casualties hospitalised over the weekend in Derry
comprise 61 men, 7 women and 8 children.
Movement for Colonial Freedom 'shocked'
Report: The Movement for Colonial Freedom calls for a full inquiry into the events in Derry. 'It is equally incumbent on the British government to ensure not only that peaceful demonstrations to demand elementary democratic freedoms are permitted in all parts of the United Kingdom, but that the grievances which gave rise to this march are dealt with by legislation as a matter of priority.' On person, one vote is seen as absolutely necessary. Liam Cosgrave sends two representatives to investigate the Derry situation. The National Council for Civil Liberties calls for an inquiry into the handling of the Derry demonstration, and 'an extensive judicial inquiry, perhaps a Royal Commission into the working of the Government of Ireland Act 1920, and such important issues as the Special Powers Act, the electoral system of [sic - and?] discrimination in housing and employment.' Craig should also be removed from his post.
'Shocked' at police methods [Report]
No date fixed for meeting between Wilson and O'Neill
Report: A date has not been fixed for the proposed Wilson-O'Neill
meeting. O'Neill warns against British interference and says
that an inquiry into events in Derry is 'unlikely.' Nationalists
may not return to Stormont as the official opposition; the decision
may be made at a forthcoming meeting.
O'Neill says he will meet Wilson
Report: O'Neill is to meet
Wilson, though a date has not yet been fixed.
He expresses his support for the police handling of the Derry
situation; he also hopes that Nationalists will not abstain from
'Mere political agitation' - Craig
Report: Craig is willing to brief
Wilson on Derry, but is not prepared to countenance
British interference in Northern Ireland. He asks 'why should
we hold an inquiry on mere political agitation'? He feels that
superficial injuries are not cause for claims of police brutality,
and argues that large-scale rioting, 'almost on the verge of a
civil war,' would have ensued had not the march been stopped.
Unionist support pours in for Craig
Report: Various Unionist Associations
and groupings of the Orange Order express their
support for Craig's actions with regard to
the Derry civil rights march, and their praise for the handling
by the RUC of subsequent events.
John Coulthard, prospective NILP
candidate for south Antrim, pins responsibility for the trouble
in Derry on those who led the marchers in their defiance of the
law. Two Unionist MPs at Westminster protest at the BBC's coverage
of recent events, which they claim to have been biased. There
has also been much condemnation of both government and police.
The CRA says
that it has been invited to hold other demonstrations, and challenges
Craig to produce evidence of its alleged subservience to communists
and republicans. The Union of Students in Ireland condemns 'apparent
police brutality' in Derry and calls for a Westminster inquiry.
The methodist church
feels that community relations have
been damaged and calls for restraint.
Craig 'has shown little regard for rule of law'
Report: The Falls NILP
branch condemns Craig's decision on the march
and accuses him of using the situation to further his personal
NILP sets out views
Report: The NILP sends
a preliminary report on Derry to Wilson and
'Symptom of community sickness'
Report: The chairman of the Northern Ireland committee of the ICTU laments the scenes in Derry as a symptom of poor community relations, and accuses the government of 'flouting the principles of constitutional democracy, and of maligning legitimate opponents as the enemies of the state.' Disturbances of this nature will damage community-building by discouraging investment; the British government should intervene to extend UK citizens' rights to Northern Ireland.
Derry riots due to 'a sickness'
Report: A polarisation of attitudes in Northern Ireland,
adds the committee, must now be resisted.
Authority for Derry inquiry order debated in lords
Report: In the house of lords, the government is asked
about the implications of section 75 of the Government of Ireland
Act, and the scope for intervention to examine the rights of people
in Northern Ireland. A government peer responds that the planned
meeting is the best way to proceed.
O'Neill asserts: ban may have prevented deaths
Report: O'Neill feels that the ban on the march was justified given the possibility of riots and deaths, which was very real had the measure not been taken. His government has been trying to end 'a tendency in Ireland for a Nationalist local authority not to be over-keen to house people who were unionists and vice versa.' Improving community relations have been dealt a blow. After the re-organisation of local authorities has been completed, it will then be time to look at the question of the franchise. The chosen route for the march was 'pure provocation,' since 'no republican parade has ever marched down this road in the history of Northern Ireland.'
Ban may have prevented deaths - O'Neill
Report: He feels that an inquiry into events in Derry is
'unlikely' and argues against any British attempt to interfere
in Northern Ireland affairs. He speaks of a tendency for Nationalist
local authorities not to be over-keen
to house Unionists. He praises the police, who prevented possible
deaths by their conduct; thanks to them, only 'scratches and bruises'
were sustained. The Derry events would appear to have damaged
improving community relations.
Telegram supports Craig
Report: The Ulster Unionist Labour Association sends a telegram of support to Craig, praising him for his 'action in keeping the IRA from causing civil strife and public disorder in Londonderry under the false name of civil rights.'
[BT, 7 October]
Cabinet back Craig
Leader: The cabinet backs Craig's actions with regard to events in Derry. A debate is to be held at Stormont over the government's handling of the affair. Students of Queen's University are planning a Belfast march to 'support human rights and to protest at police brutality in Derry.' Paisley has called a counter-demonstration. Fred Taggart, a member of the students' joint action committee, says that students will work with police on alternative arrangements if necessary. Paisley will protest 'within the law,' but feels that students should stay in a nationalist area for their protest, 'where they will be perfectly at home.'
[IN, NL, 9 October]
Big civil rights march in Belfast
Report: 1,500 students are expected to take part in a civil
rights march from Queen's University
to the City Hall in Belfast. An organiser, Fred Taggart, says
that the march will be peaceful, and one of its primary aims is
to protest against police brutality in Derry. It is also designed
to highlight the need for freedom of speech and freedom of assembly,
and to attack all forms of discrimination.
It will also call for a public inquiry into events in Derry and
into the introduction of one-man-one-vote. H Montgomery-Hyde
calls for an independent inquiry into events in Derry. The QUB
Liberal Association criticises Craig for
his ban, which it claims was the cause of violence that otherwise
would not have occurred. A planned Dublin meeting will condemn
the ban. Several Republic of Ireland county councils condemn
police brutality, in addition to the ban itself. The methodist
church feels that the prospects for good community
relations have been set back. Victoria
Unionist Association expresses its
support both for Craig and for the police. The Orange Order
in Scotland wishes to see NICRA
banned. The UCDC
condemns O'Neill's 'policy of appeasement'
and supports Craig's actions. Wilson asks
Callaghan to report to him on the situation,
having received 'only seven telegrams of protest.'
Derry clashes regretted
Report: Armagh Church of Ireland
diocesan synod regrets recent events and hopes that community
relations have not been seriously damaged
Ex-MP wants judicial inquiry
Report: A former Unionist MP calls for an impartial inquiry into the events of 5 October in Derry.
[IN, 9 October]
Students to march to Belfast
Report: The New Ireland Society at Queen's University votes its disapproval of the proposed student march in Belfast. Taggart believes that the Derry parade would have passed off peacefully had it been allowed to march unhindered by police. 'There is no doubt that civil rights meetings have been used by some politicians to make party points, but surely it is not beyond the realms of possibility to find in Northern Ireland many who genuinely believe in its aims.' He adds, 'the criterion by which the Civil Rights Association should be judged is not its personnel but by what it says.' Craig's attempt to brand the CRA a front for republicanism is reprehensible. 'As a protestant and a practising one at that, I strongly resent being forced to express my support for fundamental human rights in a catholic area.' He feels that Craig is afraid that the cause of civil rights will gain moderate Unionist support.
Faulkner contradicts reports
Report: Faulkner denies that political considerations have influenced the ministry of commerce in its economic measures for Derry
Economic damage to Derry
Report: Faulkner expresses worry about the impact of recent events on Derry's economic future. 'Politicians who are prepared to use Londonderry as a centre for their mud-slinging should realise that they can bring serious economic consequences to the area.' He also stresses, contrary to what is suggested by some newspaper allegations, that 'political considerations have never entered into the ministry of commerce's industrial promotion activities.'
Industry threatened by riots - Faulkner
Civil rights: communist-republican charge denied
Report: Faulkner's accusation of
communist and republican control of the civil rights movement
Craig must go say Liberals
Report: McElroy calls for calm
following Derry. 'While the organisers of the civil rights march
cannot avoid their substantial share of responsibility in defying
the ban and thus breaking the law, objective reports indicate
that the police used violence far in excess of the demand of necessity.'
Craig must be sacked and a public inquiry
held. Craig receives support from the South Tyrone Unionist Association.
Cause of violence attributed to action of Mr Craig
Report: The Queen's University
Liberal Society feels that no violence would have occurred in
Derry had the demonstration been allowed to go ahead. Police
brutality cannot be denied.
Lenihan on Unionists' 'vicious sectarianism'
Report: Republic of Ireland minister for education, Brian
Lenihan, argues that discrimination in Northern
Ireland is not the result of the voting system; he feels that
it would be practised under any electoral system.
McAteer to see Lynch
Report: McAteer is to meet with Lynch
to discuss the situation in Northern Ireland.
Eire government asked to demand inquiry
Report: Fine Gael calls on the government of the Republic of Ireland to demand an inquiry into events in Derry. The Irish Labour Party feels that pressure for reform should be exerted on the government of Northern Ireland, and that a strong protest should be lodged with the British government. A number of local councils in the Republic of Ireland have passed their own motions of protest.
Report: A number of protest meetings are being arranged
in Dublin, some by Sinn Féin.
'Solidarity' message from USA
Report: A New York demonstration in support of the people
of Derry is attended by 7,000 people.
Union Jack burned in US
Report: A protest against 'English colonialism in Northern Ireland' is held outside the residence of Britain's UN delegate, Lord Caradon.
[IN, NL, 9 October]
There must be an inquiry
Editorial: There must be an inquiry into police action in Derry. The marchers have been accused of being communists or republicans, but they had every right to march for jobs, homes and votes in a city where the majority is denied control. The whole state of affairs existing in the city must be investigated. Wilson must not ask Stormont to redress the grievances expressed in Derry; the British government must take its own action.
The way ahead for Derry
Editorial: Events in Derry should not be trivialised, but nor should they be blown out of proportion. They are not mirrored all over Northern Ireland, and people should be on their guard against the use of recent events as ammunition against the constitution. 'Derry did not erupt; it was erupted' by those who had their own motives.
Editorial: Wilson's invitation of
O'Neill to Westminster for talks
is an indication of the seriousness with which the situation in
Northern Ireland must now be viewed. O'Neill should 're-state
his policy' clearly, in order to prevent further damage to Northern
Ireland's reputation. His policy has been based around good community
relations, forming 'the best foundation
for secure economic and social development
Where there have
been failures they have been at local levels, those levels at
which the case for better community relations cannot stop at friendlier
contacts but must be exemplified in the conduct of councils and
other public bodies.' Craig may posture
against republicans and communists, 'but the government cannot
be blind to the truth that the source of its troubles is the frustration
of ordinary people who want houses and fair representation.'
The situation calls for serious thought, not protest marches or
political party point-scoring exercises. Government should stop
seeing all catholics as the enemy; only a small minority of extremists
are out to disrupt progress. Change may be difficult for some
to bear, but it cannot be as difficult as periodic surges of disorder.
How to win friends and influence people
Comment: UTV's coverage of the events in Derry was 'first-rate
What the papers said
Report: The London Times has called for an inquiry into events in Derry. NICRA is, according to its editorial, 'not a republican front,' but works through constitutional means. The Irish Times feels that marchers were right to defy an unjust ban. 'It is a pity that civil rights in the North means almost exclusively sectarianism. Nationalists have failed to win over protestants in any numbers; those protestants who disagree with the Orange-Unionist machine have learned to keep their mouths shut.' O'Neill should 'show the good that is in him' by taking remedial action.
Press calls for police inquiry
Report: The Irish Times quotes an article from the Tyrone Democrat condemning the republican announcement of plans to infiltrate the civil rights movement as having 'irreparably damaged the community appeal' of such projects. The Irish Independent feels that the extremists on both sides will use Derry to their own ends, so that either O'Neill or Wilson will be forced to call a public inquiry. The Irish Press condemns Craig and adds that 'his leader, Capt O'Neill, on taking over the premiership, spoke in liberal terms of community relations, but has since found out that the Orange Order must be obeyed.'
[BT, 7 October]
Report: The Times feels that progress has been slow
in Northern Ireland, and that if Stormont does not take action,
then Westminster intervention may be necessary.
Three British Labour MPs criticised
Report: The Daily Express criticises the presence
of three Labour MPs at the Derry demonstration, a presence that,
in the newspaper's view, can only have contributed to heightening
tensions. The Daily Mail is strongly critical of the denial
to British citizens in Northern Ireland of the right to vote.
The Daily Telegraph argues that the march was re-routed
for good reasons, as enumerated by O'Neill
when he said that the restrictions prevented possible deaths.
Labour candidate's open letter to minister [Letter]
[see BT, 7 October, Open letter to minister]
Abstention from Stormont
Letter: The Nationalist Party should
withdraw from Stormont
Letter: 'English public opinion is rightly sickened' at
the RUC's conduct in Derry, and
at Craig's attempt to label those protesting
for democracy and British rights as communists or IRA
Letter: The Special Powers Act, said the National Council for Civil Liberties in 1935, is 'a standing temptation to whatever intolerant or bigoted section may attain power to abuse its authority at the expense of the people it rules.'
[IN, 9 October]
Time for cool, rational statesmanlike action
Letter: Recent events could damage Northern Ireland's economic
prospects. The government must supplement its words with actions,
and remove the evils festering in places like Dungannon
and Derry. Minority leaders must come together and organise a
united but restrained campaign of protest. The moderates must
take control of the situation, and not leave the field to the
Hooligans to blame
Letter: The demonstration in Derry was composed largely
of a hooligan element in search of trouble. They 'deserved everything
they got.' Also, the English should sort out their own problems
at home, and leave Northern Ireland affairs to the people of Northern
9 October, 1968
Further civil rights march will be banned - Craig
Leader: Craig says that a further civil rights march planned for Derry will be banned as provocative, though the civil rights organisers have chosen a route inhabited by a non-unionist majority. Lynch identifies partition as 'the first and foremost root cause of such demonstrations.' The suppression of free speech continues to be subsidised by the British. Fitt claims that Unionists fear the non-sectarian nature of the march, so begin scaremongering about the nature of the campaign for civil rights. Reform must come before a conservative government returns to Westminster, for such a government would only co-operate with its Unionist allies.
We'll march again - civil rights
Report: The Derry organising committee plans another civil
rights march which will start from the Waterside area, an area
covered by Craig's previous ban. Sinclair
is unaware of the plan and calls for a cool approach. A token
strike is also called by the organising committee.
No major incidents
Report: There is no further serious trouble in Derry.
Call for a token strike in Derry
Report: The Derry organising committee calls for another
march, which will meet Craig on his own sectarian
terms by processing through non-unionist areas. A call for an
end to rioting is made. A token one-hour strike is called, while
demonstrations outside Derry, expressing solidarity with that
planned for the city itself, are desired.
Students' protest march clash with Paisleyites unlikely
Report: A 1,200-strong demonstration by QUB students, organised by the Joint Action Committee for Civil Liberty, has accepted police re-routing to avoid a clash with Paisleyite counter-demonstrators. A committee member, Fred Taggart, feels that Craig is misrepresenting Unionists: 'the average unionist only wants to live in peace with his neighbour, and he's sick to death of the kind of action which is being taken in his name.' O'Neill will be responsible for the consequences of a failure to grant reforms.
Extra police for civil rights march
Report: Extra police are being drafted into Belfast to
deal with trouble, should it erupt, following the decision to
allow the student march from Queen's University
to the City Hall to go ahead. Paisley
will hold a counter-demonstration. Craig
feels that the march may heighten tension in Northern Ireland,
but does not feel that this is sufficient reason to impose a ban.
Paisley says 'we have never said we will meet the students.
Our meeting will be a protest within the law.' He is planning
to go ahead with the meeting despite the prospect of a possible
RUC ban. A communication purporting
to be from the UVF threatens that
the civil rights demonstration will be broken up. Taggart will
work with police to avoid confrontation with Paisleyites. Currie
is questioned by police about his participation in the Derry march,
as is McAteer, who will later meet Lynch
in Dublin to discuss Northern Ireland.
Irish students pledge their solidarity
Report: The Union of Students in Ireland condemns the Craig
march ban and the brutality of police. Free expression was suppressed.
One-man-one-vote should be granted.
Noisy debate - then support for march
Report: A debate held at Queen's University
Union debating society is decided overwhelmingly in favour of
a march to the City Hall, a march that is seen as non-political
and non-sectarian. The feeling is aired that
police must take a stand against Paisleyite
dictation. Continuing violence in Derry is condemned, as is 'the
use made of the events in Londonderry by opposition MPs to further
their own ends.' A distinction is seen to exist between those
who took part in the civil rights march and the perpetrators of
the violence which followed.
1,000 stage sit-down
Leader: Queen's University students stage a sit-down demonstration in Belfast, having accepted a police re-routing of a march designed to demonstrate opposition to the handling of the Derry situation. The sit-down results when police prevent the students from reaching their intended destination, where a Paisleyite gathering has assembled. Paisley later tells his supporters to disperse, having expressed the conviction that 'we have won our victory.'
[IN, NL, 10 October]
Students at NUU plan protest
Report: University of Ulster
students give notice of a planned non-sectarian
and non-political civil rights march to be held in Coleraine.
The Northern Ireland committee of the ICTU
condemns the proposed token strike on civil rights in Derry, which
use of industry for political ends it feels could harm the city's
economy. The Irish divisional council of the draughtsmen's union
DATA condemns Craig's prohibition of the
Derry march and 'the use of brute force by members of the RUC.'
Derry men are split
Report: Derry civil rights organisers are split over whether
a demonstration should be held on 12 October.
Ban all counter-rallies - lawyers
Report: The Northern Ireland Society of Labour Lawyers feels that Craig's ban was political in character, drawing a contrast between this action and the indulgence extended to Orange parades through nationalist areas. A threatened counter-demonstration is too often the excuse for such a ban. New measures should be instituted to make for a more just system: a week's notice should be given for any demonstration; organisers should be notified of any ban within 48 hours of receipt of notice; ministerial decisions should be reviewable in a court of law; counter-demonstrations should be prohibited. Westminster should intervene if Stormont does not take action within a specified period.
[IN, NL, 10 October]
Demonstration outside Lord Caradon's home
Report: The American Congress for Irish Freedom and the United Ireland Publicity Committee hold a demonstration outside the home of Britain's UN representative, decrying 'English colonialism in Northern Ireland.'
Irishmen protest in New York [Report]
[BT, 8 October]
Solicitor on CRA executive prepares statement for police
Report: Kevin Agnew is preparing a statement on the Derry march for police. He criticises the absence of many Nationalists from the parade, and does not agree with the party's decision to take no official part in the event. Nationalist abstention from Stormont, if it materialises, will be welcome. The CRA is not in any way dominated by the IRA.
Derry people asserted their rights in own city
Letter: Disgraceful police brutality was exhibited in Derry. The Apprentice Boys' march was no more than a spoiling tactic, used to prevent the civil rights march from going ahead as planned. Craig has said that there are certain areas into which certain groups do not traditionally go; however, Orange processions through nationalist areas give the lie to this statement. Nationalist Party members who did not take part in the civil rights march should be ashamed of themselves. An opposition policy of civil disobedience and abstention would be welcome. The CRA is not dominated by communists or the IRA; the executive until recently counted a Unionist as a member.
'Minimal force' used, says hospital
Report: A spokesman for Altnagelvin Hospital claims that injuries to marchers indicate that the police used minimum force. Also, 'a high percentage of the casualties were caused by stones thrown by people in the crowd.' Two Unionist MPs at Westminster protest to the BBC over its allegedly 'unbalanced, irresponsible and inaccurate' representation of Derry.
Force used 'minimal' says hospital [Report]
Riot injuries statement
Report: Altnagelvin Hospital has treated, according to
a statement, 85 people as a result of the disturbances in Derry,
many as a result of missile attacks.
Challenge issued to Craig
Report: Belfast councillor Paddy Kennedy wonders if police
received instruction only to use batons on the leg area, and challenges
Craig to find a realistic reason for the
ban on the march rather than produce continuing allegations of
communist or republican involvement. The police are compared
to 'an uncivilised pack of Nazi Gestapo.'
Cabinet backs police action in Derry
Report: A cabinet statement backing the police action in Derry and contending that it 'prevented an extremely dangerous situation from developing' has been issued. The government will put down a commons motion 'deploring the conduct of the sponsors of the march' and lauding 'the real advances in industrial development, housing and social security in all parts of Northern Ireland.'
Craig gets backing from his colleagues
Report: 'Mob violence' is condemned as 'obstructing the real advances in industrial development, housing and social security in all parts of Northern Ireland.' Taylor condemns inciting speeches made at Dungannon and talks of heavy Sinn Féin, communist and IRA involvement. He therefore does not find developments in Derry surprising. He feels that many catholics do not support the civil rights marches because of the hardening of attitudes that they cause. Their responsible participation in Northern Ireland affairs must be encouraged. Two Unionist MPs at Westminster protest to the BBC about biased coverage of events in Northern Ireland. Belfast Young Unionists see the civil rights movement as 'a pawn for those who seek to create a revolutionary situation in Northern Ireland.' McAteer will bring Lynch up-do-date on the latest developments. Derry's representative on the Northern Ireland Human Rights Committee calls for a judicial inquiry into recent events in the city. The National Council for Civil Liberties calls for the dismissal of Craig who, it feels, will obstruct any further progress in solving the state's problems. The Union of Students in Ireland condemns police brutality and the suppression of the right to demonstrate. Agnew deplores the non-participation in the Derry march of the Nationalist Party; those members of the party who did not attend should be ashamed. He challenges Craig to produce photographic evidence of Goulding's participation in the Derry demonstration. Sean Ó Bradaigh of Sinn Féin condemns the denial of democracy in Northern Ireland since 1921. A group of Irish-Americans that protested outside the home of a British UN representative plans to protest at the failure of Republic of Ireland politicians to speak out for catholic nationalists in Northern Ireland. Various expressions of support for Craig and for the police are made, Newtownbreda Unionist Association condemning 'irresponsible and provocative behaviour' on the part of the demonstrators, and adding that the MPs involved should concentrate on improving community relations.
[BT, 8 October]
Support from Grand Lodge
Report: The Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland
congratulates Craig and the RUC
for their handling of the Derry situation.
O'Neill's 'untiring effort to bring industry to NI'
Report: Belfast Lord Mayor, Alderman William Geddis, speaking
in Leicester, says that 'the vast majority of people' back O'Neill
'in his gallant efforts in many spheres.' Not only are economic
conditions improving, but 'there really was a great deal of goodwill
and understanding among all creeds and classes.'
Smear on all Ulster
Editorial: Prospects for the whole of Northern Ireland,
socially and industrially, have been seriously damaged by the
Derry controversy. Stormont must gear up its publicity machine
against 'a continuing, scurrilous and well-organised propaganda
campaign.' The media never once mentioned during the course of
many broadcasts that the Derry march was at no point banned, nor
that the police had appealed to marchers to think of the safety
of women and children.
O'Neill: the long battle to widen path of progress
Feature: O'Neill's programme
has been all about building a middle-ground of political consensus;
he sees the recent events in Derry as a threat to his hopes.
Montgomery Hyde suggests an inquiry
Report: A former Unionist MP calls for an impartial inquiry into events in Derry, which have offered poor publicity for Northern Ireland. Fred Taggart desires 'freedom of speech, freedom to march, and freedom from discrimination.'
[BT, 8 October]
Unionists call for inquiry
Report: The QUB Unionist Association
calls for an inquiry into the violence in Derry.
Guckian asks for full inquiry
Report: A leading catholic calls for a 'full judicial inquiry'
into events in Derry. Taylor claims republican
involvement in the Dungannon civil rights march,
and says that this is upsetting community relations.
MacGiolla asserts that attempts
to split the civil rights movement will fail. Newtownards Young
Unionists praise Craig
and the police, and condemn those MPs who took part in 'civil
'The world is watching and waiting'
Report: Derry's representative on the Northern Ireland
Human Rights Committee says that events in the city have 'caused
deep wounds in the community which time might or might not heal.'
A 'full judicial inquiry' into the affair is necessary.
Up-to-date report for Mr Lynch
Report: McAteer says that he will
keep Lynch up-to-date with events arising from
the Derry confrontation.
Lynch may raise Derry at UN
Report: McAteer has talks with Lynch on Derry. He indicates that Lynch may raise the matter with Wilson or with the UN.
[IN, 10 October]
Eliminate partition, says Lynch
Report: Lynch sees partition as the root cause of problems in Northern Ireland, and argues that 'the methods necessary to maintain partition - that is gerrymandering, discrimination in jobs and housing, suppression of free speech and the right of peaceful protest - could not be continued without the political and the huge financial support received from Great Britain.'
Lynch blames partition for Derry trouble
They want Craig out
Report: East Down NDP calls for the removal of Craig from office and the institution of an impartial inquiry into allegations of police brutality in Derry.
[IN, 10 October]
Ban on civil rights march condemned
Report: A meeting of the Nationalists on Fermanagh County
Council condemns the ban on the Derry march and police brutality.
Discrimination must be brought to an end.
Mr Currie visited by Dungannon police
Report: Currie is questioned by police
over his part in the Derry march. He justifies his presence.
Nationalists at Stormont
Editorial: 'Nationalist pressure in Stormont, and outside
it, has had no effect on the closed minds in the Unionist Party.'
It will be no surprise if the Nationalist Party
decides either to cease its role as the official Opposition, or
to leave Stormont altogether. Its attempts at co-operation have
proven futile, and the government has done nothing about injustice.
O'Neill has talked about better
community relations, but his followers
have not been listening to him.
Liberals to discuss civil rights issue
Report: Belfast Liberals will debate their tactics on the
civil rights issue, and will also consider McElroy's
remark that the march's organisers 'cannot avoid their substantial
share of responsibility by [their] defying the ban and breaking
the law,' a statement with which many Liberals have publicly disagreed.
World focus on undemocratic behaviour of Unionist government
Letter: At last the world has been made aware of the incredible
injustices which exist in Northern Ireland. 'The one reason'
for the ban on the civil rights march 'was that any unionist procession
will be always free to march through the centre of Derry, but
no anti-unionist procession will ever be allowed to parade within
the sacred walls.' Police protect pro-unionist marches in nationalist
areas, but will not allow nationalists to walk through unionist
areas, dealing out 'severe threats' instead of protection. The
Special Powers Act too must be publicised;
it is 'a system of tyrannical laws unique outside the communist
bloc.' The obvious wealth of facts on injustice should be made
available in booklet form to the average citizen of Britain.
Is it Unionist policy to stifle criticism?
Letter: 'The Unionist Party's traditional
method of dealing with anybody who disagrees with their way of
running the country is to label their opponents as either Fenian
or communist, and in the case of the Northern Ireland Civil Rights
have run true to form.' There are abuses in Northern Ireland
that must be tackled. 'Surely Unionist tactics are to stifle
criticism? Did it never occur to Mr Faulkner
or Mr Craig that there are many groups in
this country who are neither republican, nationalist, communist,
nor anti-British and yet who disagree with Unionist policies,
philosophies, and method of administration?' Northern Ireland
should be truly British, and thus subject to direct rule from
Westminster, so allowing its people to choose between the mainstream
A bastion of intolerance
Letter: Those who speak of improving community relations
should be aware that 'there is still a lot of hatred in Northern
Ireland.' The years to come will produce increasing violence
and an increasingly stringent government response.
'Democracy in the Six Counties is dead'
Letter: Unionist tactics have made more imperative than
ever the creation of a united opposition front. O'Neill's
'con' talk has now been shown up as just that. Nationalists should
resign representative positions. Political opposition has served
only to prop up the Stormont system.
Mask off O'Neill
Letter: It would be sheer hypocrisy for Nationalists to return to Stormont. O'Neill has been shown up as 'the greatest confidence trickster in western Europe.'
Existence of civil rights body justified
and other organisations have an entirely justified existence,
and the protesters in Derry were right to defy the 'disgraceful'
ban. Craig and those police who engaged
in 'brutal tactics' carry the immediate responsibility for violence.
Ultimate responsibility lies with Unionism
and those who refuse to speak out against it. A united opposition
party is desirable especially at this time.
[see BT, 8 October, 'Machine of dictatorship']
The cameras cannot lie
Letter: The second World War was fought for 'freedom and
democracy for all': these must include 'the right to march without
fear or intimidation.'
Right men at the helm
Letter: Speeches at Dungannon and elsewhere reveal that the civil rights movement aims at an all-Ireland republic. As to the Northern Ireland government, 'the right men are at the helm, and it is hoped that Mr Paul Rose and his anti-Ulster intruders will be given to understand this.'
[NL, 14 October]
A very brave man
Letter: Craig's handling of the Derry
march was very brave and should be welcomed by people of goodwill.
The demonstration was provocative, and intended to damage Northern
Ireland's image. British MPs should not interfere.
Letter: The Down GAA team deserved its City Hall reception;
the GAA is not
a sectarian body.
Persecution in Ulster - Australian
Report: The Australian prime minister is asked to intervene in Northern Ireland to right injustices there, but refuses to countenance the suggestion.
[IN, NL, 10 October]
Fleet St keeps its eye on Derry
Report: The press debate in England on Derry continues.
Television coverage has made people better informed. In the
press, the reasons for the actions taken by Craig
and the RUC are generally understood,
and police brutality is not wholly accepted to have been inflicted.
Among suggestions made is one for a Royal Commission. O'Neill's
difficulties are recognised, but the contention is advanced that
he has had considerable time to introduce reforms.
An alternative view is that civil rights is simply a new and
more subtle strategy on the part of the IRA.
MPs' presence 'only encouraged Derry tension'
Report: The Daily Express criticises three British
Labour MPs for their presence in Derry, which could only have
contributed to tensions in the city. The trouble arose from the
marchers' deliberate defiance of the law. Catholics are right
to highlight their grievances; protestants are also right to view
catholics with suspicion as the enemies of the state. The Times
acknowledges O'Neill's difficulties
with extremists, but asserts that if he cannot address the situation,
Westminster should intervene.
10 October, 1968
1,500 Queen's students march in Belfast
Leader: QUB students engaging in a demonstration, after accepting a police re-routing of their march in protest at police brutality and the denial of civil liberties, stage a sit-down protest on being prevented by police from reaching the front of the City Hall, where Paisleyite counter-demonstrators have reassembled after their own protest. Paisley tells his followers that Craig 'wanted to ban protestantism and patronise republicanism.' Taggart, after a long stand-off, tells demonstrators, 'anyone who believes in our principles should be prepared to carry those principles through with the dignity they deserve and not become involved in a great brawl which would only give Bill Craig more excuse for the kind of things he did in Derry.' Taggart later says that 'now even moderate Unionists are coming out and demanding and end to the wrongs which exist.' Another march is planned.
Squat-down students sent for the cabinet
Leader: The students leave the City Hall only when it is agreed that cabinet representatives will receive their protest. Paisley opposes the initial route proposed by the students because he feels that their views do not represent those of the people of the Sandy Row area. The students however, 'as a tactical proposition,' alter their route.
[BT, 9 October]
10 demands by Queen's students
Report: Ten demands by QUB students, formulated at a public
meeting, are handed in to the minister of home affairs and to
the cabinet secretary. They encompass the following: one-man-one-vote
at local elections; repeal of the Special Powers Act;
repeal of the Public Order Act; introduction
of the Parliamentary Commissioner Act; repeal of the Flags and
Emblems Act; introduction of Sheelagh Murnaghan's Human Rights
Bill; introduction of a points system
for housing allocation and greater Housing
Trust provision for the lower-paid; revision of electoral boundaries;
an impartial inquiry into alleged police brutality in Derry; legislation
preventing discrimination in employment.
Students seek approval to hold another march on the City Hall
Report: QUB students plan another civil rights march in
Belfast. They have presented their ten-point civil rights plan
to government representatives: 'the plan includes demands for
one-man-one-vote at all levels; repealing of the Special Powers,
Public Order, and Flags and Emblems Acts and
introduction of a law providing for a parliamentary commissioner
and human rights as proposed by Miss Sheelagh
Murnaghan, MP.' It also calls for a points system
for housing allocation; a redrawing of
electoral boundaries; jobs on merit; and an inquiry into alleged
police brutality in Derry.
No march - public meeting instead
Report: The proposed civil rights march and strike in Derry are called off by a newly-constituted committee which calls for restraint.
New Derry march is called off
Report: McCann is opposed to the new committee, which he
feels to be 'middle class and middle of the road.' He sees the
need for further demonstration, and will agitate for them.
NUU 'rights' march off
Report: A civil rights march organised by students at the New University of Ulster is called off.
[IN, 11 October]
New plan as Derry cancels two protests
Report: The civil rights march and token one-hour strike
called in Derry earlier in the week are called off by a new 16-man
committee which plans to put a programme of action to a further
public meeting. Restraint is desired in the interim.
North Armagh Unionist Assoc supports Craig
Report: North Armagh Unionist Association
passes a resolution supporting Craig in his
efforts to maintain law and order, and praising police actions
in Derry 'in the face of unprovoked aggression.' The Association
also contends that, 'the contemptible and sinister schemes of
unprincipled demagogues' are misleading people, and attempting
'to destroy the ever-growing progress, co-operation and harmony
which have marked the life of the Province in recent years,' and
thereby to wreck the constitution.
Report: Ormeau Young Unionists pass
a vote of confidence in the actions of Craig
and the RUC with regard to Derry.
Arrest those MPs: Unionists
Report: Lisburn Young Unionists call for the arrest of those MPs who defied the law in Derry. North Tyrone NDP condemns the 'methods of thugs' employed by riot police in Derry, while Newry Nationalists criticise 'unprovoked police brutality.' The Orange Order's Belfast County Grand Lodge praises Craig's actions. A 'leading public representative in mid-Ulster' defends the rights of students to demonstrate.
'Extremists are really scared'
Report: A candidate for the Unionist nomination in the
Larkfield constituency in Belfast feels that O'Neill's
success is worrying extremists. The Unionist candidate for west
Belfast believes that prosperity will eliminate protest.
Sacking of Craig called for by Liberals
Report: A Belfast meeting of the Liberals calls for the
dismissal of Craig and condemns police brutality.
Also condemned are 'the cynical attitudes of various politicians
who are suing the civil rights movement as a means of causing
Fitt wants all-Ireland support for civil rights
Report: Fitt calls for all-Ireland support for the civil rights campaign, and condemns the bringing of charges against the organisers of the Derry march by the police, 'who were drafted into Derry, manifestly for the purpose of administering a lesson in physical subjection to the participants doubtless with the object of preventing the organisation of similar marches in the future.'
'I was proud' says Fitt [Report]
Editorial: Republic of Ireland politicians 'should realise
that by butting into affairs for which they can have no responsibility,
they are doing nothing to advance the cause of civil rights, or
of anti-partition. Resurrection of the border as an issue will
only make the process of addressing the minority's more short-term
need more difficult.'
Mrs Paisley plans motion of censure on Fitt
Report: Councillor Eileen Paisley will put down a censure motion against Gerry Fitt for his role in the events of 5 October in Derry; the motion also supports the handling of the situation by the police.
[IN, 11 October]
Newspaper slams Fitt
Report: The Financial Times feels that 'the civil
rights marches were exploited by the more subversive elements
of the Nationalists to do as much damage as possible.' Unionism
can either take a firm stance or face down its extremists over
concessions on local government. The
Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland extends its congratulations
to Craig and the RUC
over their handling of the Derry situation. James Chichester-Clark
says that one of the civil rights demanded in Derry was that to
a job, but that the ensuing violence has damaged the prospects
for more employment in the area. Those who speak
of police brutality must remember that marchers were warned of
resistance should they decide to attempt to break through the
police cordon. Two members of the QUB Unionist Association
dissociate themselves from the body's call for an inquiry into
events in Derry. Craig receives further support for his handling
of the 5 October demonstration from North Armagh
'Only course open to O'Neill - remove grievances'
Report: The Labour candidate for south Antrim, John Coulthard,
says that the constitution of Northern Ireland is being placed
in jeopardy by the government's failure to remedy grievances.
Wilson will be forced to amend the Government
of Ireland Act if Stormont does nothing. O'Neill
cannot 'permit himself to remain the slave of the lunatic fringe
of the Unionist Party.'
Wilson gets a warning
Leader: Queen's students will communicate their ten-point
civil rights demands to the Northern Ireland government. Faulkner
tells a Leicester audience that recent television coverage of
Northern Ireland is not representative of life either in Derry
or elsewhere. 'The leadership of the so-called civil rights march
was strongly political. No-one, least of all a democratically-elected
government, can object to political demonstrations. But neither
can a responsible government put in jeopardy the lives of its
citizens.' He continues, 'a spark last Saturday could have produced
an inferno in other parts of Northern Ireland.' The government
motion endorsing recent decisions is likely to be put down at
Stormont as soon as possible. The CRA
arranges talks with the mayor of Derry, William Beatty. The Derry
demonstration and token strike are called off. A Liberal Party
representative has been sent to look into the Northern Ireland
situation. A Belfast branch of the Transport and General Workers'
Union endorses the NILP's
communication to Wilson.
Report by 3 MPs accuses RUC men
Report: The three Labour MPs who were present at the Derry
demonstration send their report on events to Callaghan.
They provide examples of police brutality, and claim that the
parade was non-sectarian and representative
of every political outlook except for Unionism.
A letter to the Times from a QUB lecturer points out that
taxes in Northern Ireland are collected by Westminster; Wilson
should therefore do his duty with regard to the situation. 'British
standards of administration and local election must be introduced.'
If Wilson does not act, the people of Northern Ireland should
cease paying tax. A letter to the Daily Telegraph points
to the frustration of those awaiting reform in Derry.
Another correspondent however speaks of English ignorance of
Northern Ireland and decries interference from those who do not
understand the complexities of the situation.
Derry and Mr Wilson
Comment: Craig's actions with regard
to the Derry march have given the civil rights movement more media
coverage than it could have hoped for. The English do not understand
the complexities of the situation in Northern Ireland. Derry's
inequities are difficult to defend, but police action attributable
to political bungling must draw some sympathy. The Derry disturbances
have damaged industrial prospects, and have possibly made it more
difficult for O'Neill to sell reform
to his party. It would appear that further bans will be imposed,
and tensions will rise. Even if IRA
elements are trying to foment discontent in preparation for a
new campaign, 'they would have nothing to fasten on if there were
no grievances.' Even if O'Neill would like to combat gerrymandering
and discrimination as part of the shake-up
of local government to come, it is doubtful
'whether he feels capable of carrying his party with him - or
even his cabinet. He cannot act. And yet, if Derry is a foretaste
of worse to come, he can not afford not to act.' Wilson
should remove the burden from O'Neill's shoulders and force Stormont
Tory pledge on Britain - Ulster agreement
Report: British shadow home secretary Quentin Hogg feels
that Westminster intervention in Northern Ireland would be unwise,
arguing that it might only serve to exacerbate a tense situation.
'Riot police resorted to thug methods'
Report: North Tyrone NDP
condemns the Derry ban and the violent tactics employed by police.
Perhaps Craig exploited the situation to
prevent the breaking down of sectarian barriers
which NICRA could
facilitate. Such barriers are what keep the establishment in
power. NICRA's aims are 'wholly legitimate.'
East Down NDP hits at Craig's 'inept handling'
Report: East Down NDP condemns Craig's handling of the Derry march and calls for his replacement by 'a man who would earn the respect of all the community by exercising his authority in a manner compatible with a free democracy and not solely in the interests of sectional or sectarian prejudice.' An inquiry into police brutality is also deemed essential.
[BT, 9 October]
'Government were engineering situation'
Report: The NDP executive
is 'of the opinion that the government were deliberately engineering
a violent situation in Derry with the intention of discrediting
the civil rights movement, and polarising opinion along sectarian
lines.' An inquiry into the reasons for the ban, and into police
brutality, is required.
'Unprovoked police brutality' in Derry strongly condemned
Report: A meeting of the Newry Nationalist
Party condemns police brutality in Derry,
and the ban on a peaceful march for civil rights. The government
fears the lunatic fringe of Orangeism and so
panders to this fringe. Derry provides the worst example of Unionist
'Violence and civil disturbance no solution'
Report: Grievances in Northern Ireland, says the Northern Ireland Committee for Human Rights, must be addressed, but this should not be attempted through violence or civil disobedience.
'Violence is not the solution'
Report: A statement issued by the Northern Ireland Committee for Human Rights Year recognises 'that many deep-seated grievances are felt by different sections of the Northern Ireland community and that ways must be found for redressing those grievances,' but feels that violence offers no solution.
Appeal sent to O'Neill
and Craig [Report]
Human rights discussion 'out of order'
Report: The chairman of Strabane urban council
rules out of order a discussion of events in Derry because he
deems it 'political' in nature.
Politics seem to dictate Craig bias - Lawyers
Report: The Northern Ireland Society of Labour Lawyers contends that Craig's ban on the march was dictated by political rather than security considerations, and points to the indulgence extended to Orange parades through nationalist areas. Counter-demonstrations are too often the excuse for such a ban. The following proposals would offer a more just framework for decisions on marches: a week's notice of any planned demonstration should be provided; the intention to ban a demonstration should be communicated to its organisers within 48 hours of receipt of notice; the capacity of ministerial decisions to be appealed in court; the prohibition of counter-demonstrations. Westminster should intervene if Stormont does not take action within a specified time.
Ban counter-demonstrations, say the Labour Lawyers [Report]
[BT, 9 October]
Approach to United Nations mentioned in McAteer-Lynch talks
Report: McAteer has spoken to Lynch of the possibility of approaching the UN on Northern Ireland. He says that O'Neill's backing for the police action in Derry has disappointed many who had high hopes for his premiership. Considering the atmosphere of tension in Derry, Craig's decision against an inquiry into events in the city was irresponsible.
[BT, 9 October]
Lynch - now we know
Editorial: O'Neill extended
the hand of friendship to the Republic of Ireland, but now Lynch
is using Northern Ireland's difficulties for his own political
gain. Even Wilson is unlikely to intervene
too deeply in Northern Ireland, so Lynch's interference should
Irish-Americans send telegram to U Thant
Report: The AOH, representing
235,000 Americans, sends a telegram to U Thant, asking that the
problems of Northern Ireland be placed on the UN agenda.
Australian PM asked to intervene
Report: The Australian prime minister is asked to intervene in Northern Ireland, but refuses to do so.
'Religious persecution in Ulster' [Report]
[BT, 9 October]
Boxer cries off in protest at Derry happenings
Report: A Derry boxer withdraws from the Northern Ireland
team in protest at events in the city.
No excuses left for Mr O'Neill
Editorial: What O'Neill says
is not what he does. Police action in Derry was designed not
to separate conflicting groups, but to 'teach a lesson to those
who had dared to assert their right to march and to protest.'
Demand is growing for a Westminster investigation 'of the whole
political system and the maintenance of law in the area
his procrastination, he [O'Neill] cannot even plead the excuse
of the extreme protestant element. Whatever he does will earn
their criticism. The implementation of more liberal policies
is within his power. Why does he continue to tarry?' If it has
done nothing else however, the Derry events have brought the situation
in Northern Ireland to the attention of Westminster.
Parliamentary boycott can be effective weapon
Letter: Undemocratic representation can be effectively
countered by a policy of active abstention by the opposition parties,
which should be carefully co-ordinated against the Unionists.
Democracy is dead
Letter: Every citizen should fight the deplorable state
of affairs that persists in Northern Ireland.
No batons in Craven Street
Letter: Police may act against protestant extremists on
occasion, but they never draw their batons to deal with them.
If parades are only permitted to pass through their own denominational
areas, then one might ask why Orangemen were permitted, for example,
to march through catholic Dungiven.
Letter: The police clearly intended to use force to break up the civil rights march from the first. 'The most disgusting, nauseating and horrifying feature of the whole affair was the obvious pleasure derived by many of the police from beating defenceless men and women.' Craig could have allowed the march to go ahead, and have had the leaders arrested after it had dispersed; instead, he chose the path of confrontation.
[NL, 12 October]
A day of prayer
Letter: Methodists should pray for improved community relations in light of events in Derry.
[IN, 11 October]
He who pays the piper
Letter: 'I wonder how much longer Westminster, whilst subsidising
the Stormont government, is prepared to stand aside and permit
these terrible scenes to occur.' It is the British taxpayer,
after all, that supports Northern Ireland.
Westminster has the power to intervene in Northern Ireland
Letter: 'The existence of Stormont is not a right, but
a privilege, granted by Westminster.' Westminster has the authority
to intervene to correct Unionist abuses of power. If a confrontation
should occur between London and Belfast, Unionists must ask themselves
how much their Britishness means to them; they cannot preach loyalty
whilst practising disloyalty.
Full inquiry is needed
Letter: Craig's denial of police brutality
in Derry is farcical. 'Admittedly the participants went outside
the law, but they did nothing at all to justify the reaction of
the police. Nor was there the slightest evidence to suggest that
had the march been permitted to continue it would have resulted
in riots.' Responsible people wished to register legitimate protest,
but were prevented from doing so by Craig. The disturbances were
'a direct result of the police action.' An inquiry into allegations
of police brutality is necessary.
Mr Currie's prophecy'
Letter: Currie, by predicting squatting
and civil disobedience a year ago, was not making a threat; he
was merely pointing out the obvious. The civil rights march was
not a sectarian event, and thus its route should
have remained unrestricted. The police started the violence;
if the marchers had wanted to participate in a riot, they would
have come prepared for it. If the IRA
really was involved in the march, why did the police not arrest
such participants? Craig is merely using
the IRA to direct attention away from his own actions.
Stop student marchers
Letter: Students receive many benefits at the expense of
the ratepayer; they should not be repaying this favour with disruptive
RUC not a 'Gestapo'
Letter: Only the student marchers have emerged with any
credit from recent events. However, their comparison between
the RUC and the Gestapo is inappropriate.
The police were in a difficult situation in Derry.
When law is flouted
Letter: 'When the law is flouted, you should expect to
get clouted.' The Northern Ireland government should not surrender
to 'the tide of republicanism.'
Affairs in Newry
Report: Newry Young Unionist Association condemns as undemocratic the suggestion that Newry should be administered by a commissioner, and that housing allocation should lie in the hands of the housing manager alone.
[BT, 1 October]
11 October, 1968
Quit as the official opposition role [sic] - Derry Nationalists
Leader: Derry Nationalists vote in favour of the withdrawal of their party from its role as the official opposition at Stormont. Their resolution will be passed on to a meeting of the party executive. It is also suggested that while Derry continues to be ruled by a minority, the potential for further unrest remains, and that 'the ban was entirely responsible for the violence which followed.' Calls for a judicial inquiry are supported. Currie tells Tyrone Nationalists that the role of official opposition will be brought to an end. The role was taken up in good faith and high expectation, but it 'has been a degrading one-way process of all give and no take.' Derry has remained quiet. John Hume talks of the meeting to be held in Derry on 19 October, which will have placed before it 'a programme of peaceful action.'
Call by Derry Nationalists [Report]
We quit as official opposition - Currie
Report: Currie feels that more emphasis should be placed on the Nationalist Party's grass roots and less on 'parliament and traditional constitutionalism.' Continued injustice will mean the inevitable spread of civil disobedience. Civil rights is a cause attracting not only catholic support, but also that of liberal protestants.
'Civil disobedience will spread'
Report: Currie feels that civil disobedience will spread if the Unionist government maintains its 'not an inch' psychology. He feels that a great deal of faith in parliamentary methods among the minority has been lost, and sees the civil rights campaign as gaining increasing support, especially from liberal protestants. The Nationalist Party, he adds, will end its role as the official Stormont opposition. Civil disobedience, he feels, is a non-violent safety valve for protest. 'If the government insists in [sic] closing off the safety valve then the government must accept the consequences.'
Nationalist MPs may decide to abandon their official role
Report: Fitzsimmons expresses
his anxiety over the state of community relations,
and his regret that a march 'started in the name of civil rights
should have been exploited by extremist elements determined to
provoke communal strife.' The Liberal Party representative investigating
Northern Ireland says that the situation is better known in Britain
now thanks to television coverage of recent events. He feels
that Liberals want to see British standards applied to Northern
Ireland. Derry presbytery regrets the damage done by recent events
to community relationships, calls for respect for the law, and
asks for people to work and pray for 'that peace and justice which
all men of goodwill desire.' York Street District Tenants' Association
congratulates Craig for his 'courageous decision
in banning the so-called Londonderry civil rights march.
are amazed that so many Roman catholics have suddenly discovered
they are British citizens.' Newtownards Unionist Women's central
branch also congratulates Craig. Derry Trades Council endorses
the sending by its chairman of a telegram to Wilson
alleging police excesses. It calls on trade unionists to attend
the forthcoming DCAC demonstration.
The long-term answer
Editorial: O'Neill has done
more than anyone to heal Northern Ireland's divisions, yet the
radicalisation of events makes him easy prey to the crossfire
between reactionaries on his own side and his opponents'. In
the long-term, only the Northern Ireland electorate can decide
on the pace and extent of reform; Westminster cannot
provide a solution by exerting pressure on the Northern Ireland
Ulster didn't give birth to discrimination
Comment: Northern Ireland should not be viewed in isolation,
or compared with some abstract ideal of justice, when the question
of discrimination is raised. Discrimination
in Northern Ireland would not appear to approach the level at
which it must have existed in the Republic of Ireland; while in
Northern Ireland the catholic population has been growing, in
the Republic the protestant minority has been shrinking considerably
as the years have passed and the young have been unable to find
Wronging the rights
Report: Fitzsimmons claims that the civil rights march was 'exploited by extremist elements determined to provoke communal strife.' Advances have been made in Northern Ireland, especially in housing, where the government realises the necessity of providing decent living conditions. Another speaker advocates the removal of all possible grievances.
Derry housing record is defended
Report: Fitzsimmons speaks
of the considerable building programme that has been undertaken
in Derry in recent years. Admittedly, in the very recent past,
few houses have been built, but this is because of a lack of space
within the city bounds and the existence of a longer-term development
plan. He argues that 'Northern Ireland is not the only region
where people have to endure less than desirable living conditions
and a lengthy wait on the housing list.' Housing, he stresses,
is a priority policy for government.
Scenes on TV 'not typical'
Report: Faulkner says that 'the leadership of the so-called civil rights march [in Derry] was strongly political.' The government acted wisely in curbing the march and helped avoid possible deaths. Derry is 'a city on the march industrially,' and TV scenes do not reflect the reality of life in the city.
Derry wages in jeopardy
Report: Faulkner talks of opposition
politicians' irresponsibility in placing at risk jobs in Derry
by their conduct. The Derry march was 'strongly political' in
character, and the Northern Ireland government took necessary
action to avoid widespread violence and possibly even deaths.
A true picture of Derry is provided not by recent events but
by the city's march towards industrial progress. The three British
MPs who were present on the day of the march forward their report
on events to Callaghan. Elder calls for
a conference of Unionists to be called to ascertain who incited
mobs to attack Derry police; why the lie has been published that
the parade was banned; and who controls the media in Northern
Ireland. He praises Craig and attacks 'power-crazy
fanatics' who are damaging Derry's economic prospects. The Daily
Express draws a distinction in the civil rights movement between
the majority of ordinary catholics involved to express their real
grievances, and 'professional agitators who have an ulterior political
motive,' and who have capitalised on rising expectations brought
on by O'Neill's progressive regime.
This 'gives tremendous opportunities for reactionary elements
who object to improvement to crack down with a ruthlessness not
normally tolerated in a democratic society.' Further resolutions
have been passed in support of Craig and the RUC.
Derry Trade Union Council calls for attendance at the planned
DCAC demonstration. The Derry Nationalist Party
speaks of the possibility of further unrest so long as minority
rule continues in the city. The mayor of Derry will meet NICRA
members today. The Church of Ireland
Gazette says that much harm has been done to community relations,
and that the churches must work against injustice.
Frost on an Ulster Friday
Report: A television debate on Northern Ireland, focusing
on recent events, is to be broadcast by UTV.
No seconder for motion on Derry methods
Report: A motion expressing concern at the handling of
the Derry march is unable to find a seconder on Castlereagh rural
council. Another councillor feels that government measures 'averted
a very serious disaster in Northern Ireland.'
'Tragic setback to PM's efforts'
Report: Orr, in a letter to the
Times, expresses the belief that O'Neill's
efforts to improve community relations
have been set back by the activities of 'politically-motivated
agitators.' The Derry demonstration 'represented an alliance
between nationalist, extreme republican and IRA
elements with extreme Labour elements. It sought to exploit certain
real or imaginary grievances for the purpose of creating a situation
of serious tension.' The demonstration also had strong sectarian
overtones. He points out that it was not banned but re-routed.
The interfering Labour MPs have always been enemies of the Northern
Ireland government, a fact which should be borne in mind when
contemplating their claims about Derry. The police 'made no move
until half an hour after they were first assaulted.' Derry's
economic future is placed in jeopardy by the irresponsible actions
of those involved in the current wave of protest.
Objection by Paisley
Report: Ian Paisley protests at
the proposed meeting, organised, he claims, by the Wolfe Tone
Society, at Queen's University,
at which Conor Cruise O'Brien will give a lecture on civil disobedience.
Mrs Paisley's Fitt censure motion
Report: Councillor Eileen Paisley is to put down a motion censuring Fitt for his conduct in Derry and supporting the actions of the police.
[BT, 10 October]
Act now or further riot danger
Report: The NILP sends a memorandum to Wilson and Callaghan outlining the danger of a return to sectarian conflict and an escalation of violence if grievances in Northern Ireland are not addressed. Many, especially the young, 'now feel that constitutional means have failed and unconstitutional methods are justified.' Also, 'the fact that communists and perhaps IRA joined with members of other opposition parties in these civil rights demonstrations, does not invalidate the objectives of the demonstrators.' Craig's ban was 'unreasonable and oppressive, and based on a put-up job - an almost imaginary rival demonstration conjured up at the last moment.' Both police and marchers are responsible for the trouble, and an inquiry should be held.
Labour Party puts forward a plan for Ulster
Report: The party feels that an inquiry would however leave underlying grievances unresolved, and could thus only serve as a temporary remedial measure. Further violent outbreaks are likely unless something is done. The Derry demonstration was 'lawful, peaceful and entirely legitimate.'
[BT, 10 October]
Report: Coulthard condemns the Young Unionists,
who have called for the arrest of MPs involved in the Derry march.
Liberal envoy here to investigate
Report: A Liberal Party representative from Britain has
come to Northern Ireland to investigate the Derry disturbances.
He feels that the situation has become better-known in Britain
as a result of television coverage. Murnaghan calls for the implementation
of the principles of her Human Rights Bill and of one-man-one-vote.
A march is called off
Report: A march by NUU students is called off in light of fears that it might cause ill-feeling.
[BT, 10 October]
No parades in city
Leader: Craig and Paisley
meet to discuss the situation with regard to marches. Craig is
thought to have urged restraint on Paisley, who may call off his
demonstrations following the postponement of the proposed second
student march in Belfast. It is thought that the Nationalist
Party will withdraw from its role as the
official opposition party at Stormont. The party's 'discontent
and disillusionment' have been reinforced by the government's
decision to put down at Stormont a motion supportive of its handling
of recent events. Bloomfield Unionist Association
condemns as 'biased' media coverage of events in Derry. McAnerney
and Sinclair meet Beatty to discuss recent
Police study city march routes
Report: QUB students alter their proposal for a civil rights
march, postponing it on discovering that the UCDC
has lodged its own request for a parade. The Nationalist Party
is meeting to decide whether to abstain from Stormont, and the
possibility of a campaign of civil disobedience may also be debated,
both now and at a planned private special conference to take place
soon. The Derry disturbances may be debated at Westminster.
A British Liberal Party envoy is in Northern Ireland conducting
a fact-finding mission. Councillor Eileen Paisley
is placing before Belfast city council a motion condemning Fitt
over his role in Derry and supporting the actions of the police.
Lisburn Young Unionists condemn all MPs
who took part in the Derry demonstration, calling for the arrest
in view of their 'open defiance of the law and blatant attempts
to provoke civil unrest.' Government should not be intimidated
by 'threats from Westminster' and should 'stamp out the recent
threat to Ulster's existence.' North Tyrone NDP
and Newry Nationalist Party condemn the actions of
the police in Derry.
Students jeer and booh Long
Report: Long, invited to address the Civil Rights Action Committee at Queen's University, comments on charges of police brutality, saying that the RUC 'could not be accused.' His remarks are jeered.
Students shout down Capt Long
Report: The token strike called for Derry in protest at
the events of 5 October is cancelled.
Regular ambulance runs 'hit by march'
Report: Non-emergency ambulance services were affected
by the rival student and Paisleyite demonstrations
Two of 12 houses for catholics
Report: Dungannon RDC is understood to have allocated only two of 12 houses to catholics.
Nationalists walk out over housing in Dungannon [Report]
Nationalist councillors walk out [Report]
To attention of UN court of public opinion
Report: The AOH in America
has asked that Northern Ireland be placed on the UN agenda.
IRA attack on the 'brutal' Eire police
Report: The IRA, hitting out
at police methods in the Republic of Ireland, draw comparisons
with the police conduct that it condemns in Derry.
Mr Faulkner's parade through Nationalist Longstone Road area
Letter: It surely cannot be true that Faulkner
once led a parade along the Nationalist Longstone Road, when he
is now so concerned about the harm done in Derry to Northern Ireland's
image, and if O'Neill has chosen
to include him in his cabinet. O'Neill will undoubtedly sack
Craig, though not while tensions remain high.
Agreed programme of political action needed
Letter: Non-Unionist parties must agree to a long-term
programme of action on civil rights. A detailed investigation
of the Derry situation must be carried out. Action should be
taken, rather than promises made, to improve community relations.
Demonstrations must be tightly controlled. 'A good cause must
not be allowed to lose its relevance in a sorry confusion of riots
Questions for Mr Craig
Letter: Why did Craig ban a mixed
- not sectarian - demonstration from marching
through a mainly business district to an area within the city's
walls, which themselves enclose a majority catholic population?
Petition for Royal Commission
Letter: Opposition parties should organise a petition to
the Westminster government, asking for a Royal Commission 'to
investigate the whole political system and the maintenance of
[see BT, 10 October, A day of prayer]
Liberals and civil rights
Letter: The Liberals have 'leapt on the band-wagon' of
civil rights, while people like Fitt and McAteer
have highlighted minority grievances for years.
Republicans and the march
Letter: The ban on the march in Derry was unjust, and the
CRA is to be commended
for its stand. Its aims have widespread support. The cabinet
has made excuses that do not stand up to analysis: the march would
not have caused conflict; republicans did take part, but in no
sense control the CRA, although 'we agree with its aims and support
it as we would any other body working for the same ideals.' Republicans
have cause to support such aims, for they have been discriminated
against more than most. It is to be hoped that the CRA will succeed,
and make 'Tone's dictum' a fact: 'catholic, protestant, and dissenter,
united under the common name of Irishman, with equal rights and
opportunities for all.'
What price civil rights?
Letter: Will civil rights have to be paid for in blood,
as in America?
Letter: Police brutality in Northern Ireland is a cause
for concern; Northern Ireland's government cannot genuinely call
Craig wrong: C of I canon [Report]
Derry clergyman in favour of an impartial inquiry
Letter: Recent events have led to the depiction of Derry
'as a strife-ridden community, full of sectarian
bitterness.' Police intervention in the civil rights march was
not necessary, since there was no likelihood of a confrontation.
It provided the demonstration with much more publicity than it
would otherwise have received. Police were however in the unenviable
position of having to enforce Craig's unnecessary
ban. Community relations have been
improving in Derry, and to portray matters otherwise, as has been
done in the media, is wrong. 'The civil rights movement has made
certain allegations about housing, etc. Many people feel that
the honest, democratic and Christian thing to do is to invite
an impartial inquiry into these allegations
If the allegations
have some substance they can then be rectified. If not the government
and local authorities will be publicly
vindicated.' In fairness to Derry corporation, it is difficult
to keep up with the social demands generated by the population
explosion in the city. 'Also, it should be noted that many protestants
feel themselves discriminated against when
they see the bulk of new houses being allocated to Roman catholics.'
Must businessmen be held up to ransom?
Letter: The actions of student marchers are to be condemned,
although the students are not contemptible in the same way as
are 'the republicans, communists, socialists and anarchists' involved
in the civil rights movement.
Letter: Students are demonstrating considerable naïveté
if they think that protest marches will overcome 'problems like
religious discrimination, gerrymandering,
and multiple votes.' Such marches can do more harm than good
to community relations.
RUC had no alternative
Letter: The RUC on 5 October
in Derry did what had to be done. 'Londonderry is not the only
place in Northern Ireland where houses and work are scarce.'
The march of civil rights
Feature: The civil rights movement 'is still far from a
mass movement, but even the most complacent Unionists can hardly
fail to have noticed how its appeal cuts across normal party political
lines, uniting opposition forces as never before
are already describing the Derry disturbances as a turning point
in the political history of Northern Ireland and certainly there
is a greater awareness on both sides of the issues involved.'
The latest phase of Northern Ireland's history seems to have
its roots in the NILP's move
towards demanding British standards for a British state; such
demands were respectable because the NILP did not question the
constitutional status of Northern Ireland, but concentrated its
attention on issues other than the border. O'Neill's
premiership raised hopes of change, but as early as 1963 discontent
was manifesting itself, with the formation of the CSJ
a symptom. The Campaign gathered, for the first time, documentary
evidence for its claims of injustice. Hopes of change were again
raised by the O'Neill-Lemass meetings, but in 1966, 'a group of
Belfast people of different political and religious persuasions
- but with a definite republican bias,' formed NICRA.
It sought support from all shades of opinion. At Westminster
the CDU was calling for
action, and as a result the Society of Labour Lawyers
instituted an inquiry into Northern Ireland. Its August interim
report was 'something of a fiasco' since it called for some reforms
that had already been implemented by Stormont. It was during
the Dungannon demonstration 'that the movement
earned for itself an anti-partition reputation, chiefly through
the speeches of Mr Currie and Mr Fitt
and the behaviour of many of the crowd
The 50-member CRA
claims to be non-political, interested only in basic human rights,
but it has difficulty maintaining this posture. Politicians like
the headstrong Mr Fitt can hardly be turned away, since they are
fighting the same battle, and the movement is open to infiltration
by dissenters of all forms, including communists and extreme republicans.'
It has ironically polarised Northern Ireland politics once more
rather than brought opposing forces closer together.
When will Capt O'Neill meet Wilson?
Comment: It is not yet clear when O'Neill
and Wilson will meet for talks on the present
Northern Ireland situation.
Hogg sad on Derry events
Report: British shadow home secretary Quentin Hogg counsels against Westminster intervention in Northern Ireland, feeling that it might only worsen matters.
[BT, 10 October]
12 October, 1968
Civil rights group assailed by mob after TV programme
Leader: Fitt and Currie are among those who face a hostile crowd outside UTV's studios following a TV programme. Fitt claims that the crowd is not representative of 'many thousands of decent protestant people,' who support the cause of civil rights.
Ulster cleared in Frost trial
Leader: Charges of discrimination and gerrymandering are effectively combated on the television debate on Northern Ireland broadcast by UTV.
Frost's 'fiasco' on Friday
Report: The programme offered a poor quality debate in
which those who tried to put their points across were consistently
Protest by workers in Derry
Report: A number of Derry workers stage a sit-down demonstration
on the steps of the Guildhall in support of civil rights and in
condemnation of police brutality.
Paisley calls off two parades
Report: Following the cancellation by QUB students of a civil rights march, Paisley calls off two counter-demonstrations.
Protest marches are called off
Report: The civil rights march organised by Queen's University
students, and the two Paisleyite parades
due to take place at the same time in Belfast, are cancelled.
Despite the cancellation of the token Derry strike, about 100
people stop work in protest at the ban on the 5 October march.
Meanwhile, in a meeting between Derry mayor William Beatty and
leading civil rights figures, Sinclair assures
Beatty that the 5 October march had no political or sectarian
motivations, and that the violence is regretted. Housing issues
are also discussed. Craig has been sent
evidence of an injury sustained on the Derry demonstration by
McAteer, in view of the minister's claim
that he has no evidence of police brutality. Paisley has met
Craig to discuss recent events.
Confusion as tenants' march is cancelled
Report: A march against Housing Trust rent increases is cancelled because its organisers do not wish it to be seen as political, as they believe it would be perceived were it to be associated with either of the forthcoming student or Paisleyite marches.
[NL, 14 October]
Education chiefs rap students
Report: The Association of Northern Ireland Education Committees
criticises the conduct of some QUB students who heckled Long at
a meeting at the university. Free speech is the right not only
of students, but also of government ministers.
Sit-down rally planned in Derry
Report: The DCAC's first demonstration will take the form of a sit-down protest. The Committee wishes to see no further disturbances. An appeal for funds to support those facing court proceedings over their part in the 5 October march is to be made. Evidence will be gathered to support claims as to the underlying causes of civil rights agitation.
[IN, 14 October]
Civil rights party see Derry mayor
Report: Leading civil rights figures, notably Sinclair
[now chairman of NICRA]
and McAnerney, meet the mayor of Derry to
discuss recent events. They assure him that the march was non-political
and non-sectarian, and express regret at the
ensuing violence. Issues relating to housing are also raised.
Withdrawal as opposition, maybe some abstention
Report: The Nationalist Party executive
recommends that the parliamentary party withdraw from its role
as the official opposition at Stormont, and feels that some abstention
may be justified. McAteer says that there
is still a possibility that the government can prevent this from
happening. The executive calls for an inquiry into the Derry
ban and police conduct. The government is criticised for its
to extend justice and goodwill to the minority.'
'Withdraw as opposition, but door not slammed' [Report]
Parliament's new session likely to be stormy
Report: Confrontation over the Derry disturbances is expected
when Stormont reassembles soon. The government will put down
a motion in support of Craig's handling of
Summary: Newtownards Unionist Women's central branch congratulates
Craig and the police on their handling of
events in Derry.
Unionists back Craig
Report: A Derry Unionist Association
is to send a letter to Craig in praise of
his actions and those of the RUC.
Brooke praises premier
Report: Brooke praises O'Neill,
Craig and the RUC
for their handling of the Derry march. Stewart criticises Queen's
students over their sit-down protest. Certain MPs are condemned
for disrupting 'excellent community relations.'
Duncairn Unionist Association has
passed a similar resolution, supporting Craig and the RUC.
Deputation to minister
Report: Craig has assured Paisley at a meeting between the two that the rights of all groups to demonstrate will be safeguarded.
Paisley and Craig silent on talks
Report: Paisley and Craig
reveal little about the substance of their talks, though Paisley
cancels the demonstrations he had planned for Belfast, in light
of the students' decision to postpone their own parade.
DATA men opposed to civil rights resolution
Report: Various trade union groups dissociate themselves
from their unions' condemnations of Craig's
conduct. One says, 'while we uphold civil rights and the right
of people to protest and demonstrate peacefully against injustices,
real or imaginary, in the administration, we abhor the efforts
of known proponents of anarchy and violence to manipulate the
legitimate vehicles of protest for their own ends.'
A new judgement?
Editorial: Protestant church leaders, in
calling for a period of calm, are necessarily inexplicit and ambiguous
in their phrasing, given the highly charged atmosphere now in
Derry. 'They are more than half-way to saying that there are
wrongs in Northern Ireland affecting the Roman catholic minority
and that the attempt must now be made to cure them
in the situation created by the Derry incidents is more deplorable
than the blatant way in which so many Unionists have treated it
as just another old-time political barney. The time is past when
politicians can persuade the people that back is white and white
Church leaders urge calm
Leader: Protestant church leaders desire
a period of calm and reflection that will allow people to consider
the implications of recent events. The official organs of the
Church of Ireland and of the
methodist church call for measures to
put an end to social injustice in Northern Ireland. Conor Cruise
O'Brien describes the risks of a policy of civil disobedience,
although he believes such a policy can be used effectively. The
Nationalist parliamentary party is expected to withdraw from its
official role as Her Majesty's loyal opposition at Stormont, which
action will constitute a 'severe embarrassment' for the government.
The party may not attend the debate on the government motion
expressing support for its actions on 5 October, but long-term
abstention is unlikely. The change in Nationalist Party
policy worries some, who feel that 'parliament may become the
lifeless and unreal institution it was in the days when Nationalists
seldom bothered to attend.' The party's executive calls for an
impartial inquiry on Derry. O'Connor writes to Craig,
telling of an injury sustained by McAteer
on the Derry march; he wishes to refute claims that there is no
evidence of the use of police batons on the groin area of demonstrators.
Elder hits out at violence used against the police. A New
Statesman editorial claims that the Northern Ireland government
has had ample time to introduce reforms and cannot
Church papers want action on Derry problems
Report: The Church of Ireland
Gazette advises the church to take a more active stand rather
than watch as community relations deteriorate.
The methodist Irish Christian Advocate
says that if problems are not tackled now, then trouble is merely
being 'stored up for the future.' Fair representation on local
councils is seen as a vital step. The catholic Tablet
calls on Westminster to ensure that British standards apply to
Northern Ireland; if it does not do so, then 'yet another tragic
chapter in Irish affairs will shortly open.'
Thorpe's man arrives in Derry
Report: The Liberal representative engaged in an investigation of Northern Ireland is now in Derry. He has had talks with Craig, and feels that the ban on the 5 October march was 'unfortunate,' and that the police used 'unnecessary violence.' Liberals 'regard it as a scandal that the blatant wrongs of the minority have gone unaddressed for so long. This is a separate issue from the division of Ireland, in which we recognise that democrats of goodwill might hold different views.' The extremists enjoy too much power over the government; it is time that the Westminster authorities ceased hiding behind parliamentary convention; something must be done about the situation in Northern Ireland. He feels that the introduction of proportional representation would be a constructive step.
[NL, 14 October]
Craig told of McAteer's groin injury
Report: Craig is informed of an injury
caused to McAteer by a baton, a decision
taken in order to counter Craig's claim that there is a lack of
evidence of injuries to the marchers.
Ending a farce
Editorial: The Nationalist Party
entered into the role of official opposition in good faith, but
got nothing in return. O'Neill's
words did not equate with his actions. The party is therefore
justified if it decides now to abandon the role.
Good counsel this time
Editorial: The Society of Labour Lawyers'
proposals regarding measures to cope with counter-demonstrations
are welcome. 'Attempts to stifle free speech and freedom of protest
by this device are nothing short of provocation and in the delicately
balanced state of community relations
in Ulster can be equated with incitement to violence.' All responsible
organisations should now stay off the streets to allow the creation
of a calmer atmosphere.
Derry City GAA board protest
Letter: Derry's GAA board has passed a motion condemning
the ban on the civil rights march in the city and also police
brutality; it has appealed for no further violence.
Letter: The Northern Ireland cabinet's justification for
its actions in Derry is 'pitiful.'
Avoiding the riots [Letter]
[see IN, 10 October, The police warning at Derry]
Was Caledon house case root cause of trouble at Derry?
Letter: Perhaps if the unjust housing allocations
in Caledon had been put right at the time they were
publicised, events since might have taken a difference course.
The student marchers set a fine example of 'tolerance and restraint'
which has not been adopted by demonstrators elsewhere.
Round table conference
Letter: Allegations of discrimination
in Northern Ireland have their basis in fact. O'Neill
wants reform but is held back by 'fanatical sectarians.' Lynch's
intervention is unhelpful. Protestants must show a willingness
to embrace reform; nationalists should rid themselves
of any IRA element.
Craig is 'greatest'
Letter: Thousands of loyalists are justly congratulating
Craig and the police for their handling of
the 'Irish republican mob' in Derry. The so-called civil rights
demonstrators are 'composed of the greatest mixture of discontent
and trouble-makers possible,' and are neither non-sectarian
nor non-political. 'How Northern Ireland Labour
became involved with communists, Liberals, Young Socialists and
IRA is not understood.'
TV at Derry
Letter: The BBC did make clear that the march in Derry was not banned and also broadcast the police warning given to demonstrators before trouble began. The News Letter's claims on this subject are therefore unfair.
Editorial reply: Clarification of these points by the BBC
was nevertheless inadequate.
Letter: There was no police brutality in Derry. The marchers
attacked police with sticks, bottles and other weapons, and the
treatment they received in return was thoroughly deserved. Some
demonstrators dishonoured the city's war memorial - perhaps because
it was a British symbol.
Press asked to leave
Report: Conor Cruise O'Brien tells students to embrace the practice of non-violent civil disobedience. Reporters are barred from the meeting.
Reporters barred from QUB meeting [Report]
Can't see end to partition -O'Brien
Report: Conor Cruise O'Brien expresses the view that while civil disobedience can be highly effective in combating injustice, it would entail considerable risk and sacrifice. If such a policy is to be embarked upon, it must be given very careful consideration.
[IN, NL, 14 October]
Letter: 'The present trouble in Northern Ireland is not
protestant versus Roman catholic but is a deep laid communist
plot which will assume international significance in the years
Open letter to Mr Fitt
Letter: Fitt is reinforcing the very sectarian divisions which he purports to condemn.
October 1968: | 1-5 | 7-12 | 14-19 | 21-26 | 28-31 |
7 - 12 October: | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 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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