Calendar of Newspaper Articles dealing with Civil Rights issues, 1 Jun 1968 - 9 Dec 1968 by Alan Scott
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November 1968: | 1-2 | 4-9 | 11-16 | 18-23 | 25-30 |
1 - 2 November: | 1 | 2 | Top |
1 November, 1968
Stress at no. 10 to be on reform
Report: O'Neill is expected
to tell Wilson at the talks between the two
that housing is being given a new priority by the Northern Ireland
government, and that the multiple company vote may be dropped.
Further franchise reform however, he is likely to
add, cannot be undertaken independently of the review of local
government. Lynch says
that he felt it necessary to address partition, arguing that the
symptoms of a disease cannot be analysed without reference to
the disease itself.
After lunch at no. 10
Report: Little information can be expected to be released on the O'Neill-Wilson meeting immediately after it has taken place.
O'Neill to address British MPs
Report: Following his forthcoming meeting with Wilson,
O'Neill will address a group of British
MPs from all parties and is expected to repudiate Lynch's
statements on partition. He may also be asked about reform.
Is Mr Wilson ready to act?
Editorial: Wilson has said that change
in Northern Ireland is possible even before the new Royal Commission
on the UK constitution has finished its work. The British government
is now less inclined towards non-intervention, thanks to the emergence
of the civil rights movement and to the events in Derry. 'An
aroused citizenry of the Six Counties
has manifested its
disavowal of the assertion that a policy of gradualness will bring
about an end to grievances.' Despite attempts to highlight injustice
in Northern Ireland prior to 5 October, by Fitt
and the CSJ for example, the
events that occurred on that day have sparked English interest
'in what was going on in this "integral part of the United
Kingdom".' The CRA
has widespread support and is not 'indulging in mere protest for
the sake of protest.' Westminster has the power to intervene,
and should exercise it.
Nothing to fear from an inquiry say Unionists
Comment: Unionists generally maintain that they have nothing
to fear from an inquiry into Northern Ireland of the kind that
will be a part of the work of the Royal Commission that is to
be established to look into devolution in the UK. However, recent
pronouncements from some previously silent Labour MPs may influence
Wilson's determination in the forthcoming
talks with O'Neill. The constitutional
position of Northern Ireland is not in doubt however, as is made
clear by the British prime minister's reaffirmation of the Attlee
pledge. The inquiry on Northern Ireland will take account of
any changes resulting from the talks. Lynch's
remarks may have strengthened O'Neill's position vis à
vis that of Wilson; but they have also highlighted difficulty
of achieving reform in a society where the first
concern of some lies with partition.
O'Neill brings defeat on PR into it
Report: O'Neill attacks the Fianna Fáil government of the Republic of Ireland following Lynch's comments on partition, with the assertion that it is attempting to focus attention on Northern Ireland in order to hide its difficulties in the wake of its recent referendum defeat.
Premier lashes Lynch [Report]
[BT, 31 October]
'Partition' speech deplored
Report: Unionists throughout Northern Ireland condemn Lynch
for interfering in Northern Ireland affairs. A Unionist Party
statement on the subject is expected. The Church
of Ireland Gazette
welcomes the bishops' expressed views on the civil rights campaign.
Since some of the issues raised by it are social in character,
it would be 'in the interest of the people most concerned if those
with political axes to grind were to refrain from involving themselves.'
Politicians in the Republic of Ireland, the article goes on,
should realise that 'Captain O'Neill
constitutes the best hope for the welfare of the minority in Northern
Back to the bad old days
Editorial: Lynch's destructive decision
to raise the subject of partition has switched the emphasis away
from civil rights. Reform will now be more difficult.
O'Neill's position is 'unassailable';
Wilson has reaffirmed the Attlee pledge on
the constitutional future of Northern Ireland.
O'Neill's reaction surprises Lynch
Report: Lynch is surprised by O'Neill's
reaction to his references to the Derry situation. He does not
agree that he has helped the cause of the reactionary element.
Dublin rather surprised by O'Neill heat
Report: O'Neill's reaction
to Lynch's comments on Northern Ireland is met
with some surprise in Dublin political circles. Lynch had been
on the receiving end of criticism in the Republic of Ireland for
having failed to react more strongly to events in Derry. His
recent statements were not made in isolation. Opposition parties
have come out in support of the taoiseach's stand, although some
younger politicians feel that Northern Ireland's problems can
best be solved not by intervention, but by the people of Northern
What Wilson told Lynch
Report: At his meeting with Wilson,
Lynch raises the issue of partition. Wilson
reminds Lynch of the Attlee pledge on Northern Ireland's constitutional
position, and says that he will discuss matters of concern with
regard to Derry when he meets O'Neill.
Westminster views differ on Attlee pledge
Report: Labour MPs at Westminster argue that the Attlee
pledge on the constitutional position of Northern Ireland applies
only to the status of the border; Conservative members assert
that it applies also to the constitutional convention whereby
the British government does not intervene in Northern Ireland's
transferred areas of jurisdiction.
George Brown says Labour should aim for united Ireland
Report: Kevin McNamara MP tells a meeting of the parliamentary
Labour Party that the problems of Northern Ireland have nothing
to do with partition, but rather with human rights.
He feels that the British government has both the right and the
duty to intervene. There is the feeling, he says, that O'Neill
is 'playing along' with the government, while hoping for the return
of the Conservatives to power. The local government
franchise should be reformed to provide for universal adult suffrage.
An independent civil service commission should also be established
to look at government recruitment and personnel. Orme feels that
the Attlee pledge relates to the border only, and not to Northern
Ireland's internal affairs. Another speaker points out the dangers
inherent in the imposition of change.
Let united Ireland be our aim - George Brown
Leader: In response to George Brown MP's remarks about the desirability of a united Ireland, Eric Ogden MP states his own view that even if an end to partition is a worthwhile ultimate aim, it is not relevant to the present situation in Northern Ireland, which requires a reform of electoral law and of local government boards. Ryan believes in O'Neill's sincerity, but feels that no progress has been made in Northern Ireland under his premiership.
Ireland 'one' an aim - Brown
Report: McNamara argues that the issue in Northern Ireland
at present is not partition but civil rights, and that Westminster
should intervene. He believes that O'Neill
is biding his time until a Conservative government is returned
in Britain. Ryan feels that the situation in Northern Ireland
Inclusion of Northern Ireland welcomed
Report: The Northern Ireland Labour
parliamentary party welcomes the royal commission on the constitution
announced in the queen's speech at Westminster, as a means for
the re-examination of relationships between Stormont and Westminster.
Debate on Ulster likely soon
Report: A debate on the situation in Northern Ireland is
likely to take place at Westminster in the near future.
We don't pick English pockets
Comment: Currie and others have charged
that Northern Ireland receives vast payments from Britain. Such
inaccurate statements as this neglect the contribution made by
the Northern Ireland tax-payer to the UK exchequer.
Armagh people back O'Neill policy
Report: The Belfast Telegraph has received a letter
bearing 28 signatures, from a group of county Armagh
people who wish to express their support for the policies of O'Neill.
He deserves, they claim, the support of all men of goodwill.
Long '100 pc behind premier'
Report: Long expresses his full support for O'Neill's policies.
Support for Captain O'Neill
Take 'middle ground,' MP tells Unionists
Report: The Marquis of Hamilton argues for a recognition
that 'not all is well in our society and that evolution is inevitable
in Ulster.' He wishes to see moderation and social progress,
but states that people must take cognisance of their duties to
the state as well as of their rights within it. Changing political
thinking in Northern Ireland should not be automatically identified
with 'a limited section of extreme anti-partitionists.'
Derry commission suggestion turned down
Report: Fitzsimmons says that no special commission will be appointed to direct the Derry area plan.
[BT, 30 October]
Let it be massive and peaceful civil rights turnout - committee
Report: The DCAC intends participation in its planned march to be restricted to the 15 committee members; supporters are asked to line the route. They are praised for their peaceful efforts thus far. Stewards are to receive a final briefing from the committee, which is continuing to gather evidence from those who received injuries on 5 October. The Northern Ireland Society of Labour Lawyers is lending its support to the DCAC, and is defending some of the original organisers of the 5 October demonstration in court. The Derry Labour Party commends the demonstrators for their conduct.
[BT, 31 October]
Defence of the Londonderry marchers
Report: The Society of Labour Lawyers
is expected to lend its aid to the defence of three of the organisers
of the 5 October march in court. The Society will also send members
to the planned DCAC march, which will include only the 15 committee
members, supporters being asked to line the route. The committee
supports Paisley's right to hold a demonstration
in Derry on the same day.
To march or not to march - decision tonight
will today decide on whether to hold a civil rights demonstration
in Armagh; the UPV
warns of a counter-demonstration should any such proposal be accepted.
Craig and RUC discuss rival Derry marches
Report: Following the announcement by the Loyal Citizens
of Ulster of a demonstration in Derry in opposition to that planned
by the DCAC, Craig is meeting with police
to discuss the situation.
Summary: 'It is estimated that about 18,000 people took
part in the two protest marches in Glasgow on Sunday in which
Mr Wilson was warned not to interfere in
the constitutional affairs of Northern Ireland.'
Silence may speak louder than words
Comment: Nationalists are now pursuing a policy of semi-abstention
at parliament, concentrating on constituency issues and civil
rights almost to the exclusion of all other parliamentary business,
to which they have made little contribution. They have shown
little enthusiasm for the reforms that are currently
being promoted by Bradford and O'Neill
because the changes that they wish to see are of the more far-reaching
variety. If nothing is done, a policy of civil disobedience could
easily result, and from this possibly a full abstention from Stormont.
McAteer warns of 'grave consequences'
Report: McAteer warns of the serious
problems that could result from the prosecution of those involved
in the 5 October demonstration.
McAteer for London
Report: McAteer is to address a London
meeting later in the month on current affairs in Northern Ireland.
Labour warning on electors' apathy
Report: Coulthard asks all progressive-minded people in
the south Antrim constituency to come out and vote at the forthcoming
by-election. If they do not, he says, they are helping government
justify its contention that reform is neither necessary
nor desired. His Unionist opponent should declare his preparedness
to vote against the government on the franchise issue if necessary,
and should advise all holders of business votes in south Antrim
not to exercise them.
Walk-out over bypass plan
Report: A Republican Labour member of Belfast city council walks out of a council meeting following a decision on the routing of a bypass. He alleges 'a Unionist conspiracy against the catholic people in the Falls Road.'
[IN, NL, 2 November]
US petition for Ulster inquiry
Report: A San Francisco group calling itself Citizens for Irish Justice plans a nationwide petition in the USA, calling on president Johnson to use his influence with the British government to secure an impartial inquiry into Northern Ireland affairs. Letters have also been sent to Queen Elizabeth, Wilson, de Valera, Thant, and others.
'Shocked and dismayed,' says letter
Report: An Irish-American organisation, the Citizens for
Irish Justice, in a letter sent, among others, to President Johnson,
Wilson, de Valera and U Thant, condemns the
British government for its endorsement in Northern Ireland of
injustice through the 'narrow-minded gerrymandering
dictatorship' that exists there.
'Important' people are showing concern at last
Letter: It is encouraging to see so many people show an interest in civil rights since the events of 5 October, though one might wonder why they had failed to notice injustice prior to this time. The Nationalist Party has leapt on the civil rights band-wagon; the best way of supporting civil rights is by subscribing to and joining NICRA. Catholics who wish to join the Unionist Party will find little support among their community. Wilson will have to force reform on 'the Captain [O'Neill] and his crew.'
The answer is Derry
Letter: If Unionists can justify majority control in Belfast, why cannot they support it also in Derry?
[IN, 4 October]
Do C of I bishops support ALL of prime minister's policies?
Letter: The Church of Ireland
statement of support for O'Neill's
policies of goodwill is welcome, but leaves some questions unanswered.
Do the bishops support policies of discrimination
in public employment? Do they support government
discrimination against catholic maintained schools?
Insisting on civil rights
Letter: Government cannot long resist the civil rights
demands of one-third of the people of Northern Ireland; a 'total
boycott of public revenue payment' would be highly effective.
Catholics in the Unionist Party 'no help to the underprivileged'
Letter: It is difficult to imagine how anyone can equate
the concept of progress with the Unionist party, which is 'the
party of reaction and sectarian bitterness;
the party which first instigated and later wholeheartedly supported
police brutality in Derry; the party which is the greatest single
obstacle to a united community and to good community relations.'
Honeyed words have delivered O'Neill
the support of some middle class catholics, enabling him to strengthen
the hand of repression. The presence of a few middle class catholics
in the Unionist party will not help the cause of the underprivileged.
The religious barrier must be crossed by the working classes;
change will not come from 'an alliance between Unionist ascendants
and castle catholics.'
Government money for Island: none for Mater
Letter: If the government wishes to demonstrate its goodwill,
it should follow up its recent payment to the Harland and Wolff
shipyard with a gift to the Mater Hospital.
Orange Order must relax its grip on Unionist Party
Letter: The Orange Order must exercise
less influence within the Unionist Party,
and O'Neill should clearly state
that non-Orangemen and catholics are welcome to join the party
and run for positions as MPs. It is possible to be both politically
moderate and a staunch Unionist; the party needs to change.
The right to criticise
Letter: Northern Ireland, as an integral part of the UK,
should enjoy full UK standards. A points system
for housing is necessary. 'I resent paying full British taxation
to Westminster in return for sub-standard administration by Stormont
and for local electoral arrangements, which have been out of step
with the rest of the United Kingdom for two decades.' It is also
wrong that British MPs enjoy less jurisdiction in Northern Ireland
than do Northern Ireland MPs over British affairs. Northern Ireland
people should also be granted full access to the parliamentary
Turning back the clock
Letter: The government has failed to replace fair words
with actions after Derry, and now it is returning to the old partition
battles. 'The position of the moderate is continually being eroded
by the refusal of those in power to make meaningful concessions
and this stubbornness only strengthens the extremists of both
orange and green and breeds discord for the future.'
Housewives' plea to Mr Craig
Letter: The extension of British standards to local elections
in Northern Ireland is essential. Craig
is to be commended for keeping law and order in Derry.
Letter: The government's employment record
in Derry is creditable, given the city's high birth-rate. Gerrymandering
is not to the government's credit, 'but opinions may be divided,
with good reasons, on the local government
franchise.' It is all very well to talk of rights, but it would
be wrong to ignore responsibilities.
Letter: 'Every decent citizen' would like to see the removal
of genuine grievances in Northern Ireland, but it is well-known
that a high birth-rate, as exists in Derry, is incompatible with
prosperity. The people of Derry at least enjoy better social
services than exist in the Republic of Ireland. A ratepayer franchise
in local government would seem to be fair.
'Placards pool' would be fine
Letter: Sometimes the demands made by the supporters of
Fitt and of Paisley
are difficult to distinguish.
Letter: Many protestants supported Fitt
at the last Westminster election, but now he is showing his true
colours. He is taking part in demonstrations and sharing platforms
with known members of the IRA and
the Communist Party under the cloak of civil rights. He is costing
Labour a lot of votes in Northern Ireland. It is not just the
rapidly expanding catholic population of Derry that wants jobs
Letter: 'Let it be clearly known that protestants have
had the raw end of the stick for too long and will not put up
with injustices any longer.' When previous Paisleyite
marches have been banned or re-routed, Paisley and his supporters
have respected the law, unlike republican demonstrators. 'Loyalists
who love Ulster obey the law, but we won't be imposed upon[.]
Republicans under any guise[,] "civil rights" or any
other rights[,] will not be allowed to go through a protestant
area while protestants are not allowed to go through a Roman catholic
Letter: Catholic influence in the media is strong, and
allows catholics to portray the Northern Ireland situation in
a biased light.
Orangemen may be allowed to attend catholic services
Report: The Orange Order is to decide whether to allow its members to attend services of catholic worship.
[BT, 31 October]
2 November, 1968
March and counter-march in Derry today
Leader: A group calling itself the Loyal Citizens of Ulster has announced a counter-demonstration in Derry, closely coinciding with the DCAC march. The DCAC feels that its supporters will not allow this provocation to succeed. An LCU spokesman says, 'our demonstration is to protest against the intention of this so-called civil rights movement to establish Roman catholic rule in Londonderry. We are not going to stand by and allow that to happen.' Paisley is asked by a representative of the British Legion to call off a march he has planned for Derry because it coincides with a remembrance event. The PD writes to Paisley supporting his right to march.
Rival marches planned in Londonderry [Report]
RUC hold up counter parade
Leader: Police hold back a march by the Loyal Citizens of Ulster in order to prevent a confrontation with the DCAC march taking place at almost the same time and starting from the same location. When Bunting and his supporters block the march route, police remove them.
[IN, NL, 4 November]
Councillor's walkout protest over Hamill Street decision
Report: A Republican Labour member of Belfast city council claims that a decision on the routing of a bypass through a catholic area is 'a Unionist conspiracy against the catholic people in the Falls Road.'
'We'll fight to save our homes' [Report]
[BT, 1 November]
Paisleyite motion on GAA refused
Report: Eileen Paisley's motion condemning the recent reception by Belfast city council of Down's GAA football team is rejected by the council, following the acceptance of a motion asking that the council refuse to consider any matter likely to stir up community tension. Paisley sees a conspiracy against her and claims that a supposedly loyalist council should speak its mind, for example, on Craig's courageous actions. She favours the advancement of the whole community, but stresses that relations have been set back by O'Neill's policy of appeasement.
Motion condemning Geddis is foiled [Report]
Give parts of Derry city to the Republic, Unionist says
Report: A leading Unionist suggests that the Bogside and Creggan estates in Derry should be handed over to the Republic of Ireland, since they constitute a heavy drain on resources; perhaps Lynch can remedy the complaints of such areas. Other 'politically sick' areas should also be handed over. Another speaker criticises poor housing in Dublin, while a third chides government for its failure to respond effectively to accusations made against it. Fitzsimmons says that differences stretching back over hundreds of years cannot be healed overnight. He feels that extremists do not want change, and adds that some within the Nationalist Party are allying themselves with republicans, communists and revolutionaries. Many catholics will not, he says, associate themselves with civil disobedience. Robin Chichester-Clark criticises Nationalists for discrimination. O'Neill receives a vote of confidence, and Craig and the RUC praise for their handling of events in Derry.
[NL, 4 November]
Prayers for premier
Report: The Evangelical Protestant Society calls for prayers
to be said for those who will meet with Wilson,
feeling that Northern Ireland's future may be in jeopardy.
Appeal to Paisley
Report: Paisley is asked not to
hold a planned demonstration in Derry because it would coincide
with war commemoration activities organised by the British Legion.
Troubles mean bonus for Unionism
Report: Bradford claims an unprecedented surge of interest
in membership of the Unionist Party has resulted
from recent events. Wilson outlines the
content of his talks with Lynch, wherein he
stressed that he would raise matters of concern about Northern
Ireland with O'Neill in the coming
meeting between the two. Lynch expresses surprise at O'Neill's
reaction to his comments on partition.
Summary: A branch of Bannside Unionist Association
praises O'Neill for his efforts to
improve community relations and for
his defence against Lynch's attacks on Northern
Student group hits at Lynch
Report: The PD sends a letter to Lynch
deploring his making political capital out of recent events, and
criticises him for his failure to address civil rights issues
in the Republic of Ireland.
People's Democracy 'deplore' [Report]
Churches 'must speak' despite victimisation
Report: A presbyterian professor says that the churches must not fear to speak out on housing, voting and discrimination, even though some ministers have been driven out by their congregations as a result of doing so. Reform must however be brought about within the law.
[IN, 4 November]
96 sign letter backing PM
Report: The Belfast Telegraph receives a letter
backing O'Neill's policies, and arguing
that majority opinion in Northern Ireland is behind him. The
unrepresentative situation in Derry has been over-emphasised;
reform is certainly required there, however. Extremists
receive the most publicity, while the opinions of the moderate
majority are not communicated effectively.
37 students support PM
Report: 37 students send a letter of support to O'Neill, expressing the hope that moderate opinion will become more articulate in support of his healing policies.
Report: A group of students sends a letter to O'Neill
pledging their support and hoping that their example will encourage
other moderate voices to speak out articulately.
Taoiseach sees no break-off with North
Report: Lynch expresses surprise at the
comments made by O'Neill in the wake
of the taoiseach's pronouncements on partition. Wilson,
in a written answer to a parliamentary question, says that he
has told Lynch that he will raise matters of concern relating
to Northern Ireland with O'Neill when the two meet, and has reminded
the taoiseach of the British government's commitment to the Attlee
pledge on the constitutional status of Northern Ireland
UN and human person
Letter: A 1967 booklet entitled 'the United Nations and
the Human Person' should be of particular interest to people in
Northern Ireland. It briefly defines human rights
and suggests that 'to deny human beings their rights is to set
the stage for political and social unrest.'
Letter: Fitt and McAteer
are right to criticise the somewhat political comments of Mr Justice
Lowry on the Derry events; the same judge, it should be pointed
out, is chairman of the commission appointed to draw up new parliamentary
November 1968: | 1-2 | 4-9 | 11-16 | 18-23 | 25-30 |
1 - 2 November: | 1 | 2 | Top |
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