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

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Text: Alan Scott

Introduction     1968:   | June | July | August | September | October | November | December |
November 1968:   | 1-2 | 4-9 | 11-16 | 18-23 | 25-30 |
11 - 16 November:   | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | Top |

11 November, 1968

Irish News

Paisleyites' day out in Derry passes without much trouble

Report: The UCDC demonstration in Derry passes off relatively peacefully. It is estimated that less than 20% of participants are inhabitants of Derry. The train carrying some of the demonstrators is halted temporarily on its way to Derry because of a fears of a bomb onboard. Slogan-shouting by rival factions at the meeting is followed by a brief period of stone-throwing by youths from a catholic area. Numbers at the DUAC teach-in are swollen by civil rights supporters opposed to the Paisleyite demonstration. Paisley tells supporters that constant government concessions have brought closer a new and more determined than ever IRA campaign. Bunting announces a voluntary ban on marches in Derry until 1969 in order to give police respite.

'Glad that Mr Paisley is in Derry'

Report: The teach-in held by the Derry Unemployed Action Committee is told by O'Leary that 'the unemployed would get nothing from the politicians, but only by taking part in the civil rights movement.' Melaugh feels that Paisley's presence in Derry should be welcomed, in that it brings attention to Derry. The teach-in is not seen as a counter-demonstration.

News Letter

Derry police hit with stones

Report: 'Police were pelted with stones by republican supporters during a tense afternoon in Derry on Saturday.' That the constant threat of violence was not realised during the demonstration 'was due to police presence of mind, for on several occasions they intervened to stop an enraged section of the loyalists from rushing the taunting, jeering republicans.' A spokesman for the Northern Ireland Society of Labour Lawyers states that the society has no connection with the newly-formed Derry Unemployed Action Committee.

[BT, 9 October]

Belfast Telegraph

Parade days give bonus to criminals

Report: RUC figures detailing crime during the month of October indicate that criminals have taken advantage of the concentration of police resources on the control of demonstrations and counter-demonstrations.

[IN, NL, 12 November]

McAteer one of 40 served with 'Derry' summons

Report: McAteer is one of 40 people to receive a summons for his part in the Derry parade of 5 October.

[IN, 12 November]

Rights drive succeeding

Report: Paddy Devlin attributes what he views as the success of the civil rights movement to the sinking of political differences in a concerted drive to place pressure for reform on the Stormont and Westminster governments. It has resisted outside attempts to make political capital out of its efforts.

Irish News

Why the campaign for civil rights is succeeding

Report: The movement has also resisted attempts to involve it in violence or smear it as sectarian.

Belfast Telegraph

RUC men injured in Derry clashes

Report: Three members of the police are injured in dealing with youths hostile to the Paisleyite gathering in Derry.

News Letter

Rights march

Summary: NICRA arranges a civil rights march for 30 November in Armagh. Notice has been given to the RUC

[IN, 9 November, BT, 13 November]

Belfast Telegraph

Lawyers begin a Derry inquiry

Report: The Northern Ireland Society of Labour Lawyers is to set up a committee to look into housing and local government in Derry, with a view to submitting findings to the ongoing inquiry being conducted by its British parent society.

Irish News

British lawyers' call for urgent report on the Derry set-up

Report: 'The NI Society has had a marked impact on the present situation here and is acknowledged as a logical calm but radical voice in a situation fraught with emotional overtones. It is a highly-skilled, professional body and commands a wide and powerful influence within the civil rights movement…[Its members] are widely regarded as being influential in containing extremist elements in the civil rights movement.' The British mother society 'carries considerable influence with the government in matters that fall within the scope of its activities.' Its request for a report on Derry 'must be taken as highly significant and an important phase in the progress of the relationships between Westminster and Stormont.'

News Letter

Labour Lawyers' new probe [Report]

Irish News

No answer to QC's questions

Report: James McSparran QC feels that the questions he has asked Robin Chichester-Clark in the columns of the Observer have not been answered successfully. 'His reference to IRA activity can only be relevant to the issue of discrimination, if he implies, as I imagine he does, that, since a minute proportion of 1 per cent of the minority promotes incidents, the remainder of the minority deserves all it gets.' McSparran also asks whether the fact that injustices with regard to ward boundaries were put in place many years ago is sufficient justification for their maintenance. That the parliamentary franchise is universal is irrelevant to the debate on the local franchise, and the abolition of the business vote 'will have an infinitesimal effect.' Is the obvious bias in public appointments, which Unionists deny, merely coincidental? He also asks why the suggestion of an impartial inquiry should be dismissed with such contempt by Chichester-Clark.

Difference between scenes in Derry and Fermanagh

Report: Carron feels that television coverage of recent scenes in Derry is the only significant distinction between events in that city and similar scenes in Fermanagh in earlier years. The Unionist party, he believes, secured its position in the county through gerrymandering and discrimination. There is a need for injustice in jobs and housing to be remedied.

Belfast Telegraph

McAteer to see Stonham

Report: McAteer will meet with Stonham in London. It seems likely that current events in Northern Ireland, and especially the Derry situation, will be discussed.

Irish News

McAteer to see Stonham [Report]

[NL, 12 November]

Irish News

Blaney's weekend speech 'inconsistent,' says Fitt

Report: Fitt criticises Blaney's recent speech on Northern Ireland, saying that Fianna Fáil supporters were advised not to associate themselves with the civil rights movement. The sudden burst of anti-partition rhetoric from the party is an attempt to divert attention away from the party's own failings. McAteer feels that the speech was ill-timed, and 'rather upsets my political chessboard.' Paedar O'Donnell, 'the writer and…Old IRA man…saw the civil rights demonstration in the Six Counties as "the most promising agitation in the North for a long time".'

News Letter

Replies to 'chameleon' charge

Report: Fitt says that Fianna Fáil supporters were advised by the party, before the Derry disturbances, not to have anything to do with the civil rights movement in Northern Ireland.

Putting their feet in it

Editorial: Blaney's remarks about a 'bigoted junta' in Northern Ireland and his accusation that O'Neill's 'liberal image is a sham' is embarrassing for Lynch, who had tried to make amends for his own damaging remarks. He has also embarrassed McAteer, who last week put forward 'constructive suggestions.' The obvious lesson is that the government of the Republic of Ireland should avoid meddling in the internal affairs of Northern Ireland.

Irish News

Words on the border

Editorial: Reaction among nationalists to Blaney's recent speech on Northern Ireland is likely to be mixed, 'but because the protesting voices of civil rights marchers are being heard in the right place, Westminster, the general reaction to his speech is that the manner and timing of it is unfortunate, and that at this moment, impassioned oratory will not help the civil rights cause.' This need not be so however, since 'Wilson is plainly determined to see that there is action from Stormont on civil rights, discrimination, housing and voting which admit of immediate solution.' Few will disagree that cross-border 'tea-parties' have done nothing 'to improve the lot of the minority.'

Belfast Telegraph

'Political capital'

Report: The Young Socialist Alliance criticises attempts by Republic of Ireland politicians to make political capital out of recent developments in Northern Ireland. Such critics should examine the deprivation of civil rights in the Republic of Ireland before looking to abuses in Northern Ireland.

Irish News

Statement by Young Socialist Alliance

Report: The Young Socialist Alliance reaffirms its support for the civil rights cause, which is neither a solely catholic issue, nor one restricted to reform within the present Tory-dominated system. The body will continue its present campaign for 'pure' civil rights, but will also 'take direct action to draw attention to the shocking housing situation and chronic unemployment in the North,' not restricting itself to 'marches and demonstrations.'

News Letter

'Direct action' threat [Report]

Belfast Telegraph

Paisley movement attacked at Remembrance Day service

Report: The Church of Ireland bishop of Derry and Raphoe criticises the Paisleyite movement, warning of the rise of 'an ideological force based on invective and hatred.' O'Neill's policies of charity and justice are praised, and moderates asked to champion their cause against the bigots.

[NL, 12 November]

Take day to think Ulster is urged

Report: Withers urges that all Christians take a day to reflect on attitudes of bigotry and hatred.

News Letter

O'Neill lays wreath in Derry [Report]

Provocation the cause of all the trouble

Report: 'No political programme founded on a contempt for any section of the community or upon a disregard of their hopes and a ferocious hatred of their faith should ultimately prevail, said Dr John Withers…yesterday.' Recent disturbances, he also feels, have at their root political and religious provocation. 'Protestant fears of papal tyranny are easily aroused, while catholic grievances of discrimination are so emotionally publicised that one misplaced word, one noisy demonstration, is enough to convert this shared tension into a shattering tornado…Fanatics on both sides try to take advantages of such a climate by fomenting tensions in order to discredit their opponents, using the tactic of systematic provocation…Each violent disturbance renders the task of reconciliation more difficult and retards the progress of goodwill and tolerance, without which there simply cannot be community.' There is a duty to live together and promote justice for all.

Irish News

Labour Lawyers and Derry 'teach-in'

Letter: The Northern Ireland Society of Labour Lawyers has no association with the Derry Unemployed Action Committee.

Belfast Telegraph

Unemployed 'teach-in' [Letter]

Moderation our most powerful political weapon: Mr Warnock

Letter: The reaffirmation of Northern Ireland's constitutional guarantee and the appointment of a commission to examine devolution are highly important, and highlight Northern Ireland's relative strengths and weaknesses, its impressive record with regard to the economy, and its at best moderate success in the field of community relations. 'Fifty years of one-party government, with an immensely strong government in power, and a relatively weak opposition has had the almost inevitable result. Government has very gradually become less democratic, and more autocratic. Granted that most of the allegations of discrimination and the like have generally had a larger content of exaggeration than of truth, it should be remembered that the complaints (not always devoid of substance) were made on the floor of the house of commons, the proper forum, and the government might and should have done more by way of inquiry. If the complaints were substantially devoid of substance, that would have been demonstrated. If they were justified a remedy for any injustice might have been devised' without any sacrifice of principle. Concessions that if previously granted willingly might have evoked a generous response may now be forced from the government. The events of the previous weeks might have been avoided had not that which was offered been seen as 'too little too late.' O'Neill's lead is to be welcomed, and 'moderation, at the present time is the most powerful political weapon available to all the people of Northern Ireland.'

(Edmond Warnock)

Questions for Mr Fitt [Letter]

[see NL, 8 November, Queries for Mr Fitt]

News Letter

Genuine politician

Letter: O'Neill is no traitor; he is genuinely concerned for both protestants and catholics. The pretensions of Fitt and McAteer to a desire to be British fool no-one. It is they who have an unhealthy influence over community relations.

Ulster catholic

Letter: 'The Ulster catholic, due to the intransigence of their [sic] church, has been unable to admit and recognise our Ulster constitution.'

11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | Top

12 November, 1968

Belfast Telegraph

National disunity

Editorial: It is too early to tell the extent of reform that will be brought to Northern Ireland, but McAteer is right to suggest a new approach for Nationalism. He may not however represent hard-line Nationalist opposition, which will undoubtedly press at the forthcoming special party conference for a campaign of civil disobedience. Such a campaign would be counter-productive now that Northern Ireland is moving in the right direction.

News Letter

London talks

Report: McAteer will meet Stonham in London later in the week.

[IN, BT, 11 November]

Belfast Telegraph

'Come off pedestal' attack on Craig

Report: O'Connor castigates Craig for his recent action.

[IN, NL, 13 November]

Lynch appeals for renewed spirit of goodwill

Report: Lynch calls for a calm approach to relations between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Additionally, 'he appealed for an end to demonstrations and harsh words so as to give urgent and desirable reforms the chance of becoming reality.' Evidence of the Northern Ireland government's sincerity in the quest to produce reforms will ease strains between Dublin and Belfast.

Irish News

Vast majority of people desire to live in harmony

Report: 'The taoiseach, Mr Jack Lynch, last night called on North and South, in a spirit of genuine brotherhood and mutual understanding to clasp hands together as joint champions of fundamental human rights and social justice, of peace and of harmony.' He feels that events in Derry made a focusing on partition inevitable, but says that harsh words must be ended in order to give reform a chance. 'Clear evidence of sincere intent to speedily give effect to these reforms would go a long way towards easing tensions.'

News Letter

Olive branch from Mr Lynch [Leader]

Belfast Telegraph

Derry march planners meet tonight

Report: DCAC organisers will meet tonight to finalise plans for their Derry demonstration on 16 November, which will take an almost identical route to the march of 5 October. The LCU may organise a 'teach-out' in opposition to the march.

Irish News

Civil rights meeting in Strabane

Report: A public meeting will be held in Strabane with the purpose of forming a local civil rights committee. The committee will be asked to ratify a planned march from Strabane to Derry on 16 November, linking up with the DCAC march there.

News Letter

Rights march for Strabane

Report: A civil rights march is planned to take place from Strabane to Derry, where it will link up with the proposed DCAC march. The proposal will be put before a public meeting, where the question of establishing a civil rights committee in the area will be considered.

Irish News

Silent PD picket for O'Neill visit

Report: The PD plans to hold a silent protest when O'Neill visits Queen's University to distribute prizes. An organiser of the protest says that the demonstration has been called to highlight the need for civil rights and to demand the dismissal of right-wing ministers.

News Letter

Debate challenge to O'Neill

Report: The PD challenges O'Neill to an open debate on civil rights. It also announces its intention to hold a silent picket at Queen's University where O'Neill is to distribute prizes.

Irish News

3 civil rights MPs among 40 summonsed

Report: Fitt, McAteer and Currie are among those who receive summons relating to their participation in the 5 October civil rights march. Cooper also receives a summons. Consideration is being given to the idea of serving Craig with a summons to appear in court to testify in the cases. Derry Nationalist Party claims knowledge of the identities of the 'ringleaders' of the attack on the Strabane-Derry marchers, and expects prosecutions to be undertaken.

Three MPs to appear in court

Report: McAteer, Fitt and Currie receive summonses relating to the 5 October civil rights march, as does Cooper. O'Connor, as McAteer's solicitor, is considering calling Craig to give evidence in the case.

[BT, 11 October]

Parades send up October crime list

Report: The RUC reports that crime figures in Belfast increased during October as a result of the stretching of police resources by the various demonstrations and protests that took place during that month.

News Letter

March time, crime time [Report]

[BT, 11 November]

When the cop's away

Editorial: Protests have annoyed some ordinary people, who see the issues behind them as academic; criminals have taken, and no doubt will continue to take advantage of them.

Belfast Telegraph

Summons for Craig as Derry witness?

Report: Craig may receive a summons to appear as a witness when McAteer appears in court to answer charges on his conduct on 5 October. Agnew and Cooper have now also received summonses for their part in the march.

Dungannon says 'no' to housing points system

Report: A motion put before Dungannon UDC and calling for the introduction of a points system for housing allocation is rejected, a Unionist councillor claiming that no such system is perfect and that the council already allocates houses in response to need based on the suitability of an applicant's present accommodation. The council's policy of housing segregation is challenged.

Irish News

Dungannon slap-in-the-face for O'Neill

Leader: 'Last night's refusals and denials would seem to confirm that Dungannon's Unionist council members are almost 100 per cent anti-O'Neill and extremist-supporting.' Hassard calls on the government to legislate for a points system.

News Letter

No points system for Dungannon

Report: Dungannon UDC rejects a motion calling for the introduction of a points system for housing allocation.

Belfast Telegraph

'Wrong stress' by mass media

Report: Newe feels that media coverage of recent events has tended to focus on the more sensational aspects of protest rather than on its causes. This kind of focus, he feels, can harm the community.

Irish News

Human rights and personal duties

Report: Newe says, 'It is right that people should make their voices heard and express their concern about injustices. It is also possibly true that the ordinary man in the street can only make his voice heard, can only really feel involved, when with his peers he engages in protests. But the subject of protest must never be submerged in the "action of protest." This must, inevitably, be bad for the community. What we must ever keep in mind is that, while pressing to have legitimate grievances remedied, the common good of the whole people is the overriding consideration in practice as well as in theory.'

Belfast Telegraph


Summary: Victoria Unionist Association passes a motion of confidence in O'Neill.

The Unionists face Westminster

Comment: The British government has given Stormont time to introduce reforms, but this time is not unlimited. Wilson's intervention, designed to bolster O'Neill's position, has proved counter-productive. Expressions of support for O'Neill are one thing, but it is clear that few Unionists have made any attempt to hammer home in the constituencies the changes in attitudes that are inherently a part of the prime minister's policy. Attacks on Unionists have been counter-attacked by them, but no effort has been made to seek an approach that will silence them. Unionism is thus ill-prepared for the challenge it now faces. Ministers must now give O'Neill their open and unambiguous support for reforms that will satisfy Westminster. The threat of a financial squeeze on the Northern Ireland treasury is very real, so Unionists must evince a willingness to reform, even if Wilson cannot expect to see all desired reforms implemented immediately. The alternative is to place the Union in jeopardy.

News Letter

PM faces party MPs on reforms

Report: O'Neill will today present to the parliamentary Unionist Party an interim report on the outcome of his discussions with Wilson. The decision taken by Derry corporation on housing allocation 'has paved the way for a step-up in top level encouragement to other local authorities to change their approach to the vexed problem of allocations.' Some MPs view the appointment of an ombudsman as helpful in showing that justice is done and seen to be done, a slightly more prevalent opinion is that any appointee would have to be granted much wider powers than are enjoyed by the Westminster ombudsman. Craig asserts that there is no disunity in the cabinet, praises the RUC, and says that extremists from all sides must be dealt with. Phelim O'Neill sees such extremists as the curse of Northern Ireland.

Belfast Telegraph

Kirk gives £ s d side of Wilson talks

Report: Kirk outlines to the parliamentary Unionist Party the figures demonstrating Northern Ireland's dependence upon Wilson for financial support, in order to stress the foolishness of resisting British government demands for reform. Another meeting will be held to review the government's decisions, once these are made. 'MPs from west of the Bann are known to be strongly of the view that any change in the franchise should await the reform of the structure and function of local government. The traditional stand has consistently been held most emphatically by Mr Craig. But among other MPs, and indeed ministers, there are signs of a growing feeling that a declaration in favour at least of the principle of universal suffrage may be unavoidable if an outright confrontation with the British government is to be averted.'

[NL, 13 November]

UDI here disastrous - Pounder

Report: Pounder condemns violence and adds, 'in recent weeks we have seen in Ulster a handful of do-gooders and idealistic student protesters ruthlessly exploited by an assortment of militant left-wing revolutionaries and republican extremists.' UDI would be a disastrous course for Northern Ireland. 'It should be remembered that under the guise of civil rights, some demonstrators have been primarily concerned with civil disturbance, while others have seen it as an opportunity to attempt to undermine the constitutional integrity of Northern Ireland.'

[NL, 13 November]

News Letter

Reaction of Unionism to reform

Report: Taylor asserts that two broadly opposing elements within Unionism - one always saying no to reform, and the other always yes - are damaging to Unionist principles. 'No useful purpose was served by the automatic rejection, or acceptance, of suggested reforms, be they from Unionists, civil rights [supporters] or Harold Wilson. All ideas must be considered on their merits, but by no means could affairs in Ulster be settled by the imposition of demands by English socialists or Southern Irish anti-partitionists.' The Northern Ireland constitution must be defended, especially by the constituency associations, and the threat of financial blackmail from Westminster should not be taken very seriously. Only UDI poses a serious financial threat.

Belfast Telegraph

Cabinet working as team - Craig

Report: Craig reiterates that there are no divisions in the cabinet. He hopes to see present tensions pass so that government can return to the task of creating maximum opportunity for all. There must be a clamp-down on extremists from whichever quarter they come. Phelim O'Neill describes them as a curse.

Irish News

No cabinet split, says Craig

Report: He commends the work of the RUC, whose task is a difficult one. He rejects suggestions that the area west of the Bann has been neglected.

News Letter

Apology demand to bishop

Report: The Church of Ireland bishop of Derry and Raphoe attacks Paisleyism, which he feels consists of 'battalions of bigots.' He asserts that moderates should follow the course adopted by O'Neill in the fight against bigotry. Bunting demands an apology from the bishop. He also has tentative plans for a 'teach-out' in Derry on 16 November.

[BT, 11 November]

Belfast Telegraph

Bishop asked to apologise

Report: Bunting asks the Church of Ireland bishop of Derry and Raphoe to apologise for his condemnation of Paisleyism.

Irish News

Minority disabilities: where the blame lies

Letter: 'The issue is…not merely one of civil rights under suppression by a minority government set up by Britain, and maintained by Britain, but one of the ultimate liberation of all Ireland from British control.'

Another great sell-out?

Letter: McAteer's proposed change in Nationalist thinking, should discrimination be remedied, is a betrayal of the Irish nation, as is Fitt's radio endorsement of the idea.

[NL, 14 November]

Attack on Mr Fitt

Letter: Robin Chichester-Clark's Westminster attack on Fitt is typical of the Unionist tendency to avoid discussing the real issues.

News Letter

Disease of bigotry

Letter: 'It is strange that people calling themselves stalwart protestants should so abuse a prime minister who has a real Christian policy to eliminate the disease of bigotry and intolerance that has bedevilled our Province for so long and sullied its reputation everywhere.'

Praise for RUC

Letter: Allegations made in a UTV discussion about RUC mistreatment of people in Derry cannot be true. The force engages in much worthy community work, helping people out regardless of their religion.

Disgusted citizens

Letter: Once again QUB students have disgraced themselves by their protests: 'the roars of "one man one vote" for such a contingent of adolescent freaks seemed as reasonable as a suggestion that the franchise should be extended to the monkey house at Bellevue [Zoo].'


Letter: Support for law-breaking civil rights marchers is inconsistent with support for the imprisonment of protestant ministers, like Paisley, who 'refused to be silenced.'

11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | Top

13 November, 1968

Belfast Telegraph

Paving the way

Editorial: Unionism may be hurt in some areas by local government reform, but this is no excuse for failure to implement it. Also questionable is the presumed need to wait for the restructuring of local government before looking at the franchise question. Any new local bodies will have to be elected by universal suffrage. Government should set a date by which its local government reforms must be completed, and should pledge to implement the universal franchise alongside this reorganisation. Additionally, central government should not have to appeal for better or fairer housing, but should itself enjoy any powers which would assist local administration in extricating itself from the realm of party political controversy.

Irish News

Beginning of change?

Editorial: The Unionist Party is obviously divided on the issue of reform, and some have not taken seriously Wilson's threat of a reappraisal of Northern Ireland's position. Unionists like those who refused to introduce a points system for housing allocation in Dungannon 'must be the despair of the prime minister in his present endeavours to "sell" reform to a divided cabinet and party.' Government will have to act against this type of Unionism, which sees nothing but danger in change. 'Political labels aside, the minority no longer exists as a mass of second-class citizens, captive of a Unionist overlordship. It is freer and more articulate in expression than many Unionists have dared to think. In the search for civil rights the minority has been joined by a young, educated world crying out to the older authoritative Unionist world to stop and to listen. Mr Wilson has lent his voice of concern to the chorus. In truth, we are only at the beginning of change in this part of Ireland.'

Belfast Telegraph

'Routine' cabinet meeting

Report: Further consideration by the cabinet of reform is unlikely until next week, when a statement of the British government's position will be available. There is a divergence of opinion in the Unionist Party over the seriousness of Westminster's financial threats, but there is considerable opposition to the immediate granting of a universal franchise in local government elections.

News Letter

MPs told cost of 'rebellion'

Report: At the meeting of the parliamentary Unionist Party briefing MPs on the recent Downing Street talks, O'Neill and Kirk are at pains to highlight the 'serious financial implications' of continued conflict with Westminster. A section of the party still remains entrenched in a die-hard stance. A further meeting of the parliamentary party will take place. At a local Unionist gathering, O'Neill and Minford receive a vote of confidence.

[BT, 12 November]

Unionist elections

Report: Victoria Unionist Women's Association passes a vote of confidence in O'Neill.

Belfast Telegraph

Confidence in premier

Report: A Unionist meeting at Randalstown passes a motion of confidence in the government, O'Neill and Minford.

News Letter

Derry: 'bid to tarnish good image'

Report: Pounder accuses Northern Ireland's traditional opponents of blatant exploitation of the Derry situation. He feels that the definite improvement in community relations has been set back by a hardening of attitudes. There is no doubt that Derry's industrial prospects have been damaged by recent events. UDI is not the answer to Northern Ireland's problems.

[BT, 12 November]

Christian Ladies slam bishop

Report: The Voice of Ulster's Christian Ladies criticises recent remarks by the Church of Ireland bishop of Derry and Raphoe. 'Captain O'Neill's appeasement policy, which you are defending, has brought us to this crisis that the republicans will never be satisfied and surely you can see that discrimination is being used as a means of achieving a united Ireland.'

Marchers and Wilson threat to Ulster

Report: Ardill feels that Northern Ireland is not only threatened by those posing as civil rights marchers, but also by blackmail by the British government. Unionists must stand firm against Wilson, who cannot dictate who should lead the Unionist Party, though there is presently no leadership crisis. A resolution supporting O'Neill and calling on government to resist pressure harmful to the constitution is passed.

[NL, 14 November]

1,000 besiege O'Neill

Leader: O'Neill is greeted by a noisy protest at a prize distribution ceremony at Queen's University. Moderate students urge their fellows to calm, one of them arguing that others should not be denied their civil rights.

[IN, NL, 14 November]

Civil rights plan for Armagh

Report: NICRA plans a march for Armagh on 30 November, though the arrangement will depend upon Stormont's reaction to Wilson's demands. Police have been notified of the intended route. A local extreme protestant organisation has warned of a counter-demonstration.

[IN, 9 November, NL, 11 November]

News Letter

Armagh march through city centre

Report: The route for the proposed Armagh civil rights march is announced. The local UPV division has already stated that it will counter any demonstration in the city.

Irish News

Armagh CR march route

Report: The route to be taken by the 30 November Armagh civil rights march is announced, and support called for. A public meeting will be held to discuss the march. Notice is given to police of the planned 16 November DCAC march.

News Letter

Loyalist 'teach-outs' in Derry

Report: Bunting announces that the LCU will stage two 'teach-outs' in Derry to prevent 'placard-carrying rebels' from passing inside the city's walls.

Belfast Telegraph

RUC man in Derry incident is named

Report: Fitt names a police constable he believes to be implicated in brutality towards a marcher in Derry on 5 October. Craig rejects the charge.

Impartiality of RUC defended

Report: O'Hare feels that police do not act with the same vigour when facing Paisleyites as they do when confronted by other marchers. Andrews defends the police record and feels that the force faced a difficult situation in Derry.

Memorial protected, says Derry committee

Report: In response to concerns expressed by a presbyterian clergyman, the DCAC indicates that it employs stewards to protect war memorials from damage during its demonstrations. Mid-Down Labour Party criticises Unionist extremists for placing the constitution in danger.

Court refuses summons on Craig

Report: Craig will not be summoned with regard to his role in the events of 5 October.

[IN, NL, 14 November]

Irish News

Summons for NILPYS chairman

Report: Cyril Toman, chairman of the NILP Young Socialists, receives a summons arising out of the 5 October demonstration in Derry.

Summonses: 'incitement to public disorder' - CRA

Report: The CRA calls for intervention by Wilson and O'Neill, stating that summonses served in relation to events in Derry on 5 October constitute an incitement to public disorder and possibly prefigure a ban on the forthcoming DCAC march.

Belfast Telegraph

Case against squatters adjourned

Report: The court case against the Caledon squatters is adjourned after evidence is heard from one of the bailiffs concerned. Civil rights supporters protest outside the court building.

Irish News

Caledon eviction cases adjourned over submission by the defence [Report]

Belfast Telegraph

Troubles in Derry 'living disgrace'

Report: The chairman of the South Antrim Unionist Association condemns riots, marchers and counter marchers in Derry, but adds that if allegations of malpractices are true, then these should be addressed and the wrongs righted.

[NL, 14 November]

Irish News

'Browbeaten Derry now fighting back'

Report: Janet Wilcock feels that the people of Derry are now fighting back against their long-time oppressors, and will not cease their demands for rights until they have been met.

Craig under fire from O'Connor at Stormont

Report: Craig is attacked by O'Connor at Stormont over his recent conduct.

News Letter

Commons tribute to Lord Erskine [Report]

[BT, 12 November]

Irish News

Craig questioned on billeting of RUC men at naval base

Report: Fitt asks Craig about the billeting of RUC men at the Derry naval base during the October disturbances. In reply to a further question, Craig says that no disciplinary charges have been brought against any member of the police force following these events.

Belfast Telegraph

Patrick's Day not to be public holiday

Report: Government declines to support a motion making St Patrick's Day a public holiday in Northern Ireland, despite the suggestion that such a move would help improve community relations.

Irish News

Saint Patrick's Day not to be public holiday

Report: Those supporting the motion generally assert that the legislation would help overcome division in Northern Ireland.

News Letter

St Patrick's Day not to be public holiday [Report]

Belfast Telegraph

PM's reply

Summary: Wilson refers a parliamentary questioner back to a written reply made following his Downing Street talks with O'Neill, outlining the content of the discussions.

Westminster query on Derry jobs

Report: A Labour MP at Westminster tables a question on employment in Derry.

Irish News

'To make partition a live, urgent issue'

Report: The Christian Democratic Party of Ireland will hold a press conference in Belfast to outline its position on civil rights.

Tribute to McAteer's leadership

Letter: McAteer has often placed the interests of the people of Northern Ireland before his Nationalist principles; if only O'Neill would reciprocate, he could do much to solve the problems that exist within the state.

Discrimination in Armagh

Letter: An Armagh councillor has called for the planned civil rights march in the city to be stopped for fear of a counter-demonstration; he has also claimed that discrimination does not exist in Armagh. If he chooses to look at certain areas however, he would know that it is very much a reality.

The Derry 'teach-in'

Letter: The DUAC is aware of the position of the Society of Labour Lawyers; any representative who attended its teach-in would not have been seen as having done so in an official capacity. Furthermore, 'the national press reported that some 300 people attended, whereas in actual fact upwards of 1,500 were present when the meeting finally concluded.'

Belfast Telegraph

Statement clarified [Letter]

(Matt O'Leary)

'Action today on ward boundaries of Derry an absolute necessity'

Letter: Boundary reform must not be delayed. 'The revision of Derry's ward boundaries could be effected well in advance of the local government elections of 1970, so that a democratically-elected corporation would be enabled to take part in the reshaping of the "Greater Derry" area…The vast majority of the citizens are no longer prepared to be less than equal to a privileged minority. Anger is growing daily, and anyone who thinks that "some day" is soon enough to face up to the political repercussions for the Unionist Party of a revision of the wards, falls far short of appreciating the explosive potential of the present position.'

An inquiry is a 'must'

Letter: 'Innocent men have nothing to fear from a public inquiry. If, however, it is refused, the suspicion cannot fail to grow that dirt has been brushed under the administrative carpet which those in authority fear an inquiry may bring to light.' Protestants especially should speak out in favour of an inquiry.

Scenes at Dunmurry

Letter: It is true that loyalists attended a Dunmurry gathering at which O'Neill was present to protest against his policies of appeasement. They will do so again if necessary.

News Letter

Minority enjoyment

Letter: A recent contribution to the News Letter entitled 'minority enjoyment' is deserving of widespread publicity in Britain to counteract misinformation on Northern Ireland there.

Reduce their grants

Letter: Students who engage in political activity should receive no grants. Similar restrictions should apply to university staff.

Anarchy feared

Letter: Northern Ireland is headed towards anarchy unless someone strong takes charge of government. Universities should be above party political activity. Leaders of the disruptive student demonstrations should be expelled from university.

11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | Top

14 November, 1968

Irish News

Craig's 'mischievous misuse of ministerial power'

Leader: McAteer will make vigorous protests to Stonham on the decision to ban all marches within Derry's walls for a month. Craig feels that the decision is necessary to allow an easing of tensions in Derry, but the DCAC views the move as 'inflammatory,' especially in view of the recent decision to allow a Paisleyite parade to go ahead. The committee further states, 'we are marching peacefully on Saturday over the route which we have announced.' Wilson is asked in a telegram to protect fundamental citizens' rights. Hegarty feels that Craig's stated aim is reducing tensions is a joke in poor taste, considering the highly provocative nature of the summonses over the October disturbances and this latest ban. The PD condemns the decision and will take part in the march at the DCAC's invitation. A meeting will today be held in Strabane in order to form a local branch of the CRA. Armagh civil rights organisers are told that they will not be able to use the City Hall for a meeting on the day of their planned demonstration. The LCU accepts Craig's ban and asks supporters to stay off the streets on 16 November.

Irish News

Protest and power

Editorial: Craig's ban on marches within Derry's walls for one month is likely to have the very opposite effect to that of engendering a cooling-off period. Protest has been organised not to promote violence but to highlight injustice, and in this it has had considerable success. Protest will end when the necessary reforms are granted.

Belfast Telegraph

Collision courses

Editorial: Craig's re-routing of the latest Derry march may not be the wisest course, in view of the fact that the last number of demonstrations in Derry have passed off peacefully when permitted to march along their chosen route. People are tired of constant demonstrations, but the surest way to bring them to an end is for government to reach a quick decision on reform, including on the franchise question. The real problem in Northern Ireland is an unwillingness to countenance change. However, Derry marchers have made their point and should reconsider their defiance.

News Letter

Too much at stake

Editorial: Northern Ireland's prosperity depends heavily on Westminster's financial contribution; in the interests that prosperity, of Northern Ireland's image, and of harmonious community relations, those Unionists who still entertain ideas of defying Westminster should think again.

Belfast Telegraph

Tension in Derry

Leader: Craig's decision to re-route the forthcoming civil rights parade in Derry in view of fears of extreme protestant retaliation may lead to more confrontation in the city, since indications are that the ban will be defied by the DCAC. The Industry for Derry Committee feels that recent publicity has not made Derry unattractive to industry; rather, it has highlighted the city's large pool of unemployed labour. The Derry Labour Party challenges O'Neill to justify the ban.

Water cannon query for Craig

Report: At Stormont, Carron will ask Craig a question on water cannon.

'We'll not change route,' marchers tell Craig

Report: The DCAC says that its march will go ahead as planned, irrespective of the ban on certain sections of it. A telegram of protest is sent to Wilson. It is felt that Craig's decision is provocative, especially in view of the fact that he permitted last week's Paisleyite demonstration to take place in the city. Derry citizens should uphold their dignity with non-violence. Craig is 'trying to promote public disorder in order to vindicate his personal attitude.' McAteer will protest to Stonham about what he perceives as 'this mischievous abuse of personal power.'

News Letter

March to go as planned

Report: The DCAC announces that its planned march will go ahead as planned, despite a re-routing imposed by the ministry of home affairs. Derry Nationalist Party will meet in emergency session to discuss the new development.

Belfast Telegraph

Armagh City Hall refused for 'rights' rally

Report: The CRA is denied permission to hold a rally in the Armagh City Hall, a decision which a spokesman for the Association criticises as undemocratic. The local UPV division will decide, in conjunction with the UCDC, what tactics are to be employed to counter the civil rights demonstration.

[IN, 15 November]

Irish News

Noisy reception for O'Neill

Report: A noisy protest greets O'Neill at a prize distribution ceremony at Queen's University.

News Letter

PM is mobbed at private function [Leader]

[BT, 13 November]

Belfast Telegraph

Queen's may act against extremists

Report: Queen's University may take action against the splinter-group of student protesters - condemned by the PD - who disrupted O'Neill's recent visit to the university. Three of the university chaplains condemn the protest as 'a travesty of all that the civil rights movement stands for.' There are many sincere people involved in the movement, seeking a better society.

[IN, 15 November]

Irish News

'Summons for Craig' attempt fails

Report: Craig will not be summoned to court to testify with reference to his role in the events of 5 October.

News Letter

Summons attempt on Craig failed [Report]

[BT, 13 November]

Belfast Telegraph

McAteer tells Stonham of anxiety

Report: McAteer tells Stonham of his anxiety about the latest developments with regard to Northern Ireland in general and Derry in particular, with reference to Craig's re-routing decision.

Irish News

Fitt asks - who can blame people for taking to the streets[?]

Report: Fitt feels that people have turned to street protest because their grievances have gone unheeded in parliament. He deplores the lack of any prosecutions against police following the Derry disturbances. Both Fitt and Diamond feel that there is widespread resentment among the police that the force's reputation has been allowed to become tarnished by Craig. Diamond also deplores the inaction of many clerics over the years, who are now speaking out in fear of the undermining of the state. O'Reilly criticises the use of the British naval base in Derry to assist in the suppression of liberty, and calls for the implementation of Wilson's call for an inquiry into events in Derry. Craig defends parliamentary democracy in Northern Ireland and criticises the opposition statements as inflammatory. He attacks Fitt's lack of condemnation of violence in the city, and describes as a smear campaign allegations made against the RUC, challenging opposition MPs to produce evidence to back up their charges. An inquiry will not be held while no evidence is forthcoming. Prosecutions relating to the Derry events, contrary to opposition claims, have been brought about through the due legal process, and without any political interference. O'Connor feels that progress in community relations has been endangered.

News Letter

'Wild' statements, 'smear' campaign [Report]

Irish News

Blaney reaffirms loyalty to Lynch as taoiseach

Report: Blaney makes clear his support for Lynch's leadership, following the taoiseach's re-emphasis of the regret he feels at Blaney's recent remarks on Northern Ireland.

Belfast Telegraph

Blaney in the lead in anti-Lynch moves

Report: Lynch again decries Blaney's comments on Northern Ireland as regrettable.

News Letter

Lynch 'disowns' Blaney [Report]

Belfast Telegraph

Unity from civil rights - Sinn Fein

Report: Sinn Féin feels that Lynch and Blaney are out of touch with the true situation in Northern Ireland, where civil rights demands constitute a powerful uniting force, on which party advantage should not be permitted to encroach. Most Northern Ireland politicians have avoided this temptation.

[IN, 15 November]

No gain for workers with unity: claim

Report: McCann asserts that Irish unity would not especially benefit Irish workers, whether protestant or catholic. Civil rights agitation, he feels, is having more effect than its nationalist counterpart, and could provide a new focus for anti-Tory politics.

Irish News

'Whole basis of politics challenged'

Report: He feels that the movement in Derry, in particular, is firmly rooted in civil rights issues.

Reply to critics of McAteer and Fitt

Letter: Those who believe that MPs' protests will be solved by political flag-waving should think again. 'Ireland's fight has never been against Britain - only against injustice.'

Fianna Fail indifference to minority here is resented

Letter: 'The callous indifference of Mr Lynch and his government to the plight of the catholic minority in Northern Ireland is bitterly resented here. Their resentment is intensified by the cynical effort now made to revive the partition issue, which, save for occasional references to it, at Easter and thereabouts, has been dormant in the archives of Fianna Fail for almost fifty years.' The ill-timed intervention was a gift for Unionists. The minority is less interested in relations between Belfast and Dublin than in relations between themselves and Stormont, 'which denies them the normal rights of citizenship.' Patricia McCluskey and Gerry Fitt have done the most to highlight injustice to the British people.

(James McSparran)

'British and proud of it'

Letter: O'Neill has condemned street brawls, but his government, by denying justice, is responsible for them. Wilson is also hypocritical in demanding majority rule for Rhodesia but not for Ireland.

Belfast Telegraph

How cardinal can improve relations

Letter: It is too readily assumed that O'Neill alone can help improve community relations. There are however others who could make a valuable contribution in this direction, such as Cardinal Conway. He could begin by offering full recognition to the state and government of Northern Ireland. He could end the 'damaging religious apartheid' in education, an attitude which in the past has helped to keep catholic representation in the professions lower than it ought to have been. There is nothing unjust about a franchise in local elections that is representative of those who contribute to local finance: if a universal franchise is to be introduced, it should be accompanied by a universal local government tax. Additionally, with reference to housing, why should couples who choose to limit the size of their families be penalised for that decision? One might also question whether there is a natural right to an ideal job in the place of one's birth.

News Letter

Is McAteer serious? [Letter]

[see IN, 12 November, Another great sell-out?]


Summary: 'Moneymore branch of the South Derry Women's Unionist Association passed a unanimous vote of confidence' in O'Neill and James Chichester-Clark.

Ulster's living 'disgrace'

Report: The chairman of the South Antrim Unionist Association condemns riots, marchers and counter marchers in Derry. However, if allegations of malpractices are true, then they should be examined and any wrongs righted.

[BT, 13 November]

Let this be a lesson to the young

Report: 'Belfast city council [should] withhold their [sic] grant to Queen's until the university authorities have put their house in order.'

[IN, BT, 17 November]

Ulster at 'crossroads'

Report: Ardill says that Northern Ireland is under threat from those who disguise their true intentions under the cloak of civil rights, and also from British government blackmail. Wilson cannot dictate to another political party who it should have for its leader, although there is presently no leadership crisis in the Unionist ranks.

[BT, 13 November]

11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | Top

15 November, 1968

Irish News

Fears of new head-on clash in Derry growing

Leader: Derry Churches Industrial Council will present O'Neill with a petition calling on government to allow the DCAC march to go ahead. All-night prayers will be held in two cathedrals. Wilson feels that there is 'the strongest case' for an inquiry into the previous disturbances, and says that reform in Northern Ireland has so far been 'too moderate.' Stonham will convey McAteer's anxiety about the situation in Derry to Wilson and Callaghan following his meeting with the Nationalist leader. McAteer plans to participate in the march, and calls on the British government to extend British rights to the part of Ireland it claims as its territory. Derry Nationalist Party calls for O'Neill to take action in line with his liberal sentiments, and also feels that Craig will carry the blame for any trouble in Derry. All sections of the Derry populace should support the civil rights campaign. The Young Socialist Alliance condemns Craig's ban as 'provocative and dictatorial,' and stresses the significance of the permission given for the recent Paisleyite demonstration, and the fact that the new ban will expire in time for a December Apprentice Boys' parade. All those who believe in civil rights should march. Trouble, if it comes, will come from police batons, not from the people of Derry, where there is no real opposition to the march. Craig should be dismissed from office and the ban lifted.

Wilson says reform in Northern Ireland could be faster

Report: In addition to Wilson's comments at Westminster, Ogden wonders at the contrast between O'Neill's liberal sentiments and Craig's ban on peaceful demonstration, and asks who is in control of Northern Ireland. McNamara calls for the ban to be rescinded and questions Craig's impartiality. Wilson says that the Derry question played a central role in the recent Downing Street talks.

News Letter

Reform Ulster faster, urges Wilson

Report: Wilson feels that reform in Northern Ireland could proceed at a faster pace, and adds that there is 'the strongest case' for an inquiry into events in Derry on and following 5 October. Ogden wonders who is in control of Northern Ireland, in light of the contrast between O'Neill's liberal expressions and Craig's ban on peaceful demonstration. McNamara calls for the lifting of the ban and questions Craig's impartiality. Wilson says that Derry was central to the recent Downing Street discussions.

Belfast Telegraph

Reforms in Ulster could go faster - Wilson

Report: Wilson reiterates at Westminster his support for O'Neill's reformist policies, but feels that they are progressing too slowly. Ogden criticises Craig's Derry banning decision. McNamara criticises Craig, questioning his impartiality by comparing the ban on the DCAC march with the permission previously extended to Paisleyites to march in Derry. Wilson replies that Derry featured prominently in his discussions with O'Neill, and reiterates his call for an inquiry into the events of 5 October.

The time runs out

Editorial: Craig is wrong to state that the DCAC march is a deliberate provocation, but the organisers must weigh up the benefits of publicity with the need to keep the situation calm enough for the process of reform to begin. If Craig cannot adjust to changing attitudes, then he cannot remain in office.

Where we came in

Report: Many Unionists feel that Craig had little choice but to impose the month-long ban on all parades within Derry's walls. The opposition view is that the decision will inflame rather than cool passions. It would seem that Craig would have been criticised no matter what his decision had been, and it is undoubtedly true that the reform issue will have to be addressed before the situation can cool. There is still strong backbench Unionist resistance to any idea of altering the franchise before the reorganisation of local government is complete.

News Letter

Craig gives his reasons

Report: Craig says his ban was imposed on police advice. He dismisses charges of favouring Paisleyism, arguing that a DCAC march was permitted the week previous to Paisley's parade. He speaks of an element determined to cause trouble: 'certainly one is conscious of a very left-wing revolutionary element involved in these activities. There is evidence of IRA participation.' He feels that the situation on 5 October would have been worse had no ban been imposed. He adds, 'demonstrations may be a safety valve when used sensibly and in moderation, but when they become a weekly or daily occurrence then they become an instrument of provocation.' He tells a Larne Unionist Association that the DCAC march is a deliberate provocation, and that 'all decent people must call a halt to the politics of revolution.'

Belfast Telegraph

Craig gives civil strife warning

Report: Craig calls for an end to 'the politics of revolution,' a situation 'aggravated because much of the protest is deliberately aimed at provoking public disorder,' and is resented by 'the vast majority of people in Northern Ireland.' He feels that no bona fide civil rights movement would offer such provocation.

Unionist appeal to restraint

Report: The UUC executive calls for restraint in the interest of peace. O'Neill briefs the body on his talks with Wilson.

[IN, 16 November]

O'Neill in 11th-hour plea

Leader: O'Neill calls for a cooling-off period, and stresses that the government is examining the underlying causes of unrest. The Derry Churches Industrial Council calls for a relaxation of the ban. The executive of the Ulster Unionist Council also appeals for restraint. Murnaghan says that the cause of civil rights will not be advanced by violence, and advises Derry people not to allow themselves to be used as pawns in an internal Unionist Party struggle. The Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland warns of serious consequences unless there is a cooling-off period in Derry, and thus supports Craig's one-month ban on all parades and meetings within the city's walls. Deliberate provocation must be contained by the forces of law and order. The recent QUB demonstration is condemned.

News Letter

Derry churches intervene

Leader: A delegation from the Derry Churches Industrial Council will meet with Craig to urge a lifting of his ban on the DCAC civil rights march. The churches in Derry also plan all-night prayer vigils in the city's two cathedrals. 48 teachers from St Columb's College send a telegram to O'Neill, calling for the ban to be rescinded. Craig is criticised by the Derry Labour Party. McAteer forecasts that 'trouble and strife' will result from the march. Bunting says that if the ban is lifted, 'I will be there with 5,000 men, and I will do my very best to ensure that the integrity of Londonderry's walls, which are symbolic of unionism, will be preserved, should it cost me my life. And many others think the same way.' Derry Nationalist Party condemns Craig and says that the blame for any trouble resulting from the ban will rest on his shoulders. Paisley is prepared to rally loyalists 'in defence of their hard-won heritage,' and feels that 'the protestant clergy of Londonderry's so-called Churches Industrial Council have been unmasked as supporters of the law-breaking, communist-inspired seditious amalgam of the so-called civil rights movement.' Robin Chichester-Clark, in a letter to Wilson, supports Craig's action, welcoming the cooling-off period and adding that the citizens of Derry 'have recently suffered a good deal from the sheer hooliganism, very often wholly unpolitical, which follows some of these demonstrations.'

Belfast Telegraph

Churches seek ways to ease Derry situation

Report: The Derry Churches Industrial Council calls for the ban on marches within the walls of Derry to be lifted until after the DCAC demonstration, after which a cooling-off period must be allowed. Support for the march however seems to have been heightened by the ban. The DUAC plans a further teach-in.

Two Derry cathedrals to hold all-night vigil

Report: All-night prayer is organised by the Derry churches in hope that peace will prevail.

Irish News

'Bans and batons will not suppress just demands'

Report: The prospective Liberal candidate for south Down condemns Craig's ban as 'unjust and immoral,' and feels that it will not suppress the cause of human rights. The minister will be directly responsible for any violence resulting from his decision. O'Neill should restore his own tarnished reputation by rescinding Craig's ban and sacking the minister.

Belfast Telegraph

Nationalists appeal to O'Neill

Report: Derry Nationalist Party calls on O'Neill to take action against Craig's decision to ban the DCAC march from passing through certain areas, and adds that the blame for any ensuing disturbances will rest with Craig alone. Support for the civil rights campaign is called for.

I will march tomorrow - Eddie McAteer

Report: McAteer says that he will fight for civil rights in Northern Ireland before tackling partition. He feels that confrontation in Derry has not been between catholic and protestant, but between people and police. The Nationalist Party will revert to its role as official Stormont opposition only when Stormont becomes a normal parliament with respect for the opposition.

News Letter

Young Socialists will march in Derry

Report: The Young Socialist Alliance says it will take part in the Derry march, and accuses the ministry of home affairs of bowing to Unionist extremists. It is hoped that there will be no trouble, but if there is, then it will undoubtedly be due to Craig and the RUC batons. Craig is practically inciting a counter-demonstration, and his biased handling of recent events warrants his dismissal.

Belfast Telegraph

March court cases may be adjourned

Report: An adjournment of the court cases against participants in the 5 October civil rights demonstration is expected to be granted. Fitt has now received five summonses in connection with the event.

Irish News

Republicans get 'march' summonses

Report: The Six-County Regional Executive of the Republican Clubs reveals that a number of republicans have received summonses in relation to the October disturbances in Derry. A statement asserts: 'the action of Mr Craig in banning all parades and meetings within the sacred walls of Derry has shown the fear within the Unionist junta of the broad-based popular appeal of the civil rights movement. Let not the people be bullied or batoned into being afraid to march and demand their God-given rights.'

CRA refused the use of City Hall in Armagh

Report: The CRA is refused the use of Armagh City Hall for a meeting on 30 November. The UCDC will decide whether or not to hold a counter-demonstration in the city.

[BT, 14 November]

Strabane has civil rights branch

Report: The newly-formed CRA branch in Strabane sends a telegram to Wilson calling for the lifting of the Derry march ban; also, following a DCAC request, the branch will join the Derry parade rather than march from Strabane to Derry.

Belfast Telegraph

3-man committee to allocate Derry houses

Report: A committee has been set up to allocate housing in Derry along lines suggested by the government's recommended points system, subject to the committee's amendment. Religion or political affiliation will not be taken into account when considering applications.

News Letter

Let's stop rehashing Derry now

Comment: The proroguing of parliament on 12 December will provide a welcome escape from speech after speech playing the same old political tune on Derry, and throwing around unsubstantiated charges, all of which can do nothing to promote community harmony.

Irish News

Re-thinking call: McAteer explains

Report: McAteer says that it is not a betrayal of anti-partition politics to ask for civil rights along the way. He feels that television has helped reveal to the world injustice in Northern Ireland.

News Letter

McAteer sees his possible 'political death'

Report: McAteer tells the Irish Club in London, 'I must at this moment make a choice of [political] emphasis, for the fact remains that there is quite an early possibility of getting these civil rights, whereas, if we over-stress the partition claim at present, we might not bring unity any nearer and then an early casualty would be the civil rights movement.' McAteer also tells Stonham of his concerns at recent developments.

Belfast Telegraph

Political growth key to progress in west - Currie

Report: Currie argues that while political problems remain west of the Bann, economic, social and cultural development in the area will always be stunted.

Irish News

Sinn Fein views on civil rights, partition

Report: Sinn Féin condemns Lynch and Blaney, viewing both men as out of touch with the fact that civil rights demands in Northern Ireland constitute a powerful unifying force. Most involved politicians in Northern Ireland have recognised that party political advantage should not be permitted to damage this development.

[BT, 14 November]

Belfast Telegraph

We fail to project true image - MP

Report: Scott opines, 'I am convinced our greatest weakness today is we have failed to project Northern Ireland's true image to people both at home and abroad and a few minor illnesses have been presented as a major disease.' Nowhere in the world is it possible to claim that full and equal rights prevail, 'though this is an ideal we must strive for.'

Craig is 'impartial'

Report: Robin Chichester-Clark sends a letter to Wilson listing parades allowed in Northern Ireland since 19 October, and argues that this is a demonstration of Craig's impartiality.

Irish News


Letter: There is no real freedom in Northern Ireland, unless it is the freedom of the supporters of British occupation to march where they will, while those who oppose it are restricted in demonstrating for their civil liberties.

Ulster and 'Ulster'

Letter: Basic rights are denied to non-Unionists in Northern Ireland; such abuses do not exist in the three free counties of Ulster.

Belfast Telegraph

Dr Tyndall asked to apologise

Report: The Church of Ireland bishop of Derry and Raphoe is asked by a local Young Unionist Association to apologise for having labelled many Derry counter-demonstrators as bigots.

Implication resented

Letter: Paisley's criticism of the Church of Ireland bishop of Derry and Raphoe is unwarranted and out of touch.

News Letter

Bishop's remarks

Letter: The Church of Ireland bishop of Derry and Raphoe is unrepresentative of the people of Derry in his attack on the Paisleyite demonstration that recently took place in the city.

Belfast Telegraph

Tribute to 'Viewpoint'

Letter: The Belfast Telegraph's coverage of the passage of events since Derry has been eminently fair.

Irish News

Chaplains condemn students' protest

Report: Three QUB chaplains feel that the civil rights movement at the university is generally sincere, but that most students will condemn the actions of protesters during O'Neill's visit. The university's pro-vice-chancellor calls for a report on the incident. The PD condemns the splinter-group responsible.

[BT, 14 November]

News Letter

Students condemn PM mobbing

Report: President of the Queen's University Students' Representative Council Rory MacShane condemns the unruly nature of the protest against O'Neill at the recent prize-distribution ceremony at the university. It is learned that the institution is considering disciplinary action following the incident, and its pro-vice-chancellor asks for a report on events. A PD spokesman condemns the disruption of the group's protest. Three of the university chaplains also condemn the protest, arguing that most civil rights activity at the university is well-conducted and sincere. The PD plans further demonstrations, but states its commitment to the achievement of civil rights through non-violent protest. An apology from Fred Taggart and Louis Boyle to O'Neill states that the action of some demonstrators was unrepresentative, and carried out by militants.

In bad taste - and immature

Editorial: 'Any sympathy that there might have been for the student protesters evaporated rapidly and irrevocably on Wednesday' with the disorderly protest against O'Neill. The university authorities should take action. 'Preservation of law and order is of paramount importance, though there will be many who will question the wisdom of Mr Craig's month-long ban on meetings and marches within the walls [of Derry]. In the event the effect could be more inflammatory than tranquillising. A great deal will depend on how the police, who bear the brunt of demonstrations and counter-demonstrations, handle yet another delicate situation.'

Belfast Telegraph

PD sends apology on incidents [Report]

2 Queen's students apologise to Capt O'Neill and MCB

Letter: 'It is against the background of the absence of a viable alternative constitutional political party and the failure of the Unionist Party itself to respond to a changing situation, that the unarticulated grievance[s] of a minority of Ulster people have been channelled into a civil rights movement.' Civil rights should not be a divisive political issue. That action of a few unrepresentative militant students is in no way reflective of the broader spectrum of moderate opinion within the PD. A firm stand should be taken against extremists on all sides.

Irish News

Not representative [Letter]

(Louis Boyle, Fred Taggart)

News Letter

Hot-headed students

Letter: 'To those who wish to see a more just society evolve in Ulster I must apologise on behalf of many students for those students who would drag your cause into disrepute.'

Belfast Telegraph

Appeal to students

Letter: Students can only alienate sympathetic observers of their demands for civil rights when they behave as they did towards O'Neill on his recent visit to Queen's University.

News Letter

The only product

Letter: Ordinary people can distinguish between the pursuit of justice and the inconvenience caused recently by students.

Jeers for soldier

Letter: A soldier was jeered by PD supporters in Belfast, who also refused to buy commemorative poppies because of their pacifism. They should respect those who bought their current freedom with their lives.

Belfast Telegraph

Student opinions

Letter: Violence or civil disobedience do not provide a way towards desirable changes in society. Extremists should not force their views on others.

PD takeover

Letter: PD protests have earned students a poor reputation and staff at Queen's University have similarly shown irresponsibility, for which they should be disciplined by the university authorities.

Englishman's opinion

Letter: Unionism is in a strong position, with a two-to-one majority in Northern Ireland; it should thus grant one-man-one-vote, break its ties with the Orange Order, provide equal opportunities for all and hit out at the Paisleyite faction. Many catholics 'are in no hurry to join the South,' and constructive measures from Unionists would serve to increase this tendency towards acceptance of the status quo.

Semantic error

Letter: Those who display the Union Jack in Northern Ireland and consider their displays a mark of their British culture should think again. They are displaying a distinctly Northern Irish culture, and should therefore use the Northern Ireland flag.

MPs and LG franchise

Letter: At a recent meeting of the Unionist backbench '66 committee, unanimous support was expressed for the idea that any change in the franchise should await the broader reform of he structure of local government.

(John Dobson, Austin Ardill)

Editorial reply: The Belfast Telegraph's reporting on this subject has been fair and accurate.

News Letter

Religion in jobs

Letter: Those who complain of discrimination against catholics in Derry employment should produce evidence. One might turn the tables on these people and ask how many protestants are employed, for example, in Northern Ireland's hospitals. Religion should play no part in recruitment for jobs.

Delicate situation

Letter: Anti-Paisleyite demonstrators brought matters dangerously close to confrontation in Derry during Paisley's peaceful meeting there. Civil rights supporters should condemn this attempted denial of civil rights to others.

Revolting incident

Letter: Why have civil rights supporters or the mass media not spoken out against the despicable attack on a Derry policeman trying to preserve law and order in the city?

Won't vote Labour

Letter: Wilson's recent intimidatory statement on a re-appraisal of Northern Ireland's position is to be condemned, and 'I have no doubt that [it] was issued to placate his Labour colleagues, whose antipathy towards Ulster arises from the fact that the people here have consistently shown a preference for Unionist candidates.'

Our wailing wall

Letter: Those catholics not content with British rights should be financially assisted to move to the Republic of Ireland, though it is difficult to see the benefits of residence there.

11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | Top

16 November, 1968

Belfast Telegraph

Hundreds join in all-night prayers for peace in Derry

Report: The all-night prayers held in two Derry cathedrals see a call for peace in the days ahead.

Irish News

Derry prays for peace: march goes on as planned

Leader: Cooper says that the DCAC has made no changes to its plans for the march, though the protest should be non-violent. Those who think otherwise are not welcome to participate. He feels also that the ban is provocative and supported only by a minority of extremists. Hegarty says O'Neill has been forced give in to extremism. NICRA calls for a dignified demonstration in Derry, and condemns O'Neill's hypocrisy in calling for calm while acquiescing in a measure that will promote tension. The NILP says that O'Neill has had years to promote rational discussion on civil rights, but such discussions have been fruitless. He should now lift the ban and declare his intention to introduce reforms. Sinclair sends a telegram to Wilson, calling on him to protect the marchers. The Northern Ireland Liberal Party calls for no defiance of the ban, since it is felt that the violence that could result from such a strategy would play directly into Craig's hands. O'Neill calls for 'maximum calm and restraint' and a necessary 'cooling-off period.' The chairman of the Derry Churches Industrial Council feels that the march should be allowed to go ahead, especially in view of the previous decision to allow a Paisleyite parade. 48 teachers at St Columb's College urge on O'Neill the lifting of the ban.

News Letter

A prayer for peace…

Leader: A night of prayer is held in Derry's two cathedrals. Cooper tells the DHAC's 450 stewards to ensure non-violence. Bunting calls upon 'Her Majesty's liege subjects in Londonderry to ignore the continued provocation…and remain calm…avoiding all contact with coat-trailing rebels and co-operating fully with the forces of law and order.' Barry Desmond, chairman of the Irish Labour Party, says that any trouble will be the sole responsibility of Craig and O'Neill, whose 'obdurate behaviour in placing a general ban on demonstrations in Derry so soon after permission was granted to Mr Paisley to hold a demonstration, reflects the desire of the extremist element in the Unionist Party for a confrontation on the civil rights issue.' The NILP criticises O'Neill over his call for a rational discussion of the issues, arguing that he and his government have over the years refused to engage in such discussion. O'Neill should announce his intention to introduce reforms, and should lift the ban on the DCAC march, according marchers their right to protection. West Belfast Unionist Association states its support for Craig and the RUC. McMaster says that the right to march does not encompass the right to riot or provoke riot. A Paisleyite meeting expresses support for Craig, as does the Irish Methodist Revival Movement, which criticises some protestant clergymen in Derry over their supposed support for the principles espoused by Lundy.

Irish News

Derry march: McAteer's appeal to police

Report: McAteer urges police not to allow themselves to be used 'in this unsavoury attempt to trample down fellow citizens.' O'Neill's statement points out that the rights of all citizens depend upon the maintenance of the law. He calls for calm, adding, 'no rational discussion of any matter can be expected against a background of communal violence and it is well known that the government are [sic] closely examining the underlying causes of the present unrest.' Craig says that he has not been convinced that there would be no danger in permitting the march to go ahead, and he stresses that the view expressed to him by the Derry church delegation is not the unanimous view of the clergy of the city. Also, an inquiry into the conduct of the RUC might serve to end 'political agitation,' but that is no reason to allow a slur to be cast on the reputation of the RUC. The council for its part claims not to be against a temporary suspension of marches, but questions the timing of Craig's ban, and compares it with his decision to allow the Paisleyite parade of one week pervious to proceed.

News Letter

'What we need now is calm' - PM

Report: The cabinet, in a special meeting, is understood to have discussed the ban and reform, and some progress towards a definite policy on the latter is believed to have been made. Craig feels that extremists on both sides wish to cause trouble. 'The law in Northern Ireland will be maintained in the interests of all. We cannot and will not allow it to be flouted…No cause other than the cause of anarchy will be served by further riots and commotion in our streets.' O'Neill calls for calm, saying that the government is examining closely the causes of unrest. He feels that a cooling-off period is essential. Craig remains unconvinced by the arguments in favour of the lifting of the ban advanced by the Derry Churches Industrial Council, and says that their view is not the unanimous view of the city's clergy. Also, an inquiry might serve to put an end to political agitation, he says, but that is not sufficient reason to call into doubt 'the integrity and reputation of the RUC.' The executive committee of the UUC appeals for calm and restraint.

Shopkeepers put up the shutters

Report: Derry shopkeepers are preparing for what could be the worst violence in the city for 40 years by taking protective measures on their premises.

Irish News

On the march in Derry

Editorial: Craig should not have banned the DCAC march, but rather should have offered it police protection from those elements which he deems likely to cause trouble. Maximum calm and restraint are now required. 'The widespread goodwill which the cause of civil rights has created will only suffer degeneration if the marchers play into the hands of those anxious to see the batons and water cannons out again.' Civil rights is a worthy, non-sectarian cause. Westminster will ensure that reform comes. Craig's ban will not placate extremist protestants, who want to see the civil rights movement destroyed completely.

News Letter

Derry's anxious hours

Editorial: The decision to ban the DCAC march, resting as it does on police advice, must be respected. If this is done, 'respect will redound not only upon the ancient city itself but also on those who have made civil rights their banner. The effectiveness of that campaign, which cannot be denied, must hang this afternoon on the slender thread of responsibility.'

Belfast Telegraph

Thousands join march

Leader: 4,000 people set out on the banned Derry civil rights march, and are joined by sympathisers along the route. Counter-demonstrators gather behind police lines. The organisers renounce violence. A PD contingent also joins the march. Another summons is served on McAteer for his 5 October activities. The '66 Committee is to meet with Westminster Unionists next week; a church delegation will meet O'Neill, and is expected to call for an inquiry into the underlying causes of unrest.

Workless told to join march

Report: A meeting of the DUAC issues a statement offering support for the DCAC march.

Newry gets civil rights committee

Report: A civil rights committee is established in Newry under the auspices of the PD. A motion calling for the exclusion from some posts of members of other political bodies is carried, and leads to the walk-out of some members of the local Republican Club.

Irish News

Newry now has People's Democracy committee

Report: Some republicans walk out of the meeting following a decision not to elect a republican to the position of vice-chairman for fear of being accused of bias in that political direction.

People's Democracy regret Whitla Hall scenes

Report: The PD is forwarding apologies to all those concerned following its recent protest, which it says was too hastily organised. The principle of non-violence is stressed.

News Letter

'We're sorry,' says the People's Democracy [Report]

Irish News

Fitt and Currie get two more summonses

Report: Fitt and Currie receive further summonses in connection with the events of 5 October in Derry.

Believe they will vote in favour of civil disobedience

Report: At the special Nationalist Party conference taking place on 17 November, delegates are expected to vote in favour of civil disobedience, following the decision by Dungannon UDC to reject a housing points system.

New society in Stockport condemns regime here

Report: A Stockport society calling itself the Ulster Constitution Reform Committee calls on Wilson to put an end to the 'fascist tactics of the Northern Ireland government' and its denial of human rights.

Rescind ban, teachers tell O'Neill

Report: 17 Belfast primary school teachers advise O'Neill to lift the Derry ban in the interests of peace.

Republican call to 'defy the ban and march'

Report: 'The executive committee of the Tyrone Republican Club, in a statement issued yesterday, said that the ban on the civil rights march in Derry was obviously a forerunner to a complete ban on civil rights marches in Northern Ireland.' The march should go ahead in 'dignified and peaceful' fashion.

Belfast Telegraph

Craig ban 'mistake' - delegate

Report: The chairman of the Derry Churches Industrial Council feels that Craig's ban was ill-timed, though he does profess to understand the need for a cooling-off period.

Craig has 'fears of riots'

Report: Craig says that the Derry church deputation that met with him has failed to convince him that there will be no violence should his ban be lifted. If demonstrations have to take place, he says, they should be non-provocative. Both extremes of the political spectrum wish to foment disorder.

Irish News

Unionist Council calls for 'calm' in 'critical period'

Report: The Ulster Unionist Council calls for a cooling-off period at this dangerous juncture.

Grand Orange Lodge offices support ban

Report: The Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, supporting the government plea for a cooling-off period, feels that Craig's ban is justified in order to achieve this end, given its view that serious consequences may result if the march goes ahead.

News Letter

'Cooling-off period needed' [Report]

Belfast Telegraph

Presbyterian plea for restraint

Report: Presbyterian clergymen meet the DCAC, asking that marchers adhere to the prescribed route in order to avoid violence. The committee responds that all possible measures will be taken to ensure peace and safety. Those who do not agree with non-violence are not welcome on the demonstration. There will be no response to the provocation of the ban or of the unrepresentative extremists who support it. The committee adds that church leaders should call on O'Neill to launch an investigation into the present unrest.

Further protests 'can only harm'

Report: 'The presbytery of south Belfast says the cause of community relations and just reforms can only be harmed by further demonstrators at this time and has called on protestant and Roman catholic church leaders to join publicly together in urging restraint.' The statement views most demonstrators as genuine, but some extremists are seen to have used the situation to promote their own political ends through civil strife. Presbyterians should speak out in favour of tolerant and magnanimous policies.

News Letter

Churchmen call for restraint

Report: South Belfast presbytery condemns interference with the peaceful right to protest, but argues that the continuation of protest will merely facilitate the cause of extremists who seek to use the civil rights movement to achieve party advantage. Leading protestant churchmen call for restraint.

Belfast Telegraph

Ulster extremists are warned by Kirk

Report: Kirk warns of the financial consequences for Northern Ireland of extremism.

News Letter

Value of UK connection

Report: Kirk warns that extremists must not be allowed to endanger the financial benefits that Northern Ireland gains as a result of its position within the UK.

Belfast Telegraph

Stormont 'must have support'

Report: Civil rights campaigners, says Stanley McMaster, should weigh the consequences of Northern Ireland of any breach of the peace, however unintentional. He criticises a certain element within the movement determined to discredit the government and police. Pressure against Northern Ireland is building in the Labour Party, he adds, but feels that cool heads must be kept.

News Letter


Summary: A north Armagh Unionist Association branch passes a vote of confidence in O'Neill.

Many shocked by flare-up - Long

Report: Long feels that many people have been disappointed at the way in which the progress of community relations in recent years has so easily been replaced by the old attitudes of suspicion. Tolerance and understanding are necessary qualities.

Irish News

'Never such need for tolerance' [Report]

TV publicity has delivered staggering blow to Unionism

Letter: The worldwide publicity generated by events in Derry in October revealed to a vast audience the abuses of the Unionist regime. The recent summonses served on Derry marchers provide a golden opportunity for more publicity. Civil rights supporters should do everything to make their case known overseas, and their demonstrations should continue.

Achieving a united opposition

Letter: Unless a united opposition party is created, and if matters in Northern Ireland become worse, then differences of political principle among non-Unionists will cease to matter, since the real battle will be taking place in the streets.

Belfast Telegraph

Prime minister must challenge Unionist bigots

Letter: Craig's ban on part of the DCAC's proposed route cannot be seen as impartial or designed to keep the peace. He will be responsible for any violence that ensues. As to the 5 October march, 'if there is nothing to hide what are the objections to an inquiry?' It is difficult to imagine anything more provocative than last Saturday's Paisleyite parade in Derry, and one wonders why it was not banned. 'In the interests of Northern Ireland the prime minister will have to challenge the bigots within the Unionist Party and cabinet. I believe he is now in a position to do so, although so far he has shown little inclination to do it. If Mr Craig cannot reconcile himself to the winds of change at present blowing and ensure justice and impartiality to all citizens of the community he should vacate the office he has so abused.'

Students who support PM

Letter: Many students who gathered when O'Neill spoke at Queen's University were there not to oppose but to cheer him. 'I, like hundreds of my fellow students, am disgusted at being grouped or connected with the extremist, so-called, civil rights group.'

PD a small minority

Letter: The vast majority of Queen's students dissociate themselves from the disgraceful behaviour of the PD. 'To the People's Democracy I say, give your fellow students their civil rights - to call themselves students and be proud of it, which, after Wednesday's incident, we certainly cannot do.'

Withhold grants [Letter]

Irish News

Whitla Hall disturbance [Letter]

[NL, 14 November, Let this be a lesson to the young]

Belfast Telegraph

Housing - a moral issue of family life

Comment: There can be little doubt about the existence of housing injustice in Northern Ireland, and the churches should perhaps be doing more to tackle it.

News Letter


Summary: A newly-elected councillor tells Dungannon RDC that he will make allocation recommendations to the council for his area based on decisions adopted by a local committee, according to a points system.

Introduction     1968:   | June | July | August | September | October | November | December |
November 1968:   | 1-2 | 4-9 | 11-16 | 18-23 | 25-30 |
11 - 16 November:   | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | Top |

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