Calendar of Newspaper Articles dealing with Civil Rights issues, 1 Jun 1968 - 9 Dec 1968 by Alan Scott
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2 December, 1968
Shame and fear of club wielders on loose
Report: 'Armagh, like Derry, will never be the same again for me. It is the city where I saw men roaming the streets at will, wielding table legs, flagpoles, shovels and iron bars in full view of the police, who stood meekly by. It was a spectacle to turn the stomach - with shame, and not a little fear. Was this what democracy in Northern Ireland had come to in its 47th year of existence and could religion be so distorted as to condone a show of naked force on this scale?' The civil rights march is halted by police unable to dispense a large Paisleyite crowd blocking its path. Stewards, among them well-known republicans, keep the crowd under control. Paisley, accompanied by supporters, begins a victory walk, and clashes with nationalist residents ensue. 'However one may reject the prolongation of tension brought about by the civil rights marches, no-one could have mistaken the restraint on the one side and the militancy on the other. Non-violence has a long list of victories to its credit, and in Northern Ireland there may be more to come.'
Primatial city slowly returning to normal
Report: Armagh is slowly returning to normal after Paisleyites blocked Saturday's civil rights march route, 'but it will be a long time before the disgust and anger felt by the majority of people are erased. Disgust that owing to the ineptness of the law the people of Armagh were unable to walk through the streets of their own city. Anger that this famous and historic place should have been, even for a few hours, at the mercy of a bunch of hooligans.' It was a day of tension that eventually erupted into violence. A number of weapons were found by police in searches of cars entering the city. Violence ensued after 'a group of Paisleyites singing offensive party songs' provoked local people. A TV cameraman was injured by Paisleyites, and a BBC journalistic team alleges a police attack on themselves and their equipment. Paisleyites, assembled since the early hours of Saturday morning, wandered in some cases through nationalist areas. Many of them arrived in Armagh armed. One civil rights speaker said that people are not prepared to accept 'a few crumbs of concessions,' of the kind offered by the government. Sinclair stresses the peaceful nature of the movement. Cooper says that government has encouraged rumours that the cause of civil rights is also that of a united Ireland: 'I stand here as a protestant and I would tell all Unionist people that they were welcome in the CR movement if they believe in fundamental rights for all citizens.' Lennon describes government reforms as too little, too late; what is required is nothing short of the granting of one-man-one-vote.
Armagh counts cost
Leader: 'Saturday was the most tense day in the history of the ecclesiastical capital of Ireland.' The question will be considered as to whether Paisleyite counter-demonstrators should receive summonses for their behaviour. Opposition MPs intend to raise Saturday's events at Stormont. Armagh was 'in the grip of threatened violence' as Paisleyites blocked the proposed civil rights march route. 'Many citizens seemed shocked and saddened by the day of near "mob rule" when their previously peaceful city was invaded by demonstrators and hostile counter-demonstrators.'
Paisleyites (with clubs) claim a victory in Armagh
Report: Many citizens of Armagh are clearly
aghast at scenes of Paisleyites, gathered since the early hours
of Saturday morning in Armagh, walking the streets with weapons
and warning pressmen not to photograph them. A number of weapons
are intercepted by police making checks on cars. Police separate
the rival demonstrators; Paisleyites hurl abuse at civil rights
supporters, including the slogan 'no pope here,' and also sing
party songs. Civil rights stewards maintain control of supporters
when police announce that they cannot allow the march to pass
safely along the intended route. Currie
later calls for the dispersal of civil rights demonstrators, and
is met by angry shouts of 'go home, Currie.' Stewards eventually
succeed in dispersing the crowd. An impromptu PD meeting attracts
little interest from the dispersing protesters. Unionist candidate
for west Belfast, Brian McRoberts, is assaulted by Paisley
supporters; Bunting alleges that McRoberts
first attacked one of the Paisleyites. Nationalists later stone
Duty to govern
Editorial: 'Saturday was one of the blackest days in Northern Ireland's recent history.' The police, in a difficult position, could not disperse the Paisleyites, so it is fortunate that civil rights marchers chose to uphold their peaceful reputation. 'If the forces established to preserve law and order can be so blatantly disregarded, then everyone's civil rights have been gravely diminished.' The government must face the situation, perhaps banning all street demonstrations. The civil rights movement has made its point very effectively with marches, and could find other ways in which to articulate its message.
Another lesson for the government
Editorial: The government's nurturing of extremism comes at a price, and that price is the rabid sectarianism of Paisleyism, with which there can be no compromise. It constitutes a threat both to Unionism itself, and to 'tolerable community living.' Despite 'exceptional patience in the face of long provocation,' the minority should 'keep a cool head.' It must be realised however that the minority population will never again accept second-class status, a position which it has occupied and of which it is now more aware. Craig's provocative and insulting language' was an attempt to whip up protestant resentment, and the minister should resign. His interests are clearly divergent from those of O'Neill's reform-minded programme.
Civil rights for all
Editorial: 'The vast majority of the people, of all the
people, have had more than enough of civil strife and violence
not far removed from anarchy in their streets.' There must be
no more Derrys or Armaghs. 'The majority of the people who do
not march in the streets have their civil rights too. And first
and foremost they have the right to expect their government to
halt the wreckers who would bring our country to its knees in
shame in full gaze of the nations.' The pressure of the moment
requires resolution from government. Perhaps O'Neill
may decide to take over the Ministry of Home Affairs; perhaps
a shake-up at the top of the RUC
will be deemed useful. It is not enough to condemn events in
What the papers said
Report: The Irish Times feels that O'Neill must take action to dissociate himself from the dangerous brand of sectarian Unionism evinced in Armagh, and by Craig in his recent speech. The Irish Press comments, 'no political leader can saw off the branch he is sitting on, but once that branch is dead and continues to be the mainstay of any political leader then it seems that the time has come for a change at the top.' The Irish Independent feels that the law has been manipulated to favour the Paisleyites and penalise the civil rights supporters. Government was given ample warning of Paisley's illegal acts, and it is only thanks to the discipline of the civil rights protesters that serious bloodshed was avoided.
PD tell[s] the people about CR
Report: The PD peacefully provides members of the public in Belfast with information on civil rights. A crowd assembles to block an anticipated PD march through Shaftesbury Square, but this does not take place.
In support of Armagh CR march [Report]
[BT, 30 November]
Call-up for Specials
Leader: Following weekend disturbances in Armagh, a section of the USC is being mobilised. The cabinet is meeting in emergency session to discuss the preservation of law and order. McAteer asks if the real parliament in Northern Ireland is at Stormont or on the streets, and calls for a definitive cabinet statement or a meeting with O'Neill. USC men will not be used, government emphasises, to control demonstrations. Some Unionists believe that the mobilisation should be more extensive, so that police do not lose control of any further situations. Craig comments that it is not Paisley alone who has become incensed at civil rights marches, and finds it remarkable that more serious disturbances have not yet taken place. He disputes claims that civil rights stewards kept supporters under control; there is always, he argues, a small 'ugly element' determined on trouble. It has not yet been decided whether prosecutions will be undertaken. Murnaghan says in a statement that 'the government must show that it is prepared to distinguish between demonstrations aimed at putting forward a point of view and those designed to prevent freedom of expression. What the great majority of people in Northern Ireland want is a new normality based on justice. The government must have the courage to see that they get it.'
[IN, NL, 3 December]
Primates are relieved
Report: The Church of Ireland primate of all-Ireland is thankful that events in Armagh passed off without too much trouble; his catholic counterpart commends the peaceful conduct of the civil rights marchers.
Cardinal praises civil rights people
Report: Additionally, the Church of Ireland
primate expresses his admiration for the ordinary people of Armagh,
deprived of their basic right to freedom of movement. He also
commends police action under severe strain.
Church leaders say thanks for non-violence
Report: Also, McAteer asks: 'are the
police now content to disperse peaceful demonstrators and give
free rein to shillelagh-wielding government supporters assembled
in open defiance of the law?'
'Negation of democracy'
Report: Armagh civil rights committee praises non-violence, and says that the suppression of peaceful protest by the forces of lawlessness is a 'negation of democracy.'
Allegations of police attack on BBC men
Report: The RUC is investigating allegations made by a BBC film crew that members were attacked and their camera smashed by police in Armagh during Saturday's disturbances.
'No evidence' on BBC assault claim - RUC
Report: Inquiries made by the RUC inspector-general into allegations of an attack on a team of BBC journalists turn up no evidence of such an attack. An ITN team claims to have been attacked by a hostile crowd.
Probe into TV team 'attack'
Report: Police investigation into the alleged attack uncovers
no evidence to support the claims. However, a fuller investigation
is now being conducted.
Liberal denial 'to escape mob'
Report: 'The chairman of the Northern Ireland Federation of Young Liberals was one of a car-load surrounded and threatened by Paisleyite supporters in Armagh.' It was necessary for those in the vehicle to deny association with the cause of civil rights in order to escape. At the Federation's conference following the incident, 'a resolution was passed calling on the government to disband the Special Reserve Force of the RUC which has been in action during the recent disturbances.'
Paisleyites attack Young Liberals' car after march [Report]
Paisley accuses press of lying
Report: Paisley accuses police
of intimidation and provocation on the Armagh march.
'Mr Paisley alleged that the civil rights demonstration was made
up of a republican army of murderers and looters.' He claims
that his supporters were armed in order to defend themselves,
and talks of some provocative catholic behaviour. The press is
accused of misrepresentation and bias, which encourages conflict.
Cabinet to meet on Armagh today
Report: The cabinet will today discuss events in Armagh;
opposition MPs intend to raise the question at Stormont later
in the week. It is not yet known whether summonses will be served
on Paisleyites for their activities in Armagh. Police are investigating
allegations of an RUC attack on
a BBC journalistic team.
Armagh: Labour MPs want to meet Callaghan
Report: The parliamentary Labour group on Northern Ireland
at Westminster is seeking a meeting with Callaghan
to discuss the latest developments in Northern Ireland. Wilson
will be asked in parliament about plans for future talks with
Report: Falls NILP branch attacks the Armagh counter-demonstrators, who it says appeared to have sanction for their acts from figures of authority.
'Double standards' abhorred
Report: The police are also criticised for permitting the
threat of force to prevent a peaceful demonstration from taking
Craig seen as true to his sectarian word
Report: Craig's Ulster Hall speech
is criticised by the Northern Ireland Young Socialists as highly
sectarian. It is seen as an indication that
the minister had no intention of carrying out his duties with
regard to Armagh. The government has abdicated its
responsibility to the mob, and should resign. Other forms of
protest, it is argued, should now supplement marches. These could
include 'the setting up of housing action committees and committees
of the unemployed which
would involve the united and exploited
people whether protestant or catholic, and at the same time would
outflank the sectarian Nationalists and Unionists who might wish
to use the present conflict for their own ends.'
Connolly group criticises reform proposals
Report: The Connolly Association, in a petition to Wilson, expresses the opinion that the reform plan put forward by the Northern Ireland government is mere 'window dressing.' The government's inability or unwillingness to control the Armagh counter-demonstrators is deplored. Craig should resign or face dismissal, and strong measures be instituted to deal with counter-demonstrations. Wilson should place considerable pressure on O'Neill to secure civil rights.
[BT, 3 December]
We will not be intimidated by Mr Craig - CR vow
announces that it will march again and again throughout Northern
Ireland until its demands are met. McAteer
asks, 'are the police now content to disperse peaceful demonstrators
and give free reign [sic] to shillelagh-armed government supporters
in open defiance of the law?' NICRA feels that the actions of
Paisley and Bunting
had the 'apparent approval' of Craig. Additionally,
'the same RUC which had batoned
defenceless people in Derry stood idly by and permitted a state
of lawlessness to exist.' Craig is alleged to have turned down
an earlier police request for reinforcements in Armagh.
He is seen to be promoting civil strife, and the discipline of
the civil rights marchers alone is credited with the avoidance
of serious conflict in Armagh. Liberal Unionists are chastised
for their failure to condemn Craig's Ulster Hall speech.
Need for citizens' police discussed at 'rights' conference
Report: The proposal of a citizens' police force receives
a hearing at the NICRA
conference in Belfast, in view of the inadequacy of RUC
protection in Armagh. The actions of civil rights
stewards in keeping the situation under control are commended.
More 'rights' marches planned - MPs may 'strike'
Report: A Belfast-Derry march, and another from Queen's University to Belfast City Hall, are planned for December. NICRA will consider a number of possibilities for further action - a strike by opposition MPs, a civil rights 'covenant,' a worldwide appeal for funds, and the holding of simultaneous rallies throughout Northern Ireland. The proposed four-day Belfast-Derry march is a proposal of the Young Socialist Alliance, and is planned to begin on 22 December. Clashes in Armagh follow a Paisleyite victory parade; police seize 150 weapons in searches of cars. McAteer asks, 'are the police now content to disperse peaceful demonstrators and give free reign [sic] to shillelagh-wielding government supporters assembled in open defiance of the law?' Currie will demand a Stormont debate on events in Armagh, and particularly on the role of police.
[IN, NL, 3 December]
Moderator calls for 'breathing space'
Report: Withers calls for a pause in civil rights marches
to allow the government to sort out its policy. Gallagher, a
past president of the methodist church,
stresses the need for respect for rights on all sides; the alternative
is 'bloodshed and the law of the jungle.'
Cases against 6 students adjourned
Report: Six people accused in conjunction with scuffles at a PD march have their court cases suspended once again.
[IN, NL, 3 December]
No probe - NI Labour lawvers [sic]
Report: The Northern Ireland Society of Labour Lawyers decides not to establish a commission of inquiry into housing and local government in Derry, for fear that such would detract from the perceived impartiality of the British Society's final report.
No commission, say Labour Lawyers
'Abusive letters' for Nationalist MP
Report: For his criticism of the Derry area plan, Gormley receives abusive letters to the effect that it is protestants who face discrimination in Derry housing. He comments that Faulkner is directing new industry to Unionist areas.
[IN, 3 December]
Pressure from no. 10 . . . and a warning from O'Neill
Feature: [Summary of civil rights developments, early November-15
The two Irish 'states': reply to Mr McGuigan
Letter: 'With no disrespect to the courageous and well-disciplined
civil rights campaigners who are a source of great enlivenment
to all of the underprivileged in Northern Ireland, it was the
republicans who [following partition] made the first bid to hold
on to the "one-man-one-vote" principle, especially the
proportional representation vote which is the most democratic
way to select parliamentary or local government
Ruled by Paisley and Craig
Letter: If O'Neill is unable
to resist the loyalist faction, out as it is to cause trouble,
then he should inform Wilson of this fact
and permit the British government to take over the running of
Mr Craig's speech
Letter: Craig's Ulster Hall speech
could not have been calculated to do more damage and inflame the
situation more than it has done.
Making known the facts of discrimination
Letter: There is no discrimination
in selection procedures for staff at Queen's University.
The problem, rather, is a shortage of catholic applicants. Also,
the university recruits outside Northern Ireland, so that proportions
of teaching staff cannot be expected to match the balance between
the denominations in Northern Ireland. 'Those who collect material
to substantiate the undoubted existence of discrimination in certain
spheres of life in Northern Ireland have the fundamental responsibility
of being accurate in their public statements.'
Civil rights badge
Letter: The DCAC's emblem was in no way designed to be
PM did not approach Fermanagh Unionists
Letter: Those Fermanagh Unionists who declared their support for O'Neill are the least active in defence of Unionism. There has been no rapprochement between O'Neill and the Fermanagh Unionist Association.
Letter: The students who made a scene on O'Neill's
visit to Queen's University should
be named and made to apologise publicly. 'What are these rights
they demand, the right to impose their will on a vast majority[?]
- no-one deserves a job unless he can fill it competently, no-one
can threaten the government to alter their [sic] franchise at
the drop of a hat
What does any loyal person have to fear
from a Special Powers Act? One can only
view as very suspect any militant group demanding its abolition.'
There would be no need for it without the threat of the IRA
and various disloyal elements.
Take over Craig's job, O'Neill is told
Report: Louis Boyle claims that Craig's
Ulster Hall speech has deeply offended catholics, so that O'Neill
should now move to take over Craig's position at the Ministry
of Home Affairs. Craig's remarks on the civil rights movement
virtually gave licence, he argues, to Paisley's
activities in Armagh.
Craig is inciting civil war: Fitt
Report: Fitt feels that Craig's
intransigent stand is an incitement to civil war. The peace of
Northern Ireland depends upon the introduction of one-man-one-vote.
Let premier do the job - Andrews
Report: Andrews says that O'Neill
and his united cabinet must be allowed to carry through their
programme for a better Northern Ireland, which entails a period
of calmness throughout the community.
Attitude 'must be deplored'
Report: A clergyman decries the advocacy by civil rights
supporters of a policy of civil disobedience; the government's
authority must be respected.
MP attacks Eire radio broadcast
Report: Taylor protests against bias in a Republic of Ireland radio item.
3 December, 1968
Editorial: In these troubled times, it is well to remember the economic progress that has taken place in Northern Ireland in the past few years. The Belfast Telegraph's recent poll shows that young people are more concerned with new jobs than with civil rights, and this is undoubtedly a feeling echoed throughout the wider community.
The man in the middle
Editorial: The police succeeded in protecting people in
Armagh despite the fact that many had come to the
city looking for trouble. The RUC,
in an incredibly difficult position, saved lives by admitting
that the safety of civil rights marchers could not be guaranteed
if they proceeded along their chosen route.
Armagh fears grow
Leader: Anxiety at Westminster has been raised by the weekend's
events, as Stonham is likely to point out
to the house of lords today. It may be that pressure is growing
for direct Westminster intervention in Northern Ireland.
Police avert Armagh clashes
Report: Police avert a number of clashes between extreme protestants and civil rights supporters in Armagh. Civil rights and church leaders eventually persuade both factions to disperse. These events follow scenes of heckling in the council chamber.
Civil rights group's restraint averts new Armagh clash
Leader: Appeals from police help disperse the rival factions. The local civil rights committee commends the people of Armagh for their non-violence, which is a victory over a government that has banned or used violence against previous demonstrations. Citizens were denied their democratic right to march peacefully, say the organisers, and police were not provided with sufficient resources to protect them.
Riot police keep peace in Armagh
Report: The clashes follow 'angry scenes' at the City Hall
'after a crowd of 100 civil rights supporters had staged an unofficial
sit-in in the council chamber, causing disruption to the monthly
meeting.' Civil rights supporters give police the Nazi salute
and chant 'Craig out'; extreme protestants
sing party songs and chant 'no pope here' and 'Craig in.'
There is still time
Editorial: The government cannot evade responsibility for
events in Armagh, and there is still time to ensure
that such clashes as occurred on 30 November are not repeated.
There can be no equivocation at Stormont when dealing with the
menace of extremism. Craig must explain
why he did not do more to avert a predictable scenario when so
much was known of the Paisleyites' intentions beforehand.
Target for extremist violence
Comment: Attacks on the freedom of the press in Armagh
echo scenes one might have believed to be confined to the states
behind the Iron Curtain. Television in the past week has shown
Craig's antics at the Ulster Hall. 'With
that legal objectivity and lack of prejudice for which he is renowned,
with that elegance of phrase and feeling for the niceties of English
grammar which make his utterances so delightfully interesting
to students of the language, Mr Craig contrived to negate any
hopes that last weekend's reform package might have
raised in reasonable people of goodwill.'
Plans to mobilise 'Specials'
Report: A small number of USC members will be mobilised to perform routine police duties, thus freeing more RUC members for duty where marches and counter-marches are taking place. The government will be pressed at Stormont to take firm action against Paisleyism. Investigation into the alleged police attack on BBC journalists is continuing despite an earlier claim that no evidence had been uncovered to substantiate the charges.
Specials called up to reinforce police
Report: Additionally, Craig asserts that Northern Ireland has thus far only managed to escape civil war 'by the grace of God.' Tensions throughout the state, he feels, are at an unprecedented boiling-point, and the anger is not confined to Paisley. It was necessary to stop the civil rights march in Armagh because it would otherwise have provoked disorder. NICRA professes not to be intimidated by Craig, and will continue its marches until its demands have been met. Withers calls for a breathing-space between marches so that government can decide what it will do. The Northern Ireland Society of Labour Lawyers will not now set up a commission to investigate Derry, but will present its views to the equivalent British Society. The RUC is continuing its investigation into the alleged attack on BBC journalists. McAteer is seeking a meeting with O'Neill, should the cabinet fail quickly to clarify its position. Boyd says that Northern Ireland is becoming polarised between two extremes: 'one was the modest and non-violent civil rights movement and the other was the Rev Ian Paisley, Major Ronald Bunting and Mr William Craig.' He feels that the moderate views of the vast majority of catholics and protestants are going unheard.
[BT, 2 December]
Tighter laws on offensive weapons?
Report: The cabinet is thought to be considering stricter
laws on the carrying of offensive weapons in the wake of the Armagh
demonstrations. Opposition MPs are likely to raise events in
Armagh in the commons. The PD plans a march from Queen's University
to Belfast City Hall, via the controversial Shaftesbury Square
route, on 14 December. The Young Socialist Alliance is planning
a Belfast-Derry march, beginning on 22 December. NICRA
is considering calls for a strike by opposition members at Stormont,
a civil rights covenant, a worldwide appeal for funds, and simultaneous
civil rights rallies throughout Northern Ireland.
Paisley, Bunting charged
Report: Paisley, Bunting and two other men receive summonses for unlawful assembly in Armagh on 30 November.
Paisley and Bunting summoned by police
Leader: Additionally, Paisley intends
to hold a large protestant demonstration at the Ulster Hall later
in the week.
'Inflammatory' account given by Fitt, says Orr
Report: Orr feels that Fitt's remarks on events in Armagh, made at Westminster, are inflammatory and constitute an attempted breach of parliamentary procedure whereby issues that are the responsibility of the Northern Ireland government are not debated in the British house of commons. Fitt feels that there is a breakdown of law and order in Northern Ireland.
Debate on 'law and order breakdown' in North refused by Westminster speaker [Report]
Armagh: 'let us answer Fitt'
say Unionists [Report]
Question on Craig's speech
Report: Murnaghan will ask at Stormont whether Craig's
recent Ulster Hall speech is to be taken as representative of
Cases of MPs up in Derry tomorrow
Report: The cases of those accused of offences in connection
with the events in Derry on 5 October come to court again tomorrow.
Craig will not appear personally, but will
be represented by counsel. Two English MPs, who were present
in Derry on 5 October, will give evidence for Fitt.
They hope to meet with members of the Northern Ireland Society
of Labour Lawyers.
Placards greet the governor
Report: The new governor of Northern Ireland, Lord Grey, arrives at Stormont where he is greeted by a number of PD supporters engaging in a protest. Nationalist members do not attend the welcoming ceremony.
[IN, NL, 4 December]
Charges against students are adjourned
Report: Court cases against six students charged in connection with trouble at a PD march are adjourned.
'Fun' at students['] parade - £61 fine
Report: Two men are fined and the cases of seven others adjourned in relation to charges arising out of their conduct on a PD march.
[BT, 2 December]
Opposition members quit council meeting in free speech protest
Report: Opposition councillors walk out of a meeting of Belfast city council following a disagreement over the description of Paisleyite counter-demonstrators involved in a counter-protest against a PD march as 'hooligans.'
Opposition walk-out at city council [Report]
'Dismiss Craig' call by PD
Report: The PD calls for Craig's dismissal
and prosecution for seditious libel in light of his Ulster Hall
speech, which was calculated to worsen community relations
in Northern Ireland. His comments on Armagh, in
which he sees fit to blame the civil rights movement for trouble,
are eminently biased and a further exasperation for those people
wishing to keep the civil rights movement non-violent. Copies
of Craig's speech will be sent to all MPs at Westminster. Fitt
is also sending copies to Wilson and Callaghan.
More demonstrations being planned by civil rights leaders
Report: Among civil rights activities planned for December are a further march in Belfast, and another from Belfast to Derry. A number of options are under consideration by NICRA: a 'strike' by opposition MPs; a civil rights 'covenant'; a worldwide appeal for funds; a number of rallies. McAteer urges swift cabinet clarification of the government's position on recent events. If this is not forthcoming, he wishes to meet with O'Neill to discuss these matters. The Northern Ireland Society of Labour Lawyers will not now carry out an inquiry into housing and local government in Derry, believing that such an investigation could possibly detract from the perceived impartiality of the parent British Society's final report.
[BT, 2 December]
'Breakdown of government'
Report: The prospective NILP
candidate for Shankill says that the government's failure to provide
leadership has brought about a marked deterioration of community
relations under O'Neill
rather than an improvement.
Wilson gets protest over Armagh
Report: The Connolly Association urges Wilson to place pressure on O'Neill to grant true civil rights to the people of Northern Ireland, and calls for Craig's removal from his post. If O'Neill proves unable to respond to the challenge, then Wilson should act under section 75 of the Government of Ireland Act and move directly to solve the problems of Northern Ireland.
[IN, 2 December]
Craig's 'mask is off now' - Nationalist MP
Report: O'Connor says that Craig has revealed for all to see, in his Ulster Hall speech, his opposition to O'Neill's reforms and to one-man-one-vote. He is accused of favouring the Paisleyite faction in Armagh and his outburst against catholicism was an attempt to smear the civil rights movement with sectarianism, where it really expresses the demands of every self-respecting person. 'Let us hope that our people will not be provoked into acts of violence and that the views of reasonable men will prevail.'
Blistering attack on Craig by west
Tyrone MP [Report]
Craig 'attempting to incite civil war' says Mr Fitt
Report: Fitt accuses Craig
of preferring to incite civil war rather than accede to civil
rights demands. He not only opposes the policy of his own government
but 'would appear to be in active collusion with the neo-fascist
element who were preparing to use violence to prevent the implementation
of British standards of democracy.' His Ulster Hall speech offered
encouragement to Paisleyites. O'Neill
cannot be trusted while Craig remains, for the latter has criticised
government reforms, pledged to retain the Special
Powers Act, attacked the ombudsman and
maligned the civil rights movement. The Public Order
Act is 'blatantly used against one section of the community.'
The realities of the situation in Northern Ireland must be publicised
throughout Britain. Fitt tells another meeting that the fight
for civil rights will go on until one-man-one-vote is granted.
MP tells of 'abusive' letters
Report: Gormley receives abusive letters following an attack on the Derry plan. They imply that housing discrimination in Derry is directed against protestants. He attacks Faulkner's record on industry, believing that the minister is specifically targeting Unionist areas for development.
[BT, 2 December]
McAteer may see O'Neill
Report: McAteer calls for a meeting
with O'Neill unless the cabinet can
quickly clarify its position. He wonders whether the real parliament
is at Stormont or on the streets.
O'Neill rebukes Labour for 'dire hints'
Report: O'Neill criticises the NILP in particular over the recent memorandum on reform presented to the government by a joint Labour-trade union delegation. It is seen as a form of threatening demand on the legally-constituted government. He defends the government's proposed points system and the Derry area plan; the lack of general acceptance of ideas pertaining to the franchise would make it wise to postpone any changes therein until the review of local government has been completed; the Special Powers Act should be retained while there remains a genuine threat from subversives, and the Act does not in any case harm the law-abiding citizen. In terms of discrimination in employment, O'Neill stresses that the government recognises 'no yardstick but merit.'
We will not fail to do our duty [-] PM [Report]
Fade-out of conflict?
Report: British MP Selwyn Lloyd says that community relations
in Northern Ireland have improved under O'Neill,
and expresses the hope that the religious divide can be further
Keep calm plea by Morgan
Report: Morgan calls on people not to play into the hands of 'community wreckers' by engaging in violence. In its reaction to generous government concessions, the civil rights movement has 'overplayed its hand.' Now, 'these people are showing clearly that they are made up of political groups who are seeking to make capital at the expense of hampering the economic well-being of the entire community.'
Civil rights has overplayed hand, says minister [Report]
Paisley extremists condemned by QUB Unionist Association
Report: The Queen's University
Unionist Association states that while
the Armagh civil rights march was undesirable, it
was nevertheless lawful; thus, Paisley's
actions are to be condemned. Recent 'veiled threats of civil
war' made by Fitt are also condemned. O'Neill
should take over the running of the ministry of home affairs.
Louis Boyle echoes the latter call in a personal
statement, in which he argues that Fitt's appeals to sectarianism
provide no excuse for Unionists to act in similar vein. Craig's
political exploitation of sectarian feeling, he says, has deeply
offended catholics. He has effectively banned further catholics
from joining the Unionist Party. His hostile
references to the civil rights movement can in some ways be seen
as Craig's licence to Paisley for the latter's subsequent exploits
in Armagh. The restraint of police and civil rights marchers
alike in face of provocation is to be commended.
Call for O'Neill to assume home affairs
Report: The QUB Unionist Association
feels that Paisley's tactics are to be
condemned. While the Armagh civil rights march was
unhelpful, it was nevertheless carried out within the law. It
is felt that O'Neill should assume the ministry of home affairs.
One member of the Association dissociates himself from these
criticisms, which he deems unrepresentative. Louis Boyle
points out the offence caused to catholics by Craig's
remarks. O'Connor says that Craig is against O'Neill's
reforms, and in particular opposes one-man-one-vote.
Insulting references to catholics, he asserts, were designed
to smear the civil rights movement with sectarian
associations. Craig and his supporters must be removed from positions
of power if any respect for public authority is to be restored.
The PD demands that Craig be removed from office and court action
be taken against him in relation to his Ulster Hall speech, copies
of which are being sent to the press and to all Westminster MPs.
Leadership of churches vital now, says judge
Report: 'Lord Justice McVeigh said the influence and leadership of the churches in Ulster was paramount at this time.' The vice-chancellor of Queen's University calls for 'faith, hope and charity' to be exercised by all.
What the North needs at this time [Report]
'Citizens must get protection'
Report: Belfast Council of Churches calls on government to protect the rights of citizens peacefully to express their views. The reform programme is welcomed, and hope expressed that action can be taken as soon as possible on the local government franchise. A member of the Queen's Unionist Association dissociates himself from what he views as an unrepresentative call for O'Neill to take over responsibility for the Ministry of Home Affairs.
Council of Churches wants quick action [Report]
Churches' call to keep order [Report]
Girl students join People's Democracy
Report: 'A branch of the People's Democracy was formed
by Roman catholic girl students at St Mary's Training College,
Belfast last night.'
Branch of People's Democracy set up [at] St Mary's College [Report]
Students out in the cold
Report: At the meeting, Kevin Boyle
claims that protestant students from Stranmillis College have
been invited to the meeting in order to dissociate the civil rights
movement from sectarianism. He feels that
the movement should adopt as a primary aim the ending of segregated
education. Farrell says that civil rights should be used to unite
the people against those who preach sectarianism.
Defiance, disorder - then five points for peace
Feature: [Summary of events, 16-23 November; profiles of
the DCAC membership.] One key to the speed of government in reaching
a decision on reform may have been the assessment of the situation
in Derry provided for O'Neill and
Faulkner by a deputation of the city's leading
businessmen. Craig's subsequent statements
indicate that he must have opposed the reforms strongly
in cabinet. The civil rights movement started innocuously enough,
with a march that might have gone unnoticed had it not been banned,
but quickly there developed 'a solidarity bred through frustration
and tempered by hope.' Overall, 'by taking to the streets in
this way they [the civil rights supporters] had achieved more
in 50 days than they had in 50 years of lawful constitutional
government.' The revolution in the streets has come, but the
revolution of the mind has yet to arrive.
Ulster suffers 'from marches and charges'
Report: A meeting of the Northern Ireland Association of
Schoolmasters is told that politicians and others with vested
interests 'keep the pot boiling for their own ends.'
Civil rights meeting in Dungannon
Report: A civil rights meeting will be held in Dungannon
to elect a local committee and to discuss, among other issues,
free speech, jobs on merit, and the next steps to be taken in
the civil rights campaign.
Mr Austin Currie to speak in Birmingham
Letter: There is 'great activity' in Birmingham aimed at
securing social justice in Northern Ireland. Currie
is to speak at a forthcoming meeting, following a march through
Appointments by the Hospitals Authority
Letter: The original figures provided by the CSJ relating to appointments of catholics at Queen's University were abbreviated by the Irish News in its reproduction of them. This explains the confusion of a recent correspondent over their accuracy.
(Campaign for Social Justice)
Civil rulers and their authority
Letter: A presbyterian minister's
exposition of the necessity for obedience to temporal rulers would
logically define as a Christian act unquestioning obedience to
Hitler. 'Politicians are no more than the servants of the people
and jobs are
the God-given right of all.'
The utterances of Mr Craig
Letter: Craig should be dismissed.
Civil rights supporters are peaceful people and not, as Craig
would have it, communists and rogues. He first called for a period
of calm, then before an Ulster Hall mob, insulted many people,
having quite the opposite effect. The situation can only worsen
while Craig remains in office.
That half loaf
Letter: McAteer may be satisfied with
scraps from the Unionist table, but others will not accept them
Home truths about Armagh
Letter: The treatment that civil rights marchers in Armagh
were forced to endure was disgraceful. The police were interested
in protecting the Paisleyites alone. There can be little wonder
that so many are now demanding civil rights, when they cannot
even march unmolested through their city.
Letter: By his branding of catholics as an inferior form
of humanity, Craig has shown himself to be
incapable of exercising his responsibilities under the obnoxious
Special Powers Act. His 'arrogance,
intolerance and stupidity' warrant his immediate dismissal, without
which there will arise the suspicion that his sentiments are representative
of wider government policy.
Root cause of problem
Letter: 'May I, as a protestant teacher, suggest that
is itself the consequence of a blatant abuse of power by some
representatives of the protestant majority, and a cynical and
selfish indifference to this by a disquietingly large number of
protestants.' That greater trouble has been avoided is due not
to the police but to the civil rights stewards. Those who have
governed for so long bear a great measure of responsibility for
the present situation, and the granting of civil rights demands
will only constitute a beginning in the rebuilding of community
'Halt, think, condemn extremism'
Letter: Many Unionists will admit that the property vote does not have a long future ahead. Most also 'loathe extremism and detest the unthinking use of sectarianism.' The government's reform programme is a watershed, and 'further marches and meaty confrontations can do nothing but drive men of goodwill further right.' Paisley and his followers believe themselves to be good unionists, but are not. There has been too much blanket criticism of government. O'Neill deserves support, while extremists of all hues warrant condemnation.
W Belfast loyalists
Letter: Paisley and his supporters
are 'the biggest asset the republican cause has ever had in Northern
Ireland,' as they demonstrate by their opposition to Brian McRoberts'
west Belfast candidature.
Letter: The maturity of students taking an interest in
the struggle for injustice is a sign of hope for the future.
Four point plan to help Ulster
Letter: The government should add to its existing reform
package the following proposals: compulsory evening council meetings,
thus enabling workers as well as the professional class to attend
or stand for election; 'candidates not to stand in areas where
they do not live'; 'all companies directly or indirectly associated
with an elected representative to be debarred from tendering for
council work or supplies'; a democratic system for election to
authorities in relation, for example, to hospitals, schools, transport,
and so on.
Letter: Paisleyite marchers conducted
themselves well in Derry, unlike the civil rights protesters,
who display signs not only of republican but also of communist
sympathies. The banners that these people carried were insulting
to the memory of the original Derry Apprentice Boys.
Letter: Paisley is a figure whose
views are inaccurately portrayed by the media.
Letter: Fitt, McAteer
and Currie have been unconstructive, so that
it ill-behoves them to criticise the government on these same
Letter: The QUB authorities should clamp down on the ringleaders
of students 'lacking breeding, background and a sense of tradition.'
O'Neill deserves the support of
all classes, but tends too readily to treat his enemies as officers
and gentlemen, though they do not fit this description.
Letter: Civil rights criticism of police conduct in Derry is disgraceful. Civil rights do not equate to licence to flout the law. Protestants are happy with the state of affairs in Northern Ireland, 'so why should we have to put up with open defiance?' Marching through a unionist area is asking for trouble, and if civil rights supporters 'don't like affairs here, let them go to their own side of the border.' Northern Ireland people are better off than those in the Republic of Ireland in terms of housing and employment.
4 December, 1968
Governor of all
Editorial: The new governor of Northern Ireland faces a
considerable task in assimilating the complex political situation,
but clearly his voice of sanity will be welcome at a time when
moderate leadership is required, and when public authorities are
being opened to closer scrutiny through the housing points scheme
and the ombudsman. If his task of reconciliation is to succeed
however, he must not be cold-shouldered by the opposition for
purely ideological reasons.
Governor is given 'danger' warning
Report: Holmes warns that the new governor of Northern
Ireland must tread very carefully, even though his position carries
a minimal political role. He must have the mettle to be able
to deal with a Stormont-Westminster clash, should such a situation
CR 'silent protest' greets new governor
Report: The new governor of Northern Ireland, Lord Grey, is greeted at Stormont by PD protesters.
Silent protest greets governor at Stormont [Report]
[BT, 3 December]
80 march to Derry court
Leader: Protesters march to the court in Derry where cases
relating to the 5 October incidents are heard.
Lennon and defendants may stage boycott
Report: Defence lawyers in the Derry court contend that
Craig's 5 October ban was occasioned solely
by political considerations. Lennon envisages the possibility
of clients withdrawing from proceedings. Craig's remarks on the
demonstration with legal proceedings pending are seen by another
lawyer as prejudicial to a fair trial. McCann is accused of having
told demonstrators that if they 'wanted to charge the police cordon
then it was not his problem. As a private individual he could
do nothing to stop them.' Some of the crowd, it is alleged, sang
the Republic of Ireland's national anthem, and some ignored Sinclair's
calls to disperse peacefully. Many were pushed forward by a surge
from the back of the crowd. Some of the crowd, it is asserted,
began throwing stones, and it was then that police responded.
Armagh men have 'no intention of paying fines'
Report: Six Armagh men, fined for their part in a commemoration parade on the anniversary of the 1916 Easter rising, are informed that they will face prison if the fines are not paid. One of them compares the freedom given to Paisleyite intimidators in Armagh with the punishment meted out to participants in a peaceful march through a 100% nationalist area.
Paisley case on Monday
Report: Paisley, Bunting,
and the two other men summoned in connection with the Armagh
disturbances are to appear in court on 9 December.
Paisley gives parade notice
Report: Paisley gives notice of a planned parade to Armagh's courthouse, to which he has been summoned.
[NL, 5 December]
Police watch on home of Tyrone MP
Report: Following intimidating behaviour directed at Currie's
wife, police are keeping a watch on the Curries' home.
Police guard on Austin Currie's
Closing the eye
Editorial: Measures must be taken to ensure that there
is press freedom to cover news without the threat of attack by
Split reported in new Derry loyalist body
Report: The Derry Loyalists' Committee is attacked by a
breakaway faction as a front designed to secure greater support
for O'Neill. The Committee passes
a motion of confidence in O'Neill and the government, and is seeking
an early meeting with the prime minister. It also hopes to contact
the DCAC with a view to launching a joint effort to improve community
relations and tackle isolated cases
of boycotting. Plans are afoot for a large loyalist gathering
early in 1969.
Mr Craig's west Belfast speech
Report: The chairman of West Belfast Unionist Association
expresses strong disagreement with Louis Boyle's
call for Craig's replacement at the ministry
of home affairs. Craig spoke a lot of truths at the Ulster Hall
gathering, including 'some of the home truths regarding the bogus
edifice of hypocrisy' that is the civil rights movement. Craig's
dismissal 'would precipitate utter disaster.'
Back Craig on rule of law - Taylor
Report: Taylor feels that defiance of
the law by civil rights supporters has led to similar action by
loyalists. He calls for support for Craig
in his efforts to enforce law and order.
MPs seek end to 'street politics'
Report: Unionist MPs are agreed on their desire to see law and order restored, but there is no consensus as to how government might go about achieving this. Some now believe that Craig's recent speeches warrant his dismissal, but there is strong support for the minister among a majority of the parliamentary party. Since 5 October, almost every Unionist meeting in Northern Ireland has passed a resolution of support for Craig.
Militant protestants criticised
Report: The Unionist candidate for north Down criticises
Paisleyite behaviour in Armagh
as an attack on the constitution. Civil rights marchers, however
misguided, have a constitutional right to peaceful protest. He
feels they should at least have given the government's reforms
a chance before engaging in further protest. There is nothing
wrong with the property franchise in local government.
Reforms overdue - Young Unionists
Report: Clifton Young Unionists
welcome the government's reforms, arguing that 'while
it may be wrong to do something under duress it is even worse
to postpone necessary reforms because one may fear appearing to
act under duress. The tragedy is that reforms which some years
ago would have been welcomed by all sections of the community
are greeted with cries of "too little, too late".'
The blame rests squarely with those Unionists who denied the existence
of the problem over the years. Further marches are no solution
to the difficulties of Derry; economic progress is what is required.
Cabinet united on reforms - O'Neill
Report: O'Neill says that
the cabinet is united over the government's reforms,
which will be implemented as quickly as possible.
Holywood vote of confidence
Report: A north Down Unionist Association
passes a vote of confidence in the government, O'Neill,
Craig and the RUC,
while condemning the rival demonstrations in Armagh.
McAteer to see O'Neill today
Report: McAteer will today meet with
O'Neill following the request of
the former for talks.
Meeting with PM 'enlightening'
Report: McAteer says he is 'enlightened
a little bit' following his talks with O'Neill.
He refuses to reveal any details of what was said.
O'Neill reply to Labour criticised
Report: The Northern Ireland committee of the ICTU
criticises as 'a party political statement' O'Neill's
reply to the memorandum presented to government by a joint Labour-trade
Votes issue still urgent - lords told
Report: Stonham tells the house of lords that, while the Northern Ireland government's reforms are welcome, they fall short of the ideal of one-man-one-vote. He condemns extremists and asserts that the great majority of Northern Ireland people desire a peaceful solution, a contention similarly advanced by Lord Rathcavan. The Earl of Enniskillen hopes that matters can be resolved through co-operation between Stormont and Westminster rather than through impositions by the latter. Lord Reay calls for the strict enforcement of the anti-discrimination provisions of the Government of Ireland Act.
Put reforms pressure on Ulster says Liberal
Report: Reay stresses that if this issue is not acted upon by Stormont, then action by Westminster will become inevitable. He calls on the British government to demand one-man-one-vote and the establishment of machinery to combat discrimination. Rathcavan argues that sanctions against Northern Ireland would damage rather than help the plight of the minority, since unemployment is already rife. He adds that minority politics cannot be separated from anti-partitionism, and that the retention of the Special Powers Act has been necessitated by the recent IRA campaign. He feels that one-man-one-vote should be introduced and British troops used to maintain order if necessary. Lord Soper describes Paisley as 'a rabble-rouser' with 'a raucous approach and a dogmatic gesture. He is duping a lot of simple people, and their prejudices are increased by much of what he has to say.' He is standing in the way of improvement in Northern Ireland. Lord Massereene and Ferrard believes that placing pressure on the Northern Ireland government would prove counter-productive.
Soper 'disgusted with Paisley and his band of thugs' [Leader]
Bring in the troops says Lord Rathcavan [Leader]
Editorial: The weekend's events have undoubtedly generated
increasing concern at Westminster over the situation in Northern
Ireland. It is to be hoped that the British government will now
bring more influence to bear on Stormont. O'Neill
must also take the risk of strengthening the hand of Unionist
extremists by moving against Craig, if his
government is to continue to rule as a government and not as a
group of individuals.
Presbytery urges peace
Report: Tyrone presbytery calls on all the people of Northern Ireland to adhere to Christian principles at this difficult time.
Presbyterian reminder: 'try to love all men'
Report: It is also stated that Christians must not offer
provocation, and must respect authority of government and police.
Walk-out at city council
Letter: Opposition councillors were denied free speech
at the recent meeting of Belfast City Council when they wished
to voice a point of view at variance with that of the Unionists.
This is a denial of the process of democratic decision-making.
Stormont's reform plan
Letter: Stormont is responsible for fomenting disorder
within Northern Ireland. If there is any sincere desire for reform,
why then are all the civil rights demands not met? The welfare
of Unionists is placed before that of the people as a whole.
Time is quickly running out, and Britain must face up to her responsibilities
in Northern Ireland or, along with Stormont, carry the responsibility
for whatever the consequences may be.
One man, one vote
Letter: O'Neill and Craig
could learn much from the democratic system of local elections
in the USA.
Tribute to Capt O'Neill
Letter: The blame for Northern Ireland's ills has been
cast on government by the civil rights movement, so that recent
reforms were all too readily dismissed. The reforms
are a genuine step forward, especially when compared with the
government's position on the same issues just a year ago. O'Neill
has ushered into Northern Ireland a new atmosphere that has made
reform possible. Those who expect one-man-on-vote immediately
are naïve, since long-standing prejudices cannot be wiped
out overnight. It is however a desirable goal.
New minister would prove the PM's sincerity
Letter: O'Neill should clearly
demonstrate his undoubted sincerity by replacing Craig
as minister of home affairs. Mob rule cannot be permitted in
any integral part of the UK. People should be thankful that the
civil rights movement has demonstrated such commendable restraint
in the face of deliberate provocation. These sentiments must
be expressed anonymously to avoid extremist retaliation.
Christianity teaches love
Letter: Paisley's behaviour makes
a mockery of his avowed Christianity.
Letter: Craig should be dismissed
for his evident bias and incompetence, and for the sake of the
people of Northern Ireland. He has in no way helped RUC
morale, with the force caught in such a difficult position. If
O'Neill cannot dismiss Craig, then
he must himself resign.
Equality is certainly not a betrayal
Letter: The granting of equal rights does not need to be
seen as a surrender of constitutional principles; in fact, it
would do much to preserve Northern Ireland's link with Britain.
Fear based on prejudice and ignorance must be broken down.
The roots of division
Editorial: 'The present pattern of education cruelly and unnecessarily divides the young at a point in their lives when their minds should be broadened, not narrowed or forced along the channels of prejudice which have bedevilled Ireland for so many generations. Segregation in education is undoubtedly the main cause of stresses in Ulster. While it continues there can be no natural acceptance by people who stand on either side of the religious barrier of each other, or the creation of the easy relationship which even those who campaign for the unity of Ireland have always deemed essential. If civil rights action is to mean anything more than the same old conflicts refought under a novel banner the movement has to apply itself to basic causes with no less enthusiasm that it has already displayed for the elimination of superficial effects.'
5 December, 1968
Court may see riot films
Leader: An application will be made to show filmed footage
of events in Derry on 5 October at the trial of those accused
in connection with the march. McCann says that his role in the
march was to make sure that it passed off peacefully, though he
says that he told the crowd that he could not prevent anyone from
charging police lines. McCann is further questioned about the
events of the day.
'I saw Fitt batoned'
Report: Cooper describes the police batoning of marchers on 5 October, saying that there were only 'perhaps three or four' irresponsible marchers.
After-court march by Fitt and British MPs
Report: Fitt and two British MPs are acclaimed by civil rights protesters on their emergence from the Derry court where prosecutions relating to 5 October disturbances are under way, and take part in a march through that section of the city prohibited to all processions by Craig's month-long ban. In court, Ryan claims that women and children were batoned by the RUC, while Kerr, his colleague, makes a similar point. Meharg says that Fitt was injured before batons were used. The crowd, he says, began stoning the RUC, and only necessary force was used to restore order.
Police in Derry used batons freely
Report: Giving evidence in a Derry court as to the events of 5 October, Ryan testifies that he witnessed a number of incidents where police struck women and children, as well as people uninvolved with the march, with batons. He admits that there was some violence from the crowd, but did not see stones thrown. Kerr is in agreement that the police responded with force to minimal crowd violence. Meharg claims that some people in the crowd engaged in stone- and placard-throwing, so that he felt it necessary to disperse the crowd as a whole. He denies the use of excessive force. Another officer denies indiscriminate use of water-cannon. Other police officers offer similar testimony, and one asserts that McCann told marchers that if any of them wished to charge the police cordon, then it was not his problem. Sinclair urged the crowd to disperse peacefully, but some surged forward, and some sang the national anthem of the Republic of Ireland. Though asserting that some stones were thrown at the water-cannon, this witness admits that no inciting speeches were made.
Counsel reads from Hansard
Report: A defence lawyer for those facing charges in connection with the events of 5 October tells a Derry court of the 'unfortunate' remarks made by Craig in parliament in the run-up to criminal proceedings. His clients at no time deliberately envisaged public disorder and riot. McSparran and Lennon are to challenge the validity of Craig's ban, which is viewed as politically-motivated. Lennon and Currie may withdraw entirely from the proceedings.
Derry baton charge was 'necessary' - police chief
Report: In addition, one witness testifies that when Sinclair
told marchers to disperse, she was greeted by shouts of 'go home
Betty. You're a communist.'
Parades ban twice broken
Report: The ban on marches within Derry's walls is twice broken by civil rights protesters gathered outside the court.
Yells and boohs greet the police
Report: 'The crowd outside the court never went below 1,000
even though the proceedings lasted over seven hours.'
Strabane march incident - man fined
Report: A man is fined for his participation in the attack on the Strabane-Derry civil rights march.
[IN, 6 December]
Missiles thrown as rival factions clash in Dungannon
Report: A civil rights meeting held in Dungannon to elect a local organising committee is the spark for clashes between extremist protestants and civil rights supporters. Hassard drives off at speed when his car is surrounded by a hostile crowd. Police succeed in keeping the factions from making physical contact, though missiles are thrown and property damaged.
Violence erupts in Dungannon
Leader: Civil rights stewards and police succeed in keeping the two sides apart. A press camera is smashed. The civil rights meeting is told by a local teacher, also chairman of the steering committee, Aidan Corrigan, that 'Mr Craig has tried to stir up religious and sectarian bitterness among us, but he will find that we shall prevail. The death bell of the corrupt system is tolling; the monster of discrimination and bigotry is mortally wounded and we shall not be moved.' Con McCluskey appeals to uncommitted Unionists to support just civil rights demands; he does not wish to see the Northern Ireland constitution altered without the consent of a majority of the people. Hume says that there will be no revenge when the civil rights struggle is over. Currie says that he is not prepared to accept 'half a loaf' of government reforms.
Violence erupts in Dungannon
Leader: Clashes in Dungannon are prevented
from escalating when civil rights stewards and police intervene
to keep loyalists and civil rights supporters apart. A News
Letter photographer is 'roughed up' by some members of a crowd.
A loyalist protester claims that the trouble was started by civil
'Threats to kill me' - councillor
Report: Hassard is to retire from politics following death-threats to himself and his family. During disturbances in Dungannon, his car is surrounded by a hostile crowd. His requests for police protection for his home, he says, have been unavailing.
Summary: Paisley gives notice of a march through Armagh to the courthouse, to which he, Bunting, and others have been summoned.
[BT, 4 December]
Paisley hits out at lords
Report: Paisley attacks Soper over his recent remarks in the house of lords. He feels also that Rathcavan's statements on Northern Ireland show him to be misinformed or uninformed. Protestants will not accept a situation where British troops aid republicans. Paisley says that he has a great deal of support.
Paisley's reply to Soper attack
Report: Paisley replies to Soper's
remarks on his activities.
Play streets suggestion at NDP meeting
Report: West Belfast branch of the NDP expresses its support for the proposed PD march planned for 14 December.
[BT, 6 December, NL, 7 December]
Derry socialists ask 'send rights claims to no. 10'
Report: Derry Labour Party is organising a letter-writing
campaign by the people of the city, demanding of Wilson
one-man-one-vote, one-man-one-job, and one-man-one-house.
UK 'rights' chief sees Capt O'Neill
Report: The chairman of the UK Human Rights Committee meets
O'Neill, who he believes to be held
in high esteem all over Britain because of his efforts to achieve
better community relations.
Support for civil rights movement grows in Britain
Report: The Ulster Constitution Reform Committee
establishes a new branch in Manchester, and is encouraged by the
level of interest shown by British parliamentarians and members
of the public alike. The Committee is disappointed at the lack
of coverage in the British press of ongoing events in Northern
Civil rights picket
Report: A Labour Party meeting at which Callaghan
is a speaker is picketed by protesters from a Glasgow civil rights
Falls Rep Lab branch meeting
Report: Diamond criticises the government's proposed housing points system because it is 'a suggestion'; the proposed ombudsman will be of no use unless the occupant of that office has the power to investigate local government grievances; 'the suspension of Derry city council only meant that a few more thousand people were added to the number of rateless [sic - voteless?]' A vote of thanks to Fitt for his promotion in Britain of the civil rights cause is passed unanimously.
An influence for good
Editorial: It is to be hoped that Lord Grey, as governor of Northern Ireland, can exercise a restraining influence over the more hot-headed Unionist orators, both inside and outside government. However, 'the utterances of Mr Craig indicate that it is still not certain that Stormont will ever really accept the principle of full social and political reform until it is too late.' Wilson should make the office of governor less of a figurehead role and more that of an 'instrument of good influence.' People are weary of 'this partisan government ruled by an embattled prime minister who quite evidently cannot carry his cabinet with him along the whole road of reform and who is vulnerable to pressures inside and outside his party.'
Human rights project for QUB
Report: A new scholarship is to be offered by Queen's University
for the study of community relations
in Northern Ireland. The chairman of the Northern Ireland committee
for Human Rights Year welcomes the government's commitment to
look into additional powers for the Northern Ireland ombudsman.
The committee will soon present a general recommendation on the
problems of the state. O'Neill's
position is a difficult one. Marches and counter-marches have
damaged community relations, so that a period of peace is now
Points system: councils to help
Report; The Association of Local Authorities is to set up a sub-committee to work with the Ministry of Development on a housing points system. Ballycastle's town clerk argues that a points system tends to discriminate in favour of large families; a Downpatrick councillor sees a system as the most satisfactory of the available options.
Local authorities committee
to debate points system [Report]
Derry's charter will be put into 'storage'
Report: The Bill that will make possible the establishment of the Derry commission receives a second reading. Fitzsimmons wishes to see the area plan implemented quickly by the body. Anderson expresses doubts as to whether the commission can perform any better than the councils it is to replace, since these have been working extremely well together. Gormley expresses the fear that the commission will be controlled by Unionists.
Bill to set up body to discharge Derry LG franchise passed
Report: Fitzsimmons also feels that the commission must be both strong and acceptable to the people of the area under its jurisdiction. Anderson additionally suggests that if the commission can provide a breathing-space in which calm can prevail, then it will have been a success. Murnaghan hopes it will end recrimination in Derry.
Commons clears the way for plan
Report: Debating the passing into law of a Bill that will
make possible to establishment of a Derry commission, Fitzsimmons
stresses that he wishes to see the area plan implemented quickly.
The commission must therefore be both strong and acceptable to
the people whose lives it will affect. Gormley expresses fear
that it will be controlled by Unionists, while Anderson doubts
whether it will be any more successful than the existing framework,
in which the corporation and rural councils have worked well together.
Accept overlord says Guckian
Report: The chairman of Derry's economic standing committee,
Frank Guckian, appeals to Derry people to accept for a few years
an unelected body whose purpose is the transformation of their
Craig 'target' in speeches
Report: Craig is attacked by speakers
at the Dungannon meeting convened to elect a local
civil rights organising committee. The suggestion by one speaker
of a boycott on the businesses of Paisleyites is rejected by some
members of the audience. Currie says, 'no
Unionist can be afraid if we get our rights that we will deprive
them or theirs.'
Craig - 'only one motive'
Report: Derry Nationalists claim that Craig's Ulster Hall speech was deliberately designed to stir up community tensions at this difficult time. It is shocking that O'Neill has failed to condemn Craig - and more so that he has appeared to support the minister by claiming that Craig is under strain. The whole community is under considerable strain.
'Craig's speech had only one motive'
Craig speech most disturbing - professors
Report: 13 QUB professors express support for O'Neill's
progressive policies, an attitude which they feel to be reflective
of thinking in the wider university teaching profession. A large
body of support for O'Neill, they also assert, exists in Northern
Ireland, but it is support that has not been sufficiently voiced.
The government's reform programme is welcome and
significant, while Craig's words are liable
only to stoke tension. Electoral parity with Britain must be
achieved as soon as possible.
O'Neill regrets tone of Craig speech
Report: O'Neill regrets the tone but 'not so much the content' of Craig's Ulster Hall speech, though he believes that Craig has recently been under a great deal of strain. The minister has since told O'Neill that he is completely committed to the government's reform package. Kirk rather than Craig will pilot the Ombudsman Bill through the commons. Murnaghan asserts that Craig does not appear to support the reform proposals and argues that he has washed his hands of all responsibility for the actions of the police.
All must obey the law, says Boal
Report: Boal says that force must not be used to attain
political goals, and that the law set down by a democratically-elected
legislature must be obeyed. The civil rights movement is 'spurious'
and 'bogus' but has the right to march if it is prepared to respect
the law. Paisleyite flouting of the law
is also to be condemned. He says that he is not an extremist
or bigot, since he can justify his strongly-held principles. Ardill
praises Boal's 'excellent and reasoned' remarks.
'All must obey law' says Boal
Report: In addition, O'Connor condemns Craig's 'infamous' conduct, which has favoured the 'outrageous' activities of extreme protestants. Taylor asserts that the trouble in Armagh was caused by outsiders and that, typically, the civil rights march was led by republicans and communists. Law and order must be maintained, irrespective of religious or political affiliation. Marchers have no real right to parade through areas where they are unwelcome. He asserts also that civil rights marchers smuggled weapons into Armagh through police checks. Brooke and Anderson praise Boal's speech and call for an end to demonstrations. Scott also calls for an end to demonstrations, and criticises Paisleyite provocation and lawlessness. He sees the civil rights march as similarly provocative.
Minister 'out of harmony' - Phelim O'Neill
Report: Phelim O'Neill calls for Craig's resignation, and asserts that he is not the only Unionist who feels that this is a necessary course. Civil rights supporters should not continue with marches, since to do so would be dangerous and would alienate those sympathetic to the movement. Craig is out of harmony with the cabinet. These comments are met with Unionist shouts of disagreement. O'Reilly is dissatisfied with events in Armagh and says that decisions are being taken by Paisley rather than Craig. He suggests that a call for police reinforcements for Armagh was ignored by the minister. O'Connor asserts that Craig has made clear his opposition to reforms that Terence O'Neill has tried to introduce. Taylor says that there are certain areas where different groups should not march, and feels that Craig's speech was in accordance with government policy. Scott believes that the civil rights march was provocative, but has no sympathy for the Paisleyite faction. Gormley feels that Paisley has the freedom to do whatever he wishes to do. Brooke supports Craig's maintenance of law and order, calling for an end to marches, 'which do nothing to provide houses and jobs - the main cause of all our complaints.' McQuade asserts, 'we want men who stand their ground, and believe that might is right.' He says that the people of Northern Ireland support Craig.
Ulster Hall speech was basic Unionism
Report: Craig says that his Ulster Hall speech represented basic Unionist thinking, and strongly denies the existence of a rift between himself and fellow ministers. He says that he has not offered offence towards the catholic church, but has merely pointed out its strong influence over catholic democracies in areas of faith and morals. Much of the civil rights activity is bogus because catholics have benefited in many ways from the progress of Northern Ireland. Protection of life takes precedence over the right to march, and the RUC has once again acquitted itself with honour. The fault for events in Armagh lies with both contending factions.
Craig says his speech was 'basic Unionism'
Report: He goes on: 'the reason that a communist and Marxist technique is being adopted is because these people feel that they are discontented and have lost confidence in the members opposite who have purported to represent them for so long.'
Minister of home affairs defies O'Neill
Report: 'The prime minister was defied at Stormont last night by his minister of home affairs, Mr Craig, who amid cheers from Unionists [sic] backbenchers defended his Ulster Hall speech within hours of Mr O'Neill having made a semi-apology for its tone, but not its content.' Phelim O'Neill is in agreement with opposition members in calling for Craig's resignation. O'Reilly wonders why Craig, with so much advance warning of the Paisleyites' plans, did little to avert trouble. He criticises the 'infamous' riot squad, which is accused of smashing a television camera to destroy the evidence, in O'Reilly's opinion, of possible police partisanship. He says that Craig's Ulster Hall speech was calculated to stir up bitterness, and believes that decisions are being taken not by the minister of home affairs, but by Paisley. The suggestion is made that Craig ignored a call for police reinforcements for Armagh. O'Neill regrets the tone of Craig's speech, but argues that the minister has been under considerable strain. He says he has been assured that Craig is fully behind the government's reforms, though the Ombudsman Bill will be piloted through parliament not by Craig but by Kirk. Murnaghan does not think that Craig supports the government's reform package, and asserts that he has washed his hands of all responsibility for the actions of the police. Boal stresses the necessity in a democracy of adherence to the law. The civil rights campaign, he feels, is bogus. Phelim O'Neill believes that Craig is out of step with his cabinet colleagues, a remark which draws Unionist shouts of disagreement. He believes there to be 'a nucleus of reasonable and sensible people in the civil rights movement.' 'He advised them [civil rights supporters] not to alienate those people in the Unionist ranks, and there was [sic] a number, who were not unsympathetic to some of their views.' He adds that Craig's comments on catholic democracy do not stand up to close examination. Craig denies that there is a rift between himself and the rest of the cabinet. He also says that his comments on the catholic church were not offensive; rather, he was merely alluding to its strong influence in areas of faith and morals over catholic democratic legislatures. Much of the civil rights agitation is bogus since catholics have reaped many of the benefits of progress of Northern Ireland. The right to march is important, but not so important as the right to life which marches are now placing in danger. He praises the work of the RUC. Both civil rights demonstrators and Paisleyites are responsible for the trouble in Armagh. He asserts that more police were provided for duty in Armagh than had been asked for. Frequent large-scale marches are not in keeping with normal democratic practice.
Premier regrets Craig's speech
Report: Terence O'Neill says
that he regrets the tone, though not so much the content, of Craig's
Ulster Hall speech, and feels that the minister has been under
considerable strain. Craig agrees that he has been under strain,
but is confident of his capacity to continue to do his job. Phelim
O'Neill criticises Craig's attack on catholic
democracy, which he says does not stand up to close examination.
Craig, who is out of harmony with his cabinet colleagues, should
resign. There is no place for narrow sectarianism
in Northern Ireland. He believes that he is not the only Unionist
MP who takes an anti-Craig line. There is strong disapproval
of Phelim O'Neill's remarks among many Unionists, and he is called
to meet the prime minister to discuss the expression of these
sentiments. Many Unionists are strongly critical of Paisley's
actions in Armagh, which Boal sees as a breach of
democratic rules, where the law must be respected and force neither
threatened nor used. The prime minister says that Craig has given
assurances of his commitment to the government's programme of
reform. He adds that it will be Kirk who will pilot
the Ombudsman Bill through the commons, because the office of
ombudsman in Britain falls under the remit of the treasury. The
reforms will be implemented 'effectively, objectively and as
quickly as possible.'
O'Neill on co-operation with South
Report: O'Neill says that
the government still believes in co-operation between the governments
in Belfast and Dublin, though he admits that these efforts are
harmed by interventions such as that of Blaney. Diamond
says that the situation in Northern Ireland warrants attention
from all those concerned for democracy.
People 'tired of the brink'
Report: The president of Derry chamber of commerce says
that there must be give and take in Northern Ireland; a policy
of all give and no take would merely change the character of the
Cardinal appeals for calm
Report: Conway calls for calm throughout Northern Ireland, commending the stance of non-violence adopted by civil rights marchers in Armagh. 'Advent is,' he adds, 'a time when people may justifiably refrain from exercising even their just rights.'
[IN, 6 December]
Church paper condemns Paisley
Report: The Church of Ireland
Gazette asserts that 'the church should emphatically and unequivocally
disclaim any association with or sympathy with those whose religious
beliefs apparently require the to go out with cudgels against
any who oppose their views.' The church should not emulate the
government in its 'foot-dragging' on the issue.
Unionist ranks to air their views
Report: 'The views of Unionist constituency associations
on the current unrest in Northern Ireland and underlying tensions
within the ranks of the parliamentary party are expected to be
reflected at a private meeting at Glengall Street headquarters
tomorrow.' Their desire for the enforcement of law and order
and their support for Craig is in accord
with the opinion of a clear majority of Unionist backbenchers.
Despite continuing protestations of cabinet unity, the relationship
between O'Neill and Craig is looking
Paisley case application?
Report: An application for an adjournment of the case against
and others may be made at Armagh court. Police have
been advised of a planned loyalist march to the court.
Reform and community relations
Comment: Parliamentary democracy is not about majority
rule, since the normal process whereby government and opposition
parties can change places ensures greater mutual respect and co-operation.
When a group in society cannot find expression through the parliamentary
process, the natural inclination is to look to other methods of
achieving goals. Lobbying in Britain or disturbances in the streets
may afford some progress, but they also generate new problems
of their own, as was demonstrated by events in Armagh.
The majority of people favour the current direction of reform,
but there is disagreement over the rate at which it should take
place. 'One of the present dangers - and the moderate civil rights
leaders must be aware of it - is that the price of further reforms
at this time is too high. There is a risk that trouble-makers
on both sides begin to set the pace, plunging us even further
into civil disturbance.' The latter is a course that some would
undoubtedly welcome as some kind of final showdown. Both sides
need a greater understanding of one another; all of the people
of Northern Ireland may find that they share some similar aspirations,
though perhaps this is an over-optimistic assessment of the situation.
[No article-specific heading, but appears under Violence erupts in Dungannon]
Report: McAteer says that he has learned
a little from his meeting with O'Neill.
Young Socialists were stopped at embassy
Report: 'Young Socialists yesterday placed pickets on the British embassy in Dublin, complaining about the absence of civil rights in the North and in the South.'
Picket line placed at British embassy in Dublin
Report: The claim that both catholic and protestant workers
in Northern Ireland face hostile legislation is advanced.
'N Ireland a white Africa' - Moscow
Report: Soviet radio reports the Northern Ireland is a
'white Africa,' a 'police state' and opines: 'the struggle for
the independence of Ulster against the colonial order has never
ceased, but it acquired an especially violent character this autumn.'
Cruel police repression in Derry is singled out for criticism.
Civil rights movement is crossing the orange-green divide
Letter: 'The civil rights campaign is the antithesis of
the utter negativism of the anti-partition moaning and groaning
to which we have become so accustomed. Now we have a constitutional
movement that has an appeal that could embrace men of goodwill
throughout our community and across the orange-green divide.
And it is getting results.'
Put trust in God
Letter: Without radical reforms with a firm
basis in Christian teaching, conflict is inevitable. Those who
proclaim the Christian message of civil and religious liberty
should fight for it.
CR to blame for trouble
Letter: Civil rights supporters, almost wholly catholic,
are handing to Paisley the mantle of protector
of protestants. 'Civil rights - a popular phrase today, especially
among those least inclined to earn rights by hard work and co-operation
- had the power and succeeded in its clamour in trailing the [Paisley]
monster from its lair.' The call for civil rights has sown the
seeds of insurrection.
Stand at ease
Letter: 'If the government's reforms had been
gradually introduced in the past there would have been no need
for the various protest organisations which have achieved so much.'
These organisations must now allow the liberal element in government
to consolidate its position; further marches might serve only
to strengthen the hand of the bigots.
Out of order
Letter: Taylor puts the maintenance
of the constitution and unity of the Unionist Party
before the well-being of the people: he should reconsider his
Craig should go
Letter: Craig's Ulster Hall speech
served 'to prolong the sectarian basis of Northern
Ireland politics and embarrass Captain O'Neill.'
If Craig cannot agree with O'Neill, he should resign. Voices
of goodwill must make themselves heard.
A 'second front' at gates of Vatican?
Letter: 'Now that the "guerrillas" have declared
their intention to keep up pressure on the "Stormont front"
until all their demands are fully met, would it be inconsistent
with their battle cries of "civil rights" and "human
rights" if they were to consider opening
a "second front" at the gates of the Vatican?' The
papal ne temere decree and the recent encyclical against
birth control are an infringement of the right to private judgement
in matters of faith and morals, and constitute further reason
for the divisions in Northern Ireland. If civil rights campaigners
would take up this cause, then they would earn 'the gratitude
and support of all Ulster citizens.'
Letter: 'In my home town all the protestant businessmen
employ Roman catholics but no Roman catholics employ a protestant.'
Rates and votes
Letter: Everyone who wants a local government
vote should pay the same amount of rates.
Letter: 'Nothing has been more touching than the Nationalists'
new-found desire to have all things British applied to Northern
It doesn't follow
Letter: Those who assume that an acceptance of Northern
Ireland institutions by the catholic hierarchy would somehow change
the attitudes of their flock clearly do not understand catholics.
Letter: Civil disobedience, at this time of serious unrest, is irresponsible and smacks of the antics of a spoiled child.
[see BT, 28 November, Professor Huxley's action comes in
Letter: Despite clarification of the BBC's position, it is nevertheless still true to say that certain programmes broadcast by that organisation appeared to show bias against the Unionist position.
Derry - true position
Letter: The media image of Derry is false, and biased in
favour of civil rights activists, who are always portrayed in
a favourable light despite some unwholesome conduct.
Not an inch
Letter: The anthem 'We Shall Overcome' has been transformed into a party political song since 5 October by people who are trying to project an image of themselves to the world as ill-treated.
6 December, 1968
Craig says it again
Leader: Craig throws Unionist circles into turmoil and possibly renders his own position untenable by repeating at Clogher his Ulster Hall speech. He hopes that the repetition of his remarks will allow the press to clear up previous misrepresentation of views for which he does not apologise. He perceives the civil rights campaign as simply a new cover for the IRA, even if some of those involved are unaware of it; people are being used to create unrest that could lead to violence. Paisley has a right to his opinions, but must voice them within the bounds set down by the constitution. Craig's supporters do not believe that he wishes to precipitate a leadership crisis in the Unionist Party. There is strong support for him at Stormont and in the Unionist constituency associations, while there is considerable backing for O'Neill in the wider community. There is strong feeling in favour of the maintenance of law and order among the ranks of the parliamentary party, members of which have dissociated themselves from the sentiments expressed by Phelim O'Neill. Opposition MPs see Craig's speech as an attack on the catholic church.
That speech . . . . . . in full
Report: Behind 'all this nonsense centred around civil rights [is] our traditional enemy exploiting the situation,' says Craig in repeating word-for-word his Ulster Hall Speech. He feels that catholics in Northern Ireland have never been denied any basic human right. In education, the government has respected catholics' desire for a certain type of education for their children, and has been generous in meeting these concerns. In housing, a few allocations receive wide publicity while the vast majority of cases reflect the tremendous record of the government since 1945. There have been no complaints of discrimination in the allocation of social welfare. Reform - the putting right of what is wrong - does not need to be applied to Northern Ireland, despite what those who choose to denigrate the government may say. Change is desirable in a changing society, but reform as such is not required in the context of Northern Ireland. An ombudsman will expose falsehoods; a points system will hopefully remove discrimination in favour of the socially irresponsible who choose to have large families. The civil rights movement comprises of 'ill-informed radicals' and republicans intent on undermining the constitution through civil unrest, leading to violence.
Craig reads that speech out again
Report: Craig repeats word-for-word
his Ulster Hall speech at a Unionist meeting in Clogher. He wishes
to convey clearly its message and provide sections of the press
with the opportunity to correct misrepresentations of his position.
He says that the strengthening of the RUC
will better protect the constitution: 'the civil rights campaign,
he said, was in fact only the IRA,
maybe not to those people's knowledge, but using them nevertheless
to create unrest that could lead to another armed attack.' Paisley
has a right to his opinion, but must respect the constitution.
Craig views with contempt Phelim O'Neill's
'vicious personal attack.' The CRA
views Craig's action as another step by the minister down the
path of disorder. In a telegram, Wilson
is warned by the Association that Westminster will be responsible
should there be bloodshed in Northern Ireland, and must therefore
intervene soon. Currie sees the Craig speech
as a deliberate insult to Terence O'Neill, bringing the power-struggle
between the two men into public view.
Leader: Craig says that he feels hurt
by O'Neill's recent criticism of
the tone of his Ulster Hall speech. He admits to a personal disagreement
with O'Neill, though not over policy, and he says that he has
no desire to precipitate a leadership crisis. Some Unionists feel
that O'Neill must dismiss Craig in order to preserve his prime
ministerial authority and community support. However, Craig does
enjoy strong backing from the Unionist constituency associations
and the parliamentary party. Having repeated his Ulster Hall
speech at Clogher, Craig says he has been inundated with messages
'Absolute Unionist principles'
Report: Craig is greeted by Dungannon
Unionists with a standing ovation. He tells his audience that
those who will not stand firmly for Unionist principles would
be better outside the party. Taylor says that
the sentiments expressed by Phelim O'Neill
at Stormont are unrepresentative of opinion in the parliamentary
party. Bradford claims that all necessary resources will be brought
to bear in the interests of upholding law and order, and to bring
an end to mob rule and anarchy.
Criticism of Craig is condemned
Report: 12 members of the Queen's Unionist Association
dissociate themselves from that body's criticism of Craig,
which is deemed unhelpful and out of step with majority opinion.
The provocative actions of extremists are condemned, and further
disturbances seen as likely to raise tensions.
Minister hits at 'Telegraph' Viewpoint
Report: Craig accuses the Belfast
Telegraph of unreliability: 'I counsel you to read this paper
with a big salt-cellar at your elbow.' He says that he has been
attacked and misrepresented in its columns. He stresses that
although he considers the ombudsman a waste of time, the introduction
of the office is nonetheless desirable because it will expose
reckless and ridiculous allegations.
Paisley welcomes the press
Report: Paisley expresses his concurrence with Craig's condemnation of catholic democracies. He attacks Rathcavan and Soper, and claims that a threat to his life has been made.
Paisley - threat to my life [Report]
Ulster 'a keg of dynamite'
Report: The fact that extremists on both sides are responsible for the present situation in Northern Ireland will be of little comfort 'if an explosion takes place,' says Norman Porter. Craig must be retained in government to help preserve law and order. Porter 'said the civil rights movement was doing what the nationalists, republicans and socialists failed to do up to the present - unifying the anti-loyalist people, creating a false and wicked image of peaceful and prosperous Ulster.'
Craig must not be sacked - Porter
Report: Norman Porter feels that Craig
should be retained as minister of home affairs in view of his
efforts to maintain law and order. His dismissal would only sow
division among protestants.
'Expose the false rights groups'
Report: 'York Street and District Tenants' Association has passed a resolution pressing the government to "expose the false claims made by the different groups using the pseudo-civil rights movement.' Republicans are jumping on the civil rights band-wagon. Company votes benefit catholics in some areas of Belfast, while allocations on one Derry housing estate have strongly favoured catholics.
[NL, 7 December]
'Small group of extremists to blame'
Report: A Unionist meeting is told that it is a small and
unrepresentative group of extremists which is disrupting the life
of Northern Ireland. The moderate majority should throw off its
apathy and help restore good community relations
in the light of the government's necessary reforms.
Turmoil will keep away tourists says Kirk
Report: Kirk feels that continued difficulties in Northern Ireland will do the tourist industry harm, and make it more difficult to attract new industries and employment.
Kirk urges peace in the interests of £ s d [Report]
'Trouble will hit progress'
Report: Also, Conway calls for peace in the lead-up to
Christmas, and praises the non-violence of civil rights marchers
in Armagh. A member of the Strabane
civil rights committee resigns over a disagreement with colleagues.
He feels that the NDP-controlled
local council, by dismissing for no valid reason a protestant
solicitor and replacing him with a catholic, is practising discrimination.
Hour of decision
Comment: O'Neill has gone as far as possible towards repudiating Craig's remarks without going to the point of making the minister's resignation the only logical option. Craig has chosen to re-state his views. He is right to say that his sentiments reflect majority opinion among Unionist activists, but this is not likely to be the case with reference to opinion amongst the wider Unionist community. However, even some of O'Neill's political supporters were upset by Phelim O'Neill's open criticism of Craig, and the north Antrim MP came close to expulsion from the party. It is clear that the prime minister's philosophy differs from that of Craig, yet if the latter is dismissed, then the real possibility of a Unionist split arises. Alternatively, if the prime minister does nothing, his authority will have been weakened. 'The hour of decision is at hand.'
Editorial: O'Neill has 'failed signally' to 'do anything to diffuse the heat which [Craig's] primitive pandering to the bigots has undoubtedly created.' The minister's contemptuous dismissal of the civil rights campaigners as subversives and 'consequent exaltation of extremist mobs' is a mark of how his thinking has descended. There were no police batons or water cannon in Armagh, where the law was laid down by protestant extremists. Craig is heightening the power of these extremists, and O'Neill's failure to condemn him entitles the minority seriously to question the sincerity of his professed wish for better community relations. The future appears increasingly bleak.
The greatest challenge
Editorial: The standing committee of the Unionist Party,
which meets today, would be advised to support O'Neill
against the pressures being applied by extremists. The strengthening
of security resources is to be welcomed in a climate of increasing
unpredictability in which the sympathy of right-thinking individuals
ought to be with the government, which faces a difficult dilemma.
The measures will also ease somewhat the difficult burden faced
by the RUC.
'Ulster has had enough of the extremists'
Comment: The vast majority of worried Northern Ireland
citizens must surely welcome calls for an end to demonstrations
and 'mindless chanting by opposing lunatic fringes of misguided
slogans and slanted aphoristic watchcries.' Whether people agree
with them or not, the arguments advanced by the civil rights movement
are now well-understood, so that there is no call for further
protests. Many Unionist MPs were outraged by Phelim O'Neill's
commons contribution, and the north Antrim MP was sent to see
the prime minister to discuss the matter. One backbencher comments
on Terence O'Neill's remarks regarding Craig's
Ulster Hall speech: 'It was not so much the tone, but some of
the content of Captain O'Neill's speech that makes it clear to
me that Bill and Terence are drifting apart.' This is a feeling
shared by many MPs.
Derryman drops 'right' to call Craig as witness
Report: McCann decides not to pursue his summons against Craig. Further evidence is heard in relation to the events of 5 October, and the claim is made that the civil rights protesters appeared to exhibit no violent intentions, though some were frustrated by the prevention of the procession from moving along its planned route. Marchers were pushed forward towards the police cordon by sheer pressure of numbers.
'October 5' accused waives right against Craig
Report: McCann waives his right to summon Craig
to court to testify on the events of 5 October. Cooper
claims that violence erupted on the day following an incident
in which a demonstrator advanced on Meharg in threatening stance,
following which a policeman draw a baton; it was at this point
that placards were thrown. Witnesses allege brutality on the
part of some members of the RUC.
Court to see TV film of march?
Report: McCann decides to drop his summons on Craig. Magistrates are to decide on the admissibility of filmed evidence in the case.
Police hemmed us in, court is told
Report: It is claimed in court that civil rights protesters
on 5 October displayed no violent intent, though some were frustrated
at the halting of the march. Cooper says that
the demonstrators were gathered with the common aim of the right
to a job and home of their own. He says that violence erupted
following a sequence of events in which a demonstrator advanced
on Meharg in threatening manner; a policeman draw a baton; some
placards were thrown by demonstrators. Witnesses allege brutality
on the part of some members of the RUC.
Victory parade after court ruling
Report: McCann is met by a cheering crowd outside the Derry
court, where one of the charges against him is dismissed. The
crowd marches through the prohibited area of the walled city.
[No article-specific heading, but appears under Paisley's summons put back]
Report: Derry magistrates will consider whether or not
to admit filmed footage as evidence in the trials relating to
the events of 5 October in the city.
Four Derry, 5 Dungannon Public Order Act charges
Report: Summonses are served on four Derry men for participation
in a march about which police were not informed; five Dungannon
men receive summonses for their part in recent disturbances in
Constable says he saw shot fired: man charged gets bail
Report: A man charged with firing a gunshot during the recent Dungannon disturbance is released on bail.
Shot was fired in Dungannon [Report]
Paisley's summons put back
Report: An application for the postponement of proceedings against Paisley, Bunting and others is granted.
Paisley case adjourned [Report]
Men entitled to walk on highway - RM on Strabane case
Report: One man is fined for his part in the attack on the Strabane-Derry civil rights march.
[BT, 5 December]
RUC to get more men and equipment
Report: The strength of the RUC is to be augmented, and a number of members of the USC called for service in non-disturbed areas, so that more RUC resources will be available to deal with disturbances.
Big increase in RUC strength planned [Report]
Grim moves to quell disorders
Report: Additionally, Bradford regrets that the right to
freedom of assembly may have to be curtailed, but argues that
such restriction will benefit the community at large. 'There
had been demonstrations and an influx of strangers into areas
which had enjoyed good community relations
up to now.'
Editorial: The decision to augment the resources of the
RUC is welcome. The wisdom of
confining the USC to areas where
trouble is not anticipated is also self-evident, given the perception
of that force as a sectarian body. Further
marches could be dangerous, so that the restoration of law and
order is now essential.
McAteer has his doubts
Report: McAteer questions the benefits of the proposed changes in the RUC: 'I am wondering whether the new riot commandos will be used for the defence of protestant extremists or as a genuine peace-keeping force.'
[IN, 7 December]
Cardinal's appeal for calm
Report: Conway appeals for calm in Northern Ireland, commending the stance of non-violence adopted by civil rights marchers in Armagh. He feels that 'advent is a time when people may justifiably refrain from exercising even their just rights.'
[BT, 5 December]
Attempt to stop marches in city
Report: An attempt is being made by Belfast city council to prevent further marches in the city, in view of the disruption they cause to traffic.
Improve image of students
Report: Organisers of the student Rag charity event say that everything will be done to improve the student image in view of the possible negative impact of student participation in marches on public contributions to the charity.
[NL, 7 December]
Students begin St Anne's pray-in
Report: 20 QUB students are holding a 'pray-in' for peace and justice in Northern Ireland. One says that there is a feeling among many of those involved that the churches outside the northwest have failed to give a firm lead.
[IN, NL, 7 December]
Pickets out in Glengall Street
Report: A meeting of the standing committee of the Unionist Party is picketed by a few members of the PD. A small crowd gathers outside the Unionist meeting, and slogans are chanted both in favour of and opposing Craig.
[NL, 7 December]
NDP back march
Report: West Belfast NDP expresses support for the PD march planned for 14 December.
[IN, 5 December, NL, 7 December]
Derry family given house after protest
Report: After squatting in the Guildhall in protest at
their difficult plight, a Derry family is allocated a house.
Human rights petition
Report: The DCAC calls for signatures to a petition asking that the Declaration of Human Rights be implemented in Northern Ireland. The petition will be sent to the United Kingdom's UN representative.
[NL, 9 December]
Responsibility in your hands - CRA to Wilson
Leader: NICRA appeals to Wilson to intervene in Northern Ireland, arguing that any bloodshed that takes place will be Westminster's responsibility. This comes in reaction to Craig's repetition of his Ulster Hall speech, which the Association says is 'a further step to involve the people of Northern Ireland in civil disorder.' Craig claims that his repetition of the speech is necessary to demonstrate clearly his views, so that misrepresentation by sections of the press can be rectified. He refuses to apologise or withdraw one word of the speech. Currie says that Craig has thrown down the gauntlet for O'Neill, and their power struggle is now out in the open. The speech's repetition was a deliberate insult to O'Neill, and the prime minister, he says, should dismiss Craig.
British support for Civil Rights Association
Report: 12 Sunderland teachers and the local Trades Council
congratulate the civil rights movement on its progress thus far,
and offer continued support. The Sunderland TUC also urges Westminster
to appoint an investigative commission to examine events in Derry
on 5 October and the use of the Special Powers Act.
Section 75 of the Government of Ireland Act should be used to
ensure that citizens of Northern Ireland enjoy the same liberties
as other UK citizens.
Strabane civil rights member resigns
Report: A member of the Strabane civil rights
committee resigns in view of a disagreement arising from his resolution
deploring the sacking by the local council of a protestant solicitor
in favour of a catholic candidate, without any valid reason for
the change. The committee chairman says that action will be taken
if discrimination is discovered.
How Ulster was raised in the lords
Report: It is surprising that the relative freedom offered
by the house of lords to debate Northern Ireland issues has until
very recently not been utilised. This week's debate may raise
interest in Northern Ireland affairs among members of the upper
house at Westminster. A further commons debate is unlikely before
Fear 'causing the greatest loss of human rights'
Report: The chairman of the UK Human Rights Committee says
that fear is an important factor in the continuance of the denial
of human rights. Paisleyites are very fearful.
The civil rights movement is making many genuine and responsible
human rights demands. Meanwhile, the three branches of the Northern
Ireland Committee for Human Rights Year will continue to work
on areas such as the Special Powers Act,
the ombudsman, and a Bill of Human Rights.
Safeguards requested for Derry
Report: The Northern Ireland Communist Party
calls for the 'utmost safeguards' to be applied to the Derry commission.
Representatives of the DCAC, the Northern Ireland committee of
the ICTU, and of the Derry
TUC should be appointed and the commission's work completed before
the end of 1970. Close public scrutiny and facilities for the
representation of public concerns on major issues are essential.
Current government reforms are inadequate, and legislation
is required to prohibit discrimination, the
preaching of sectarian hatred, and the carrying
of offensive weapons. The voting age should be lowered to 18
and a thoroughly independent commission appointed to redraw all
Draft Derry order approved
Report: O'Hare welcomes the passing through the senate of legislation relating to the Derry commission, but says that it must be a prelude to and not a substitute for real democracy in the city.
Derry commission: senator warns government
Report: A Derry Nationalist councillor says that both sections
of the community in the city have taken to the streets to demand
that their grievances be addressed. The commission is a welcome
first step, but cannot be a substitute for one-man-one-vote.
He welcomes the government's expressed desire that the commission
be acceptable in the area, and hopes that this means that it must
be acceptable to all the people. It must be impartial and objective.
World attention, he believes, is focused on the situation. Action
should be taken also in gerrymandered and disfranchised areas
like Tyrone and Fermanagh.
'Justice question out of order
Report: O'Hare welcomes the Derry commission, and the government's
desire to see that it is broadly acceptable to all the people
of the area under its remit. He also believes that action should
be taken not just on Derry, but on problems in other areas facing
similar difficulties, such as Fermanagh and Tyrone. He is ruled
out of order when he raises the question of the partiality of
Sack Craig - Trades Council
Report: Belfast Trades Council calls for Craig's resignation in view of his demonstrable lack of impartiality.
TU call to sack Craig
Report: Also, Craig is seen as hypocritical
in calling for calm in the wake of a sectarian
Alarm at 'terror censorship'
Report: Belfast Trades Union Council expresses alarm at
the media censorship through intimidation practised by extremist
Dungannon councillor retires
Report: Death-threats to Hassard and his family cause his withdrawal from public life. He says that requests for police protection for his home have been unavailing.
[BT, 5 December]
Tribute to councillor victim of death threats
Report: Paddy Devlin views the withdrawal
from public life of Hassard as a victory for Craig's
policy of contrived violence by extremists against civil rights
supporters. 'The most galling thing about it all is that he [Hassard]
has never received police protection which he was rightfully entitled
Call to have UN troops stationed in Six Counties
Report: The Irish Republican Party calls for Irish and
worldwide support for the civil rights cause in Northern Ireland,
and urges the government of the Republic of Ireland to press for
UN troops to be stationed in Northern Ireland to protect people
from 'another pogrom' planned by Stormont.
Nationalists 'out of order' on arms case
Report: O'Hare is ruled out of order in the senate when he suggests that a Unionist senator also trying an arms case has allowed politics to encroach upon justice.
Senator called to order [Report]
South Antrim MP in 'blood on their hands' uproar at Westminster
Report: Cunningham blames much of the rising tension in
Northern Ireland on 'mischief-makers who have gone over there
[Northern Ireland]'; Michael Foot MP calls for a Westminster debate
on the issues before Christmas, while Rose asserts that the question
is no longer one of civil rights, but of the breakdown of law
Protest at interview with Currie
Report: Robin Chichester-Clark
protests strongly to the BBC at the televising of an interview
in which Currie claims that law and order
have broken down in Northern Ireland.
The Unionist half-loaf
Letter: 'Mr McAteer ought to know
that historical law which lays down that certain concessions are
the cloak for a tighter rein. People must realise Unionism
never gives anything away for nothing, whatever may be gained
is not the result of goodwill. It simply shows they cannot put
off granting concessions any longer. Mr McAteer, Unionists did
not even give you a slice of bread. The half-loaf was extorted
from them by the civil rights movement plus a nod from Westminster.'
The theory and practice of extreme Unionism
Letter: There are undoubtedly some Unionists who espouse reform, but recent events have demonstrated the power of traditional Unionist thinking. Police stood by in Armagh, helpless and unwilling to intervene against extremist hatred put into action. Craig has attacked catholic democracy, but should turn to examine the standards of democracy in Northern Ireland, where mob-rule is permitted. He has no right to talk of social irresponsibility in relation to large family size, since family planning is a matter for private moral judgement. He wishes to deny catholics the right to follow the moral teachings of their church. As the working class is well aware, Stormont is a protestant parliament for only some protestant people.
Appalled by Craig's Ulster Hall speech
Letter: Craig not only lacks the intelligence
requisite for just and fair administration; he also exhibits political
dishonesty and deliberately manipulates sectarian
fears. He stands in the way of progress, and O'Neill
should take action against him.
Why is Craig permitted to remain?
Letter: Police inability to offer protection to Armagh
civil rights marchers, and Craig's alleged
refusal to send reinforcements, demonstrates the ministry of home
affairs' attitude to the preservation of law and order. No baton-charge
was made against Paisley's 'swaggering
Gestapo-like terrorists,' though the BBC and 'a handful of stone-throwing
youths and children' were attacked by the RUC.
The civil rights marchers were peaceful and unarmed, and deserve
the respect that is not due their opponents. How can Paisley
square his activities with Christian teaching, and why is Craig
not sacked for exhibiting sympathy for the concept of discrimination?
A pipe dream
Letter: If all catholics became protestants, and jobs were
awarded on merit, Craig, Orr,
Paisley and Bunting
would be digging sewers.
Protest to MPs by post
Letter: 'I am an ordinary citizen, neither orange nor green.
I am appalled that a minister in the government should actively
encourage the intolerance, bigotry and hatred which lie so close
to the surface in some, but surely not most, of my fellow citizens.'
It is time for decent citizens to come down off the fence. Those
who want tolerance and justice should write to their MPs and demand
that their views be represented. Votes should be denied to those
Unionists who preach sectarianism and division.
'It should be both the aim and the task of the government of
Northern Ireland to build a prosperous and peaceful state based
on tolerance, justice and equality for all its citizens.'
Reconciliation instead of violence
Letter: Those protestants who oppose the civil rights movement
through violence are not honouring true Biblical protestantism,
which preaches love and reconciliation. 'Those who contemplate
violence should consider the possible tragedy that may result
from their actions.
Letter: The government reform proposals, while
representing a triumph for O'Neill
within the Unionist Party, are wholly inadequate
to the needs of Northern Ireland. The undemocratic and repressive
Special Powers Act has not been repealed,
despite the good that the step would do for community relations.
The Unionist attitude to the franchise is Victorian, blaming
the poor for their poverty and refusing them a vote because of
it. Taxpayers' funds do much to support the administration of
local government, so that non-ratepayers
deserve to be represented. If O'Neill wants support from moderate
and progressive elements in Northern Ireland, then he must do
'Intimidation hampering reform'
Letter: 'If the civil rights marchers were only trying
to make a point as they would have us believe that point has been
made long ago. To threaten and intimidate further by mob rule
can only hamper negotiations and reform.' Many years
of hard work in breaking down barriers has been undone.
Letter: Northern Ireland's image in the United States is being smeared, particularly by the American Congress for Irish Freedom. The Northern Ireland government should establish an information service in America in order to refute such scandalous charges as those of repression, a police state, or concentration camps.
[NL, 21 November]
Letter: 'I deplore, and have long deplored, the foolish
and short-sighted policy which exasperates British Labour MPs
to the extent that they come over here to share a platform with
and advise our political enemies, the Irish nationalists in their
various guises, as to tactics and strategy.' The has led to the
creation of the CRA.
Fifty years ago
Letter: Provocative and violent demonstrations have damaged business and happiness in Northern Ireland. Differences of religion had almost gone.
7 December, 1968
Leader: Craig's position in government remains uncertain,
and O'Neill is presently considering what course of action he
will take. If he retains Craig in government, then he could lose
his personal authority and popularity. However, it he chooses
to dismiss the minister, he could cause considerable trouble within
the Unionist Party - although it must be
said that those who expressed support for Craig's
approach to law and order do not necessarily approve of his recent
speeches. O'Neill received some
sharp criticism at the meeting of his party's standing committee,
but it is claimed that a vote in favour of the reforms
was carried overwhelmingly. Faulkner is
believed to have called for party unity and support for Craig's
policies on law and order.
Craig not a topic - PM
Report: O'Neill says that the meeting of the Unionist standing committee dealt not with any differences between Craig and himself, but with the government's reform programme. James Chichester-Clark claims that the cabinet is united. The meeting declares support for the reform package, in view of 'unequivocal assurances' offered; also supported are government measures to maintain law and order. Murnaghan calls on O'Neill to dismiss Craig: even if it means 'his temporary downfall it would be far less dangerous for the people to lose the hopes of new horizons which he has inspired.' South Belfast NDP says Craig has demonstrated his lack of loyalty to O'Neill. The Nationalist Party executive feels that O'Neill must control or dismiss Craig, who has further raised tensions. The call-up of the USC provokes 'grave misgivings' in view of the force's sectarian composition.
PM still makes no move to get rid of Craig
Leader: Craig has brought the split with O'Neill into the open by his admission to being 'hurt' by O'Neill's comments on his speech. O'Neill has taken no action to dismiss Craig, though he is leaving his options open. Craig admits to the disagreement between himself and the prime minister, but says that he is prepared to continue serving the government. He adds that he does not wish to precipitate a leadership crisis. The meeting of the Unionist standing committee accepted the government's reforms by an overwhelming majority, but, significantly, not unanimously, and this in the light of 'unequivocal assurances' offered by the leadership. Also welcomed are measures designed to strengthen law and order in Northern Ireland. O'Neill agrees with James Chichester-Clark's comment that the cabinet remains united. PD pickets vie with Craig supporters to be heard. One of the latter is heard to shout 'Craig in, O'Neill out.'
Unionists firm on reforms
Leader: 'It is understood that the expression of overwhelming
"grass roots" support for Captain O'Neill
and the government came after assurances were given on vital points,
including a declaration that no further reforms would
be forthcoming, especially on the question of one-man-one-vote,
in advance of the restructuring of local government.
Assurances were also given, it is believed, in relation to a
firm stand on the upholding of law and order and it was also resolved
that any further concessions would be the subject of deep consultation
right through the Unionist Party.' Counter-demonstrations
as well as continued agitation by militant groups are also condemned.
References to Craig's Ulster Hall speech
and an 'outspoken attack' on Phelim O'Neill
are understood to have been made. Boal, with little vocal support,
strongly criticises Terence O'Neill. Some backbenchers, it is
revealed, were prepared weeks ago to go further with reforms,
but did not press for this in the interests of party unity. The
mood of the meeting is felt by one delegate to have been pro-Union
but not anti-catholic. Craig is hurt by O'Neill's remarks because
he believes them to be 'unjustified.'
PM must act firmly, says Miss Murnaghan
Report: Murnaghan calls for Craig's dismissal, even if it means a temporary downfall for O'Neill. His policies have inspired hope, and to see that hope disappointed could be dangerous. South Belfast NDP says that Craig has clearly shown his disloyalty to O'Neill, and states that the minister has demonstrated the meaninglessness of government reforms His philosophy is one of sectarian bigotry.
Report: Murnaghan calls on O'Neill
to force Craig's resignation.
Editorial: Those who hoped that the meeting of the Unionist
standing committee would reveal more clearly the existence of
a reformist element within the party have been shown that, as
ever, Unionist unity is placed before all other considerations.
If there are reformers, will they not stand up for their beliefs?
Perhaps, however, minority hopes were always unfounded. 'After
all, what did Mr O'Neill ever do
until circumstances, created by his undemocratic regime and finally
beyond his control, forced him to compromise with reformist measures,
thereby admitting, in face of previous denials, that there was
room for reform[?] What had he ever done before
except talk? What sort of reformist action is he proposing to
take now? Why, for instance, cannot the citizens of Derry be
considered adult enough to run their own local government
affairs?' A period that began with hope and honeyed words ends
with the unwelcome truth that Craig still
stands for basic Unionism, while 'O'Neill
has merely been very adroitly engaged in trying (and initially
successfully) to sell an anachronistic colonial dictatorship to
a modern world as a democratic state.'
Editorial: The problems of Northern Ireland cannot be blamed either on the civil rights or Paisleyite movements, but rather on the Unionist Party. The government's reform programme was most encouraging, but Craig's open defiance of O'Neill and all he stands for is to be condemned. Many Unionists want to see reform, and believe in the government's sincerity in trying to bring it about. Their patience, however, is wearing thin.
Another step forward
Editorial: Northern Ireland cannot afford disunity within
the Unionist Party, so that the backing afforded
the cabinet's reforms and its stance on law and order
by the Unionist grass-roots is gratifying. Further disorder and
agitation are undesirable. The question of Craig's
future in government remains undecided.
Historic pray-in in city cathedral
Report: A multi-denominational student pray-in for peace in Northern Ireland is held at St Anne's Cathedral in Belfast.
Students hold prayers in bid to end disorder
Report: Also, the Church of Ireland Gazette condemns the behaviour of Paisleyites in Armagh. Gallagher calls for Christian reconciliation, condemning violent opposition to civil rights demands as contrary to protestantism. Bloodshed and tragedy could be the consequences of further confrontation. Craig's behaviour, McAteer asserts, gives the Nationalist Party leader no confidence in the proposed strengthening of the police, which he feels may be used in the defence of protestant extremists. Clifton Unionist Association welcomes government reforms and says that the previous refusal of Unionists to recognise problems is responsible for the current chain of events. Now, previously acceptable reforms are seen by campaigners as too little, too late. However, genuine supporters of civil rights must weigh up the possible gains to be made from further demonstrations against the damage that could be done to the process of reconciliation. The ultimate solution to Derry's problems lies in increasing prosperity.
[BT, 6 December]
Clergymen back PM's policies
Report: 18 south Belfast clergymen belonging to the Church
of Ireland, in a letter to the
Belfast Telegraph, express their support for the prime
minister's moderate policies and their condemnation of extremism.
Support for Capt O'Neill from clergy
Report: 'A number of clergymen and ministers of the Church
of Ireland and methodist
churches in west Ulster have endorsed the moderate policies of
Captain O'Neill and called for an
end to street demonstrations to allow time for the reforms
to be implemented.' Clogher Clerical Society asserts that the
civil rights point has been made, and the government must now
be given the breathing-space necessary for it to do justice.
Ministers of the Enniskillen district of the methodist church
suggest that demonstrations attract irresponsible elements and
opposition, so that government must now be given a chance to implement
More backing for Craig
Report: Pottinger Unionist Association and Young Unionist Association declare 'full support' for Craig.
Mr Craig cheered
Report: Craig is cheered at a function
he is attending in Larne.
Govt 5-point statement of aims 'first instalment'
Report: The Nationalist Party executive
makes clear its view that the government's package of reforms
must be the prelude to further changes. In particular, the party
will work with others to attain one-man-one-vote. Shock is expressed
at O'Neill's failure to control or
dismiss Craig, who is raising the political
temperature. Grave misgivings are felt at the prospect of the
mobilisation of the USC, with
its 'notorious sectarian composition.'
Idiotic - McAteer
Report: McAteer feels that the government's
measures to strengthen the police force may not be particularly
useful if certain members are allowed to defend protestant extremists.
He believes that the most recent summonses against participants
in an unplanned Derry march are idiotic and selective.
Report: 'The civil rights movement and its Ulster implications
are among the subjects being discussed by pupils at Belfast grammar
Summary: The chairman of York Street Tenants' Association calls on government to 'expose the false claims made by the different groups using the present civil rights movement.'
[BT, 6 December]
Organiser of civil rights march cleared of charge
Report: McCann is acquitted by Derry magistrates of taking
part in an unlawful assembly. The magistrates rule film evidence
Anger at pickets outside Unionist HQ
Report: A number of PD demonstrators picket the meeting of the Unionist standing committee. Unionist supporters shout slogans favouring Craig; the PD demonstrators shout for civil rights and Craig's dismissal.
[BT, 6 December]
Summary: West Belfast NDP declares its support for the forthcoming PD march.
[IN, 5 December, BT, 6 December]
Summary: Organisers of the student Rag charity event say that efforts will be made to improve the image of students in order to minimise damage to charities as a result of public hostility towards them.
[BT, 6 December]
Extra police at PM's house
Report: A PD announcement of a picket on O'Neill's home, aimed at persuading him to resist extremist pressure and dismiss Craig, brings extra police to guard the building. Craig's home is also picketed, while a meeting is held in central Belfast.
[NL, 9 December]
Four families squat in the Guildhall
Report: Four families squat in Derry's Guildhall in protest at poor housing conditions.
Four families 'squat' in Guildhall [Report]
'Ease up a bit' advice to civil rights marchers
Report: The Times asserts that civil rights campaigners
should ease pressure in Northern Ireland in the interests of their
cause. 'The minority still has grievances. Who has not?' Franchise
reforms should occur before 1971; it is an issue
in which many protestants also have an interest. Abuses in ward
boundaries are already under review, and are not worth the price
of civil strife. An escalation of the situation into more violent
mob confrontation would divert Stormont 'from the political diplomacy
essential to constitutional reform' towards the enforcement of
the peace. Such action would confirm the suspicions of Unionist
hard-liners that reform leads only to further disaffection. Resistance
to change must be worn down: there can be no immediate gratification
for the aggrieved. A broadly-supported commitment to evenly-paced
reform now exists in Northern Ireland, but 'could be lost by tactics
provocative of civil strife.'
Voting rules amendment
Report: A British Labour MP tables an amendment to the Representation of the People Bill, calling for local government electoral qualifications to be applied consistently throughout England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
'Social justice' march in England
Report: 400 people take part in a Birmingham march for
social justice in Northern Ireland. Currie
will later speak at a meeting. A fellow-speaker believes that
there is a right to equality in employment and
in the electoral system. He feels that religion is too highly
involved in the running of the state in both Northern Ireland
and the Republic of Ireland.
No discrimination in Eire - bishop
Report: A Church of Ireland bishop claims that 'we find no evidence of intolerance or discrimination in the Republic [of Ireland] between people of different churches.' He condemns political violence which makes use of religion, and feels that Paisley does not stand for true protestantism.
[IN, 9 December]
No bias - Monaghan protestants
Report: The Monaghan Protestant Association deplores comments by Brooke and West suggesting anti-protestant discrimination in the county, which it says are untrue.
Monaghan protestants rap Brooke and West [Report]
'A mere front-man'
Letter: O'Neill has been exposed,
by his failure to act against Craig, as a
mere front-man for Unionist extremists. He has brought about
no worthwhile reforms: discrimination
exists now as blatantly as ever; unemployment
is high; wages are below British standards. 'It is Mr Craig who
speaks with the real voice of the Unionist Party.'
An unfree society
Letter: Many natural rights enshrined in the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights are denied to people in Northern Ireland.
Examples include the right to protection of the person, to freedom
of movement, to nationality, to freedom of expression, and to
freedom of assembly and association.
Labour reply to PM
Letter: This is a crucial period in Northern Ireland's
history, when people can choose between the path of progress and
that of strife. There is evident political expediency in the
government's adoption of a flexible points system.
The abolition of the company vote is welcome, but government
has failed to show its mettle in grasping the nettle of one-man-one-vote.
British standards should be granted to British taxpayers. O'Neill's
failure roundly to condemn Craig's speeches
does not mark him as a bridge-builder.
Cabinet must do duty!
Letter: British levels of taxation in Northern Ireland
are unjustifiable in the absence of British standards.
Police ignore car incident
Letter: The man ultimately responsible for police conduct
should resign in view of the failure to control the mob in Armagh.
'Have some people secret thoughts of dictatorship?'
Letter: Contrary to Craig's claim,
the standard of democracy in the Republic of Ireland is higher
than that in Northern Ireland, since there is no longer any significant
discrimination. Another remark in his speech
could give the impression that he advocates some form of UDI and
the establishment of a fascist dictatorship. Of course, this
is not to say that Craig does not face a very difficult situation,
where whatever decision he makes is bound to attract large-scale
criticism. The police force has performed well under difficult
circumstances. Civil rights marchers have for the most part behaved
responsibly and have achieved many of their aims. They must now
allow calm to prevail, or they will alienate what support they
have gained. There is the danger of the ousting of the moderate
leadership and a loss of control by their more radical replacements,
something which would please extremists on both sides. A great
many people concur with the above-expressed opinions, and among
them many protestants and unionists who do not wish to see a united
Voice of the moderates
Letter: 'There is a great swathe of moderate opinion, unionist
and nationalist, in this Province, which shrinks in abhorrence
from the excesses of the hotheads of either party. There is no
reason on earth why civil rights should be made a sectarian
issue.' O'Neill should dismiss Craig.
It sometimes appears that the former is the only moderate voice
in the cabinet, which makes that body unrepresentative of majority
opinion in Northern Ireland. Though moderates do not take to
the streets, their voices must unquestionably be heard by government.
A Unionist 'principle'
Letter: Why should Unionists reject in principle the prospect
of a happier community, which is what one-man-one-vote would produce
if implemented. People in Britain have a right to take an interest
in what is going on in another part of the United Kingdom.
Letter: 'If it is possible for persons holding the highest positions in the land to attend at sectarian gatherings and make speeches which incite hatred and terror about catholic people, then it is not a very conservative response to resist integration [of catholics into the state education system].' People like Craig, who smear the civil rights campaign and profit from division, frustrate and embitter those with no particular interest in Irish unity. Integration is a good idea in principle, but should not be implemented while such as Craig remain in power. There is another division in the education system that must be addressed; the disadvantaging of working class children provides them with few more opportunities than had their fathers.
Letter: In addition, the civil rights cause is one around which everyone can unite.
Educational policy benefits catholics
Letter: It is ludicrous to suggest that segregated education does not perpetuate sectarianism in Northern Ireland. The grip of the Nationalist Party on the catholic church must be broken, and the institutions of the Northern Ireland state accorded recognition, thus facilitating a decline in suspicion. It is also possible for parents to choose to limit the sizes of their families in the interests of a better standard of living. The size of a family should not sway decisions on housing allocation. That more catholics are now being educated at university is thanks to the progressive education policy of the Northern Ireland government.
9 December, 1968
O'Neill: a firm stand
Leader: O'Neill plans a forthright television broadcast in which he will set out his policies and beliefs. He is expected to say that Northern Ireland faces a stark choice between moderation - gradual change and bridge-building - and regression into a world of mutual distrust and non-co-operation. A showdown in the parliamentary party now seems inevitable. O'Neill is still considering Craig's position, but his own position is undoubtedly under its greatest threat since he became prime minister. A resolution of the Black institution, believed also to reflect the attitude of the Orange Order, amounts to a virtual ultimatum demanding that Craig remain in office. Speculation on the content of O'Neill's speech ranges from a predicted call for a general election or an announcement of O'Neill's resignation, to cabinet changes or a plea for calm and the maintenance of law and order. A general election however would only serve to inflame passions, while O'Neill is understood to have no intention of resigning. The speech will undoubtedly refer to recent events, but is likely to have a broader theme than law and order. He may tackle the UDI tendency within Unionism. It is also believed that a Conservative administration in London would not be prepared to underwrite Stormont intransigence on reforms.
O'Neill to speak to the people
Leader: O'Neill will appear on television to address the
people of Northern Ireland. No details of his speech are available,
but speculation points to his desire to clear up rumours relating
both to his own future and to that of Craig;
a desire to state clearly the government's policies; and a hope
of communicating to the people the need for the restoration of
law and order. The BBC also plans to televise a documentary detailing
the present situation in Northern Ireland. Craig repeats his
assurance that he does not wish to see a Unionist leadership contest,
and stresses the need for party unity. He does not see his Ulster
Hall speech as any more embarrassing to O'Neill
than were O'Neill's comments on the speech to him. He feels it
was a statement of principle that helped to rally the party.
It removed much 'anxiety and suspicion' from the constituencies.
He will not resign unless a major difference over policies should
arise. The current disagreement is only minor. Some influential
observers believe that O'Neill must reassert his authority by
removing Craig from office.
End of the line for Craig
Editorial: The Unionist Party is clearly
divided and a stark choice now exists between two paths: 'the
high road with the moderate liberalism of Capt O'Neill.
The low road with all its out-dated milestones of recrimination,
sectarianism and bigotry
When all the
ambiguities and double-talk are removed, Mr William Craig
is shown to be setting himself up as the standard-bearer of right-wing
dissidents from the Stormont backbenches to the Paisley
platforms who are either lukewarm or openly hostile in their attitude
to the government's reform programme.' Further outpourings
from Craig at the weekend have made his position quite clear enough
for moderate and responsible people to see no alternative to his
dismissal, and the sooner, the better. Open defiance at a time
of crisis is intolerable. If O'Neill takes decisive action, he
will command support from both major British parties. A decisive
step, backed by a united party, is necessary to curtail further
O'Neill on television tonight
Report: O'Neill will speak
on television tonight. The BBC also plans to broadcast a programme
on the present situation in Northern Ireland.
Ballymena backs PM
Report: A resolution in support of O'Neill's
policies, passed by Ballymena borough council and signed by 400
local people, is received by the prime minister.
Chamber asks shops to close early
Report: Belfast Chamber of Trade advises shops to close
early to enable as many people as possible to view O'Neill's
Craig says he would prefer not to be PM
Report: Craig says that he would not
wish to become prime minister unless this was the only way in
which general agreement could be secured. He believes that some
anxiety and a trend towards disunity in the Unionist Party
has been removed by his Ulster Hall speech. He is prepared to
support catholics in positions of responsibility, though only
as Unionist elected representatives if they can be relied upon
not to allow the will of their church to interfere
in their politics.
'Black' men back Craig
Report: The Imperial Grand Black
Chapter asserts that Craig must be retained
in his present post. 'We assure the prime minister and his government
of our full support in resisting the vociferous and impudent demands
being made by lawless mobs, biased and uninformed "intellectuals"
and would-be "progressives" and appeasers, which play
into the hands of the subversive elements in our midst.' 'Very
serious consequences' could result if O'Neill
accedes to 'unjustifiable' demands for Craig's dismissal. A similar
view is understood to be held by the Orange Order.
Volunteers support Craig
Report: The First Shankill Protestant Volunteers group
issues a statement supporting Craig and his
Ulster Hall speech, and deploring 'unfounded and derogatory' attacks
on him, some of them by 'so-called unionists.'
Paisley case adjourned
Report: Cases against Paisley,
Bunting and other men are adjourned
in Armagh. The planned Paisleyite march to Armagh
courthouse does not take place.
Derry cases put back
Report: Cases arising from a recent march in Derry are
Three on hunger strike at Guildhall
Report: A sit-in is conducted by a number of families at
Derry's Guildhall in protest at housing conditions. Three of
those involved are on hunger strike.
Rights petition in Derry
Report: The DCAC asks Derry people to sign a petition calling for the implementation of the International Declaration of Human Rights in Northern Ireland. The petition will be sent to Britain's representative at the UN.
[IN, 6 December]
Report: The Young Socialist Alliance announces its support
for the PD march planned for 14 December.
Ahoghill tells PD to get out
Report: PD protesters picket Craig's home and hand him a note. A similar picket on O'Neill's house, says Eilis MacDermott, is a demonstration of support for him as the only man 'empowered and willing to help us at this present time.' Protesters are told by local residents to leave after distributing leaflets in the village. A demonstration at Belfast's City Hall receives little attention from passers-by.
[BT, 7 December]
Night and day watch on rights march
Report: Police have as yet received no notification of
a planned PD march, also to involve students from Britain, that
is to travel from Belfast to Derry between 19 and 21 December.
This could provide police with their greatest challenge so far.
O'Neill told of 'partisan use of RUC'
Report: The CRA criticises police handling of the recent Dungannon disturbance. The force is seen to have failed to protect civil rights supporters, despite an undertaking to the effect that it would do so. Only the civil rights stewards, it is felt, prevented greater violence from developing.
1,000 march in Birmingham for civil rights here
Report: 1,000 people participate in a Birmingham march
for civil rights in Northern Ireland. Currie
calls for British standards for every part of the UK. He asserts
that its people want the same as British people: 'one-man-one-vote,
no Special Powers Act, no gerrymanders,
jobs on merit and houses on need.' Law and order have broken
down because of Craig, who has permitted
the ill-treatment of 'peaceful, non-sectarian
civil rights marchers, dedicated to the ideal of non-violence.'
He also feels that nothing good can come of the mobilisation
of the sectarian USC. A failure
to bring about one-man-one-vote could mean civil strife, for which
the British government must bear ultimate responsibility. He
feels that 'Terence O'Neill is the
greatest confidence trickster of this political generation.'
Ryan sees Craig as a great help to the civil rights movement.
People should concentrate on civil rights and forget about the
border for the present. A representative of the Connolly Association
says that Westminster must push for real reforms
in Northern Ireland, rather than allow Stormont to get away with
mere window-dressing. Another delegate says that more local civil
rights branches are planned.
PM's bluff called, says Currie
Report: Currie warns of civil strife
in Northern Ireland if one-man-one-vote is not granted. Law and
order have broken down because of Craig's
antics. Ryan says that Craig has been 'a great help' to the civil
rights movement. A member of the Connolly Association claims
that the recent reforms are mere window-dressing.
Present and future
Editorial: The reforms so far offered by Stormont
are not enough. The abolition of the company vote does not hand
control of Derry to the majority of the city's inhabitants; an
ombudsman of the kind evidently envisioned by Craig
is clearly unacceptable. One-man-one-vote is being resisted by
those with a vested interest in continued Unionist control of
areas where its application would change the balance of power.
The voice of dignified and constitutional protest must continue
to be raised, since the government has listened to nothing else.
Only this can force the pace of reform. The Times suggests
that reforms cannot be expected overnight, but why not? Why should
people be expected to wait for years for the most basic of rights?
Help create new spirit, calls to rights body
Report: The Sunday Times feels that the civil rights
movement should adopt a moderate course favouring O'Neill's
reforms and help him stand against the fears and
bigotry of the extremists. Britain will not however continue
to subsidise injustice. Methodist clergy
from the Enniskillen area assert that demonstrations attract irresponsible
supporters and opponents, and that the government must now be
afforded the chance to implement peaceful reforms. It is felt
that O'Neill's enlightened and moderate policies are worthy of
support. A similar view is propounded also by the Clogher Clerical
Society, which believes that the civil rights movement has now
made its point clear, and that government must be given the breathing-space
necessary for it to do justice. South Belfast Church
of Ireland clergymen express
their support for O'Neill's moderate policies, and condemn extremism.
South Belfast NDP calls for Craig's
resignation, stating that the minister has demonstrated by his
recent words the meaninglessness of government reforms. His philosophy
is one of sectarian bigotry. The statement
asserts that he sees catholics as a threat to Northern Ireland
and therefore wishes them to be treated as second-class citizens.
the RUC of failing to deal effectively
with the recent disturbance in Dungannon. A civil
rights march takes place in Birmingham. Paisley
praises Craig's stance and criticises O'Neill,
calling for a leadership that is prepared to stand up against
British interference in Northern Ireland. The deputy mayor of
Lisburn says that councillors believe in human rights,
and that more can be achieved towards this end in the council
chamber than on the streets. An article in the Sunday Express
contrasts the British government's attitude towards Rhodesia,
where sanctions have been applied in pursuit of one-man-one-vote,
with its stance on Northern Ireland, where no such pressures have
been brought to bear.
Unionist Party liberalism 'thin' - paper
Report: The Guardian feels that Craig
must be called on to resign, and O'Neill's
vulnerability is a demonstration of the weakness of liberal Unionism.
Also, 'a ban on provocative marches would enjoy general support
if the voting issue had been settled first.' The discipline of
civil rights marchers is praised. The Irish Times says
that, although there is disillusionment with O'Neill, the spectre
of Paisleyism is sufficiently frightening
that a new effort from O'Neill might help avert a crisis. The
Sunday Times calls for support for O'Neill's moderate path,
and an end to bigotry and intolerance on both sides. Extremism
in Northern Ireland will not receive British subsidies. The Irish
News calls for a continuation of 'dignified and constitutional'
protest, to force the pace of reform. A writer for
the Sunday Express contrasts the British government's attitude
towards Rhodesia with its Northern Ireland policy; with the latter,
no sanctions are applied in order to secure one-man-one-vote.
Sinn Fein hint of force in 'rights' fight
Report: Delegates to the Sinn Féin annual conference vote unanimously 'by all means in their power' to support NICRA. The party's publicity director later states that this could include the use of force, if the situation in Northern Ireland should deteriorate to the point where those working for civil rights require protection. He does not envisage this happening in the immediate future. He feels that the army of the Republic of Ireland should be ready to cross the border If necessary, since 'this could be a great opportunity for getting back the Six Counties.' He says that Irish people throughout the world should ensure that pressure is exerted on Britain to establish democratic rights in Northern Ireland. MacGiolla sees the civil rights movement as the first effective anti-Unionist force. The first small victory for the movement should strengthen its determination to continue. The British Council of Churches welcomes moves by Irish church bodies to promote justice and peace in Northern Ireland, calling for the strengthening of law and order so that opinions can be expressed peacefully. The British government is called on to ratify the UN convention on 'the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination.' Paisley praises Craig and criticises O'Neill. He makes allusions to the catholic drain on state funds through laziness, large families and schools paid for by protestant tax-payers. A north Belfast religious group sends Craig a letter of support. The CRA criticises the police handling of the recent Dungannon disturbance, attacking the force's failure, despite an undertaking to that effect, to protect civil rights supporters.
Sinn Fein president says: Unionist Party rocked by civil rights discipline
Report: MacGiolla says that
the Unionist Party has been shaken by the
discipline shown by the civil rights movement, which is the first
effective political weapon forged by anti-Unionist forces. Unionist
hatred and bigotry have been exposed by the united underprivileged
people. Protestants are now taking notice of the control exercised
by extremist bigots over the Orange Order,
Unionist Party, RUC and USC.
A resolution supportive of the civil rights movement is passed
Priest leads fight for protestants
Report: A priest alleges discrimination
by Mayo County Council against protestants in the matter of providing
a road. He asserts that the situation is 'Derry in reverse';
villagers plan to seek publicity for their plight in Northern
Ireland unless something is done soon. The council denies the
charge of discrimination.
'Keep Christian and protestant out of gutter'
Report: A Church of Ireland clergyman expresses strong criticism of extremist protestant elements, who he says are not protestant at all. Greater understanding between catholics and protestants is necessary to avoid a 'ghetto mentality.' Christians must speak out clearly against social injustice, no matter the cost.
'Keep the protestant name out of gutter'
Report: A Church of Ireland
clergyman condemns extremist protestant elements, who he believes
are not entitled to call themselves true protestants.
Appeal for peace at Enniskillen switch-on
Report: An Enniskillen clergyman 'appealed for peace based
on justice, saying that fair play, tolerance, harmony and goodwill
were the basis on which true peace could be established.'
Another tribute to Southern tolerance
Report: A Church of Ireland bishop asserts that there is no discrimination against protestants in the Republic of Ireland.
[BT, 7 December]
Giving 'one-man-one-vote' would demolish case of CR
Letter: Other civil rights demands are arguable, but the
great principle of one-man-one-vote should be granted by the Northern
Ireland government. This would not only win a great deal of goodwill,
but would also demolish the rest of the case made by the civil
1-man 1-vote the only way
Letter: The granting of one-man-one-vote is the only way
to ensure that public representatives reflect the true interests
of the community as a whole.
Letter: Those critical of socialism should address the
problems of the one-party state in Northern Ireland, where 'normal'
politics are an impossibility, before turning their glance elsewhere.
Letter: It is amazing that professed Unionists find unacceptable the normal tenets of democracy.
Letter: Unionist resistance to the Labour government at
Westminster places the constitution in danger, and has brought
together an unofficial coalition between Irish nationalists and
members of the British Labour Party.
'Invaders' from Eire
Letter: It would be interesting to know how critics of
militant protestant action in Armagh would respond
to the information 'that 3,000 foreigners from Eire had indicated
their intention to support this march through a predominantly
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