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

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Text: Alan Scott

Introduction     1968:   | June | July | August | September | October | November | December |
December:   | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 9 | Top |

2 December, 1968

Belfast Telegraph

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.'

Irish News

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.

News Letter

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 Paisley supporters.

Belfast Telegraph

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.

Irish News

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.

News Letter

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 Armagh.

Belfast Telegraph

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.

Irish News

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.

News Letter

In support of Armagh CR march [Report]

[BT, 30 November]

Belfast Telegraph

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.

Irish News

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.

News Letter

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?'

Belfast Telegraph

'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.

Irish News

'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.

News Letter

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.

Belfast Telegraph

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.'

Irish News

Paisleyites attack Young Liberals' car after march [Report]

News Letter

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.

Irish News

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.

Belfast Telegraph

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 O'Neill.

Counter-rally condemned

Report: Falls NILP branch attacks the Armagh counter-demonstrators, who it says appeared to have sanction for their acts from figures of authority.

Irish News

'Double standards' abhorred

Report: The police are also criticised for permitting the threat of force to prevent a peaceful demonstration from taking place.

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

Leader: NICRA 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.

Belfast Telegraph

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.

Irish News

No commission, say Labour Lawyers [Report]

Belfast Telegraph

'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 November]

Irish News

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 candidates.

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 Northern Ireland.

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.'

Belfast Telegraph

Civil rights badge

Letter: The DCAC's emblem was in no way designed to be sectarian.

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.

News Letter

Inadequate apology

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.

Belfast Telegraph

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.

2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 9 | Top

3 December, 1968

Belfast Telegraph

Job hunting

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.

News Letter

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.

Belfast Telegraph

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.

Irish News

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.

News Letter

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.'

Irish News

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.

News Letter

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.

Belfast Telegraph

Paisley, Bunting charged

Report: Paisley, Bunting and two other men receive summonses for unlawful assembly in Armagh on 30 November.

News Letter

Paisley and Bunting summoned by police

Leader: Additionally, Paisley intends to hold a large protestant demonstration at the Ulster Hall later in the week.

Belfast Telegraph

'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.

Irish News

Debate on 'law and order breakdown' in North refused by Westminster speaker [Report]

News Letter

Armagh: 'let us answer Fitt' say Unionists [Report]

Belfast Telegraph

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 government policy.

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]

Irish News

Charges against students are adjourned

Report: Court cases against six students charged in connection with trouble at a PD march are adjourned.

News Letter

'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]

Irish News

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.'

News Letter

Opposition walk-out at city council [Report]

Irish News

'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]

Belfast Telegraph

'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.'

Irish News

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.

Irish News

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.

Belfast Telegraph

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.'

News Letter

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 narrowed.

Belfast Telegraph

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.'

News Letter

Civil rights has overplayed hand, says minister [Report]

Irish News

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.

News Letter

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.

Belfast Telegraph

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.

Irish News

What the North needs at this time [Report]

Belfast Telegraph

'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.

Irish News

Council of Churches wants quick action [Report]

News Letter

Churches' call to keep order [Report]

Belfast Telegraph

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.'

Irish News

Branch of People's Democracy set up [at] St Mary's College [Report]

News Letter

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.

Belfast Telegraph

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.

News Letter

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.'

Irish News

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 the city.

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…Homes 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 so readily.

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.

Belfast Telegraph

Craig speech

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…discrimination 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 relations.

'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.

News Letter

Students awakening

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.

Fair play

Letter: Paisley is a figure whose views are inaccurately portrayed by the media.

Think again

Letter: Fitt, McAteer and Currie have been unconstructive, so that it ill-behoves them to criticise the government on these same grounds.


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.

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4 December, 1968

Belfast Telegraph

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 arise.

Irish News

CR 'silent protest' greets new governor

Report: The new governor of Northern Ireland, Lord Grey, is greeted at Stormont by PD protesters.

News Letter

Silent protest greets governor at Stormont [Report]

[BT, 3 December]

Belfast Telegraph

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.

Irish News

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.

News Letter

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.

Belfast Telegraph

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.

Irish News

Police guard on Austin Currie's house [Report]

Closing the eye

Editorial: Measures must be taken to ensure that there is press freedom to cover news without the threat of attack by unruly mobs.

Belfast Telegraph

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.

News Letter

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.

Belfast Telegraph

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 union delegation.

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.

Irish News

Soper 'disgusted with Paisley and his band of thugs' [Leader]

News Letter

Bring in the troops says Lord Rathcavan [Leader]

Irish News

Increasing concern

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.

Belfast Telegraph

Presbytery urges peace

Report: Tyrone presbytery calls on all the people of Northern Ireland to adhere to Christian principles at this difficult time.

Irish News

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.

Belfast Telegraph

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.

News Letter

PM's leadership

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.'

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5 December, 1968

Belfast Telegraph

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.

Irish News

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.

News Letter

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.'

Irish News

Parades ban twice broken

Report: The ban on marches within Derry's walls is twice broken by civil rights protesters gathered outside the court.

News Letter

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.'

Belfast Telegraph

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.

Irish News

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.

News Letter

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 rights supporters.

Belfast Telegraph

'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.

News Letter

Paisley parade

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.

Irish News

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]

Belfast Telegraph

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.

Irish News

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 Ireland.

Civil rights picket

Report: A Labour Party meeting at which Callaghan is a speaker is picketed by protesters from a Glasgow civil rights group.

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.'

Belfast Telegraph

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 necessary.

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.

Irish News

Local authorities committee to debate points system [Report]

Belfast Telegraph

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.

Irish News

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.

News Letter

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.

Belfast Telegraph

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 city.

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.

Irish News

'Craig's speech had only one motive' [Report]

Belfast Telegraph

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.

News Letter

'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.

Belfast Telegraph

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.

News Letter

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.'

Irish News

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.

News Letter

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.'

Irish News

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.

Belfast Telegraph

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 problem.

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 increasingly strained.

Paisley case application?

Report: An application for an adjournment of the case against Paisley, Bunting 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.

Irish News

[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.'

Belfast Telegraph

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.

News Letter

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 priorities.

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.

National service

Letter: 'Nothing has been more touching than the Nationalists' new-found desire to have all things British applied to Northern Ireland.'

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.

Professor Huxley

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 for criticism]

BBC programmes

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.

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6 December, 1968

News Letter

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.

Belfast Telegraph

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.

Showdown coming

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 of support.

'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.

News Letter

Paisley - threat to my life [Report]

Belfast Telegraph

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.'

News Letter

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.

Belfast Telegraph

'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.

Irish News

Kirk urges peace in the interests of £ s d [Report]

News Letter

'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.

Belfast Telegraph

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.'

Irish News

No repudiation

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.

News Letter

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.

Belfast Telegraph

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.

Irish News

'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.

News Letter

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.

Belfast Telegraph

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.

Irish News

[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 the town.

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.

News Letter

Shot was fired in Dungannon [Report]

Irish News

Paisley's summons put back

Report: An application for the postponement of proceedings against Paisley, Bunting and others is granted.

News Letter

Paisley case adjourned [Report]

Irish News

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]

Belfast Telegraph

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.

Irish News

Big increase in RUC strength planned [Report]

News Letter

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.'

Belfast Telegraph

Special measures

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]

Irish News

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.

Belfast Telegraph

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]

Irish News

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.

Belfast Telegraph

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 January.

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 electoral boundaries.

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.

Irish News

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.

News Letter

'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 Unionist judges.

Belfast Telegraph

Sack Craig - Trades Council

Report: Belfast Trades Council calls for Craig's resignation in view of his demonstrable lack of impartiality.

Irish News

TU call to sack Craig

Report: Also, Craig is seen as hypocritical in calling for calm in the wake of a sectarian speech.

Alarm at 'terror censorship'

Report: Belfast Trades Union Council expresses alarm at the media censorship through intimidation practised by extremist elements.

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 to.'

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.

Belfast Telegraph

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.

Irish News

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 and order.

News Letter

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.

Irish News

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.

(Aidan Corrigan)

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.

Belfast Telegraph

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.

News Letter

Stormont proposals

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 better.

'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.

Belfast Telegraph

Ulster 'image'

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]

News Letter


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.

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7 December, 1968

Belfast Telegraph

O'Neill's dilemma

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.

Belfast Telegraph

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.

Irish News

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.'

News Letter

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.'

Irish News

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.

News Letter

Resign call

Report: Murnaghan calls on O'Neill to force Craig's resignation.

Irish News

Unchanging Unionism

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.'

Belfast Telegraph

Wearing thin

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.

News Letter

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.

Irish News

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.

News Letter

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]

Belfast Telegraph

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 peaceful reform.

More backing for Craig

Report: Pottinger Unionist Association and Young Unionist Association declare 'full support' for Craig.

News Letter

Candidate [Report]

Mr Craig cheered

Report: Craig is cheered at a function he is attending in Larne.

Irish News

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.

News Letter

Rights talks

Report: 'The civil rights movement and its Ulster implications are among the subjects being discussed by pupils at Belfast grammar schools.'

Exposure plea

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 inadmissible.

News Letter

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]

Students' image

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]

Belfast Telegraph

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.

Irish News

Four families 'squat' in Guildhall [Report]

Belfast Telegraph

'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.

Irish News

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.

Belfast Telegraph

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 Ireland.

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.

Educational opportunity

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.

Irish News

Segregated education

Letter: In addition, the civil rights cause is one around which everyone can unite.

(Kevin Boyle)

News Letter

Co-operation [Summary]

Belfast Telegraph

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.

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9 December, 1968

Belfast Telegraph

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.

News Letter

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 unrest.

Irish News

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.

Belfast Telegraph

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 televised speech.

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.

News Letter

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.'

Belfast Telegraph

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 adjourned.

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.

News Letter

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.

Irish News

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.

Belfast Telegraph

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.

Irish News

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?

News Letter

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. NICRA accuses 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.

Belfast Telegraph

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.

Irish News

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 unanimously.

Belfast Telegraph

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.

News Letter

'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.

Irish News

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]

Belfast Telegraph

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 rights movement.

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.

News Letter

Damascus Road

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.

Unionist dilemma

Letter: It is amazing that professed Unionists find unacceptable the normal tenets of democracy.

Rulers' wisdom

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.

Belfast Telegraph

'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 protestant area.'

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