jump to navigation

Left Archive: Trade Unions Bid For Peace in North: Michael McInerney c.1970 December 17, 2012

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Civil Rights, Irish Left Online Document Archive.


To download the above document please click on the following link: TU 1970

Here’s a document consisting of articles printed in the Irish Times in 1970 which examines aspects of the developing crisis in Northern Ireland in a series of articles. McInerney had been editor of the Irish Democrat – newspaper of the Connolly Association, and had then gone on in the 1950s and 1960s to work as political correspondent of the Irish Times.

As the introduction notes:

These articles assess five sectors of the Northern crises. First, Britain’s new analysis of the North; second, the Wilson Government’s policies to meet that new assessment; third, the unique position of the trade unions and Labour Movement in the North, it’s association with the British, Irish and world movements; fourth the description of the battle of the Protestant and Catholic union shopstewards in Belfast shipyards and elsewhere to prevent the August, 1969, riots from spreading, and finally, the relationship of Ireland, North and South, to each other and to Britain and a long term look at ultimate Anglo_Irish relationships.

McInerney suggests that:

Their conclusion is that all Labour and democratic forces must identify the enemy as the growing Craig-Paisleyite wing of Unionism and the smaller but fanatical sectarian Catholic wing, both dangerous to peace and progress.

And that:

The issue for Northern Ireland is a settlement by those forces, which, would be a settlement of the grave, or a victory for the Liberal, democratic Labour forces, which would create a modern social democracy. This is the perhaps, over optimistic aim and hope of the writer, but as the Paisleyite forces make gains against the fragmented forces of peace and progress there are signs of a closing of all ranks against those who incite fear and hatred of worker against worker.

The individual articles are well worth reading, if only for giving an insight into the tenor of the times as regards the power of unions, sectarianism and the hopes and fears of some on the island.

“Coming Out, Being Seen, Making History” July 31, 2012

Posted by Tomboktu in 1970s), Civil Rights, Film and Television, History, LGBT Rights.

Left Archive: DIRECT RULE: ‘Civil Rights NOT Civil War’ Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association (NICRA) – 1972 January 10, 2011

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Civil Rights, Irish Left Online Document Archive, Uncategorized.

Please click on following link to download file: NICRA 71

A short document issued by NICRA from circa 1972, this dates from after the introduction of direct rule and the ‘suspension’ of the Stormont Parliament.

The document itself notes that ‘This imposition of formal direct rule has changed nothing, IN ITSELF, since any abuse which has been carried out by Stormont in the past has been a power which was delegated to it by Westminster’.

It continues:

It is perfectly well known that the 1971 decision to introduce internment, under the Special Powers Act, was specifically sanctioned by the TOry government at Westminster; and that every act of one-sided repression in the last days of Unionist party rule was carried out by the British Army under London’s, not Belfast’s ultimate control.

The mere wiping away of the institution located at Stormont does not, there, necessarily change anything. Changes in structures are helpful only insofar as they lead to the practical implementation of changed polices and it is still the policies, not the tinkering with organisation forms which count.

Unsurprisingly it argues that:

Direct rule, therefore, places almost everyone in NI in the same category. The centre of decision making has moved even further away and with only 12 representatives in a House of Commons that numbers some 600, everyone in NI has less control over the fundamental matters which affect his or her life.

It continues by arguing traditional NICRA policies

Westminster should suspend its legislation and concede to the long suffering people of NI for so long as the area remains a part of the UK, their right to enjoy eqqual standards of ddemocracy with their fellow taxpayers in London, Glasgow and Cardiff. Otherwise there is still in existence a category of second-class citizenship in the UK which includes the Protestants and Catholics of NI.

It is striking how these policies are rooted in legislative matters. For example, they seek the introduction of the Race Relations Act, 1968, the repeal of the Flags and Emblems legislation and so on.

It also ‘entertains the notion… of an elected local assembly for NI’.

This document comes from the period where NICRA’s infuence was waning sharply but it also clearly bears the imprint, a Bill of Rights etcetera, of ideas that would further shape the policies of some in subsequent years.

The Irish Left Archive [Remembering 1969]: “A Failed Political Entity: Studies in Unionism, The Civil Rights Campaign, Discrimination and The Way Forward”, issued by the Dublin ’68 Committee, c. 1988. August 28, 2009

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Civil Rights, Irish Left Online Document Archive, Irish Left Online Document Archive (Remembering 1969), Miscellaneous.

cover AFPE 88


I’m indebted to Jim Monaghan for forwarding this to the Archive, and at precisely the right time too. This is definitely turning into history week on the CLR, and why not. Anyhow, to some extent this doesn’t really belong in the Left Archive, since this is a document that could be argued emanates from traditional Irish nationalism. Consequently I’m posting it out of the usual sequence.

However, as an insight into how the events of 1968 and 1969 resonated long afterward in Irish political life, and for the particular analysis of the events of those years, it provides some use.

Printed in the late 1980s it draws together an eclectic mix of figures, from former Fianna Fáil Minister Kevin Boland, clearly the prime mover behind it, Vincent MacDowell, a former Vice-Chairperson of the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association in 1969 and others. Even the then indefatigable Ulick O’Connor makes an appearance, and there’s a snippet from Charles Haughey on p.39, but there’s little reason to get overly excited by that, it is just a snippet.

In other words this is a Fianna Fáil, or more precisely a dissident Fianna Fáil (to coin a phrase), production. Perhaps the piece of most relevance is that by Vincent MacDowell, A Failed Political Entity. It is fascinating as much for what it ignores as what it includes. Indeed I find the way it draws a line between civil rights and then nationalism/Republicanism with no clear left element to be hugely instructive. Anyway, that’s just my first impression.

Interesting to know peoples thoughts on this.

%d bloggers like this: