The North in crisis

WHEN CAPT. O'NEILL called the General Election for February 24th it was not to trounce the parliamentary opposition, but rather to assert the dominance of himself and his class within the Unionist party. The previous election had taken place in 1965 and another was not legally due until 1970. The Unionist party held 37 of the 52 seats on the dissolution, the remainder was divided as follows: 9 Nationalists, 2 Northern Ireland Labour, 2 Republican Labour, 1 Liberal and One National Democrat.

The election was not unusual only in that it was being used to resolve an internal conflict within the Unionist Party but also in that it introduced two new elements into the political arena. To the chagrin of many of / their comrades John Hume and Ivan Cooper offered themselves as candidates on a Civil Rights ticket. Their action was criticised by many of those who felt the civil rights movement ought to remain clearly outside party politics.However, they feltwith some justification that the civil rights demands should be represented at a parliamentary level. Both challenged incumbent Nationalists Eddie McAteer and Paddy Gormley.

The Nationalists had been entirely left out in the cold by the non-sectarian civil rights movement, Intrinsically the Nationalist Party was sectarian, appealing to Catholics on that basis alone, as Unionism had appealed to Protestants, Apart from the civil rights element the election also introduced the People's Democracy to the political fray. The People's Democracy contested seats held by both Unionists and Nationalists and declared war on both green and orange toryism. They fought a strictly non-sectarian campaign on a solialist platform, demanding one man, one job, one family, one house.
The election line up was as follows:

Unionist 43 Independent Unionist. 18 Protestant Unionist 6
Nationalist. 9 N.I. Labour6
Republican Labour5
National Democrats7
People's Democracy8
Liberal 2 Independent 4 People's Progressive1

During the elections social cleavages within the Unionist block emerged dramatically. O'Neill mobilised the utmost resources of the landowning class, including its absentee notables resident in England, and above all the Duke of Westminster. O'Neill was able to keep substantial support within the business community, which did not desert wholly to the Faulkner camp. Conversely, Faulkner and Craig were able to use a disgruntled clique within the landowning class (Brookeborough clan) against O'Neill. The fight became increasingly bitter, and it was eventually evident that O'Neill had succeeded in unnerving powerful sections of the business class with the vision of social disintegration that might follow his removal. Faulkner retaliated by whipping up pseudoradical sentiment with social attacks on the oligarchy, similar in tone to those of Paisleyism: 'The great strength of the party is that in its local association the trade unionist counts for as much as the boss, Now we have landed gentry and big money imposing their candidates at will. It's totally undemocratic.''' (New Left Review, No. 55).

The official Unionists were split into pro-O'Neillite and anti-O'Neillite camps. The official or independent Unionists were similarly dividedcontesting official Unionists of the opposing faction. The Paisleyite Protestant Unionists stood against the O'Neillites who are not being opposed by official Unionists.
The results of the election were a defeat for O'Neill in his power struggle within the party. He failed to win a sufficient number of Catholic votes to which he had made his major moderate appeal. It is significant that whereas a considerable number of middle class Catholics seemed to vote for O'Neill the Catholic working class seemingly could not bring themselves to do so. This sector opted for the first time in the history of Northern Ireland for militant radicalism in the shape of the People's Democracy. The latter though winning no seats did surprisingly well in both traditional Unionist and Nationalist areas.

From the Opposition point of view the significance of election was in the defeat of the two Nationalist leaders McAteer and Gormley by Hume and Cooper. This indicated that the former crucial issue of partition was at least shelved for the time being in favour of the more immediate demands of the Civil Rights movement.

AFTER THE elections the PD again took the initiative and announced their plans for the coming month; squatting in Belfast prestige office blocks, days of civil disobedience in protest against the Public Order Amendment Bill (which was to strengthen police control over demonstrations), and sit-ins in public buildings.

At the AGM of NICRA, on March 16th, the Chairman, Betty Sinclair and the Secretary John McAnerney and three other executive members resigned in protest against the growing domination of the PD over the civil rights movement, which they believed was driving NICRA away from its moderate, broadbase towards radical excesses. The same evening seven of the Omagh CRA committee resigned for similiar reasons. Their purpose was to freeze the PD members out of NICRA but their resignations effected the opposite. They were replaced by somewhat more radical Republicans such as Frank Gogarty and the PD influence if anything, increased.

Bernadette Devlin's victory
A Westminster bye-election was pending in mid-Ulster, following the death of the Unionist M.P. Mr. Forrest. The Unionists chose the late M.P.'s widow. The Opposition groups held a nominating convention at which Miss Bernadette Devlin, a P.D. Queen's student was chosen to contest the seat against Mrs. Forrest. The Republican candidate, Kevin Agnew, who had announced his intention to contest the election withdrew his nomination in favour of Bernadette Devlin.

With a united Opposition this formally Republican seat was virtually assured for Miss Devlin-providing the Republicans didn't abstain.
The Election took place on the 18th April and Miss Devlin won by 33,600 votes to 29,337. The election of Bernadette Devlin to Westminster enormously enhanced the P.D.'s influence in N.I.C.R.A., and within Northern politics generally. It also brought to Westminster the articulate, urgent voice of Ulster's new militants.

Her maiden speech in the House of Commons on April 22nd was a masterpiece of its kind and captured world headlines with it compassionate pleas for justice in Northern Ireland. Meanwhile violence was again erupting in Northern Ireland. On April 2nd an electricity plant was blown at Castlerea which gave Mr. Porter, the new Minister for Home Affairs, an excuse to introduce immediately the Special Powers Act.

R.U.C. invade Bogside
On April 19th a N.I.C.R.A. march in Derry was attacked by Paisleyites. In the ensuing disorder the R.U.C. invaded the Bogside supported by the B. Specials. Rioting and fighting carried on all night and many Bogside families were terrorised. One of these families, the Devenny's, had the police enter their house and club Mr. Devenny unconscious. Mr. Devenny, who suffered from a weak heart died as a result of the attack on July 20th.
On April 20th the Silent Valley Aqueduct which supplies water to Belfast, was blown up, and seven city post offices were burned to the ground. The government blamed the I.R.A., which disclaimed responsibility and, in turn, blamed the Paisleyites.

O'Neill Resigns
ON APRIL 22nd O'Neill went to London for a meeting with Mr. Wilson and returned to demand from his Government support for one man, one vote in local elections. He gained only a very slender majority in the parliamentary party. Major Chichester-Clark His resignation and election shrouded in mystery. It was now evident that O'Neill's position as Premier and leader of the Unionist Party was untenable. Since the beginning of April when the Unionist Party Council had given him a mere 75 vote majority out of a total of 601 votes and the Young Unionist Association had passed a vote of no confidence in him, it was obvious that at last his time had come.

On Wednesday, April 23rd, Major Chichester-Clarke resigned as Minister for Agriculture on the grounds that he believed that the introduction of one man, one vote in local government elections" might encourage militant Protestants even to bloodshed." Chichester Clarke had been one of O'Neill's strongest supporters up to this time and resignation signalled the end of O'Neill's reign.

Chichester-Clark v. Faulkner
On April 28th, O'Neill announced his resignation as Prime Minister and leader of the Unionist Party. The contest for leadership emerged at first as a three way struggle between Mr. Brian Faulkner, Major ChichesterClarke and Mr. John Andrews, leader of the Senate. Later Mr. Andrews withdrew, leaving the contest between Faulkner and Chichester-Clarke-the former again representing the business class in the party-the latter stepping into O'Neill's shoes as the representative of the landowning class and orthodox Unionism.

Chichester-Clarke won the election by a single vote which was two less than that which O'Neill commanded during the height of his crisis. However, on his election he won a unanimous vote of confidence. His cabinet transpired to be a rather clumsy blend of pro-O'Neillites and anti-O'Neillites. Brian Faulkner reluctantly accepted the position of Minister for Development and though Mr. Robert Porter and Mr. Roy Bradford, both O'Neillites, were appointed to the Ministeries of Home Affairs and Commerce respectively, they were each saddled with staunch hard-liners as their junior ministers, Mr. John Taylor and Mr. John Brooke.

The election of Chichester-Clarke is shrouded in mystery and suspicion. It is widely believed that his resignation a few days before Captain O'Neill retired was a clever tactical ploy encouraged by O'Neill himself to ensure that Faulkner would not be his successor following his own inevitable downfall. Certainly the Major's presence at Captain O'Neill's farewell tea party reception seemed to indicate the existence of a conspiracy of some kind. Major James Chichester-Clarke46-M.P. for South Derry (which in the 1969 Election he contested with Bernadette Devlin) was very much in the Craigavon-Andrews-Brookeborough and O'Neill mould. He was educated at Eton and joined the Irish Guards in 1942 and was in the same regiment as Captain O'Neill. He was wounded in 1944. From 1947 to 1949 he was A.D.C. to the Governor General of Canada. He became M.P. for South Derry in 1960 and Chief Whip in 1963

ON THE election of a new government under Major Chichester-Clark, a period of relative calm ensued in Northern Ireland. The opposition parties announced their acceptance of the Government's time-table of reform, and N.I.C.R.A. suspended its plans for a Civil Disobedience Campaign. However, it did announce its intention to picket all entry points into Northern Ireland, but this plan was a miserable flop and a full-scale review of N.I.C.R.A.'s activities was undertaken. Eamonn McCann, of the Derry Citizens' Action Committee and of the Northern Ireland Labour Party, launched an attack on the" timid" and " weak-minded" within N.I.C.R.A.

On the 28th June, N.I.C.R.A. held a demonstration in Strabane in protest against the Government's failure to initiate any of its reform programmes. At this meeting differences within N.I.C.R.A. clearly emerged for the first time in public. McCann again attacked the moderate element within the Civil Rights Movement, was supported by Bernadette Devlin, but was repudiated by Austin Currie. McCann's main point was that by suspending demonstrations and marches N.I.C.R.A. was allowing the confrontation in Northern Ireland to become not one between the inter-denominational forces of reform and the Unionist monolith, but rather a sectarian feud between aggrieved militant Catholics and working class Protestants.

McCann's thesis was vindicated by riots in Derry and elsewhere following the July 12th Orange demonstrations, when" hooligan elements" on the Catholic side took to the streets in orgies of destruction and violence. Two people were wounded by gunfire in Derry during these disturbances. The Derry Citizens Action Committee condemned the" wanton hooliganism" but serious trouble continued in both Derry and Belfast. On July 14th, Francis McCluskey, a 70 year-old farmer from outside Dungiven, died following a R. U. C. baton charge in Dungiven during disturbances on the previous evening. McCluskey was the first victim in the cause of Civil Rights in Northern Ireland.

Following these disturbances which had spread to Derry, Belfast, Dungiven and Lurgan the B Specials were put on stand-by duty. In Derry peace moves began to offset any violence emerging from the Apprentice Boys march to be held on August 12th.

Meanwhile, in Belfast the situation worsened considerably. Catholic families were forced to take refuge in school halls in Ardoyne. In an attempt to control the deteriorating situation, N.I.C.R.A. organised squads to prevent disorders and violence. However, at the beginning of August, Belfast witnessed its worst rioting in thirty-four years. Barricades were erected along the Shankill Road and evacuation of families from threatened Catholic areas continued.
On August 7th Chichester-Clark left for London for discussions with Mr. Callaghan on the forthcoming Apprentice Boys demonstrations. It was later leaked from Whitehall that the legal implications of British troops being engaged in police action in Northern Ireland were being studied in Whitehall and discussed at the Chichester-Clark/Callaghan meeting. Despite these apparent expectations of violence and the practically unanimous forecasts of disturbance in Derry on August 12th by informed CJmmentators the provocative Apprentice Boys Demonstration was allowed to take place. Its folly is outlined below.

DERRY ON the 12th of August, 1969 was a city decked out for a showdown which no one could control. The coloured flags and shuttered windows, the few spectators and the hordes of journalists, the plaintive music and the derisive laughter, the riot shields and the banners, the ice cream vans and armoured cars were not as unreconcilable as they first seemed. There was a relation between them all, and a relation too between the noble city walls and the squalid Bogside below them. When a woman strained to peer over the turrets of the wall at a sullen group of youths staring up from Lecky Road, she related to them in the terms dictated by the parade: "Look at them," she said, secure in her hostility. "Look at them asking for it."
Derry on the morning of the " twelfth" was a city charged with gestures, signs and words to maintain  her security and the security of others like her.
The Bogsiders had also learned how to interpret the signs as they squatted beneath a roughly painted slogan reading" You are now entering Free Derry." It is not a coincidence that they chose to gather where they could watch the parade and be near enough to hear it. And it's not surprising that they initiated choruses to counteract the pointed revelry of the Apprentice Boys.

Nor was it all that unpredictable that some one would think of throwing pennies down to them and that others would follow suit and that this gesture
would be interpreted and spoken about and expanded till all hell was let loose. And that happened about three o'clock in the afternoon when the parade was passing Waterloo Place where the Bogsiders could easily gather and where the police and journalists had gathered, because everybody knew, even if Major Chichester-Clark pretended he didn't, that that was where it would all begin and when it would all begin.

The march was on schedule and so was the taunting and jeering and the police barricades, and out came the stones, the catapults, the stewards, the helmets, the shields and the batons.

Everyone was watching the police and they knew it. And they knew that this was their role, guarding their people against the agressive minority. So they threw no stones, though there were ample supplies at their feet, and they made no baton charges so that everybody would see the Fenians in action and establish for once and for all the truth about the Royal Ulster Constabulary.

The Bogsiders were also watching the police and they knew, if some journalists didn't, that passivity and restraint were not the distinguishing qualities of the R.U.C. In the last year alone they had been at the receiving end of enough baton charges to leave little doubt as to the treatment they were now forestalling. They had only to remember the words October, Burntollet and Devanney to feel confident that their position was a defensive one and that if the police weren't advancing, that was because of the intensity of the resistence the Bogsiders were putting up.

At another front, round in Sackville Street, where some nylon-masked Bogsiders had gone to attack the Parade the police felt compelled to return fire. Of course it was different round here, because all the television cameras were focussed on Waterloo Place. And it was quite reasonable that, because of a shortage of numbers at this point, they should welcome some support from the loyalist crowd.

But the Bogsiders at that position saw it differently. The police and the Paisleyites were jointly invading the area, so it was here that the first petrol bombs appeared. A petrol station in William Street was attacked by a man wielding a pick-axe and a helmeted youth charged up the street with a wheel-barrow full of empty bottles.

But the vanguard of the resistence at William Street was becoming increasingly disconcerted by the immobility of the police in Waterloo Place. There was something sinister about this restraint. It smacked of strategy and cunning. However, there was a precedent which could explain it in the passivity of the police during the January People's Democracy rally in Newry. On that occasion,police restraint had allowed" a rowdy element" to disgrace a movement renowned for its non-violence. And on that occasion, as on this, many. journalists and television cameras were present.

So someone shouted" move back and let the bastards in." And the idea caught: on quickly enough to suggest that others were thinking along the same lines. Then, for an hour and a half, the police were barraged with taunting invitations to come and try now what they had done in January and April, while the stones rained down on them from the two Bogside Streets, William Street and Waterloo Street, that converge at Waterloo Place.

A year of Civil Right campaigning had revealed the weak point of the Unionist fabric-paradoxically enough its simultaneous reliance on the British Government and on the R.U.C. The Civil Rights movement had aimed at the relationship between Stormont and Westminster, but in spite of the extent to which public opinion had been shocked, the British Government had in effect refused to interfere.

The Bogsiders were now determined to attack the R.U.C. But the Bogside operated as community in itself, not as a socio-political movement within a larger community. It could do this because of the fury and indignation unleashed by previous police incursions into the area which made the struggle a popular one, held together organically so rather than ideologically. Once the first stone had been thrown, the fear of reprisal served to escalate the situation, increasing the determination of the Bogsiders to bring the R.U.C. to bring the R.U.C. to its knees.

Now that the Bogsiders were beyond pacification the stewards, many of whom were Civil Rights leaders, confabbed together and the general consensus was that they would be better employed, either organising the struggle or trying to negotiate terms with the police. After about two hours of passive resistance the position of the R. U.C. at Waterloo Place was critical. A number of policemen had been hit and carried off to the great delight of the Bogsiders. The morale of the others was dwindling while their fury and frustration increased.

Finally, at about 5 o'clock the order to retaliate with stones was given. There was no shortage of ammunition and within minutes the police had pushed forward the barricades in William Street.

At the junction of Rossville Street and William Street the police encountered the first of the Bogsiders' barricades. They were now in command of William Street and some other side streets, but it was difficult to say where they could go from here.

The R.U.C. command had quickly sensed the mood of the Bogsiders. They had refused to allow their men retaliate with stones in the hope that the emotions of the mob would gradually subside. In the panic of the Sackville Street confrontation, however, the order had been ignored. Two commanding officers now argued as to whether or not the force should enter the Bogside. The superior officer, who recognised the danger, was defied and the blunder of the day was committed. At about 7.00 p.m. the police advanced on Rossville Street. Cries of " fenian bastards" and" I.R.A. scum" indicated the extent to which emotion was dictating the action. Hammering their batons on their shields, they took advantage of every loophole in the defence and within minutes the Bogsiders were driven back in a desperate retreat to the huge reserve barricade at the very heart of the area. A number of shots were fired by the R.U.C. One Bogsider was wounded in the shoulder, another in the mouth. Indiscriminate batoning took down among others a fully uniformed Knight of Malta first-aid man.

In the wake of the police, a large mob of loyalists invaded the area, showering stones at the windows on either side. One or two of the rearguard police made an attempt to turn them back, but their influence was negligible.

However, a dramatic turn of events at the barricade cut short the invasion. A petrol bomb which landed at the feet of a policeman set his clothes alight. Taking advantage of the resulting confusion, the Bogsiders vaulted the barricade and rushed the police.

The force broke into an hysterical retreat and along with their supporters clambered over the unwieldly barricade into the relative security of William Street. The recapture of Rossville Street revealed to the Bogsiders the extent of the damage which the " invasion" had caused.
Many people were lying on the ground, their heads pumping blood. A block of twenty or so flats on the righthand of the advance was left without a window intact. Everywhere there was evidence of senseless injury and destruction which had achieved nothing strategically. The police were returned to their previous position, having brought about nothing other than an intensification of the resistance.

Excepting the inconsequential nocturnal withdrawals of the police to their original positions in Sackville Street and Waterloo Place, the battle remained static from this time till the arrival of the British troops on the evening of Thursday, August 14th. Neither side could afford to call a halt, and clearly neither side was capable of routing the other. Tear-gas was introduced to counteract the incendiary advance of the Bogsiders along Little James Street in the early hours of Wednesday morning, but this was offset by the darkness, which prevented the police gaining any positive strategic advantage from the use of their new weapon. When daylight returned the Bogsiders had equipped themselves with hydrants, fire extinguishers, wet sacks, goggles, and handkerchiefs doused in sour milk, vinegar or lemon juice.

First-aid centres had been supplied with vaseline, and leaflets were being circulated giving information on how to deal with CS gas. While some cartridges were sent to Dupont chemical factory for analysis, others were jammed on poles which the Bogsiders carried to the barricades chanting suggestions as to how the police should dispose of them.

In positive terms the battle was now for both sides no more than a gesture. It had passed through many stagesprovocation, counter-provocation, action, offensive, counter-offensive-but had now returned to a somewhat more violent version of what it had all been when the youths in Lecky Road sat watching the activities surrounding the Walker Memorial.

However, if it was a gesture, it was a sufficiently dangerous one to warrant some kind of emergency measures. There was no shortage of ideas when it came to these. The Civil Rights Association called out other towns in the province. The B. Specials were activated. The Taoiseach made menacing noises on television. Troops were mobilised south of the Border. However the Bogsiders remained adamant in their demand. Only one measure would satisfy them because it alone would imply no reversal to the status quo.

When the British soldiers arrived, so did sanity. Their colourful appearance and the rapidity of their movements as they phas~d out the weary R.U.c. riveted attention. Their evident amazement at the bitterness of the situation they encountered underlined their impartiality. While Paddy Doherty, Vice-chairman of the Citizens' Defense Association, negotiated terms with Lieutenant-Colonel Bill Todd, the Bogsiders cheered in the troops and sang out the police.

The result of Doherty's negotiations produced a guarantee of no entry on the part of the troops, police or B Specials and a guarantee of protection from civilian invasion. However, a telephone conversation between Bernadette Devlin and the Prime Minister produced less optimistic results. The troops were not replacing the police, the B Specials would not be withdrawn and there could be no guarantee that troops would not enter the area. However, the jubiliance of the crowd could not easily be dampened. The people had led their own fight and they would make their own interpretation of its effects. Relief at the opportunity for a rest from the turbulance of the previous days overwhelmed the need to clarify terms. And so, while Belfast was entering one of the worst nights of its history, the Bogside celebrated a confident victory.

The tragedy of what happened in the ensuing days-particularly in the chaos of Belfast-was an indication that the various parties and movements which represented the minority did not fully reflect the mood of the people. While the C.R.A. could" call out" its people, it could not control the course of events on the streets. While it had defined the political end to be achieved its avowed means were not in keeping with the temper of the time.

By disassociating themselves from the" hooligans" responsible for the July riots in Belfast and Derry, the Catholic hierarchy and the civil rights leaders had avoided the accusation of having failed.They talked about steps backwards as if there had been any concrete steps forward.They failed to realise that the pace of their demands and their scope as regards putting an end to sectarianism were inadequate. They regarded the police reaction (notably in Derry in October, at Burntollet in January and in the Bogside in April) as further indications of a corrupt set-up rather than as a definite worsening of the situation. They had failed to read the significance of O'Neill's overthrowal and the emergence of an even more right wing government. Despite constant goading by the People's Democracy, they had resisted any hardening of their line till they had become irrelevant to few other than the relatively comfortable Catholic Middle Class



WORKING CLASS Catholics of Belfast enjoy none of the advantages which made the Bogside struggle a success. They belong to a town where they are numerically inferior, geographically divided and surrounded on all sides by the most militant protestants in Northern Ireland. While indignation and jubilance marked the Bogside struggle the atmosphere in Belfast was one of fear bordering simultaneously on hysteria and despair. The news of the Bogside conflict reached Belfast on the evening of Tuesday 12th. Men returning from work brought home news of Derry to their small terraced homes or cramped apartments. With their families they watched filmed reports of the fighting on television. What they saw in these shots was a siege on the part of the dreaded R.U.C. being fiercely resisted by their fellow Catholics in Derry.

Later that night pipe bands and large crowds of protestants met Apprentice Boys and representatives of the Orange Lodges in Belfast, who had partaken in the Derry parade. As they marched home from York Road station and the bus depot crowds of Catholics assembled in the streets of their two main ghettoes half in the hope of staging some kind of counter action and half in anticipation of attack.


Divis Street/Falls Road runs southwest from the city centre and constitutes the larger of the two Catholic areas in Belfast. Falls Road is, in effect, an extension of Divis Street, but the junction of the two is also the junction of two predominantly protestant areas, Springfield Road to the north and Grosvenor Road to the South. The latter constitutes the southern boundary of the Divis Street area while the Shankill Road area lies to the north. Further north, separated from the rest of the Catholic community by the Shankill Road the Crumlin Road area is situated.

Understandably, the Catholic communities in Belfast live in a constant state of siege. During the night of August 12th every sound of revelry that carried over from the neighbouring protestant areas increased the tension. Two bands, accompanied by about 600 Apprentice Boys and supporters waving Union Jacks and singing" The Sash" left York Road railway station and marched to the Shankill Road. On their way they passed Unity Walk flats where" the most serious rioting in thirty-four years" had taken place on August 4th. But this time the orange parade was not stoned.

The night passed without incident, though evacuations and house swapping which had begun earlier in the month continued. Protestants and Catholics housed in hostile areas exchanged houses. The talk continued and the news kept pouring in from the Bogside.

By the following night the Civil Rights Association had got word around of a planned demonstration outside the Divis Tower flats. It was intended that such a meeting, in the heart of the Divis Street area and in defiance of the newly announced ban on public demonstrations would worry and occupy the police without endangering the situation. However, as the crowd increased so did emotions and before long the assembly was out of control.

They set off along Divis Street chanting" S.S. R.U.C." in the direction of an R.U.C. barracks in Springfield Road. After a fairly harmless demonstration outside this they returned along the same route and made for the Hastings Street barracks situated in the heart of the catholic area. This was attacked with petrol bombs and nearby buildings were set alight before police landrovers and armoured cars appeared and dispersed the crowd. Along the route of the retreat cars were petrol-bombed and pushed into the road to delay any advance of police or protestants.

When news ofthe B Special mobilisation reached the catholics on Thursday 14th the already tense atmosphere became hysterical.Barricades were
erected at all entrances to the area and those that were in existence from the previous night were reinforced. Pavement slabs and telegraph poles were torn out of the ground. Buses, lorries and vans were hi-jacked and positioned between Divis Street and the Shankill Road area.

Catholics living in the low terraced houses that connect the two areas were evacuated and reinstated in the houses of their more favourably situated friends. Protestant mobs, led by stewards with white arm bands, were advancing south on the Falls area and north on the Crumlin area.

By about 11.00 p.m. two hostile mobs faced each other in Hooker Street to the north of the Crumlin Road. The two sides fought viciously with stones and petrol bombs. The night was filled with sectarian catch-cries and obscenities and before long pubs and houses were ablaze.

At length two police armoured cars appeared and charged into the midst of the battle. They were pelted with stones and petrol bombs and one of the cars, having crashed, because of a petrol bomb had to be abandoned. The catholic crowd cheered and charged back into the fray with renewed confidence.

A subsequent protestant charge brought about a terrifying clash. Again police cars rushed in to try and separate the mobs, but it was the sound of four bursts of automatic fire which finally brought the crowd to their senses.

While the first shots rang out in the Crumlin area a mob from the Falls Road/Divis Street area had laid siege for the second night in succession to the R.U.C. barracks in Hastings Street. They were dispersed by armoured cars and the area was sealed off. From the roof top of the Divis Tower Flats another crowd showered stones and petrol bombs on the armoured cars patrolling the area.

By 12.30 p.m. mobs of protestants, two to three hundred strong had moved in along most of the routes connecting the Falls Road/Divis Street area with the surrounding protestant areas. In both catholic areas in Belfast the cry for guns became more and more desperate.

For the rest of Thursday night the pitch battle of the Bogside kind was replaced with sniper activity. Bullets ricochetted along the narrow streets. When a mini car raced down an inadequately barricaded street everybody ducked for cover. Seconds later shots and blasts of automatic fire rang out.
During that night thirty-three people were shot; three men and a nineyear-old boy fatally. Catholics claimed that B Specials had been seen distributing guns among protestants. Protestants claimed that the I.R.A. were at work among the catholics. Many people who were shot were in their houses when the bullets penetrated windows and walls.

On Friday the confrontations continued at the barricades, notably in Percy Street and Cupar Street between the Shankill Road and Divis Street areas. Buildings from which snipers were at work were set alight, while lorry loads of men raced backwards and forwards collecting material to reinforce the barricades.

A youth was shot dead as he came out of his house on Kashmir Road. Inside Clonard Redemptorist Monastery men begged priest for blessings before running into the fray. Outside a priest administered last rites to a man who had been riddled with shotgun pellets. From an upstairs window of the monastery streets of terraced houses and enormous factory buildings could be seen blazing throughout the day. The bells of the monastery chimed hysterically while the priests questioned the wisdom of calling out women and children.

Schools and community halls were used as relief centres. Nuns of the Bon Secour Nursing Home in Divis Street harboured shooting victims until the St. John's Ambulance arrived. Men stationed at un barricaded entrances and exits stood aside for the ambulances that raced in and out of the area.
By 5.00 p.m. the catholics on the street were in command of two small calibre .22 rifles. At Clonard Gardens, beside the Monastery, catholics failed to dislodge a sniper from a house in Cuper Street because of a chronic shortage of ammunition. Protestants behind a barricade in Bombay Street were driven back by fire from Divis Street.

When the troops arrived in Divis Street at about 6.30 p.m. they were greeted with subdued applause and cheering. Men and women stood by as the soldiers poured into the blazing streets, cordoned off side-streets and took up positions behind the barbed wire barricades. There were no signs of jubilance or triumph but many visible signs of relief.

During Friday night sniping continued despite the presence of the troops. A soldier in Bombay Street was wounded and B Specials guarding Paisley's home were fired on from a passing car.

A protestant invasion from the Shankill Road area was forestalled by troops using tear gas, while snipers were in command of a nearby mill. Shots were indistingushable from the crackling of burning buildings. For the second night in succession fire brigadcs were unable to bet to the burning homes. Locals attempting to fight the blaze in St. Gall's school beside Clonard monastery used a tender left at their disposal. When the sniper fire became too heavy they left the school to burn. The Catholic Ardoyne area north of Crumlin Road was under intense siege the whole of Friday night.

By midnight on Friday the toll of shooting victims in Belfast had risen to a total of 87. A man shot by a sniper's bullet at 4.11 a.m. on Saturday was the sixth death in Belfast's three nights of chaos

ONE OF THE most intriguing questions to emerge from last months events in Northern Ireland is-where was the I.R.A. ?

It is quite certain that the support Bogside got was minimal. Staff Headquarters now claim that one of their units built barricades for the Bogsiders. Undoubtedly this is true and is corroborated by the people of Bogside. But it was hardly a unique contribution. The preparation of defensive weapons was organised by the Young Socialists. And had the B Specials attacked the night the troops were sent in, there were no guns in Bogside and none had been brought in.

The I.R.A. missed out on Belfast also. This was much more unforgiveable. The B Specials had been mobilised and the Shankill Defence Committee made no secret of its aims. The R.U.C. were obviously no protection. And the Special Branch ensured that the people of Falls Road would be even less protected by swooping on the four known I.R.A. men in the area and arresting them. Thus the I.R.A. could not even protect its own supporters in the area and allowed strong political capital to fall into the hands of the Stormont Government. No I.R.A. appeared in Belfast on Thursday night and next day five people were dead. On Friday morning there was an attempt to bring arms into the area. Two people bringing it in were arrested. But some valuable rounds of ammunition were smuggled through. These were useful in scaring off the Whippet Cars on Crumlin Road that night, but next day another two people were dead.

late, Amateur, Uncertain
One could sum up the I.R.A. help to an unprotected people as late, amateur and uncertain. In Newry and Armagh the absence of the I.R.A. was as marked and no units succeeded or dared attempt pass through the B Special road blocks. Units did succeed in reaching Dungannon, Coalisland and Ardoyne in Belfast. In all of them they were told to go away, because even though the B Specials were terrorising Dungannon and Ardoyne lay in the path of a Paisleyite attack, the local population believed that the presence ofthe I.R.A. would attract the attention of the Specials to an even greater extent and the I.R.A. would be totally defeated by them.

There was no pattern to the I.R.A. presence in the North. It is clear that they were poorly armed, that they were desperately short of ammunition, and that the confidence they were once held in has dwindled considerably. This seeming failure must be analysed to show that the absence of the I.R.A. could have been predicted and that the exaggerated bombast of Sinn Fein meetings in Dublin was a mere smokescreen. Similarly the celebrated diversion of sending 100 enthusiastic youths up to Dundalk was nothing but an obscure lie. Before the gay party set off, it was noised around by the I.R.A. that it was a diversion. But it was certainly not a diversion for slipping units over the border.

The absence of the I.R.A. was as a result of the policy of the Ard Chornhairle of Sinn Fein. In the last five years Sinn Fein has swung to the left. It has deliberately emphasised the need for social revolution in the South a requisite for unifying the country.

The I.R.A. which used to have a military objective now is merely a terrorist group. As such, it may be having a more beneficial effect in the South, but it is in no state to take on the B Specials or the R.U.C. for that matter. Its guns are out of date and are bought from ordinary dealers. Its members are known by the Special Branch and depend on lack of evidence of their activities for their continued freedom.

Pompous Statement
Yet despite the evidence of their nonpresence in the North, the I.R.A. issued an incredibly pompous statement on their role in the North and their future aims. The statement is, to say the least a puzzling document. The political references to a workers and a small farmers state and to the financiers, aristocrats and imperialists who are a curse to the country appeared to be drawn up by the socialist wing of Sinn Fein. But incredible statement that the U.N. had talked enough about Tibet and Peru and should turn its attention to Ireland shows a different influence. Most of the document is couched in the old right wing jargon and makes silly claims of authority as the provisional government of Ireland. The document was probably another smokescreen. Sinn Fein's policy on the North had failed. They had let down the Catholic population in the North by not giving them enough arms to scare off the Specials. And their tactics of keeping the right wing

nationalists in the party quiet while they pushed socialist issues had gone completely awry. Thus while Sinn Fein did nothing, the I.R.A. claimed it had done heroic acts. Thus while Sinn Fein tried to ensure that the South remained quiet and supported the militant postures of Fiana Fail, the I.R.A. claimed it was the provisional government of the entire country. At the same time Sinn Fein has pulled out of Northern politics an autonomous party. The Ard Chornhairle was instrumental in setting up the Civil Rights Movement and has encouraged its members to engage in moderate constitutional politics in the North. Sinn Fein has stressed the South in its organisation and policy and has relied on the Civil Rights Movement to win Protestants from Unionism in the North and thus create a situation for republicans to once again freely voice their views.

Radical Progress
In the South, Sinn Fein has worked through front organisations.These link issues as diverse as the ownership of ground rents, the ownership of Irish land, the ownership of rivers and the whole question of Civil Rights for the West. In these fields, full time Sinn Fein organisers have made a good deal of radical progress.

The I.R.A. has co-operated fully in these Sinn Fein campaigns. When Sinn Fein have agitated in an area, the I.R.A. gives concrete effect to their demands. Thus the Meath Land League was helped by the I.R.A. when they burnt the farms of two Germans and an Englishman. The demand for Civil Rights in the West was helped when an American fishing firm which had cut across the livelihood of local fishermen had its lobster boats destroyed.

The I.R.A. has been reconstituted since the collapse of the border campaign in 1962. It acts now as the small armed wing of a militant socialist party. It is armed poorly. It has a good deal of explosive which can be manufactured from basic materials. The use of this explosive needs only two or three men and weapons are necessary only in the event of a chase. Thus a small, tight" army" can have a big political effect. The I.R.A. statement was probably designed to stave off a crisis in the Sinn Fein party and to save the face of the republican movement. It was desperately needed because the last month has seen the failure of most of what the republican movement had planned and hoped for and the apparent temporary success of the I.R.A. chief enemy-the Fianna Fail Government.

SINCE THE Civil Rights movement first made impact on Northern Ireland affairs the Republic's political leaders have consistently and practically uniformly misinterpreted or misunderstood the movement's objectives. There has been a failure to recognise that the Civil Rights demands were made within the political context of the Northern Ireland State until very recently-and always within the political reality of the link with Westminster-and that therefore the issue of partition was an irrelevance.

Re-unification impractical
The Civil Rights leaders saw the crude and brutal exploitation of the Catholic minority as the product of a corrupt and intricate social system which had been in the making for three centuries with the active assistance of the British crown and the passive apathy of the rest of Ireland. It was capitalism at its most vicious and exploitive and the N.I.C.R.A. and P.D. Radicals saw the struggle as a frontal onslaught on an entire system. Of course, the Orange
State would have been crushed within. In a United Ireland-and from this view- point the reunification of the might have been a valid objective-as a
means towards an end. However, the effort to abolish partition had in thePlease seprevious fifty years not alone provedsterile but had actually led to further exploitation and discrimination. Furthermore,the partition issue.

proved a distraction from the really pressing issues of justice and freedom for it (partition) was frequently represented as an end in itself-quite divorced from the other objectives.

The signal success of the Civil Rights Movement in the past year has been to remove the barren irrelevant question of partition from the political arena and to spotlight the injustices which permeate throughout the Unionist State.

The Republic's political parties and especially Fianna Fail and Fine Gael, both cling grimly to the re-unification ideal-it being the only surviving objective of the Independence struggle with which they can live in even the most hypocritical terms. The notions of egalitarianism, meaningful political independence and a vibrant culture are quietly shelved. The partition question can always be trotted out as affirmation of a continuing loyalty to a past heritage -in the secure knowledge that nothing tangible can ensue.

Since October 5th last, a number of politicians, especially Neil Blaney and Liam Cosgrave, have mouthed the worn-out shibboleths on partitionwhile the civil righters and the Nationalists in the North were assiduously avoiding any mention of the subject. Admittedly both politicians in question encountered some opposition to their stands-Blaney in the form of a mild rebuke from the Taoiseach; and Cosgrave in the expected shape of a speech to the contrary by Garret FitzGerald, seeking to remove the partition issue from political controversy at the time.

However, it wasn't until the recent crisis that the yawning gap between the Republic's conventional wisdom on the subject and the stark realities became obvious. On Wednesday, August 13th, Mr. Lynch delivered his" historic " speech calling for a U.N. peace-keeping force to be sent to the North and announcing the establishment of field hospitals on the border.

The speech reflected the conflicting tendencies within the cabinet and by its use of strong language (e.g. "the present situation cannot be allowed to continue" and" the Irish Government can no longer stand by and see innocent people injured and perhaps worse ") on the one hand and rather timid proposals on the other-" the Irish Government has therefore requested (instead of demanded) the British Government to apply to the United Nations (instead of a direct application by the Irish Government as was later made) for the urgent dispatch of a peace-keeping force to the Six-Counties of Northern Ireland. . . "
The setting up of field hospitals on the border was rather pathetic gesture of activity-and their usefulness perdictably has proved to be minimal.


Attitude to North-Ambiguous
The Government's policy towards the North has been ambiguous to say the least for some time. Ever since the Lemass-O'Neill meetings there had been a tacit recognition of the constitutional position of Northern Ireland and indeed a more or less formal recognition that the O'Neill administration was a competent and progressive one with which a Fianna Fail government could do business without losing Dr. Hillery-got a hearing thanks to Finland and Britain.

However, the Civil Rights crisis proved the O'Neill administration to be neither particularly competent nor progressive and showed that Fianna Fail had been mixing with rather dubious characters after all. This change of attitude towards the Northern Government is reflected in the Taoiseach's T.V. speech in which he said "Indeed the present situation is the inevitable outcome of policies pursued for decades by successive Stormont Governments. "

It appears that confusion dominated the Cabinet discussions during the hottest days of the crisis. Kevin Boland threatened to resign unless the Irish Army was sent into Derry on Wednesday, August13th.This idea was seriously discussed and it appears that a tacit understanding was made that under not very clearly specified circumstances the troops would be sent in. There seemed to be general agreement that partition was the root of the Northern problem and the only lasting solution could be reunification. Nevertheless there was some recognition of the immediate unreality of reunification and variant of Quintin Hogg's idea that civil rights in the North should be guaranteed by a tripartite agreement between the governments of Northern Ireland, Britain and the Republic. However, this idea has not been officially canvassed as yet because the time is not deemed opportune either diplomatically or politically.
The mobilisation of the first line of reserves was again symptomatic of Cabinet muddle and confusion. There was no clear idea what they were supposed to do-the idea that they should co-operate in a U.N. PeaceKeeping F( rce was obviously nonsense but it was thought they had better be around in case there was something for them to do and it relieved some of the frustrated tensions in the Government.

Abroad-A Shambles
Abroad the Government's initiative were a shambles. Tht: idea of a peacekeeping force was out from the start and indeed the Government knew this, and its own Mr. Aiken had spoken against even the raising of a similar issue at the U.N. last year on the Nigerian/Biafran question. That Dr. Hillery managed even to get a hearing at the U.N. is thanks to the good will of certain ex-colonial countries and Finland. Of course, the British delegate Lord Caradon himself agreed in advance to aUow Dr. Hillery have his say and then let the matter quietly drop.

While the Government was deep in confusion the Fine Gael party was up to its neck in it. In the absence of all other ideas Cosgrave peddled the allparty committee stunt (" we want to get on the act too ") and of course, the old partition hawk was given quite a good airing. A special party meeting was called to discuss the issue which it did, in its usual chaotic matter. This meeting was memorable for a rather sharp exchange between Sir Anthony Esmonde and Cosgrave. Gerald Sweetman confided to the listeners of" Later than Late" that he would prefer to have Northern Irish people massacre each other than have British troops on Irish soil.

The Labour Party acquitted itself best of all, thanks mainly to Conor Cruise O'Brien. Partition was not raised by them. The issues of civil rights were kept clearly in focus and there was no silly talk about U.N. Peace-Keeping Forces. An official Labour delegation even visited Northern Ireland, something which never even occurred to either of the other two parties.

The Northern crisis has shown that the people of the South are just as retarded in their appreciation of the present situation in Northern Ireland as are the more die-hard sectarian elements in the North

THE PROBLEMS of the North are so immense at the moment that an observer who ventured to forecast the future with any confidence would be veryfoolhardy. But the outlines of the conflicts of the next year are already taking shape, just as the pattern of last year stood out for all to see once the R.U.C. attacked the civil rights march on October 5th.

Britain inextricably Implicated
Britain is implicated inextricably now. Mr. Callaghan wanted to avoid such a position more than anything else. Indeed he was so eager to avoid the use of British troops in the North that he pushed a reluctant ChichesterClarke to mobilise the B. Specials, thereby forcing the British into the present situation.Britain and the Labour Party are implicated now whether they like it or not. The British troops now will be blamed along with the British Government for any further outbreak of violence in the North. This is what Mr. Callaghan wants to avoid. Before this, Britain ignored the North except when trouble broke out. When this happened Britain acted as mediator for peace and reaped the resultant credit. In this way, too, a rift between the Tories and the Labour Party did not develop and the possible political advantage which the Conservatives could get from the North did not interfere with Westminister policy.

If the British troops are confronted by a riot, Westminster must lose. They are trusted by neither Catholics nor Protestants. They will be fighting on two fronts. Furthermore the R.U.C. is a more efficient riot force than the troops. It can be less discriminate in its methods and can shape its tactics with the certainty of support from the Protestants. Thus the troops would probably lose unless they used their weapons which would be disastrous for Westminster on an international level.

Thus Westminster must involve itself more consistently in the North. The plan clearly is threefold, Westminster will dictate decisions directly to the Stormont cabinet. The joint communique issued by Mr. Callaghan at a press conference was not even voted on by the Stormont cabinet and must have been a straight dictate by Mr. Callaghan. Secondly the administration of the North will come much more fully under Westminster control. The placing of two top civil servants from Whitehall in the North must be of great significance. Most decisions involving sectarian discrimination are worked out on an administrative level and Westminster hopes to abolish the hitherto easy transition from cabinet to administration in institutionalising sectarianism.

Thirdly the R.U.C. and B Specials will remain under strict army control. This will be combined with the full use of the army to stop any resurgence of street demonstrations. On August 31st the army used helicopters in the environs of Fermanagh to ensure that there were no demonstrations at the trial of 45 civil rights demonstrators. Even the powerful Blackmen had to call off their annual march on August 30th in obedience to the orders of Stormont. The British troops have such a vast tactical mobility and such a range of weapons, that any banned march henceforth will not easily disobey Mr. Porter's orders.

It is most probable that the banning of all marches will be announced regularly at the beginning of each month. The period of intense Protestant ritual demonstration is over for a year. No Stormont Government would dare ban the" twelfth" but now it faces only the prospect of Catholic demonstrations and Paisleyite parades. What Westminster intends to do is clear: it will enforce law and order, paralyse the Unionist militia, force through reforms, and try and keep the new army police force neutral. Mr. Paul Rose, M.P., Chairman of Labour Westminster Group on Northern Ireland said on September 2nd that Mr. Callaghan knew far less of the North than his predecessor, Mr. Roy Jenkins. And indeed Mr. Callaghan would be very ignorant of the North if he believes that the situation is at all safe. There are three crucial groups which can destroy his whole strategy. The Paisleyites, the C.R.A. and the Irish Government are all in such a position.

The C.R.A. Now
The C.R.A. has grown in prestige and power on the streets. It cannot easily stay off them now. Once Mr. Callaghan returns, the pressure to return to the streets will be very great. Similarly if British troops are used to put down civic disobedience the Irish Government will have great pressure put on them to act. And if Bogside erupts again, as it very well may, the use of British troops will be far more repugnant to Irish public opinion than the use of the R.U.C. Thus the Irish Government is by no means certain not to force a major diplomatic crisis on Westminster by the use of its army. It is significant that the reserves will not be demobilised by the Irish Government until after Mr. Callaghan returns. If the Irish army was used, it would probably split the two major parties in Westminster more bitterly than anything else.

The Paisleyites
But the really crucial groups in the North in the next year must be the Paisleyites, the U.V.F. and the B Specials. Callaghan has kept the peace so far by conciliating Catholic opinion. He visited Bogside and Falls Road. However he has totally underestimated the cost of this. Never before have Protestants been so humiliated. They have had their barricades forceably removed by British troops. The people of Shankhill have fought with British troops. Westminister has openly tolerated Catholic areas erecting barricades and keeping out the R.U.C. But the Protestants have probably been most angered and annoyed by the treatment meted out to the B Specials and R.U.C. They are to be guarded, disarmed and sixteen are to be tried for their behaviour in Derry. The defeat of the R.U.C. in Derry must have but a large effect in unleashing the Protestants in Belfast the following day.

Thus a lot must depend on Mr. Paisley. If the Hunt Report in six weeks radically effects the R.U.C. and apportions a degree of blame to them, then Mr. Paisley can call on a huge fund of Protestant anger. Clearly the Stormont Government is attempting to stop him doing this. But if they fail, then for the first time loyalists will be fighting the British, Unionism will be split and trouble could spread all over the province. One must doubt if any genuine attempt to demobilise the Specials would be acceptable to the U.V.F. which has 10,000 members, according to the Sunday Times Insight team. It is also doubtful that anything else will allow the C.R.A. to stay off the streets. One group must act once the Report is issued.
Until Hunt reports there will probably be a temporary lull.There have been about four of these in the last year already. During them liberals claimed that peace has been found. Then trouble broke out again in a worse form. This pattern should continue.

Protestants are armed and angry. The Catholics no longer look for reforms but an end to the police state, unemployment and marginal poverty. These demands cannot be met by Callaghan. His greatest effect so far has been to raise Catholic hopes too high, and to anger the Protestant community. This is not an impressive record.

Attitude of New Conservative Government
The long term prospects for the North are worse. The attitude of the forthcoming Conservative Government will probably be more proStormont. At any rate the Home Secretary, Mr. Quintin Hogg, will find a sizeable extreme right-wing in the party which has traditionally supported".
the attitude of the 10 Unionist M.P.sA Bogslde casualty beIng received.

in Westminster. The economy of the North will probably get worse, rather than better. Already two industries, the pottery and cloth makers, have called for a removal of Selective Employment tax to compensate them for a loss in tourists purchases and for cancelled overseas orders. No firm has as yet withdrawn plans for investment in Northern Ireland. But firms report loss in contracts and new investment may emerge in a considerably reduced scale. The tourist industry has been more than halved by the troubles of last month and was alreaqy drastically down on previous levels. Tourism is Northern Ireland's second largest industry and tends to benefit counties West of the Bann to a large extent. It is likely that employment will get worse rather than better all over the province and that it will get proportionately even more imbalanced between the East and the West of thery
This offers little comfort for the next few years for conservative politicians. It offers little solace for moderates in the British Conservative party who may encounter a growing Powellite backlash on the North, particularly if the South intervenes.

In the next two months the conflict between power and flattery in the minds of the leaders of the U.V.F. may decide on whether an even worse pogrom will be organised and unleashed by the Protestant fascist movement.