The 50th Anniversary of the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association is to be marked with an event next Saturday September 22nd, organised by the Party’s South Derry branch.
Fittingly, it will be held in Brackaghreilly Hall, the focal point of civil rights activity in South Derry during that period.
The evening is being organised by the South Derry branch of the Workers Party and will include contributions from local people involved in the civil rights campaign. Among them will be Marian Donnelly from Maghera who was secretary of the local branch of NICRA at the time.
Reflecting on events at the time and since Marian said
‘Bloody and unnecessary carnage’ “Had the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association and other progressive forces been allowed to pursue their legitimate demands, then those who engaged in the bloody and unnecessary carnage inflicted over three decades could never have purloined the issue of civil rights as a pretext to justify their despicable and unjustifiable campaign of terror.
“Thousands of lives were lost as was the opportunity for a united approach to tackling the social injustices of our society”, she said.
“Fifty years on, our community is still divided: segregated education and segregated housing are still with us. Thirty per cent of our children are living in poverty. Low income homes are the norm, and forty per cent of the population is blighted by fuel poverty. Life expectancy is a post code lottery”, Marian added
Real equality “NICRA won many reforms but the fundamental change required to bring about real equality has yet to be realised”, Marian said.
“That can only come with the creation of a new future, based on a united working class, a bill of rights that rejects sectarianism and racism and that builds a democratic, secular and socialist society”, she concluded.
Civil Rights video The anniversary evening will include a short video on the formation and history of the Civil Rights movement which has been specially commissioned by the Workers Party in South Derry
Everyone who was part of the civil rights campaign or who has an interest in it is welcome to come along. Founding members of the civil rights association will be on hand to answer questions about the period.
Meeting starts at 8pm