Marian Donnelly, speaking on behalf of the Workers Party at a NICRA 50th anniversary festival in the Guildhall, received enthusiastic and sustained applause when she re-affirmed that the civil rights campaign was aimed at introducing democratic reforms in Northern Ireland and was for the benefit of all citizens – not any particular section of the community
“The civil rights campaign was about civil rights for all”, she said. “One Man one Vote was about securing the right to vote at local government elections for everyone not for Catholics nor for Protestants, but for everyone”
Optimism and hope “The early days of the civil rights campaign were filled with optimism and hope”, Marian recalled. “Despite the intervening years and all that has happened, I retain that optimism and hope today.
“Our society remains deeply divided and sectarianism has become institutionalised into our very structures of government. But that can and will be challenged and overcome” she said.
“When people gather to mark the 100th anniversary of the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association I hope that they will be able to say that everything we sought has been achieved and secured. But most importantly that they will be able to say that they are now living in a socialist society”, concluded Marian