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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Vol 35 no. 14. 28 June 1972

Irish Noses, English Faces

page 6

Irish Noses, English Faces.

Ann Hope is a member of the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association (N.I.C.R.A.) and an executive member of the Belfast and District Trades Council. She is also a full-time trade union official. Ann was in Wellington at the beginning of last week as part of a tour of New Zealand to tell people what is really going on in Northern Ireland.

Salient has already published a lengthy article exposing the bias in the New Zealand dailies' coverage of events in Northern Ireland over the last three years. The interview with Ann Hope printed here is not intended to be an explanation of the activities of the civil rights movement in Northern Ireland. But we think that Ann Hope conveyed the feeling and the passion behind the struggle for justice and democracy in Northern Ireland far better than any analysis we could produce.

If readers want a good explanation of the Irish people's 800 year struggle against British imperialism, we recommend Liam De Paor's book, Divided Ulster, a fairly short Penguin paperback which costs only 85c. Bernadette Devlin's book. The Price of My Soul, is also worth reading. For up to date events in Northern Ireland the British weeklies The Sunday Times and the New Statesman are good reading.

The Wellington Branch of the New Zealand Association for the Support of Democracy in Northern Ireland held a reception for Ann Hope when she arrived in Wellington here at Varsity. One lady from the local Irish community objected to Ann and told us she was just a trouble-maker. Ironically, when Ann spoke at Varsity and when / interviewed her, it became apparent that she was quite moderate in her politics Nevertheless she emphasised all the time that the violence of the I.R.A. could not be understood without understanding the violence of the British army and the violence of a system of housing, voting and job discrimination. The thing that impressed me most from her speech here and the interview was the fact that the struggle for democracy and justice in Northern Ireland has carried on for so long because the ordinary people are behind it — it is their struggle, not the organisational achievement of any revolutionary elite.

With the emphasis we get on violence in Northern Ireland, it is all too easy to overlook other responses to the British and Ulster Unionist oppression. Our papers seldom mention the educational and organising activities of the Civil Rights Association, the hundreds of peaceful marches and strikes and the organising and political activity of the labour movement in both the North and South. They never talk about the massive programmes of civil disobedience through rent strikes and the withholding of gas and electricity payments as well as taxes Perhaps these aspects of the conflict aren't newsworthy; or perhaps the commercial media in New Zealand could be helping to perpetrate the myth fostered by Britain and the Ulster ruling class that the conflict is merely religious in nature. The basis of the conflict is not religious, it is economic. The struggle in Northern Ireland is for justice and democracy, for the basic civil rights we often take for granted here. / began the interview by asking Ann whether she was hoping for too much, in view of the history and present day practice of British imperialism in Northern Ireland, when she had said that massive economic aid was needed from Britain. / asked her if she could expect the British to do anything to help advance the civil rights movement.

Its not so much the civil rights movement, its the whole situation in Northern Ireland. Its costing them money to keep the British troops there - money for compensation, and they're trying to find a way out of it. I think some of them are beginning to realise about the economic conditions in Northern Ireland, about the lack of industry; and they realise that they're not going to get peace unless something is done about the unemployment and the bad housing as well. So at the moment they're trying to appear very generous and liberal and they're trying to woo the people away from civil disobedience and away from support for the I.R.A. They're trying to split the whole democratic movement in two, and one of the ways they do it is to give a little. So while they're prepared to give a little, we're going to get as much out of them as we can. Nobody ever gets anything out of anybody except by negotiation and putting pressure on them and this is what we're doing.

How much popular support have the two wings of the I.R.A. got?

Its not a case of popular support, they've come out of the situation. The IRA are of the people. The majority of them are the sons and the husbands and the brothers of the people living in the ghetto areas. While an awful lot of them may not completely agree with the bombing campaign, they did need the IRA to defend them from attack, and they still think they need the IRA to defend them from attack. So they're not going to give them over to the British soldiers or stop protecting them in this situation. This is the support they have — the support of the people in a defensive measure. They haven't got the support of the people when they're going out bombing and being aggressive.

"The IRA are of the people. Its not a case of the people supporting the IRA. Most of the IRA are the sons and the husbands and the brothers of the people living in the ghetto areas".

From what I've read of even the Provisional' policies, it doesn't seem that they're totally negative. Do you think that because they're a popular force and a local force, the IRA are actually trying to achieve something political or are they just a blind reaction to British oppression?

Most of the Provisional members have just an emotional reaction to British oppression. The people who are supporting them aren't supporting either wing's political policies, no matter what they are. They're supporting them as a defensive measure. They're not delving into what they're putting forward as a political programme; they don't care. Its not a case of politics — party politics as such, when it comes to support for the IRA. It will only be if we get some peace, and people are putting forth their political views that we'll see how much support they've got for those views.

In her book Bernadette Devlin seemed to say that the most important thing was to smash the Unionist Government. Are the Unionists tied up with the British establishment or are they the real obstacle?

Photo of Ann Hope

Well it was the Conservative and Unionist Party and they were aligned one to the other. The Unionist Party in Northern Ireland was the old aristocracy, the landed aristocracy, and an awful lot of them were hard-headed businessmen. And they had the backing of the Orange Order, this sectarian secret organisation. It wasn't so much the Unionist Party, it was the power they wielded and the fact that they were a discriminatory body. Catholics didn't join the Unionist Party. Although they've had a few members over the years they generally were the upper class variety; they didn't like any of the unwashed working class variety, they wouldn't have been allowed to join. It was this hold over the people, this monopoly that we were determined to break.

At the reception for you here on Saturday night there was a bit of argument from one lady. We were talking to her and she said that the people in Belfast, where she'd just come back from, wanted peace and didn't give a damn what government they were under — they just wanted peace. Is that accurate?

No that's not accurate at all. They want peace o.k. but they don't want peace at any price, they realise that peace at any price is far too dear — you just can't have it. They want peace with justice, and after all the ordinary people are still maintaining the civil disobedience campaign until they get their demands. No matter what we said or didn't say, if the people wanted to pay their rent, they'd pay their rent or pay their rates; we wouldn't be able to do anything about it. But they're not, the people are determined to struggle on. Even those who went to visit Mr White law (British Secretary of State for Northern Ireland since the imposition of direct rule from Westminster in March — ed.) told him that, while they wanted peace in Northern Ireland it was conditional. It was conditional on the ending of the violence of the British army, conditional on getting an end to the repressive legislation and ending internment. The people know what they want.

"No matter what we said or didn't say, if the people wanted to pay their rent, they'd pay their rent. But they're not, the people are determined to struggle on".

You said that the Protestants, especially the Protestant working class were the main problem for White law at the moment. How hard is it, especially as you're in the trade union movement, to show people that there are more advantages in working together rather than dividing up on religious lines?

Its practically impossible, because they don't think logically. You can't appeal to them and give them a reasonable argument and think they'll accept it. They're just a frightened people and fear's making them react the way they are. What do you do in that situation? How do you get across to people that what they have been told for fifty years isn't true; that they're no better off than the Catholic working class, that there's no danger of them being discriminated against in a more just society. They just don't believe you.

Are the trade unions organised on non-sectarian lines?

Yes, completely. Not only on non-sectarian lines, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions serves the whole country, north and south — its a unified trade union movement.

You talked about the Loyalist Workers Association.

This has sprung up — they're trying to win away the allegiance of workers from the Irish Congress of Trade Unions. And to what? They have no alternative really to give workers because the trade union movement is the recognised negotiating body. If these people are fooled into giving their allegiance to the Loyalist Association of Workers, the employers aren't going to meet them, management isn't going to meet them. Whose going to negotiate for them, whose going to get them better wages and conditions? Nobody, and they're going to cut off their noses to spite their faces in the long run. They're going to be much worse off and I think they'll realise this themselves.

One thing that struck me particularly from your comments reported in the 'Dominion' this morning. You were talking about torture and gave one case. "A man was pinned to a table with nails through his ears and British soldiers held two others over electric fires and stamped on them". Could we talk about this a bit because its important to get this sort of thing across to people? The British army, or the S.A.S.. seem to be doing exactly the same thing we read about the South African special police doing.

When the present South African Prime Minister, Vorster was . . . what was Vorster before he became Prime Minister?

Minister of Justice — such a title! He stated that he would give up all the legislation in South Africa if he could only get his hands on the Special Powers Act. There's no doubt that this torture is going on, even White law is now saying its going on — medical evidence is substantiating it. Recently, before I came away, there was a World in Action team over from Britain, and I was going round people who had just been released and who had been tortured with one of their reporters. He was telling me that the cases of people who had been drugged were quite similar. They'd been interviewing people who didn't have a chance to corraborate with each other before hand. They give them a cup of tea or something before they get to the internment camps or barracks and after they get there the walls are coming in on them. This sort of thing, in an attempt to get information out of people who normally don't have information anyway.

"They give them a cup of tea or something before they get to the internment camps and after they get there, the walls are coming in on them."

Photo of Ann Hope

One encouraging thing you were saying yesterday is that the courts are refusing to accept confessions obviously based on torture. Do you have confidence in the courts as a way of fighting the government?

Not completely because there has been so much bad judgement given from the courts. Sometimes the judges hands were tied or the magistrates hands were tied — it was the bad legislation. Take the cases of the Public Order Act, under which people found in what they call riotous situations or disorderly behaviour situations, were given a mandatory six month sentence. You see the police or the army would bring the charges, and people would appear in court. People who were rioting in Cathotic areas were charged under the Public Order Act and given a six month mandatory sentence. Those who were rioting in the Protestant areas were charged under the Special Powers Act and either fined or let off. This was the way they used the law against people. Sometimes it wasn't up to the judiciary, not that we have an impartial judiciary anyway, but sometimes even their hands were tied with the legislation.

page 7

Surely the results of the Scarman and Widgery tribunals, which were to contradictory, mutt have destroyed your confidence in the judiciary?

People went to the tribunals in good faith and gave evidence and all they got was a lot of lies in return. You know they've said that tribunals in Northern Ireland aren't so much a way of finding out the truth as a means of the British Government to cover up the truth. Quickly, right after Derry (the shooting of 13 people by the. British army in Derry during a peaceful demonstration on January 30 — ed.) they announced the Widgery Tribunal and once they had announced it of course it made the whole subject sub judice, and it couldn't be discussed on radio or television or anything. By the time they got around to holding the tribunal or commission they had all their evidence neatly compiled. People just don't have any confidence in British justice as it stands.

"...a couple of hundred boys were down at the barricades stoning soldiers; but none of these people were shot at..."

You were in the march in Derry weren't you?

That's right.

Could you tell us the things that happened to you?

It was like any other march to start with. There were about 25,000 people there and they came down from the Creggan and the Bogside and the different starting points to the city centre to go to the Guildhall Square for the meeting. Of course they had the centre of the town blocked off. So what we did was to swing our marchers back into the Bogside to Free Derry corner to hold our meeting there, and the majority of the marchers came with us. A few, a couple of hundred boys, were down at the barricades stoning soldiers; but none of these people were shot at the barricades stoning soldiers. It was the people who were attending what was by this time a perfectly legal meeting, who were killed. The paratroopers just started shooting all round them, and we just had to fall on our hands and knees and crawl out as best we could.

Photo of Ann Hope

It seems quite amazing that you can still hold peaceful civil rights demonstrations. There must be a terrific sense of discipline among the people themselves.

Yes, they give allegiance to their ideals and they don't need anybody to keep them marching peacefully. They don't need the British army to steward their parades. They want peace and they want justice, and after all they've been marching in parades for nearly four years now, its nothing new to them. They know all the tactics that are going to be used against them and they know that non-violence is a good weapon and they're using it back. Its a disciplined political action.

What actual weapons are the British army using against you?

They're very well equipped. They've got these SLR self-loading rifles. When the bullet hits part of your body it does some damage to your nervous system. They're equipped with rubber bullets, these are about nine inches long, pieces of solid rubber one foot five inches in circumference. They can do a lot of damage when they hit you especially when they're fired at point blank range. Then some of the soldiers cut lumps out of the bullets and stick in bits of glass or pennies to make them more effective. They're using CS—gas, firing cannisters into built-up areas; they have a bad effect on people with chest or lung complaints. They have the Saracen armoured cars and the Saladin tanks and the ferret cars, Stirling sub machine guns — I mean you name it, they have it. Its all being used against us; in fact its like a testing ground. We've got the advanced technology of death free gratis and for nothing being used in Northern Ireland.

Has there been any weakening of the strength of the civil rights moment because the IRA has come in?

No, not really. You mean people have been giving their allegiance to the violent campaign rather than the nonviolent campaign. Not really, our platform is non-party political and we put forward a set of demands which are basically justice and democracy and there's no argument with these demands from any section of the community. It doesn't mean people are not giving political allegiance to other groups and organisations, but there's no argument with our demands and they're supporting our demands as well.

What's the IRA's view of the Civil Rights Association?

They've never worked actively agains't us. Because if we get civil rights for the community its as much in their interests as anybody else's. Then they will at last have the freedom to put forward their political aims and objectives. They've never had that freedom.

Could you tell us the way people are running their own affairs in the 'no-go' area in Derry?

They have street committees to look after things on the street and they have local communities to look after the running of things in the area, such as the allocation of relief monies to families who have men interned. They help with transport to the different internment camps, they look after children, they run functions and social evenings and gatherings inside the 'no-go' areas. Its just people coming together as best they can to exist in the situation. There's no public transport after a certain hour at night and there's no entertainment anyway — maybe the cinemas and dance halls are open but nobody goes to them. There's no social life, so they're having to provide a social life. They're trying to keep things running as normally as possible in a difficult situation. This is their main job and this is what they're doing.

Photo of Ann Hope

"Whenever things were going better for you all they had to do was to set out the old sectarian call and use the threat of violence and that quietened you for another wee while."

For some peculiar reason they feel it necessary to cover up their taces. I don't know why, they may think that they're intimidating people, but if we haven't been intimidated by the British army, people who feel it necessary to cover up their faces aren't going to intimidate us. They're the ones who have threatened to set up the 'no-go' areas., who are threatening death and destruction all over Northern Ireland. We have had shots of them on television, setting up the areas behind their own barricades, drilling and training and so on. This is what we're being shown at the moment. Of course if this had happened in the Catholic areas the army would have been in hell for leather and beaten you, but they don't seem to be bothering. We're not advocating that the army go in and beat anybody, we've had enough of it, but again its this one-sidedness of the situation.

How likely is it that these extremist groups will get a very large following among Protestant people who are prepared to go to the extreme?

They'll get the following all right, they've got it at the moment simply because the Protestant people have lost all sense of direction and don't know what's happening. The proroguing of Stormont was a great shock to them. It depends on what sort of a stand Mr White law's going to take and how firm he's going to be in putting down this sort of thing. The Catholic population have always been intimidated by extreme Unionists. Whenever things were going better for you all they had to do was to set out the old sectarian call and use the threat of violence and that quietened you for another wee while. Mr White law's going to have to deal with it — he and the British army. Its their problem. As I've already said about the 120,000 gun licenses, he's going to have to take the guns off them. He's going to have to revoke the licenses and just take the guns off them. There's no other way forward.

It seems a bit silly to talk about long-term solutions but is reunification something you're working to as a very long-term solution?

Well it isn't part of N.I.C.R.A.'s policy. That's not to say that a lot of people don't believe in reunification or that we don't say that reunification is eventually going to come It is sometime, probably a lot later than sooner but it is eventually going to come. It won't be the last solution as regards problems in Ireland; but as regards the sectarianism and the present sort of problems that exist, that'll be the solution to them. But its a very long way ahead.

Photo of Ann Hope

Do you think its possible for Protestant people to realise that if Ireland is reunited in the long run, it won't mean that Catholics are going to get their own back on them?

This is probably part of their fear at the moment, but they just have to look at the Protestant minority in the twentysix counties. Its a very small minority but at the same time they've never been discriminated against because they're Protestants, and they've never been denied positions of public prominence because they're Protestants. Quite recently an awful lot of them in the south signed a letter and sent it to all the northern people stating that their religion was no barrier to them in obtaining positions.

How strong is the Catholic church in having a hold over people?

I think this is a myth really. It doesn't have that much of a hold over people. On a religious basis, on religious doctrine people give their allegiance to the Catholic church. Politically I think its minimal, especially in the north at the minute. That's not to say that people won't listen if they get a sane policy coming from their leaders in the Catholic Church, but they're not dominated or controlled or run by them. They're making the decisions for themselves.

Has the hierarchy of the Catholic Church generally been an obstacle to the civil rights movement?

Not so much the civil rights movement, but there's always been the division in Ireland between the hierarchy and even the movements for independence. They were continuously excommunicated or condemned when they used violence, this is just part of the nature of things. Once upon a time under the penal laws in Ireland it was a criminal offence to be a Catholic priest and Catholic priests were on the run. We've always said that since Catholic priests came off the run, it was a mortal sin for anyone else to go onto it. As far as civil rights go, the civil rights were not just for Catholic rights, but the discrimination was against the Catholic population. The church are very much against the stand taken by the IRA and they are very much against the violence, but if they spoke out a bit more against the violence that came from Stormont or the violence that comes from the British army, maybe people would listen to them a wee bit more.

Do they not do this because they're in a fairly privileged position as it is, and the church doesn't have to fight for anything to its own advantage?

Well why they don't do it your guess is as good as mine. They probably haven't spoken out more over the years because in Northern Ireland they felt themselves in a secure position as far as the church went. There was no obstacle to them building Catholic schools or running churches — there was freedom to practise religion, and I suppose as far as they were concerned this was the only freedom they were worried about. Its not all the priests — many of them have been very active in the civil rights movement and the political parties as well; as individuals not as priests.

"People can give allegiance to civil rights without having to follow a definite political line."

On the other side the Protestant churches, have they got a greater hold over people?

No, nobody's listening to any priest at the minute no matter what side they come from. The Protestant churches have a part to play as well, but they have been terribly silent on the whole matter. Very rarely do they come out and say anything.

Does your organisation, the Civil Rights Association get its main support from Derry and Belfast?

No, its a six county organisation. Its divided into local branches and the branches form regional branches. Fourteen of the executive are elected at the Annual General Meeting, using a system of proportional representation actually, and the other eight members are regional representatives, to make sure that every part of the country gets a vote on the executive. Of course the members make the policy, we only administer it. The members make the policy at AGMs and at various regional meetings and things like this.

page 8

From 1967-8 when the civil rights campaign really started has the civil rights movement fallen off in support at any time or has it steadily built in support?

Oh it fluctuates. Its not a case of the support not being there. There are times when we need a call for action and we get the action. It depends on how bad the violence is or what has actually hap, pened. But as far as actual membership has gone, its steadily grown. Affiliation has steadily grown, especially with the civil disobedience campaign. It depends on the situation for the sort of support we get on the streets. Maybe the best way to do it is not to count heads; but if you want to look at the demonstrations and marches that have gone on especially since internment, the marches that have had the most support, the demonstrations that have turned out thousands and thousands have been the ones we've called. Mainly because people can give their allegiance to civil rights without having to politically involve themselves or follow a definite political line. It is a mass movement.

Is it possible that this mass movement could become more political?

I don't think so. I mean our demands are political, they're not party political, they're political demands. All mass movements have a limited life and eventually if we do get a democratic system in Northern Ireland, our role will be less and less important. Then the political parties will probably take over and start putting out their own definite political line. We don't see ourselves as being in existence for ever and ever.

Is the Alliance Party the sort of party, with the Social Democratic Labour Party, that would attract a lot of the mass support?

Yes, you'll get a lot of liberal Protestants who realise that the Unionist Party's not coming back who'll give their support to the Alliance Party. The majority of Catholics will still give their support to the Social Democratic and Labour Party, so these are going to be the two main political forces in the future. I may be wrong, but I think that when things settle down, this is what will happen."

Just a small point related to that. The few representatives you've got in Westminster seem to be completely isolated. Is it really any good them being there?

Well why not. When they're there their voice is being heard even if its just scratching Maudling's face to get attention. They're not their own, there's the Labour Party there, and they're aligned with the Labour Party on very many issues. They're three more votes against bad legislation in Britain that affects people. Of course they're essential, I mean representation every where's essential. Its more that we want not less.

"The government is not representing the people's views. We've no representation. In fact its gone from one man, one vote, to one man no vote."

Is Ian Paisley's idea of integration with Britain acceptable to you in any possible way or is it really not what you want?

No its not. Our programme is for more democracy in Northern Ireland, integration means less because you've got less representation. Proroguing of Stormont was undemocratic, even though we were glad to see the Unionist Party broken; but this was not what we visualised, we wanted a more democratic Stormont. We wanted a parliament where all the people could make their voices heard, where they could get things done. Westminster in the future isn't going to be that particular about providing employment for Northern Ireland, local government will. They'll bring the employment in, they'll be interested in people. And in a more democratic Stormont the Protestant people would have been attracted more to wards an Irish oriented way of life than a British-oriented way of life. It would have been a step towards a lot more freedom in Northern Ireland and it may have eased reunification when it came But we've got no representation now at all. We've got White law as Secretary of State and we have four other Tory Government Ministers taking over ministerial positions in Northern Ireland. They've now got this commission to advise them. Its only an advisory commission, they don't have to take their advice and they probably won't. Its probably just a sop. They've got to make up their own minds. White law is a very astute politician and he dosn't need a commission to tell him what's going on. Its undemocratic. Who appointed the commission — he did. People didn't have a say in it. They're not representing the people's views and surely this is what matters. We've no representation. In fact its gone from one man, one vote to one man, no vote.

Our paper has tried to pick out biases in the press here and as far as I can see the one-sided story we get here is pretty much the same as people get in Britain. How bad is this suppression of the truth?

Alot of it is suppression, a lot of it they don't want to get out. A lot of it is just downright ignorance because the pressmen don't go out and around Belfast to find out what's going on. They sit up in their hotels and ring up the British army headquarters and ask the army information officer — he gives them a story and they print it. Of course what they want to hear about is the violence and the bombing and the shootings. They're not interested in non-violence or constructive action. They want what's going to sell their newspaper and at the same time they don't want to do anything to upset the British Government. We're getting a mixture of those two attitudes.

Photo of Ann Hope

I was reading an article in 'Ramparts', an American paper, today and they were placing great emphasis on the popular support for the Provisionals. After listening to you that seems to be a bit misdirected, so possibly the Left as well as the Right is reading the things it wants into the situation?

Quite possibly. Lots of people tend to look upon things as they want to see them, not as they actually are. Lots of people are looking on the violence in Northern Ireland as coming from all the people. Lots of people have been talking about revolutionary situations in Northern Ireland — this couldn't be further from the truth. People have to defend their very lives against aggression, they're not in revolutionary situations. They're trying to make sure they stay alive. I think other people are just fooling them selves when they're talking about socialist revolutions or any other sort of revolutions in Northern Ireland — its not the issue.

I've noticed that some Irish people talk very warmly about the British Labour Government and very scathingly about the British Tory Government. It seems fair enough to speak scathingly about the Tory Government but was the Labour Government all that much help to the civil rights movement?

Yes and no. They're more sympathetic to the idea of civil rights and they wouldn't follow the same policy of repression, they were trying to do something. They may have fallen short in a lot of ways, but it wasn't the same opposition. The people thought that with the British Labour Government they may have got some redress but unfortunately they weren't in power long enough for this to happen. The Tory Government of course is the ally of the Unionist Party, they're one in the same party. They weren't going to act in the interests of the people, they were going to act in the interests of the Tory and Unionist Party.

Has there been much public sympathy in Britain for the civil rights movement or have people been fairly apathetic?

There's been a lot of sympathy and support from the trade union and Labour movements but then we've been sending speakers round these areas. A lot of people just look upon it as Catholic and Protestant fighting each other and their soldiers are there keeping us apart. Their soldiers happen also to be their relatives, and so they don't view the situation very favourably when some of them are getting killed. There's a lot of apathy as well of

Because of the one-sided picture we get here, we hear very little about the extremist Protestant organisations that use violence. Could you tell us about them?

There are several. We've got this so-called Vanguard Movement which is run by Bill Craig who is an ex-Minister of Home Affairs. We have the Loyalist Association of Workers which we've already touched on and we have the Ulster Defence Association. This Ulster Defence Association is a pretty recent one and they've taken to patrolling the Protestant areas at night — setting up barricades and checking cars coming into the area. They had a very large demonstration through the streets of Belfast recently; about ten thousand of them marching in military style.

"If they would all write letters to the papers about the situation in Northern Ireland — to get around the paper wall of propaganda that's been built up."

What things can we do here in New Zealand to help you, if anything?

We've already been asking people, in the Irish community, to keep hammering away. If they all write letters to the papers about the situation in Northern Ireland; a deluge of them will make the papers print them in the end — to get around the paper wall of propaganda that's been built up. We're asking people to support the demonstrations that the civil rights support groups here hold, to pass resolutions at their trade union branches and to forward them on to people in Northern Ireland, to put pressure on their own government and the British Government to legislate for a Bill of Rights — this sort of thing. This support is very necessary.

You mentioned a bill of rights, has anything specific been drawn up?

Yes, already an attempt's been made to introduce it both in the House of Commons and the House of Lords. The introduction of it was only rejected by about forty-one votes the last time, so its going to have a second introduction. When you think it took the Race Relations bill several times to be introduced before it was eventually made law; we're not downhearted because it wasn't taken up the first time. But its a lengthy process, its a long process. This is why if we get the pressure we'll probably get it introduced right away and make certain things legal or illegal. Its just asking for the same sort of standards that exist in Britain and the wiping out of all that repressive legislation — making it illegal to discriminate and that sort of thing. That's essential to provide the basis for better government.

Economically Northern Ireland is in a hell of a position. Do you think that if you get the civil rights you want you can improve the economic position?

Well they're going to have to go side by side, one with the other, because as we keep saying your civil rights and your justice are no good to you if you still have to emigrate to look for work, or you haven't got a job or you've got a bad house.


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