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Report of the The Bloody Sunday Inquiry
- Volume I - Chapter 7



The period up to July 1971

Chapter 7: The period up to July 1971

Contents

Paragraph

The formation of Northern Ireland 7.1

The city of Londonderry 7.14

The post-war period to the 1960s 7.21

The birth of the civil rights movement 7.27

Protest marches and violence 7.34

The developing demands of the civil rights movement 7.47

The reforms of November 1968 7.50

The People’s Democracy march 7.55

The Cameron Enquiry 7.59

Political developments, further violence and the deployment of the Army 7.62

The Scarman Inquiry 7.74

The Hunt Committee and its recommendations 7.81

The split in the IRA and Sinn Féin 7.86

Violence and unrest in Londonderry and Belfast during 1970 7.88

Changes in the political situation in 1970 7.95

Events during the first six months of 1971 7.97

The shooting of Seamus Cusack and Desmond Beattie 7.107

The formation of Northern Ireland

7.1 The Act of Union 1800 provided that Great Britain and Ireland should be united with effect from 1st January 1801, thereby forming the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

7.2 The 19th and early 20th centuries saw increasing tension within Ireland between those in favour of maintaining the union with Great Britain, and those who sought varying degrees of Irish political autonomy and independence. To a significant, but by no means universal, degree these competing traditions reflected the religious denomination of the population, with Protestants identified with support for the union, and Catholics with the nationalist cause.

7.3 The threat and reality of violence grew in the years before the First World War, and in 1916 the Irish Republic was unilaterally declared during the Easter Rising. The Republic was stated to be a “Sovereign Independent State ” which was “entitled to ... the allegiance of every Irishman and Irishwoman ”. Although the Rising was suppressed, in January 1919 the First Dáil, comprising representatives who had been elected to the United Kingdom Parliament but who refused to take their seats there, ratified the declaration of the Republic and asserted that “the elected Representatives of the Irish people alone have power to make laws binding on the people of Ireland ”. The same month saw the outbreak of the Anglo–Irish War, also called the Irish War of Independence.

7.4 In the following year, the United Kingdom Parliament at Westminster passed the Government of Ireland Act 1920. In effect, the Act divided the island of Ireland into two jurisdictions, providing for a Parliament of Southern Ireland and a Parliament of Northern Ireland. The Act gave each of these parliaments self-governing powers to make laws “for the peace, order and good government ” of their respective territories. However there were significant limitations to the legislative powers granted to these parliaments, as areas including defence and foreign affairs remained within the sole jurisdiction of the Westminster Parliament. Further, as a matter of constitutional theory, the two parliaments in Ireland owed their existence and their powers to a statute that could be amended or repealed by the Westminster Parliament.

7.5 Under the Government of Ireland Act 1920, Northern Ireland consisted of the six parliamentary counties of Antrim, Armagh, Down, Londonderry, Fermanagh and Tyrone and the parliamentary boroughs of Belfast and Londonderry. The jurisdiction of the Parliament of Southern Ireland extended over the other 26 counties in the island of Ireland.

7.6 Northern Ireland had a majority Protestant population, and the six counties and two boroughs were selected for that reason. The province of Ulster (one of the four historic provinces of Ireland) also included the predominantly Catholic counties of Donegal, Cavan and Monaghan. The exclusion of these three counties from Northern Ireland ensured the demographic and political ascendancy of the Protestant population and led to the charge that gerrymandering was inherent in Northern Ireland from its creation. At the time of partition, the population of Northern Ireland was about 1.2 million. By 1971, this had risen to just over 1.5 million, of whom approximately a third were Catholics.1

1 These figures are taken from information on the Conflict Archive on the Internet (CAIN) website http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/ni/popul.htm, which cites among other sources Paul Compton et al., Northern Ireland: A Census Atlas, London: Gill and Macmillan, 1981.

7.7 All 26 counties of Southern Ireland had Catholic majorities. Although the Government of Ireland Act 1920 established the Parliament of Southern Ireland, the vast majority of those returned to it in the election of May 1921 chose instead to constitute themselves as the Second Dáil of the Irish Republic.

7.8 In December 1921, the United Kingdom Government and representatives of the Second Dáil signed the Anglo–Irish Treaty. This provided that Ireland would have the same constitutional status within the British Empire as the existing Dominions of Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, and would be styled and known as the “Irish Free State ”. The Irish Free State would have a Parliament with “powers to make laws for the peace, order and good government of Ireland ”, and an Executive. While the first article envisaged that the Treaty would apply to the whole of the island of Ireland, Articles 11 and 12 in effect allowed the Parliament of Northern Ireland to exclude Northern Ireland from the powers of the Parliament and Government of the Irish Free State, with the result that the Government of Ireland Act 1920 would continue to have full force and effect within Northern Ireland. In such circumstances, the Treaty provided for the appointment of a Boundary Commission to determine the borders of Northern Ireland.

7.9 As expected, the Parliament of Northern Ireland did choose to withdraw from the authority of the Irish Free State. Although the Boundary Commission was appointed, no changes were made to the border. Thus the Northern Ireland Parliament created by the 1920 Act, which by then was established at Stormont, continued to have jurisdiction in the six counties and two boroughs, while the remaining 26 counties constituted the Irish Free State.

7.10 The Treaty, and in particular the provisions relating to the status of the Irish Free State as a Dominion and the Oath of Allegiance to be sworn by its members of Parliament, precipitated the outbreak of the Irish Civil War of 1922–1923. The conflict was largely confined to the 26 counties of the Irish Free State, with those supporting the Treaty prevailing.

7.11 In 1936 and 1937 the Irish Free State Government introduced the Executive Authority (External Relations) Act 1936 and associated legislation, which limited the role of the monarch to acting as head of state in external affairs. The Bunreacht na hÉireann (Irish Constitution), enacted in July 1937, renamed the state Éire or, in the English language, Ireland.1. Article 12 of the Constitution established the office of President of Ireland. Articles 2 and 3 laid territorial claim to all 32 counties of the island of Ireland, including those that constituted Northern Ireland. Many within the Protestant community in Northern Ireland regarded Articles 2 and 3 as a threat to the territorial and constitutional integrity of Northern Ireland and the United Kingdom.

1 The name of the state is Ireland, not the “Republic of Ireland ” which is merely its “description ” (see the Republic of Ireland Act 1948 and Ellis v O’Dea [1989] IR 530). In this report we use the terms “Irish Republic ”, “the Republic ” or similar expressions to describe the political entity of Ireland, so as to avoid confusion with the geographical term denoting the island of Ireland.

7.12 The Irish legislature severed the final constitutional link between Éire and the monarch by passing the Republic of Ireland Act 1948. This repealed the Executive Authority (External Relations) Act 1936 and allowed for the President, on the authority and advice of the Government, to “exercise the power or any executive function of the State in or in connection with its external relations ”. The Act also declared that the description of the State shall be the Republic of Ireland ”. In response the Westminster Parliament passed the Ireland Act 1949. While this Act recognised that the Republic of Ireland no longer formed part of His Majesty’s dominions, it contained the unequivocal affirmation that in no event will Northern Ireland or any part thereof cease to be a part of His Majesty’s dominions and of the United Kingdom without the consent of the Parliament of Northern Ireland . Irreconcilable positions on the “constitutional ” or “border ” question were thus enshrined in the Ireland Act 1949 and in the Irish Constitution. The relevant provisions of these pieces of legislation did not change in the period that is considered in this report.

7.13 Throughout this period, Northern Irish electors continued to send MPs to the United Kingdom Parliament at Westminster as well as to the Parliament of Northern Ireland at Stormont. However, a Parliamentary convention soon developed at Westminster preventing discussion there of issues considered by the Speaker to be within the proper authority of the Stormont Parliament and Government. The convention, which evolved from a series of rulings by successive speakers, lasted until the late 1960s.1 The journalist Peter Taylor wrote that as a result between 1922 and 1968, “the time spent on Northern Ireland matters at Westminster averaged less than two hours a year ”.2

1 House of Commons Debates, 1922, vol 151, 27 February– 17 March, col 1084–1089; House of Commons Debates, 1922, vol 153, 10 April–12 May, cols 1533–1536; House of Commons Debates, 1923, vol 163, 23 April–11 May, cols 1364–1365; House of Commons Debates, 1923,

vol 163, 23 April–11 May, cols 1624–1625; Paul Rose, Backbencher’s Dilemma, London: Frederick Muller, 1981, p179.

2 Peter Taylor, States of Terror: Democracy and Political Violence, London: BBC Books, 1993, p120.

The city of Londonderry

7.14 The city of Londonderry lies in the north-west of Northern Ireland, close to the border with the Republic, as shown on the map below. The distance between Londonderry and Belfast by road is about 70 miles.

7.15 In the course of this report we provide a detailed description of the physical and social geography of the city.

7.16 The history and name of Londonderry reflect the tensions between the two communities in Northern Ireland. The city, which had grown from a sixth-century monastic settlement, was originally known as Derry, which is still the name preferred by nationalists. In the 17th century, as part of the policy of plantation, the settlement of English and Scottish Protestants was encouraged in the area and the city was renamed Londonderry in recognition of the role played by the City of London in this process. Londonderry’s symbolic importance for unionists was enhanced by the successful resistance of the city when besieged by the Catholic forces of James II in 1688–1689, and this helps to explain the subsequent determination of unionists to retain Londonderry within Northern Ireland, despite Catholics constituting the majority of the population of the city and its environs.

7.17 In this report, we refer to the city by its official name at the time of publication, Londonderry. We are aware that in 1984 the City Council changed its own name to Derry City Council, that unsuccessful attempts have been made by means of judicial review to have the name of the city formally recognised as Derry,1 and that in November 2007 Derry City Council resolved to ask the Privy Council to change the name of the city to Derry. In September 2009 the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland recommended that Derry City Council should not proceed with its current proposals for bringing about a change in the name of the city.

1 Re Application by Derry City Council for Judicial Review [2007] NIQB 5.

7.18 Between 1920 and 1922 Londonderry Corporation, the city’s council which was then elected by proportional representation, had a nationalist majority. During this period, the Corporation ceased to fly the Union Flag and withdrew from any official relations with the Northern Ireland Government. However, in 1922 nationalist control gave way to a unionist majority after the Northern Ireland Government changed the local government voting system and redrew electoral boundaries.1 Such changes took place across Northern Ireland, and resulted in nationalist control being lost from 13 of the 24 councils that had previously been held.2 To many nationalists, this was further evidence of unionist gerrymandering of Northern Ireland’s political institutions.

1 E7.006 Professor Bew’s report to this Inquiry. 2 David McKittrick and David McVea, Making Sense of the Troubles, London: Penguin Books, Revised Edition, 2001, p8.

7.19 In 1936 the local government electoral boundaries of Londonderry were again redrawn, resulting in the creation of three wards. Two of these had settled Protestant majorities, and returned a total of 12 councillors. The third ward, the South Ward, was predominantly Catholic and had eight council seats. As the largest party in each ward won all of the available seats, the new system made it inherently likely that Londonderry Corporation would have a unionist majority. According to Lord Cameron, whose report on disturbances in Northern Ireland in 1969 we consider below, the manipulation of the ward boundaries effectively decided the permanent result of council elections .1

1 Cameron Report, Disturbances in Northern Ireland: Report of the Commission Appointed by the Governor of Northern Ireland, Northern Ireland Cmnd 532, Belfast: HMSO, 1969, para 136.

7.20 Nationalist grievances over the boundary changes in Londonderry were exacerbated by the property qualification for local government elections across Northern Ireland, which limited the franchise to occupiers of dwelling houses and their spouses. Those who could not vote included sub-tenants, lodgers, servants and children over 21 who were living at home. Lord Cameron reported that: Whilst this exclusion affected all sections of the population, it was felt to operate mainly against poorer elements and in particular against Catholics. 1

1 Cameron Report, para 143.

The post-war period to the 1960s

7.21 In Northern Ireland as a whole, the unequal political balance established by partition remained essentially unaltered until the 1960s. The Unionist Party retained control of the Parliament and Government at Stormont, and there appeared to be no prospect that nationalists would be able to form or participate in the executive, or be in a position to influence its policies in any material way.

7.22 1962 saw the end in failure of a six-year armed campaign by the Irish Republican Army (IRA), mainly confined to border areas and attacks on border posts and military installations. During this campaign, known as the “Border Campaign ”, both Northern Ireland and (a little later) the Republic of Ireland introduced internment without trial of suspected terrorists.

7.23 Two changes of government in the early 1960s altered the political landscape in Northern Ireland. In 1963, Captain Terence O’Neill succeeded Lord Brookeborough, who had been in power for 20 years, as Prime Minister of Northern Ireland, and the following year Harold Wilson’s Labour Government took office following the United Kingdom general election.

7.24 Captain O’Neill, like his predecessors the leader of the Unionist Party, embarked on a programme of social and economic reforms with the stated aim of modernising Northern Ireland. Further, he made diplomatic efforts to conciliate the Catholic community, sending public condolences on the death of Pope John XXIII in 1963 and, in 1965, exchanging visits with the then Taoiseach of the Republic of Ireland, Seán Lemass.

7.25 Captain O’Neill’s reforms attracted considerable support, but they also antagonised unionist opponents and created both expectation and frustration among nationalists. Such sentiments were reinforced by the widespread belief that the new Labour Government in London and in particular the Prime Minister, Harold Wilson, were more sympathetic to nationalists in Northern Ireland than they were to unionists. Of the unionist critics of Captain O’Neill and his policies, the Rev Dr Ian Paisley rapidly became the most prominent. He would go on, in 1971, to co-found and lead the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), a rival to the established Unionist Party.

7.26 In relation to Londonderry and the north-west of Northern Ireland, several decisions made by the O’Neill Government heightened existing suspicions, especially common among nationalists, that the region received little public sector support for investment and economic development. In particular, the decision to site Northern Ireland’s new university in the predominantly Protestant town of Coleraine, rather than in Londonderry, the second largest city, caused considerable resentment.1

1 Cameron Report, para 37; McKittrick and McVea, Making Sense of the Troubles, pp38–39; Thomas Hennessey, A History of Northern Ireland, 1920–1996, London: Palgrave, 1997, pp130–131; E7.005-014 Professor Bew’s report to this Inquiry; E6.0016-0019 Professor Arthur’s report to this Inquiry; E17.2.3-4 Comments by Professor Arthur on Professor Bew’s report; E17.5.7-10 Professor Bew’s response to questions from representatives of some of the families.

The birth of the civil rights movement

7.27 Since the creation of Northern Ireland, there had been allegations that Catholics suffered discrimination in a wide range of areas, including public and private employment, housing and, as we have discussed, local government enfranchisement. It is beyond the scope of this report to consider the extent of such discriminatory practices that did exist, the reasons for them, and counter-claims of discrimination against Protestants in some places in which they were in a minority. Further, we are not qualified to comment upon what effect, if any, Captain O’Neill’s reforms had on the situation. Nonetheless, it is apparent that in the late 1960s many (even most) nationalists remained convinced that anti-Catholic discrimination was a prevalent and malign force within Northern Ireland.

7.28 This was particularly the case in Londonderry, where the manipulation of local election wards had led to continuous unionist control of Londonderry Corporation. This caused resentment among the majority Catholic population, not only as a result of the perceived gerrymander, but also because of the belief that the unionist Corporation exercised its powers in employment and housing in a discriminatory manner. In particular, it was felt that the need to retain the demographic pattern that allowed for Protestant majorities in two of the wards in the city meant that housing for Catholics was provided, if at all, almost exclusively in the already overcrowded South Ward, and even then was often of poor quality. Tensions were exacerbated by the decline of traditional industries in the city, which resulted in high levels of unemployment and emigration in the post-war years.1

1 E6.0015-19 Professor Arthur’s report to this Inquiry; E7.009-0013 Professor Bew’s report to this Inquiry; E17.2.3-4 Comments by Professor Arthur on Professor Bew’s report; E17.5.7-9 Professor Bew’s response to questions from representatives of some of the families; Cameron Report, para 37; Niall Ó Dochartaigh, “A Short Historical Background to the Conflict ”, From Civil Rights to Armalites: Derry and the Birth of the Irish Troubles, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005, first published 1997, ppxiii–xv.

7.29 The 1960s saw the emergence of civil rights movements in many places around the world; and Northern Ireland was no exception. Influenced in particular by the campaigns of Dr Martin Luther King in the United States, a number of disparate groups emerged in Northern Ireland. These drew support from a wide range of sources: IRA volunteers, radical activists and students, supporters of the Northern Ireland Labour Party and trades unionists, and more moderate voices from the Catholic middle classes and the Nationalist Party, the traditional constitutional party representing Northern Ireland’s Catholics. Although it is convenient to refer to the “civil rights movement ” as a whole, the different objectives and outlooks of those involved should not be understated.1

1 McKittrick and McVea, Making Sense of the Troubles, pp38–40; Hennessey, History of Northern Ireland, pp136–137; Ó Dochartaigh, “A Short Historical Background to the Conflict ”, Civil Rights to Armalites, pxiv; Paul Bew, Peter Gibbon and Henry Patterson, Northern Ireland 1921–1996: Political Forces and Social Classes, London: Serif, 1996, pp149–155.

7.30 In early 1967 a committee was formed in Belfast that established the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association (NICRA), the most prominent of the civil rights movements to emerge in Northern Ireland.1

1 McKittrick and McVea, Making Sense of the Troubles, p38; Paul Bew and Gordon Gillespie, Northern Ireland: A Chronology of the Troubles, 1968–1993, Dublin: Gill and Macmillan, 1993, p1; FS10.15 Final Submissions on Behalf of NICRA.

7.31 The original constitution1 of NICRA was modelled on that of the National Council for Civil Liberties in Great Britain, with which NICRA had informal links. It was a rule of NICRA that there should be no bar on membership by reason of political affiliations, provided there was genuine acceptance of its objects and constitution.2 Clause 3 of its original constitution provided that the Association shall be non-party and non-denominational ”.3 The objects of the organisation were stated to be the recovery, maintenance and enlargement of civil liberties, including freedom of speech, propaganda and assembly ”.4

1 Later NICRA adopted a second constitution, which was in place at the time of Bloody Sunday. FS10.15; FS10.17-22 Final Submissions on Behalf of NICRA.

2 Cameron Report, para 187.

3 GEN5.1

4 GEN5.1

7.32 While NICRA was the best known of the civil rights associations other groups, such as the Campaign for Social Justice, had already formed, some with similar or overlapping aims.1 In Londonderry, a number of local causes and organisations, such as the campaign to site the new university in the city, the local Credit Union and the Derry Housing Association, mobilised public opinion and brought a new generation of civil rights leaders, including John Hume, Michael Canavan and Ivan Cooper among others, to prominence.2

1 Hennessey, History of Northern Ireland, pp126–137; McKittrick and McVea, Making Sense of the Troubles, p38.

2 Ó Dochartaigh, “A Short Historical Background to the Conflict ”, Civil Rights to Armalites, ppxii–xv; Paul Routledge, John Hume, London: HarperCollins, 1998, first published 1997, pp38–58.

7.33 The civil rights movement drew its support predominantly from the Catholic, nationalist community.1 Despite its declared aims, many unionists regarded it as a cloak for the IRA and other groups intent on undermining and destroying the union.2 We deal with the issue of IRA infiltration of NICRA later in this report.3

1 McKittrick and McVea, Making Sense of the Troubles, pp38–40; Hennessey, History of Northern Ireland,
pp126–138; Ó Dochartaigh, “A Short Historical Background to the Conflict ”, Civil Rights to Armalites, ppxiv–xv.

2 McKittrick and McVea, Making Sense of the Troubles, pp43–44; Ken Bloomfield, Stormont in Crisis: A Memoir, Belfast: Blackstaff, 1994, p100.

3 Paragraphs 9.65–86

Protest marches and violence

7.34 In the summer of 1968, Austin Currie, a Nationalist Member of the Stormont Parliament, highlighted the case of a young unmarried Protestant woman who had been allocated a house in the County Tyrone village of Caledon, near Dungannon, in preference to two Catholic families. Lord Cameron, in his report on the disturbances that followed, found that this allocation had been made in effect by a local unionist councillor, and that the woman could not, by any stretch of the imagination, be regarded as a priority tenant. Austin Currie and others occupied the house in question, but they, and a family of Catholic squatters in the adjoining property, were evicted in June 1968.1

1 Cameron Report, paras 26–28; McKittrick and McVea, Making Sense of the Troubles, p40.

7.35 These incidents were widely publicised and led in July 1968 to the first protest march sponsored by NICRA and other groups. NICRA had previously concentrated on taking up individual complaints rather than making mass protests. The march was re-routed by the police following representations by prominent unionists and the announcement of a public meeting, organised by the Ulster Protestant Volunteers, which was to take place on the same day and at the intended destination of the march. In the event the march, from Coalisland to Dungannon, passed off without any breach of the peace. However, the pattern of demonstration and counter-demonstration was established and was to be repeated on many future occasions.1

1 Cameron Report, paras 30–36; Hennessey, History of Northern Ireland, p138; McKittrick and McVea, Making Sense of the Troubles, p41.

7.36 In his report on the disturbances in Northern Ireland in 1968 and early 1969, Lord Cameron gave the following explanation of the tactic of counter-demonstration:1

“To put forward proposals for a march or demonstration which, if pursued, would clash in time or place with another already proposed on behalf of an organisation of an opposite political colour has been for long a recognised tactic of obstruction in Northern Ireland. In such an event the purpose of the proposed counter demonstration or march is to secure the prohibition or rerouting of the original march or demonstration. Once this is achieved the proposed counter demonstration is allowed to lapse. ”

1 Cameron Report, para 41.

7.37 The next march was in Londonderry on 5th October 1968. This was organised by an ad hoc group of local left wing activists and members of the Derry Housing Action Committee, in association with NICRA, whose secretary gave the required statutory notice of the intention to hold a march.1

1 Cameron Report, para 39.

7.38 The proposed route for the march started in the Waterside, a predominantly Protestant area on the eastern side of the Foyle, and ended in the Diamond, a square in the middle of the historic walled city. The route was, as Lord Cameron noted in his report, one that was commonly followed by Protestant and loyalist marches in Londonderry.1

1 Cameron Report, para 40.

7.39 There was strong local opposition to the march from unionists, some of whom set about organising, or at least declaring their intention to organise, a march of the Apprentice Boys of Derry on the same route on the same day and at virtually the same time. On 3rd October 1968 William Craig, then Minister of Home Affairs, made an order under Section 2 of the Public Order Act (Northern Ireland) 1951, prohibiting all processions in the Waterside or within the walls of the city.1

1 Cameron Report, paras 40–42.

7.40 Despite misgivings voiced by representatives of NICRA, the organisers decided to ignore the ban and proceed with the march.1

1 Cameron Report, para 43; Eamonn McCann, War and an Irish Town, London: Pluto Press, 1980, first published 1974, pp40–41.

7.41 One effect of the ban was to swell the numbers who took to the streets on 5th October 1968, many incensed by what they regarded as unwarranted interference by the Minister.1

1 Cameron Report, para 44.

7.42 The marchers gathered at Waterside Railway Station and moved along Duke Street to a point about 50 yards from Craigavon Bridge where a police barrier had been hastily erected.1 Lord Cameron reported that at this stage batons were used by certain police officers without explicit order ”.2 Among those struck were the Westminster MP Gerry Fitt and the Stormont MP Eddie McAteer, who had been at the head of the march.3 Television pictures of this incident, and in particular of a head wound sustained by Gerry Fitt, quickly became famous,4 and Lord Cameron stated that the use of batons on these men was wholly without justification or excuse .5 Further disturbances followed, as some of the crowd threw stones and the police broke ranks and used their batons indiscriminately on people in Duke Street .6 The crowd were subsequently dispersed by what Lord Cameron described as the indiscriminate and unnecessary use of water cannons.7

1 Cameron Report, paras 48–49. 5 Cameron Report, para 49.

2 Cameron Report, para 49. 6 Cameron Report, para 51.

3 Cameron Report, para 49. 7 Cameron Report, para 51.

4 McKittrick and McVea, Making Sense of the Toubles,
p42; Cameron Report, para 55.

7.43 Later in the day violence flared in and around the Diamond, where other marchers had gathered, and the ensuing rioting continued into the following day.1 Lord Cameron attributed these later disturbances to Hooligan elements wholly unassociated with the Civil Rights demonstrators ”, who had taken advantage of a minor clash between the police and the marchers over the removal of a political banner.2

1 Cameron Report, para 52; Ó Dochartaigh, 2 Cameron Report, para 54.
Civil Rights to Armalites, pp17–19.

7.44 In total, 11 policemen and 77 civilians were injured, the great majority of the latter having bruises and lacerations, mainly to the head.1 In his report, Lord Cameron criticised the organisation and stewarding of the march, and noted that some extremist and hooligan elements had sought to provoke or take advantage of violence or confrontation.2 However, he was also critical of the police, stating that their handling of the situation in Duke Street was ill coordinated and ill conducted ”, and that the use of batons there was probably unnecessary and in any event premature … [and later] lacking in proper control .3 He concluded that: There was use [by the police] of unnecessary and ill controlled force in the dispersal of the demonstrators, only a minority of whom acted in a disorderly and violent manner. 4

1 Cameron Report, para 53. 3 Cameron Report, para 54(8).

2 Cameron Report, para 54(2),(3),(5),(7). 4 Cameron Report, para 229.

7.45 The events of 5th October 1968 provoked an overwhelmingly hostile response outside Northern Ireland, especially as a result of the television footage.1 The United Kingdom Government increased pressure on the Northern Ireland Government to increase the pace of reform, and the longstanding convention that Northern Irish affairs were not discussed at Westminster was ousted.2 Within Northern Ireland, the Catholic population was outraged,3 the more so when the Stormont Cabinet tabled a motion congratulating the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC).4 At Queen’s University, Belfast, a new and more radical civil rights group, People’s Democracy, was formed out of the protests that followed the Londonderry disturbances.5

1 Ó Dochartaigh, Civil Rights to Armalites, p19 and p24; McKittrick and McVea, Making Sense of the Troubles, p42; Hennessey, History of Northern Ireland, p142.

2 McKittrick and McVea, Making Sense of the Troubles, pp42–46; Hennessey, History of Northern Ireland, pp142–143; Ó Dochartaigh, Civil Rights to Armalites, p24; Bloomfield, Stormont in Crisis, pp98–99.

3 McKittrick and McVea, Making Sense of the Troubles, pp42–46.

4 E6.0021 Professor Arthur’s report to this Inquiry.

5 Cameron Report, paras 56–61; E6.0021-0022 Professor Arthur’s report to this Inquiry.

7.46 In Londonderry a moderate group, the Derry Citizens’ Action Committee, which was led by Ivan Cooper and John Hume, was instrumental in stabilising the situation in the aftermath of the events of 5th October 1968. Although there were sit-ins and marches (including marches organised by unionist political groupings), there was no significant violence.1 A further government ban on marches within the City Walls was imposed for a month at the end of 1968. Lord Cameron described this ban as unenforceable and therefore not only useless but mischievous ; it did much, he thought, to increase tension.2 The announcement of the ban was followed on 16th November 1968 by the largest procession since the beginning of the civil rights campaign, in which at least 15,000 took part.3 Lord Cameron reported that thanks to the organisers, and particularly to John Hume, the procession passed off peacefully.4

1 Cameron Report, paras 62–65. 3 Cameron Report, para 65.

2 Cameron Report, paras 166–167. 4 Cameron Report, paras 62–65, 166–167.

The developing demands of the civil rights movement

7.47 This period saw NICRA and other organisations focus their campaign for civil rights on a number of specific issues. NICRA’s demands included, among other matters:1

1. fundamental changes in the system of local government elections, including the redrawing of electoral boundaries and the introduction of universal adult suffrage (one man one vote );

2. the passing of anti-discrimination legislation in Northern Ireland;

3. reform of the way in which public housing was allocated through the introduction of a points-based assessment system;

4. the repeal of the Civil Authorities (Special Powers) Act (Northern Ireland) 1922, a piece of legislation that gave the authorities far-reaching powers that were regarded by civil rights campaigners as oppressive; and

5. the disbandment of the Ulster Special Constabulary, known commonly as the B Specials, a part-time police force formed in 1920, that was by the late 1960s exclusively Protestant and, according to Mr Justice Scarman, Totally distrusted by the Catholics .

1 Scarman Report, Report of the Tribunal of Inquiry into Violence and Civil Disturbances in Northern Ireland in 1969, Cmnd 566, Belfast: HMSO, 1972, para 3.11. See also Cameron Report, paras 144–145; Sydney Elliott and WD Flackes, Northern Ireland: A Political Directory, 1968–1999, Belfast: Blackstaff Press, 1999, pp640–641; McKittrick and McVea, Making Sense of the Troubles, p38.

7.48 Arguably the most potent of these demands was the call for local electoral reform,1 as was well demonstrated by the situation in Londonderry. Lord Cameron estimated that across Northern Ireland the property qualification excluded one quarter of those entitled to participate in Stormont elections, where universal adult suffrage was used, from voting in local government elections.2 As is noted above, the effect of this disenfranchisement fell disproportionately on the Catholic community.3 In Londonderry, the property qualification and the electoral ward system combined to produce what Lord Cameron (using the 1967 figures) described as the extraordinary situation whereby sixty per cent of the adult population was Catholic, but where sixty per cent of the seats on the Corporation were held by Unionists .4

1 McKittrick and McVea, Making Sense of the Troubles, p38.

2 Cameron Report, para 143.

3 Cameron Report, para 143.

4 Cameron Report, para 134.

7.49 Although there is some dispute as to the effect that the introduction of universal adult suffrage at local elections would have had on its own (without, for example, accompanying boundary changes), there is no doubt that wider reform would have challenged unionist control of councils, especially in the west of Northern Ireland. Hence civil rights marchers’ demands for one man one vote and new electoral wards were strongly resisted.1

1 Cameron Report, para 143; McKittrick and McVea, Making Sense of the Troubles, p38.

The reforms of November 1968

7.50 On 22nd November 1968, under pressure from the United Kingdom Government (which is often referred to as “the Westminster Government ” or simply “Westminster ”), the Stormont Government announced a reform programme. This included encouraging local councils to use a new merit-based points system for the allocation of public housing, a commitment to abolish the Special Powers Act as soon as was practicable, the appointment of a Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration (generally referred to as the Ombudsman) to investigate complaints of maladministration, and the abolition of the company vote, which gave voting rights to corporate bodies in local government elections.1 In relation to Londonderry, it was announced that the unionist-controlled Corporation was to be replaced with a Development Commission. This body, which took over the administration of the city in the spring of 1969, consisted of nine Commissioners, all of whom were appointed by the Northern Ireland Government.2

1 Hennessey, History of Northern Ireland, p143; McKittrick and McVea, Making Sense of the Troubles, p46; Ó Dochartaigh, Civil Rights to Armalites, pp27–28; Elliott and Flackes, Political Directory, p378.

2 Ó Dochartaigh, Civil Rights to Armalites, p28 and pp88–90; Elliott and Flackes, Political Directory, p229.

7.51 Many in the civil rights movement regarded these proposals as too little and too late.1 The Campaign for Social Justice (CSJ) expressed the view that the proposed Development Commission was merely a means of avoiding dealing with gerrymandering, that the new points system could be manipulated by local authorities to maintain advantages for unionists, and that there was no clear promise to repeal the Special Powers Act.2 Most significantly, the reforms did not allow for universal adult suffrage in local elections, a source of grievance for the CSJ and many others.3 Despite this, the announcement of the reforms eased the situation in Londonderry where more radical elements within the civil rights movements had begun to organise spontaneous marches and threats of marches, something that the Derry Citizens’ Action Committee opposed.4

1 Hennessey, History of Northern Ireland, p143; Ó Dochartaigh, Civil Rights to Armalites, p28.

2 Hennessey, History of Northern Ireland, pp144–145.

3 Hennessey, History of Northern Ireland, pp144–145; Ó Dochartaigh, Civil Rights to Armalites, p28; McKittrick and McVea, Making Sense of the Troubles, pp44–45.

4 Cameron Report, para 67.

7.52 The reaction of unionists was mixed. While many supported or accepted the reforms, others were highly critical.1 William Craig, then Minister of Home Affairs, resisted the reforms within Cabinet and was less than supportive of some of his Government’s proposals in public speeches. In particular, he questioned what he perceived to be the undue influence of Westminster in the internal affairs of Northern Ireland.2

1 McKittrick and McVea, Making Sense of the Troubles, pp43–44; Ó Dochartaigh, Civil Rights to Armalites, p28 and pp88–90.

2 McKittrick and McVea, Making Sense of the Troubles, p43; Hennessey, History of Northern Ireland,
pp144–145.

7.53 In December 1968 Captain O’Neill made a direct appeal to the people of Northern Ireland for calm and for an end to the growing disorder in a televised address that became known as his “Ulster stands at the crossroads ” speech. To unionists he pointed out that unless there was a programme of change and reform instituted by the Stormont Government it was likely that the Westminster Government would take matters into its own hands. To civil rights campaigners, he insisted that the proposed reforms did represent real progress and that even if they were not satisfied, they should desist from street demonstrations so as to allow a more favourable atmosphere for change to develop.1

1 Hennessey, History of Northern Ireland, p147.

7.54 In the same month, Captain O’Neill dismissed William Craig from office following a speech in which the latter had stated that he would:resist any effort by any government in Great Britain … to interfere with the proper power and jurisdiction of the parliament and government of Northern Ireland. ” William Craig went to the Unionist backbenches, joining those who had already expressed opposition to the course being taken by the Stormont Government, some of whom were calling for Captain O’Neill to resign.1

1 McKittrick and McVea, Making Sense of the Troubles, p47; Hennessey, History of Northern Ireland, pp148–149.

The People’s Democracy march

7.55 Captain O’Neill’s appeal for calm was heeded by much of the civil rights movement, and a suspension of demonstrations and marches was announced.1 However, People’s Democracy, the radical group that had grown out of student protests following the 5th October 1968 disturbances in Londonderry, ignored these developments. Seeking to emulate Dr Martin Luther King’s march from Selma to Montgomery in 1965, People’s Democracy announced later in December a four-day march from Belfast to Londonderry.2

1 McKittrick and McVea, Making Sense of the Troubles, p48; Hennessey, History of Northern Ireland, p148; Ó Dochartaigh, Civil Rights to Armalites, p29.

2 Cameron Report, paras 56–61 and paras 89–90; McKittrick and McVea, Making Sense of the Troubles, p48; Hennessey, History of Northern Ireland, pp150–151; Ó Dochartaigh, Civil Rights to Armalites, p29, Bew and Gillespie, Chronology of the Troubles, p10.

7.56 The march, which took place contrary to the views and the advice of the Derry Citizens’ Action Committee and prominent figures in the Nationalist Party, began on 1st January 1969.1 On the fourth day the marchers were attacked by groups of loyalists, some of whom were said to be off-duty B Specials, at Burntollet Bridge in County Londonderry.2 Lord Cameron stated that the incident was a disgraceful episode that bore the marks of careful preparation.3 There had already been a riot in Londonderry the previous evening; Lord Cameron found that this arose out of a combination of sectarian feeling brought about by a prayer meeting held by Dr Ian Paisley in the city’s Guildhall, and the gathering of irresponsible and lawless elements many of whom were influenced by drink .4 He added that although the rioting had been blamed on supporters of the civil rights movement, it had not been incited or fomented in any way by any civil rights organisation or responsible local body.5

1 Cameron Report, para 90; Hennessey, History of Northern Ireland, p151; Bew and Gillespie, Chronology of the Troubles, pp11–12.

2 Ó Dochartaigh, Civil Rights to Armalites, p35; McKittrick and McVea, Making Sense of the Troubles, p48; Hennessey, History of Northern Ireland, p151; Bew and Gillespie, Chronology of the Troubles, pp11–12; McCann, War and an Irish Town, p51.

3 Cameron Report, para 99.

4 Cameron Report, para 96 and para 174.

5 Cameron Report, para 96.

7.57 Further violence occurred when the People’s Democracy marchers reached the outskirts of the city following the Burntollet attack.1 Lord Cameron reported that on that night, 4th/5th January 1969, there was a breakdown of discipline among some members of the RUC in Londonderry. A number of officers, he wrote, were guilty of misconduct including assault and battery, malicious damage to property in the Catholic Bogside area of the city, and the use of provocative sectarian and political slogans.2

1 Cameron Report, para 100. 2 Cameron Report, para 177.

7.58 These events led to the establishment of the first “no go ” areas in Londonderry. Residents of the Bogside and other predominantly Catholic parts of the city erected barricades and organised vigilante patrols to prevent the RUC or loyalist crowds from entering their neighbourhoods.1 The famous slogan, You are now entering Free Derry , was painted for the first time on a prominent gable wall in the Bogside.2

1 Ó Dochartaigh, Civil Rights to Armalites, p30 and pp35–37; McCann, War and an Irish Town, pp52–53.

2 McCann, War and an Irish Town, p53; Eamonn McCann, “Setting the ‘free Derry’ record straight ”, Sunday Journal, 21st October 2008.

The Cameron Enquiry

7.59 In the middle of January 1969, after further demonstrations and counter demonstrations in Northern Ireland, the Stormont Government announced that it would set up a Commission of Enquiry to look into the violence and civil disturbances that had started with the events in Londonderry on 5th October 1968. This led to the resignation of Brian Faulkner, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Commerce, from the Stormont Government, on the grounds that to appoint a commission was an abdication of government responsibility.1

1 Brian Faulkner (ed John Houston), Memoirs of a Statesman, London: George Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1978, p51.

7.60 The Commission of Enquiry was established at the beginning of March 1969, headed by Lord Cameron. He produced his report, to which we have already referred, in September 1969. It summarised its conclusions in the following terms:1

“229. Having carried out as full an investigation as lay within our competence we can summarise our conclusions upon the immediate and precipitating causes of the disorders which broke out in Londonderry on 5th October 1968 and continued thereafter both in Londonderry and elsewhere on subsequent dates. These are both general and particular.

(a) General

(1) A rising sense of continuing injustice and grievance among large sections of the Catholic population in Northern Ireland, in particular in Londonderry and Dungannon, in respect of (i) inadequacy of housing provision by certain local authorities (ii) unfair methods of allocation of houses built and let by such authorities, in particular; refusals and omissions to adopt a ‘points’ system in determining priorities and making allocations (iii) misuse in certain cases of discretionary powers of allocation of houses in order to perpetuate Unionist control of the local authority (paragraphs 128–131 and 139).

(2) Complaints, now well documented in fact, of discrimination in the making of local government appointments, at all levels but especially in senior posts, to the prejudice of non-Unionists and especially Catholic members of the community, in some Unionist controlled authorities (paragraphs 128 and 138).

(3) Complaints, again well documented, in some cases of deliberate manipulation of local government electoral boundaries and in others a refusal to apply for their necessary extension, in order to achieve and maintain Unionist control of local authorities and so to deny to Catholics influence in local government proportionate to their numbers (paragraphs 133–137).

(4) A growing and powerful sense of resentment and frustration among the Catholic population at failure to achieve either acceptance on the part of the Government of any need to investigate these complaints or to provide and enforce a remedy for them (paragraphs 126–147).

(5) Resentment, particularly among Catholics, as to the existence of the Ulster Special Constabulary (the ‘B’ Specials) as a partisan and paramilitary force recruited exclusively from Protestants (paragraph 145).

(6) Widespread resentment among Catholics in particular at the continuance in force of regulations made under the Special Powers Act, and of the continued presence in the statute book of the Act itself (paragraph 144).

(7) Fears and apprehensions among Protestants of a threat to Unionist domination and control of Government by increase of Catholic population and powers, inflamed in particular by the activities of the Ulster Constitution Defence Committee and the Ulster Protestant Volunteers, provoked strong hostile reaction to civil rights claims as asserted by the Civil Rights Association and later by the People’s Democracy which was readily translated into physical violence against Civil Rights demonstrators (paragraphs 148–150 and 216–226).

(b) Particular

(8) There was a strong reaction of popular resentment to the Minister’s ban on the route of the proposed Civil Rights march in Londonderry on 5th October 1968 which swelled very considerably the number of persons who ultimately took part in the march. Without this ban the numbers taking part would in all probability have been small and the situation safely handled by available police forces (paragraphs 157–165).

(9) The leadership, organisation and control of the demonstrations in Londonderry on 5th October 1968, and in Newry on 11th January 1969 was ineffective and insufficient to prevent violent or disorderly conduct among certain elements present on these occasions (paragraphs 54 and 118).

(10) There was early infiltration of the Civil Rights Association both centrally and locally by subversive left wing and revolutionary elements which were prepared to use the Civil Rights movement to further their own purposes, and were ready to exploit grievances in order to provoke and foment, and did provoke and foment, disorder and violence in the guise of supporting a non-violent movement (paragraphs 187–189 and 193).

(11) This infiltration was assisted by the declared insistence of the Civil Rights Association that it was non-sectarian and non-political, and its consequent refusal to reject support from whatever quarter it came provided that support was given and limited to the published aims of the Association (paragraph 187).

(12) What was originally a Belfast students’ protest against police action in Londonderry on 5th October and support for the Civil Rights movement was transformed into the People’s Democracy – itself an unnecessary adjunct to the already existing and operative Civil Rights Association. People’s Democracy provided a means by which politically extreme and militant elements could and did invite and incite civil disorder, with the consequence of polarising and hardening opposition to Civil Rights claims (paragraphs 194–204).

(13) On the other side the deliberate and organised interventions by followers of Major Bunting and the Rev. Dr. Paisley, especially in Armagh, Burntollet and Londonderry, substantially increased the risk of violent disorder on occasions when Civil Rights demonstrations or marches were to take place, were a material contributory cause of the outbreaks [of] violence which occurred after 5th October, and seriously hampered the police in their task of maintaining law and order, and of protecting members of the public in the exercise of their undoubted legal rights and upon their lawful occasions (paragraphs 222–224).

(14) The police handling of the demonstration in Londonderry on 5 October 1968 was in certain material respects ill co-ordinated and inept. There was use of unnecessary and ill controlled force in the dispersal of the demonstrators, only a minority of whom acted in a disorderly and violent manner. The wide publicity given by press, radio and television to particular episodes inflamed and exacerbated feelings of resentment against the police which had been already aroused by their enforcement of the ministerial ban (paragraphs 168–171).

(15) Available police forces did not provide adequate protection to People’s Democracy marchers at Burntollet Bridge and in or near Irish Street, Londonderry on 4th January 1969. There were instances of police indiscipline and violence towards persons unassociated with rioting or disorder on 4th/5th January in Londonderry and these provoked serious hostility to the police, particularly among the Catholic population of Londonderry, and an increasing disbelief in their impartiality towards non-Unionists (paragraphs 97–101 and 177).

(16) Numerical insufficiency of available police force especially in Armagh on 30th November 1968 and in Londonderry on 4th/5th January 1969 and later on 19th/20th April prevented early and complete control and, where necessary, arrest of disorderly and riotous elements (paragraphs 87, 101 and 182).

The Government’s announcements on the reform of local government franchise – the ‘one man one vote’ issue – reform and readjustment of local government administration, including electoral areas and boundaries, introduction of a comprehensive and fair ‘points’ system in the allocation of Council built houses and the introduction of special machinery to deal with complaints arising out of matters of local administration, go a very considerable way, not only to acknowledge the justice of the complaints on these points but also the expediency and necessity of providing remedies for them. ”

1 Cameron Report, para 229.

7.61 In his report, Lord Cameron commented that NICRA had within its membership those whose aims and objects were far different and more radical than those of the association itself, and who would not exclude the use of violence if they thought it necessary or desirable to achieve their aims. However he took the view that during the period that he had considered, NICRA had been able to maintain its avowed policy of non-violent protest and agitation within the limits of the law. He also observed that many who supported NICRA who were neither Catholic nor interested in constitutional changes, violent or otherwise, and these and other moderates had been able, during the period with which he was concerned, to keep NICRA on its originally designed and published course.1

1 Cameron Report, para 193.

Political developments, further violence and the deployment of the Army

7.62 The split among unionists between those who supported and those who opposed Captain O’Neill and his policies led him to call a general election in Northern Ireland at the end of February 1969. After a bitter campaign between the two unionist factions, the result gave Captain O’Neill a continued but weakened majority, but did nothing to mend the divisions between unionists. The election was also significant in returning a new generation of nationalist leaders to Stormont, including John Hume and Ivan Cooper.1

1 McKittrick and McVea, Making Sense of the Troubles, p49.

7.63 There were further disturbances in Londonderry on 19th and 20th April 1969, which might well have led to wide-scale violence but for the successful efforts of John Hume and his colleagues to defuse the situation.1 However, during the unrest police officers chased a number of youths into the house of Samuel Devenney, a Catholic resident of William Street. The youths escaped, but the police beat Samuel Devenney severely.2 He spent several weeks in hospital, before dying on 16th July 1969.3 Although an inquest recorded that Samuel Devenney died of natural causes,4 many in the local Catholic community viewed his death as a the result of police brutality.5 15,000 people attended his funeral, which was followed by a silent protest.6 This incident added to the growing hostility towards the RUC in the nationalist community in Londonderry.

1 Cameron Report, paras 121–124.

2 David McKittrick, Seamus Kelters, Brian Feeney and Chris Thornton, Lost Lives, Edinburgh: Mainstream Publishing, 2001, first published 1999; Ó Dochartaigh, Civil Rights to Armalites, p45.

3 McKittrick, Kelters, Feeney and Thornton, Lost Lives, p32.

4 McKittrick, Kelters, Feeney and Thornton, Lost Lives, p32.

5 Ó Dochartaigh, Civil Rights to Armalites, p47.

6 Ó Dochartaigh, Civil Rights to Armalites, p47.

7.64 During March and April 1969 a bombing campaign was undertaken against public utilities in Belfast and elsewhere in Northern Ireland. The police initially attributed the campaign to the IRA, though it later emerged that this was the work of loyalist extremists.1 The bombings, and the victory in April of radical student and civil rights activist Bernadette Devlin in a Westminster by-election for a seat previously held by unionists, increased the pressure on Captain O’Neill.2 He resigned as Prime Minister at the end of the month, only a few days after his administration had declared that it would accept universal adult suffrage for local government elections.3

1 Scarman Report, paras 4.1–5.10.

2 McKittrick and McVea, Making Sense of the Troubles, pp49–50; Bew and Gillespie, Chronology of the Troubles, p14; Elliott and Flackes, Political Directory, pp321–322.

3 McKittrick and McVea, Making Sense of the Troubles, pp49–50; Bew and Gillespie, Chronology of the Troubles, p15.

7.65 On 1st May 1969 Major James Chichester-Clark succeeded Captain O’Neill. He accepted that the O’Neill reforms would continue and that local government boundaries had to be redrawn by an independent commission.1 He also announced an amnesty for all offences connected with demonstrations since 5th October 1968.2

1 Hennessey, History of Northern Ireland, p162.

2 Bew and Gillespie, Chronology of the Troubles, p16.

7.66 In May 1969 NICRA suspended its campaign of civil disobedience.1 Widespread violence, however, soon broke out again as the approach of the marching season, the period during which unionists conducted their traditional summer processions, led to an increase in tension.

1 Bew and Gillespie, Chronology of the Troubles, p16.

7.67 There were disturbances in Londonderry and across Northern Ireland in June and July 1969.1 This period also saw the emergence in Londonderry of the Derry Citizens’ Defence Association, a group that took a more militant stance than the Derry Citizens’ Action Committee, and which declared that it was taking over the “defence ” of the Catholic Bogside area of the city.2

1 Scarman Report, paras 6.1–9.73. 2 Scarman Report, paras 10.11–10.14.

7.68 A major riot broke out in Londonderry on 12th August 1969, on the occasion of the annual Apprentice Boys’ Parade. According to the Scarman Report (which we consider in more detail below) the first missiles were thrown from a crowd in the Bogside at the police, who were trying to keep between the nationalist crowd and the unionist supporters of the parade.1 The ensuing unrest in Londonderry lasted for three days and led to many serious and violent disturbances elsewhere in Northern Ireland.2 By 14th August, it was clear to senior RUC officers that the police, by now exhausted and over-stretched, were unable to restore law and order to Londonderry.3 The authorities called for the assistance of the British Army, and at 5.00pm that day, troops from 1st Battalion, The Prince of Wales’s Own Regiment entered Londonderry.4 They were not attacked nor (apart from one accidental intrusion) did they enter the Bogside and the rioting died out.5

1 Scarman Report, paras 11.4–11.8.

2 Scarman Report, Chapters 10–18.

3 Scarman Report, paras 12.25, 12.30, 19.1–19.18 and 20.1–20.8.

4 Scarman Report, para 12.30.

5 Scarman Report, paras 12.31–12.34.

7.69 This disturbance became known as “the Battle of the Bogside ”. It amounted not only to sectarian clashes but to pitched battles between police and residents of the Bogside.1 The latter used barricades, stones, bricks and petrol bombs, while the RUC employed (it seems for the first time in the United Kingdom) CS gas.2 Mr Justice Scarman found that some police officers threw stones back at those opposing their attempts to move into the area3 and in at least two incidents police officers fired their weapons.4

1 McKittrick and McVea, Making Sense of the Troubles, p54.

2 Scarman Report, paras 11.31–33; Ó Dochartaigh, Civil Rights to Armalites, p107; Colonel Michael Dewar, The British Army in Northern Ireland, London: Wellington House, 1997, first published 1985, pp32–33.

3 Scarman Report, para 11.13.

4 Scarman Report, paras 12.14–12.16, 12.23 and 11.34.

7.70 The Battle of the Bogside led to the re-emergence of “no go ” areas in “Free Derry ”, first seen in the Bogside earlier in the year. For a number of weeks the Army agreed not to go into these areas, which were patrolled by members of the Derry Citizens’ Defence Association.1

1 Ó Dochartaigh, Civil Rights to Armalites, p115.

7.71 The widespread and grave disturbances elsewhere in Northern Ireland in August 1969 resulted in ten deaths and hundreds of injuries as well as substantial damage to property.1 In Belfast many families were forced to move from their homes. Mr Justice Scarman found that the Catholic community suffered a very much higher instance of displacement than did non-Catholics.2

1 Scarman Report, paras 31.1–31.25; McKittrick, Kelters, Feeney and Thornton, Lost Lives, pp30–31 and pp32–40.

2 Scarman Report, para 31.25.

7.72 The tensions between the Protestant and Catholic communities, already heightened by the violent summer of 1969, were increased further by a broadcast made by the Taoiseach, Jack Lynch,1 during the Battle of the Bogside, in which he said that the Irish Government could no longer stand by and see innocent people injured and perhaps worse ”.2 Many on both sides of the sectarian divide interpreted these words, and the announcement that Irish Army field hospitals would be set up close to the border, as an indication that the Irish Republic was about to invade or intervene in the unrest in Northern Ireland.3

1 Jack Lynch became Taoiseach of the Irish Republic in 1966.

2 Scarman Report, para 13.9.

3 Ó Dochartaigh, Civil Rights to Armalites, p108.

7.73 On 19th August 1969 the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland Prime Ministers met, together with a number of their senior ministers, at 10 Downing Street, the official residence of the United Kingdom Prime Minister. At the conclusion of the meeting, the Downing Street Declaration was issued. This reaffirmed the existing position that Northern Ireland should not cease to be part of the United Kingdom without the consent of the people and Parliament of Northern Ireland. The Declaration also stated that troops would be withdrawn when law and order had been restored. The Northern Ireland Government reaffirmed, in the context of the deployment of the troops, that it would take into the fullest account at all times the views of the United Kingdom Government. Both Governments also declared that it was vital that the momentum of internal reform in Northern Ireland should be maintained, and that every citizen was entitled to the same equality of treatment and freedom from discrimination as obtained in the rest of the United Kingdom.1, The announcements made following this meeting regarding the relationship between the Army and the RUC are discussed elsewhere in this report.2

1 Hennessey, History of Northern Ireland, pp168–169; Bew and Gillespie, Chronology of the Troubles, pp20–21; Faulkner, Memoirs, pp64–66.

2 Paragraphs 193.25–56

The Scarman Inquiry

7.74 On 27th August 1969 the Northern Ireland Government resolved to establish a public inquiry into the violence and civil disturbances that had started with the attacks on public utilities in March 1969. Mr Justice Scarman chaired this inquiry and presented the report, to which we have already made reference, to the Northern Ireland Parliament in April 1972, just over two months after Bloody Sunday.

7.75 The report concluded that the riots in 1969 were not caused by any conspiracy to overthrow the Stormont Government or to mount an armed insurrection, but that teenage hooligans, who almost invariably threw the first stones , were manipulated and encouraged by persons seeking to discredit the Government:1

“While accepting that the major riots … were not deliberately planned, we are satisfied that, once the disturbances started, they were continued by an element that also found expression in bodies more or less loosely organised, such as the People’s Democracy, and various local Defence Associations, and in associating themselves with bodies such as NICRA and the several Action Committees. The public impact of the activities of this element was tremendously enhanced by the coverage given by the mass media of communication. ”

1 Scarman Report, para 2.2.

7.76 The Scarman Report attributed the outbreak of the riots as arising from a complex political, social and economic situation:1

“Young men threw a few stones at some policemen or at an Orange procession: there followed a confrontation between police and stone-throwers now backed by a sympathetic crowd. On one side people saw themselves, never ‘the others’, charged by a police force which they regarded as partisan: on the other side, police and people saw a violent challenge to the authority of the State. These attitudes were the creature of recent events. Their own interpretations of the events of 1968 and early 1969 had encouraged the belief amongst the minority that demonstrations did secure concessions, and that the police were their enemy and the main obstacle to a continuing programme of demonstrations, while the same events had convinced a large number of Protestants that a determined attempt, already gaining a measure of success, was being made to undermine the constitutional position of Northern Ireland within the United Kingdom. In so tense a situation it needed very little to set going a major disturbance. ”

1 Scarman Report, para 2.4.

7.77 The Scarman Report concluded that the IRA neither planned nor started the riots, though the Derry Citizens’ Defence Association (which the report found undoubtedly contained some members of the IRA) made elaborate arrangements to keep the police out of the Bogside, if necessary by violence, in the event of disturbances erupting on the streets.1 The report laid heavy, albeit indirect, responsibility on NICRA for what was described as the horrors that occurred in Belfast on 14th August 1969 by its underestimation of the strength of militant unionism, which had led NICRA to organise demonstrations elsewhere in the Province so as to prevent reinforcement of the police in Londonderry.2

1 Scarman Report, paras 2.6–2.7. 2 Scarman Report, para 2.8.

7.78 As to the RUC, the Scarman Report rejected the claim that it had acted as a partisan force co-operating with Protestant mobs to attack Catholic people.1 However, as the report stated:2

“[I]t is painfully clear from the evidence adduced before us that by July the Catholic minority no longer believed that the RUC was impartial and that Catholic and civil rights activists were publicly asserting this loss of confidence. Understandably these resentments affected the thinking and feeling of the young and the irresponsible, and induced the jeering and throwing of stones which were the small beginnings of most of the disturbances. The effect of this hostility on the RUC themselves was unfortunate. They came to treat as their enemies, and accordingly also as the enemies of the public peace, those who persisted in displaying hostility and distrust towards them.

Thus there developed the fateful split between the Catholic community and the police. Faced with the distrust of a substantial proportion of the whole population and short of numbers, the RUC had (as some senior officers appreciated) lost the capacity to control a major riot. Their difficulties naturally led them, when the emergency arose, to have recourse to methods such as baton-charges, CS gas and gunfire, which were sure ultimately to stoke even higher the fires of resentment and hatred. ”

1 Scarman Report, para 3.2. 2 Scarman Report, paras 3.5–3.6.

7.79 The report did, however, identify six occasions when the police were, by act or omission, seriously at fault.1 So far as Londonderry is concerned, the report contained the following criticism:2

“The lack of firm direction in handling the disturbances in Londonderry during the early evening of 12 August. The ‘Rossville Street incursion’ was undertaken as a tactical move by the Reserve Force commander without an understanding of the effect it would have on Bogside attitudes. The County Inspector did understand, but did not prevent it. The incursion was seen by the Bogsiders as a repetition of events in January and April and led many, including moderate men such as Father Mulvey, to think that the police must be resisted. ”

1 Scarman Report, para 3.7. 2 Scarman Report, para 3.7(1).

7.80 The criticised conduct was, according to the report, very largely due to the mistaken belief held at the time by many of the police, including senior officers, that they were dealing with an armed uprising engineered by the IRA.1

1 Scarman Report, para 3.8.

The Hunt Committee and its recommendations

7.81 A committee under Lord Hunt was appointed in August 1969 to examine the recruitment, organisation, structure and composition of the RUC and the Ulster Special Constabulary (the B Specials). It reported in early October, recommending among other reforms the abolition of the B Specials and their replacement by an unarmed RUC reserve and a part-time force under the control of the General Officer Commanding Northern Ireland (a British Army officer) – the latter force was to become the Ulster Defence Regiment. Lord Hunt also proposed that the RUC be relieved of all duties of a military nature, and the setting up of a Police Authority whose membership should reflect the proportions of different groups within the community.1

1 Hunt Committee, Report of the Advisory Committee on Police in Northern Ireland, Cmnd 535, HMSO: Belfast, 1969.

7.82 The Hunt Report was greeted with dismay and anger by many unionists and following its publication loyalists rioted in Belfast. During the unrest a member of the RUC, Victor Arbuckle, and two civilians, George Dickie and Herbert Hawe, were fatally shot; Constable Arbuckle was the first police officer to be killed in what have become known as “the Troubles ”.1

1 According to Lost Lives, Victor Arbuckle was shot by the Ulster Volunteer Force, George Dickie “apparently by the Army”, and Herbert Hawe “by soldiers in disputed circumstances”. McKittrick, Kelters, Feeney and Thornton, Lost Lives, pp42–43.

7.83 The report was, however, generally greeted favourably by Catholics in Londonderry.1 The early autumn had already seen the removal of barricades in “Free Derry ” and the Army (using military police accompanied at first by regular soldiers, but days later by unarmed RUC officers) began without opposition to patrol the no-go areas set up after the Battle of the Bogside.2

1 Ó Dochartaigh, Civil Rights to Armalites, p124.

2 Ó Dochartaigh, Civil Rights to Armalites, pp118–123.

7.84 However, in September 1969 there was a sectarian riot in the centre of the city, in the course of which 49-year-old William King was beaten and died of a heart attack. William King was the first Londonderry Protestant to die in the growing unrest and his death brought to a head unionist resentment over what they regarded as the failure of the Army to deal firmly at the outset with the no-go areas and nationalist unrest.1

1 Ó Dochartaigh, Civil Rights to Armalites, p136; McKittrick, Kelters, Feeney and Thornton, Lost Lives, p42; McCann, War and an Irish Town, p65.

7.85 This riot, and the fact that Catholic youths had taken to casually stoning the RUC, led the Army to establish what it described as a peace ring around the Bogside and Creggan areas of the city.1 This involved the erection of Army barriers, checkpoints on almost all the roads into these areas, and severe restrictions on the movement of people and vehicles, particularly into the city centre. At first tolerated as aiding the prevention of renewed violence, the peace ring became a cause of resentment, particularly among young Catholics, though this resentment soon spread to other parts of the community.2

1 Ó Dochartaigh, Civil Rights to Armalites, p136.

2 Ó Dochartaigh, Civil Rights to Armalites, pp137–138.

The split in the IRA and Sinn Féin

7.86 Tensions between members of the IRA led to a split in that organisation at the end of 1969, from which the Provisional IRA and Official IRA emerged.1 The causes of the split are complex and beyond the scope of this report. We discuss elsewhere in this report2 the structure and organisation of the Provisional and Official IRA in Londonderry, and the activities of members of these organisations, at the time of Bloody Sunday.

1 Ed Moloney, A Secret History of the IRA, London: Allen Lane, 2002, pp54–84; Richard English, Armed Struggle: A History of the IRA, London: Macmillan, 2003, pp81–108.

2 Chapters 146–154

7.87 The political party Sinn Féin also split into Provisional and Official organisations in January 1970. Again the reasons for the split are complex and beyond the scope of this report.

Violence and unrest in Londonderry and Belfast during 1970

7.88 There was initially a good relationship between the Army and many of the Catholic community in Londonderry, though this did not last long. To staunch republicans and some left wing radicals the presence of British troops in the city and their welcome by Catholics as their protectors was anathema.1

1 Ó Dochartaigh, Civil Rights to Armalites, pp134–136; McCann, War and an Irish Town, p64.

7.89 The Army had started a “hearts and minds ” campaign in late 1969 but at the beginning of 1970 there were clashes with troops and further rioting.1 In the months up to Easter 1970 there were more frequent clashes between the troops and Catholic youths.2 Although this was followed by a period of relative calm, in June 1970 there was a three-day riot triggered by the arrest of Bernadette Devlin, the radical activist and Westminster MP, for her involvement in the Battle of the Bogside.3 In the course of this riot, the Army (as opposed to the RUC) used CS gas for the first time in Londonderry.4 The arrest of Bernadette Devlin brought to a head the growing resentment of many in the nationalist community in Londonderry at perceived miscarriages of justice in cases where Catholic youths were imprisoned for rioting as the result of contentious evidence given by soldiers.5

1 Ó Dochartaigh, Civil Rights to Armalites, pp142–146.

2 Ó Dochartaigh, Civil Rights to Armalites, pp145–150.

3 Ó Dochartaigh, Civil Rights to Armalites, pp180–184.

4 Ó Dochartaigh, Civil Rights to Armalites, p184.

5 Ó Dochartaigh, Civil Rights to Armalites, pp181–184 and 188–189; McCann, War and an Irish Town, pp81–82.

7.90 On 1st July 1970 the Criminal Justice (Temporary Provisions) Act (Northern Ireland) 1970 imposed a minimum sentence of six months’ imprisonment for the offence of riotous behaviour. This further alienated Catholic opinion in Londonderry.1

1 Ó Dochartaigh, Civil Rights to Armalites, pp188–189; McCann, War and an Irish Town, p81.

7.91 Despite this measure, and the announcement of a six-month ban on processions in July 1970, which had the effect of prohibiting the annual Apprentice Boys’ Parade, unrest continued in Londonderry. There was heavy rioting in August following the contentious shooting of a Catholic teenager, Daniel O’Hagan, in Belfast,1 and then further rioting from October.2 This period also saw, in August 1970, the first shots fired at soldiers in Londonderry (in two isolated incidents that were not repeated until the following spring), and in September the first bomb attack in the city; by Christmas there had been six others.3

1 McKittrick, Kelters, Feeney and Thornton, Lost Lives, pp55–56; Ó Dochartaigh, Civil Rights to Armalites, p202.

2 Ó Dochartaigh, Civil Rights to Armalites, pp201–206, 212–214 and 218.

3 Ó Dochartaigh, Civil Rights to Armalites, pp205–206.

7.92 Although this part of the report is principally concerned with events in Londonderry it should be noted that in the summer of 1970 republican paramilitaries became active in the use of deadly violence in Belfast.1 During rioting there on the weekend of 27–28th June 1970, republican paramilitaries shot and killed five men they claimed had attacked Catholic areas, two of them in an incident centred on St Matthew’s Roman Catholic Church in the Short Strand area of East Belfast that became celebrated in republican circles as a demonstration of armed republicans resuming their role as defender of their community. In addition, one Catholic man was fatally wounded and another seriously wounded in the St Matthew’s Church incident. During the same weekend, a Protestant was fatally wounded by a missile thrown during rioting in the Crumlin Road area.2

1 We often use the phrase “republican paramilitaries ” here and throughout this report in order to denote incidents in which it is either not clear or not relevant whether the Official or Provisional IRA were involved, though it should be noted that where we are referring to or summarising the evidence of witnesses who have themselves referred simply to “the IRA ” we generally use their description.

2 McKittrick, Kelters, Feeney and Thornton, Lost Lives, pp49–52; McKittrick and McVea, Making Sense of the Troubles, p61; Moloney, Secret History of the IRA, pp89–90; English, Armed Struggle, p135.

7.93 In July 1970 the British Army imposed a curfew and house-to-house searches in the Lower Falls district of Belfast. During the curfew there were gun battles between the soldiers and members of both the Provisional and the Official IRA. The search uncovered 100 firearms as well as bombs, explosives and ammunition, but involved rigorous searches of housing and businesses and considerable damage to property. Four civilians were killed, one crushed by an Army vehicle. Later in July a soldier shot dead a Catholic teenager in north Belfast in disputed circumstances. These events served to increase and intensify the hostility felt by many in the Catholic population in Belfast towards the Army.1

1 McKittrick and McVea, Making Sense of the Troubles, pp61–62; Hennessey, History of Northern Ireland, pp174–175; McKittrick, Kelters, Feeney and Thornton, Lost Lives, pp52–55; Moloney, Secret History of the IRA, pp90–91; English, Armed Struggle, pp135–136; Dewar, British Army in Northern Ireland, p47; Ó Dochartaigh, Civil Rights to Armalites, pp187–188.

7.94 On 12th August two RUC officers, Samuel Donaldson and Robert Millar, were mortally injured in South Armagh by a booby-trap bomb hidden in a stolen car. The two constables were the first two members of the RUC to be killed by republicans in the unrest.1

1 McKittrick, Kelters, Feeney and Thornton, Lost Lives, pp56–57.

Changes in the political situation in 1970

7.95 In June 1970 the Conservatives won the United Kingdom general election and Edward Heath succeeded Harold Wilson as Prime Minister. Reginald Maudling replaced James Callaghan at the Home Office, then the department responsible for Northern Ireland affairs. Both men were to remain in these posts throughout the period considered in this report.

7.96 1970 also saw the establishment of a new political party, the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP). The SDLP quickly emerged as the principal voice of constitutional nationalism in Northern Ireland, eclipsing the old Nationalist Party. Prominent SDLP politicians included Gerry Fitt, the party’s first leader, John Hume, Austin Currie and Ivan Cooper.1

1 Elliott and Flackes, Political Directory, p446.

Events during the first six months of 1971

7.97 The security situation in Northern Ireland continued to deteriorate in the early months of 1971 and violence increased in Londonderry, while social, political and generational tensions grew within the Catholic community. These were examined by the historian Niall Ó Dochartaigh in his book, From Civil Rights to Armalites: Derry and the Birth of the Irish Troubles, an extract from which we reproduce here:1

“The political changes in Derry since 1968 had had major social effects on local youths. The experience of rioting and of constant conflict had created a ‘hero’ mentality among young males, a desire to prove themselves through confrontation with the army and the RUC. It has also, in weakening the authority of the police and the state, weakened all other forms of authority. In other arenas of even greater civil disorder it has been noted that the concept of authority itself loses much of its meaning when state authority begins to be perceived as a hostile force. In Derry, this was reflected among the young by the fact that local youth groups found them more difficult to work with, less inclined to accept the authority of adults and more connected to militant groups which were willing to work with the young and give them a measure of authority. In Derry, it was the Provisionals and the Official Republicans who were most welcoming to the radicalised youth. In Derry, the rioters were regarded by the army, and by many conservative Catholics, as ‘hooligans’, that is, they were not seen to be politically motivated, but simply to have lost respect for authority, for ‘law and order’, and their actions were seen as ‘criminal’ rather than ‘political’.

The fact is that rioting was both political and criminal; it was part of a process of politicisation and also part of the rejection of law and order in general by many youths. For, at the same time as many of these youths were becoming involved with the Labour party, and the Official or Provisional Republicans, and youth participation in militant politics in Derry was increasing rapidly, the rate of ordinary crime and vandalism in the city was also soaring. Derry as a city, prior to 1968, had had a famously low rate of crime, commented upon by judges, clergy, politicians and visiting academics. In the course of 1970 there were increasingly frequent break-ins and burglaries and an increase in vandalism which reached epidemic proportions. This rapid increase in crime and vandalism was seen by many conservative Catholics as linked with the rioting and civil disorder in the city...

[E]ven in early 1971, there were important sections of the Catholic community who had effectively accepted the limited reform package [of the Unionist Government], who were willing to work with the RUC and still accepted the army as an essentially benevolent presence. They were organising within the community against crime but also against political forces which they saw as promoting destabilisation of society and the state … In a very real sense, they were committed to accepting the authority of the state. The reason they did not make more of an impact has a great deal to do with the decline of the authority of both church and state and with the fact that many people, young and old, including sections of the Nationalist party and the SDLP, were beginning to view the army as an aggressive force, not deserving of support. ”

1 Ó Dochartaigh, Civil Rights to Armalites, pp213–214.

7.98 Minor disturbances took place on a weekly basis in Londonderry throughout the first six months of 1971, with larger-scale rioting also occurring intermittently.1 Contemporary Army documents reported vicious rioting by about 50 young hooligans over the Easter weekend, followed by a period of relatively minor and isolated incidents of stone-throwing and petrol-bombing, before the level of street violence again increased towards the end of June.2

1 Ó Dochartaigh, Civil Rights to Armalites, p209.

2 G1.1-1.2 8th Infantry Brigade Op Directive No 3/71, 2nd July 1971; G1AC.19.1.13 Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) Special Assessment, 24th June 1971.

7.99 On the night of 6th February 1971 in Belfast, republican paramilitaries killed the first serving soldier, Gunner Robert Curtis, and the Army shot and killed the first member of either the Provisional or Official IRA, James Saunders, a Provisional volunteer, since the beginning of the unrest. A civilian was also killed on the same night, and another soldier was fatally wounded.1 Later the same month, five civilians were killed in County Tyrone by an IRA bomb apparently intended for soldiers, and two policemen were shot and killed in North Belfast.2 In March, a Catholic man was shot dead by the Army in disputed circumstances in West Belfast,3 a Provisional IRA volunteer was killed apparently by Official IRA gunmen,4 and three off-duty Scottish soldiers, two of them teenage brothers, were shot dead by republican paramilitaries on a mountain road overlooking Belfast.5

1 McKittrick, Kelters, Feeney and Thornton, Lost Lives, pp52–65 and 67; McKittrick and McVea, Making Sense of the Troubles, p64; English, Armed Struggle, p137; Tírghrá Commemoration Committee, Tírghrá: Ireland’s Patriot Dead, Dublin: Republican Publications, 2002, p11.

2 McKittrick, Kelters, Feeney and Thornton, Lost Lives pp66–68; McKittrick and McVea, Making Sense of the Troubles, p64.

3 McKittrick, Kelters, Feeney and Thornton, Lost Lives, p69.

4 McKittrick, Kelters, Feeney and Thornton, Lost Lives, pp69–70; Tírghrá Commemoration Committee, Tírghrá, p12.

5 McKittrick, Kelters, Feeney and Thornton, Lost Lives, pp70–72; McKittrick and McVea, Making Sense of the Troubles, pp64–65; Moloney, Secret History of the IRA, p97, English, Armed Struggle, pp137–138.

7.100 In Londonderry, Lance Corporal William Jolliffe was killed on 1st March 1971. He had been travelling in a Land Rover that crashed after being hit by petrol bombs while on patrol in the Bogside, and he died as a result of inhaling a high concentration of chemicals from fire extinguishers that were used to put out the resulting fire. Two other soldiers were dragged from the vehicle by local residents and taken to a house, where they were cared for until an ambulance arrived. Lance Corporal Jolliffe was the first soldier to be killed in Londonderry in the Troubles. The incident that led to the death of Lance Corporal Jolliffe was condemned by, among others, John Hume and the Catholic Bishop of Derry.1

1 McKittrick, Kelters, Feeney and Thornton, Lost Lives, pp68–69; Ó Dochartaigh, Civil Rights to Armalites, p219.

7.101 On 20th March 1971 Major Chichester-Clark resigned after Westminster had rejected his wide-ranging request for tougher security measures, offering only an extra 1,300 troops. Brian Faulkner succeeded him as Prime Minister of Northern Ireland after defeating William Craig in an election for leadership of the Unionist Party.1 The new Prime Minister brought into his government both liberal and hard-line unionists, as well as David Bleakley, a former Northern Ireland Labour Party chairman and MP, who became the first non-unionist minister to serve in a Stormont government.2

1 McKittrick and McVea, Making Sense of the Troubles, p65; Bew and Gillespie, Chronology of the Troubles, p34; Hennessey, History of Northern Ireland, p189.

2 Elliott and Flackes, Political Directory, p183; Faulkner, Memoirs, p84; McKittrick and McVea, Making Sense of the Troubles, p66; Bew and Gillespie, Chronology of the Troubles, p34.

7.102 In June, Brian Faulkner proposed the setting up of new committees, to sit alongside the existing Public Accounts Committee, overseeing social services, the environment and industry, with opposition members chairing two of them.1 This proposal was greeted favourably, albeit cautiously, by the SDLP.2

1 Faulkner, Memoirs, pp103–104; Hennessey, History of Northern Ireland, pp190–192; McKittrick and McVea, Making Sense of the Troubles, p66; Bew and Gillespie, Chronology of the Troubles, p34.

2 G2AA.23.1.2 Minutes of the Ministerial Committee on Northern Ireland, 6th July 1971; Faulkner, Memoirs, pp103–104; Hennessey, History of Northern Ireland, p192; Ó Dochartaigh, Civil Rights to Armalites, p230.

7.103 Brian Faulkner, like Major Chichester-Clark before him, pressed the United Kingdom Government and the Army for a tougher military response to the unrest. After a bomb attack on a Belfast police station that killed a soldier seeking to shield people from the blast, he announced in Stormont in May 1971 that any soldier seeing any person with a weapon or seeing any person acting suspiciously may fire either to warn or may fire with effect, depending on the circumstances and without waiting for orders from anyone ”.1

1 G1AAC.19.1.1.12 Minutes of the Defence and Oversea Policy Committee, 26th May 1971; McKittrick, Kelters, Feeney and Thornton, Lost Lives, p74; Bew and Gillespie, Chronology of the Troubles, p35; Faulkner, Memoirs, pp100–101; Hennessey, History of Northern Ireland, p192; McKittrick and McVea, Making Sense of the Troubles, p66.

7.104 Ministers in the United Kingdom Government were alarmed and dismayed by this comment. In a meeting of the (United Kingdom) Defence and Oversea Policy Committee on 26th May 1971, the Minister of State for Defence, Lord Balniel, said that: This statement was inaccurate. Soldiers were not free to open fire unless they had reason to believe that a weapon was about to be used for offensive purposes and that life was in danger. Moreover, shots were not authorised to be fired as a warning. It was agreed at the meeting that, in order to avoid the impression that there was any divergence of opinion between the United Kingdom Government and Brian Faulkner, arrangements should be made for the latter to issue a very early statement correcting the comment … and making it clear that the rules governing the use of firearms by troops were as had been stated in the Committee’s discussion ”.1

1 G1AAC.19.1.1.12 Minutes of the Defence and Oversea Policy Committee, 26th May 1971.

7.105 Brian Faulkner’s announcement was regarded by many on the nationalist side as seeking to justify in advance shooting by soldiers in contentious circumstances.1

1 Hennessey, History of Northern Ireland, p192.

7.106 Those contentious circumstances soon arrived.

The shooting of Seamus Cusack and Desmond Beattie

7.107 As already noted, in Londonderry by June 1971 there was increasing street violence, but nothing on the scale of the unrest and paramilitary activity in Belfast. However on 4th July 1971 there was gunfire in the city (the first for some months) directed at Army posts.1 In the days following there was rioting and further gunfire was directed at soldiers2 and though contemporary security reports considered that this did not amount to evidence of a planned campaign by the Provisional IRA,3 this view later changed.4

1 Ó Dochartaigh, Civil Rights to Armalites, pp202–204 and p232; G2A.23.1-6 8th Infantry Brigade Intelligence Summary No 74, 7th July 1971; G27.196 8th Infantry Brigade Op Directive No 4/71, 10th November 1971.

2 Ó Dochartaigh, Civil Rights to Armalites, p232; G2A.23.1-6 8th Infantry Brigade Intelligence Summary No 74, 7th July 1971; G27.196 8th Infantry Brigade Op Directive No 4/71, 10th November 1971.

3 G2A.23.6 8th Infantry Brigade Intelligence Summary No 74, 7th July 1971.

4 G2C.23.12 HQNI Intelligence Summary No 28/71, 15th July 1971; G3B.48.9-10 8th Infantry Brigade Intelligence Summary No 75, 7th July 1971; G27.196 8th Infantry Brigade Op Directive No 4/71, 10th November 1971.

7.108 In the early hours of 8th July 1971 a soldier shot a Catholic man, Seamus Cusack, in the thigh. Seamus Cusack was taken across the border to Letterkenny Hospital in Donegal, because it was feared that he would be arrested for riotous behaviour if taken to Altnagelvin Hospital in Londonderry. He died of loss of blood shortly after arrival.1

1 Gifford Report, Report of the Inquiry into the Circumstances Surrounding the Deaths of Seamus Cusack and George Desmond Beattie, London: Northern Ireland Socialist Research Centre, 1971, pp10–20; Ó Dochartaigh, Civil Rights to Armalites, p232.

7.109 Later that day there was further rioting that, at least in part, was in response to the shooting of Seamus Cusack.1 Bombs were thrown at Army vehicles, and in the resulting explosions four soldiers were injured. A few seconds later another Catholic man, Desmond Beattie, was shot and killed by a soldier.2

1 G3B.48.3 8th Infantry Brigade Intelligence Summary No 75, 17th July 1971; Gifford Report, pp28–30.

2 G3B.48.2-3 8th Infantry Brigade Intelligence Summary No 75, 17th July 1971; Gifford Report, pp28–30; Ó Dochartaigh, Civil Rights to Armalites, pp232–233; Hennessey, History of Northern Ireland, p192; McKittrick and McVea, Making Sense of the Troubles, p66.

7.110 The Army claimed that Seamus Cusack had been aiming a rifle and Desmond Beattie had been about to throw a nail bomb.1 Local people vehemently denied this and insisted that both men were unarmed.2 An unofficial inquiry chaired by Lord Gifford, in which the Army did not participate, concluded that both men had been unarmed when shot.3 In a subsequent civil case Mr Justice Gibson held that Seamus Cusack was probably not armed, but had been taking part in a violent riot and was equally to blame for what happened.4

1 G3B.48.2-3 8th Infantry Brigade Intelligence Summary No 75, 17 July 1971; Ó Dochartaigh, Civil Rights to Armalites, pp232–233.

2 Gifford Report, pp20–22 and pp32–34.

3 Gifford Report, pp21–22 and p40.

4 McKittrick, Kelters, Feeney and Thornton, Lost Lives, p76.

7.111 These two deaths, the first in Londonderry resulting from Army gunfire since the soldiers had arrived on the streets in 1969, and what the local nationalist population regarded as a cover-up by the Army and the United Kingdom Government of illegal shooting of innocent men, destroyed much of what remained of the goodwill felt by this community towards the Army.1 More riots followed and local people in the Bogside and the Creggan erected barricades.2 Large crowds attacked the Army and police post at Bligh’s Lane in the Creggan area of the city for several days, with some setting fire to buildings in the complex.3 There were also several shooting incidents.4

1 E6.0043 Professor Arthur’s report to this Inquiry; G3B.48.13 8th Infantry Brigade Intelligence Summary No 75, 17th July 1971; G27.197 8th Infantry Brigade Op Directive No 4/71, 10th November 1971.

2 G3B.48.2-13 8th Infantry Brigade Intelligence Summary No 75, 17th July 1971.

3 G3B.48.2-13 8th Infantry Brigade Intelligence Summary No 75, 17th July 1971.

4 G3B.48.2-13 8th Infantry Brigade Intelligence Summary No 75, 17th July 1971.

7.112 The SDLP, under pressure from the nationalist community, threatened to withdraw from the Stormont Parliament unless the Government set up an independent inquiry into the deaths of Seamus Cusack and Desmond Beattie. No inquiry was forthcoming and the SDLP left Stormont on 16th July 1971, so in effect ending Brian Faulkner’s attempt to involve the elected representatives of the minority community in the governance of Northern Ireland through the proposed new government committees.1

1 E6.0043-44 Professor Arthur’s report to this Inquiry; G3A.48.1 Extract from Home Office Memorandum, “Northern Ireland: Political Summary for the Period 16th–22nd July 1971 ”, 23rd July 1971; Ó Dochartaigh, Civil Rights to Armalites, p235; Hennessey, History of Northern Ireland, pp192–193; Routledge, John Hume, pp101–103; Bew and Gillespie, Chronology of the Troubles, pp35–36; McCann, War and an Irish Town, pp90–91.

7.113 On 24th July 1971 a nine-year-old boy was accidentally killed in the Bogside when an Army truck struck him. There followed a further week of fierce rioting, during the course of which buildings were burned and there were incidents of shooting and bombing.1

1 Ó Dochartaigh, Civil Rights to Armalites, p234; G3CA.48.14.2 Special Assessment approved by the Joint Intelligence Committee, 29th July 1971.

7.114 The increased level of violence, and particularly fatal violence, in Northern Ireland in the period to the end of July 1971 is shown starkly by the figures in the book Lost Lives. In 1969, 18 people were killed in incidents related to the Troubles;1 in 1970 there were 28 deaths.2 In the first seven months of 1971, 31 people were killed.3,4

1 McKittrick, Kelters, Feeney and Thornton, Lost Lives, pp32–45.

2 McKittrick, Kelters, Feeney and Thornton, Lost Lives, pp48–59.

3 McKittrick, Kelters, Feeney and Thornton, Lost Lives, pp62–79.

4 These figures are taken from the individual accounts of these deaths given in McKittrick, Kelters, Feeney and Thornton, Lost Lives. However, it should be noted that elsewhere in the book, the authors cite different figures – 19 for 1969 (p31, p1494), 29 for 1970 (p47, p1494). We consider Lost Lives to be the most authoritative source for such information, although any assessment of which deaths resulted from violence in the Troubles is to some degree subjective.