|Organisation:||Sinn Féin [Pre 1970]|
|Publication:||The United Irishman|
|Issue:||Volume 23, Number 10|
Deireadh Fómhair (October) 1969
|Collections:||Remembering 1969, Music in the Irish Left Archive|
|Discuss:||Comments on this document|
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The United Irishman from October 1969 provides us a sense of the mood of Republicans in the aftermath of August. The lead article argues that Civil War is Britain’s Aim, the rationale being that ‘Britain is not unwilling to have a civil war so that she can arrive again as a ‘saviour’, abolish Stormont and have the anti-Unionist population delighted to be fully absorbed into the United Kingdom’, a process that the UI argues is the ‘opposite of the Civil Right demand as spelled out by Chairman Frank Gogarty: ‘The Civil Rights Association is not asking for direct rule from Westminster but is simply demanding that the British Government exercise its powers under Article 75 of the Government of Northern Ireland Act of 1920, to legislate directly for civil and democratic rights in Northern Ireland’. And a finger is pointed at Fianna Fáil ‘[who] are getting ready to do a deal wth Britain over some form of Federation or Council of ireland. Lynch calls for a federation, but he does not say if it is to be just a federation of North and South. His speech allows for a federation ‘of these islands’ as called for by Eddie McAteer, Captain O’Neill and Quintin Hogg… In effect a Fianna Fáil sell-out that will bring the whole of Ireland back into the British Empire’.
The inside articles are notable for their range. They discuss ‘fish-ins’, an oddly timely piece on the economy on leathanach trí, and a full page on evictions and housing issues. There’s also a mention of ‘More Trouble in R.T.E.’ and vehement condemnation of attacks on Protestants in the 26 Counties. But the North is never far from the concerns of the UI, whether in the form of ‘An Open letter to the poor Protestants of Ulster’, a survey of unemployment on the Falls or articles on the ‘B’ Specials.
Perhaps most telling is a short piece on leathanach ceathair which asks ‘Where were the Republicans?’ and suggests that:
In recent times some publications in the 26 cos. Have tried to undermine the efforts of Republicans during the August unrest in the occupied area, by endeavouring to convince their readership that the Republicans took a back seat during the campaign for social justice and when it was necessary to defend the nationalist population against attacks from R.U.C. ‘B’ Specials and extreme Right wing Unionists of the Paisleyite movement.
And a defence of the approach of Republicans follows pointing to ‘social agitation in such issues as housing and unemployment… As far back as 1963 Republicans in Derry City had established an organisation for unemployed youth which later became known as Derry Unemployed Action Committee…’ Add to this an attack on the ‘Paper Hat Irish’ (Irish-Americans) and that old standby of SF and OSF material, ‘Preparing to Join NATO’ (the South), what is remarkable in contrast to later editions how comparatively calm the situation was at this early stage. Despite the events of the Summer of 1969 and the mention of barricades in Belfast the worst was most certainly yet to come.