Partition in Ireland saw a growing peaceful civil rights movement become violently repressed by the quasi-military reserve special constable police force the ‘B Specials’. These tensions drew international attention to the impact of sectarianism and condemnation of the systemic denial of human rights in the North.
Fifty years on from the birth of the Civil Rights movement and twenty years after the ceasefires the peace process remains fragile, the Northern Ireland Assembly is suspended, the Democratic Unionist Party has entered into a tenuous coalition to prop up a compromised Conservative Government in Westminster and Brexit threatens reintroduction of a hard border on the island of Ireland. Bereaved families continue to campaign for inquests into the deaths of those killed by State forces during the Conflict.
On the 50th Anniversary of the birth of the Civil Rights movement this insightful conversation will revisit the historic events of Derry ’68 and what followed. It will also reflect on current events — the fragility of the peace process, the suspension of Stormont and the uncertainty of the border provoked by the Brexit vote in 2016.
An unmissable event for those interested in Irish history and current events.
Eamonn McCann has been campaigning for social justice in Derry for more than 40 years. A lifelong socialist and trades unionist, he is a member of the National Executive of the NUJ and of the Northern Ireland Committee of the ICTU. He has campaigned against militarism and war since the days of CND and the Vietnam protests, and was among those who successfully took non-violent direct action against the bomb-makers Raytheon. He is chairman of the Bloody Sunday Trust and a member of Amnesty International and of the Rail lobby, Into the West. A well established political commentator, he is author of several books and many articles. His War and an Irish Town and Bloody Sunday in Derry: What Really Happened remain classics.
Phil Scraton is Professor Emeritus at Queen’s University Belfast and a long-time friend of Writing on the Wall. His books include: The State of the Police; Power, Conflict and Criminalisation; The Incarceration of Women; The Violence of Incarceration and, most recently, Women’s Imprisonment and the Case for Abolition. He has co-authored major reports for the NI Human Rights Commission, the NI Commissioner for Children and Young People and Save the Children (NI). Known for his long-term work with the Hillsborough Family Support Group, he headed the Hillsborough Independent Panel’s research and was primary author of its ground-breaking report Hillsborough. He was seconded to the families’ legal teams throughout the 2014-16 Inquests and is author of Hillsborough: The Truth.