Northern Ireland Civil Rights Movement – Bloody Sunday Inquiry – Pat Kenny at Today in Irish History

January 29: TODAY in Irish History:

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NI Civil Rights Activist

NI Civil Rights Activist

Snippets of Irish History by Conor Cunneen IrishmanSpeaks

Conor is a Chicago based Motivational Humorous Business Speaker, Author and History buff.

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1948: Pat Kenny, Irish broadcaster is born.

Pat Kenny

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1967: Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association is founded. 

By any standards, the Catholic / Nationalist community had suffered government sponsored discrimination since the foundation of Northern Ireland. NICRA was formed to campaign for civil rights, partly inspired by the civil rights movement in the United States. One of the instigators of the movement was South African born Kadar Asmal, a lecturer in Trinity College Dublin, who would  have been deemed a second class citizen in his own country.

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Civil Rights Mural Derry

Civil Rights Mural Derry

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The core objectives of NICRA were:

1) One man, one vote*

2) End to gerrymandering. In Derry for instance, the local government constituencies had been manipulated to reduce the representation of the majority Catholic population

3) End discrimination in public housing. This became the catalyst for the growth in NICRA when in June 1968, Nationalist politician Austin Currie raised the case of a 19 year old single Protestant woman who was allocated a house in advance of numerous Catholic families with large families. The issue became a cause celebre, generating huge international attention and generated the first serious civil rights marches in Northern Ireland, some of which would result in terrror and death for participants.

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*One man, one vote: Astonishing as it may seem now, Northern Ireland did not offer universal suffrage at local elections.    Any person who did not own a home or pay rates was not entitled to vote in local council elections. (A large percentage of Catholics were not home owners.) Additionally, Northern Ireland allowed business owners (predominantly Protestant) to vote more than once in local elections. These voting regulations combined with a Loyalist oriented gerrymandered system ensured that in predominantly Nationalist Derry 8,800 Protestant votes returned 12 councillors, while 14,500 Catholic voters elected 8 councillors.

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1998: Enquiry into Bloody Sunday

Following extensive lobbying, British Prime Minister Tony Blair announces a new judicial enquiry, headed by Lord Saville, into the events of Bloody Sunday, January 30 1972 when 13 civilians were killed by British troops. The original enquiry conducted by Lord Widgery, where he exonerated the military of all blame was seen as a total whitewash by Nationalists and most independent observers (and later Lord Saville.)  Saville would not publish his damning report until 2010, concluding that British paratroopers fired the first shots without warning and that none of the victims were armed.

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Lord Saville Announcing Results Bloody Sunday

Lord Saville Announcing Results Bloody Sunday

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Want to learn more about Ireland? See these images and more in the acclaimed For the Love of Being Irish

Irish gift ideas. Best selling Irish booksRonnie Drew and Luke Kelly - Musical Irish Gifts to the worldJoyce Image in For the Love of Being IrishMichael Collins: Image from For the Love of Being Irish

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This history is written by Irish author, business keynote speaker and award winning humorist IrishmanSpeaks – Conor Cunneen. If you spot any inaccuracies or wish to make a comment, please don’t hesitate to contact us via the comment button.

Visit Conor’s YouTube channel IrishmanSpeaks to Laugh and Learn.

Tags: Best Irish Gift, Creative Irish Gift, Unique Irish Gifts, Irish Books, Irish Authors, Today in Irish History TODAY IN IRISH HISTORY (published by IrishmanSpeaks)

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