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 Irish Civil Rights
Badge of the Derry civil rights movement
- first adopted by the Derry Citizens' Action Committee in 1968.

Civil Rights Forum: An Historical & Current Affairs Archives created by the October Fifth (1968 civil rights' veterans and supporters) Association. 
Bridge_blocked.jpg (188092 bytes)Police arrest several members of the Derry Housing Action Committee during a protest which blocked the official opening, by the Unionist Mayor, of the underdeck of Craigavon Bridge. Centre, College student, Séan Séamus O'Hara, brother of Patsy, who later died after more than sixty days on hunger-strike in 1981, is seen being carried away, with placard still in hand. Armed police are being assisted by the RUC Special Branch which daily hounded the activists within the unemployed and homeless action groups.

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removal.jpg (59596 bytes)The leader of the Derry Unemployed Action Committee, veteran Labour activist, the late Gerry Mallet (left) and the late Councillor James Hegarty, a prominent trade unionist, who became Mayor of Derry after civil rights reforms. They are seen being escorted by the RUC from Council Chamber in Derry's Guildhall, following yet another housing action protest in the public gallery. Looking on is a youthful Martin Duddy, a DHAC member, whose wife's sister was later to marry Michael Devine, who was the last of ten men to die on hunger-strike in 1981.

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Public_speeches.jpg (124244 bytes)Eamonn Melaugh delivers a speech during a housing protest in Derry. Standing right is Eamonn McCann. Both were arested at dawn on Oct. 6,1968 with Fionnbarra O Dochartaigh, and charged at a special court held at the RUC Victoria Barracks for defying the Minister of Home Affairs ban on the civil rights march the previous day.

Council_Meeting.jpg (110884 bytes)A meeting of the Unionist-controlled City Council during the days of gerrymandering.

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Student_batoned.jpg (217870 bytes)A St. Columb's College student, named Hinds, whose uncle, Brendan, was a prominent figure in the N. Ireland Labour Party, and later within the Derry Citizens' Action Committee, is seen being held and batoned by three members of the RUC on October 5th 1968.

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Unconscious_student.jpg (99664 bytes)The young student is seen being dragged away unconscious along Duke Street, after police attacked and refused the civil rights marchers to proceed across Craigavon Bridge, to the city centre.

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released.jpg (149867 bytes)L-R: Neil O'Donnell and Roddy Carlin are welcomed home at the Waterside railway station after their release from H.M. Prison, Crumlin Road, Belfast. There they served a month for staging a sit-down protest in support of Derry's homeless families at the official opening of the lower deck of Derry's Craigavon Bridge, on July 3rd 1968. Neil is seen being carried by Norman Walmsley and Bobby Mitchell, and Roddy, by the editor of the housing action committee newsletter, Fionnbarra Ó Dochartaigh.

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The Hon. Secretary of the Derry Housing Action Committee, and editor of its newsletter, REALITY, pictured around 1967.

"As an activist within both the DUAC and DHAC, and as a co-founder of NICRA, he was, and is, an integral part of the struggle. From the elections to the barricades, from bulletins and communiques to maintaining communications on his bicycle rounds during the Battle of the Bogside".  (Bernadette Devlin McAliskey, 1994:  Ulster's White Negroes)

CALLAGHAN.jpg (115064 bytes)British Labour leader, Jim Callaghan, MP, shaking hands, is introduced to anxious locals by Vincent Coyle, well known by his distinctive 'trademark' hat and handlebars moustache, during a fact-finding visit to the Bogside, in August 1969. 'Vinny ' led Callaghan through the barricades to address a massive gathering from a window of a house near Free Derry Corner. He helped build the first-ever barricade outside his own house in Rossville Street, near 'Aggro Corner'.

View obituary: "Working Class Hero" - civil rights archive.

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cooper.jpg (91293 bytes)

A bloodied civil rights leader, Ivan Cooper, is given first-aid after a confrontation with the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC). Those assisting him are believed to be Eamonn Mc Cann and John Hume.

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Bernadette.jpg (124143 bytes)

Bernadette Devlin speaking at a rally prior to being elected the youngest ever Member of Parliament (Westminster). She stood as an independent for Mid-Ulster.

Ms. Devlin was sentenced to six months for her active opposition to the RUC and the Stormont regime, during the Battle of the Bogside.

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Bloody_Sunday1972.jpg (116289 bytes)The ill-fated Bloody Sunday demonstration of Jan. 30th 1972. The march was held to protest against internment, without charge or trial, and the torture of detainees, since August 9th 1971.British paras opened fire, killing thirteen on the day, with one dying later. Around 17 people were wounded.

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coyle.jpg (139377 bytes)Councillor Pat Ramsey, standing centre, a few years ago accepted on behalf of local citizens, the Celtic Cross Award, sent from Boston, when Mayor of Derry. In the summer of 2003 it formed part of the 'Sons and daughters of Derry Exhibition' at the local Tower Museum, which occupies the basement area of the O'Doherty Fort, near Magazine Gate, one entrance of Europe's only intact city walls.

The award was made in memory of Mr. Vincent 'Vinny' Coyle. To date, no other person reside in Ireland received this honour. It was made in recognition of his undoubted courage and sterling work as Chief Marshall of 700 stewards at mainly Derry Citizens' Action Committee demonstrations, during earlier struggles for civil rights. He, and his late brother Joe, acted as bodyguards for several civil rights' leaders during that dangerous and dramatic era.

Pictured with Councillor Ramsey (centre) are (L-R) are Mrs. Jane Coyle, his widow, her daughter Mrs.Valerie Holmes, son and grandson, both named Vincent, and retired Bishop of Derry, Dr. Edward Daly, who was among other priests who cared for the dead and dying at the Bloody Sunday massacre - January 30, 1972.
In the late 1990s Raymond L. Flynn, formerly Mayor of Boston and a U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican, active for more than thirty years in the peace and justice movement relating to the Six Counties, also received the Celtic Cross Award.

Mrs. Sheila Kelly accepted the Award in Boston, in early 2004. It was posthumously conferred in recognition of Captain Kelly’s life-time of service to Ireland, and especially for his efforts to assist the beleaguered nationalist ghettoes, in 1969-70.
Civil_rights.jpg (138464 bytes)Pictured, after a public meeting and buffet at the AOH Hall in Derry, in 1999, (L-R) are Ivan Cooper, Mary O'Doherty, her son Fionnbarra (center), and the Human Rights Commissioner (NI) Prof. Brice Dixon. Ivan was the Minister for Community Relations in the ill-fated Stormont power-sharing executive in 1974, and his earlier role as a civil rights leader was played by James Nesbitt in the film, Bloody Sunday (2001). Fionnbarra was a co-founder of the Civil Rights Assoc., in 1967, and his mother Mary is the last surviving widow of the decorated veterans of the Derry Brigade, Irish Volunteers (1916-23). Mary, a close friend of Roddy and Dr. Nora O'Brien, the son and daughter of James Connolly (1868-1916) is a veteran of the Duke Street, Burntollet and Bloody Sunday demos- she celebrates her 96th birthday on April 28, 2004.

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cooper_nesbitt_2001.jpg (227130 bytes)A warm handshake: Civil rights campaigner Ivan Cooper, left, with James Nesbitt who played him in the film.

Production began on Feb. 25, 2001, on the cinematic recreation of one of the most harrowing days in Derry's history - Bloody Sunday - 1972. Up to 4,000 people recreated the civil rights march from Bishops Field in the Creggan to Free Derry Corner as part of a January Films Ltd production for Granada Television.

The marchers, dressed in 1970s clothes, followed a Bedford lorry and a 'Civil Rights Association' banner in pouring rain as several camera crews mingled with the crowd.

Relatives of the 14 men who died, as well as people who took part in the original march, including some of the 17 wounded, were in attendance.

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Bishop_of_Derry1974.jpg (135357 bytes)

The newly ordained Bishop of Derry, Dr. Edward Daly, pictured with members of his family outside St. Eugene's Cathedral in March 1974.

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jackie_duddy.jpg (78075 bytes)

The then Fr. Daly leads the wounded Jackie Duddy from the Bogside on Bloody Sunday.

last_rites_Jack_duddy.jpg (113852 bytes)Administering Last Rites to the late Jackie Duddy.

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MULLAN-1(1).jpg (36555 bytes)

Among others who had taken part in the original march, and assisted in the recreation were Dr. Raymond McClean, author of The Road to Bloody Sunday, and Don Mullan, author of Eyewitness: Bloody Sunday. Mr. Mullan was an acting consultant on the film and played the role of an 'unspecified' Bogside priest.

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14 Dead -

Bloody Sunday

On 19th April 1969, the Devenny family was assaulted on William Street in Derry; three months later, Sammy Devenny was dead.

For more information, visit
 Irish Civil Rights
England's Vietnam
By Fionnbarra Ó Dochartaigh
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