Trade Unions Bid For Peace in North
Author:Michael McInerney
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Commentary From The Cedar Lounge Revolution

17th December 2012

Here’s a document consisting of articles printed in the Irish Times in 1970 which examines aspects of the developing crisis in Northern Ireland in a series of articles. McInerney had been editor of the Irish Democrat - newspaper of the Connolly Association, and had then gone on in the 1950s and 1960s to work as political correspondent of the Irish Times.

As the introduction notes:

These articles assess five sectors of the Northern crises. First, Britain’s new analysis of the North; second, the Wilson Government’s policies to meet that new assessment; third, the unique position of the trade unions and Labour Movement in the North, it’s association with the British, Irish and world movements; fourth the description of the battle of the Protestant and Catholic union shopstewards in Belfast shipyards and elsewhere to prevent the August, 1969, riots from spreading, and finally, the relationship of Ireland, North and South, to each other and to Britain and a long term look at ultimate Anglo_Irish relationships.

McInerney suggests that:

Their conclusion is that all Labour and democratic forces must identify the enemy as the growing Craig-Paisleyite wing of Unionism and the smaller but fanatical sectarian Catholic wing, both dangerous to peace and progress.

And that:

The issue for Northern Ireland is a settlement by those forces, which, would be a settlement of the grave, or a victory for the Liberal, democratic Labour forces, which would create a modern social democracy. This is the perhaps, over optimistic aim and hope of the writer, but as the Paisleyite forces make gains against the fragmented forces of peace and progress there are signs of a closing of all ranks against those who incite fear and hatred of worker against worker.

The individual articles are well worth reading, if only for giving an insight into the tenor of the times as regards the power of unions, sectarianism and the hopes and fears of some on the island.


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  • By: The Weekly Archive Worker: Don’t be a soldier! « Entdinglichung Thu, 20 Dec 2012 08:55:32

    […] Michael McInerney: Trade Unions Bid For Peace in North […]

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  • By: Red Hand Thu, 20 Dec 2012 11:45:38

    Interesting that the shipyards didn’t see trouble in August 1969

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