And the wrangling in the wake the Father Reid outburst continues. Eammon McCann, writing on Sunday, argues that, “it was an ignorant, sectarian slur. People who defend Alec Reid on a “Yes, but” basis speak volumes about their own attitudes”.
Orange rule from Stormont was characterised by systematic discrimination against Catholics and contemptuous disregard for human rights. The civil rights movement was both inevitable and entirely justified. But Orangeism wasn’t Nazism and it is an insult to the victims of Nazism to imply that their suffering was on a par with the pain of any section of the North’s people under Stormont.
The plain Protestants never denied a Catholic a job or a house or anything else. They didn’t have the distribution of these commodities in their gift. Did the Protestants of the Fountain, Rosemount, Bishop Street etc. run Derry Corporation as a bastion of bigotry from the inception of the State to the onset of the civil rights movement? Hardly. In all of that time, there was scarcely a woman and fewer than a dozen men of the working class on the Unionist benches in the Guildhall.