'Seven Days' reports on the prospects for peace in Northern Ireland and life in Derry for those living with the Troubles.
Rodney Rice visits the Creggan and Bogside in Derry, where he meets the women and children that live there to hear their views on the prospect of peace.
Following explosions at the hands of the IRA the previous week, the demand for peace amongst residents escalated. A series of peace marches and meetings culminated in an open-air religious ceremony where around 5,000 people gathered to pray for an end to violence. The congregation included people from the Bogside and Creggan, alongside the Derry middle classes most of who live outside the shadow of the gunman.
The working class of Derry were perhaps more represented at another march held at the same time organised by the Provisional IRA looking for peace with justice. Their demands were for the release of internees and political prisoners, an amnesty for men on the run, and a withdrawal to barracks by British troops. There were two thousand people in the march at the start but by the time it reached the end there were around four thousand.
The march and the peace service were essentially looking for the same thing but differed in two essential aspects - a class gap and a generation gap.
The previous week Derry people of differing class and age reacted together after the Official IRA admitted to killing William Best, a 19-year-old from Derry who was serving in the British army. There was public outcry and about two hundred women took part in a spontaneous march making a demand for immediate peace from both Provisional and Official IRA leaders.
Jackie Ward, editor of the Starry Plough newspaper, outlines his understanding of the Official IRA's position, who it seems have misread their supporters who did not back the killing of William Best. Jackie Ward believes that the IRA should stick to their demands in order to achieve peace.
People in Derry were beginning to realise that there was little difference between the demands of the various group and they all wanted the same result - peace.
Seán Keenan, Árd Comahairle of Sinn Féin Kevin Street, gives his understanding of the Provisional IRA position and says
100% of the people want peace.
This episode of 'Seven Days' was broadcast on 30 May 1972. The reporter is Rodney Rice. The presenter is Ted Nealon.