Bernadette Devlin arrives at Shannon Airport following a fundraising trip to America.
Member of Parliament for Mid-Ulster Bernadette Devlin arrives at Shannon Airport on a Pan American jet from the USA where she had been raising financial aid for those made homeless during the recent violence in Northern Ireland. While in the United States, she highlighted the link between the struggle for civil rights for African Americans with the fight for civil rights in Northern Ireland.
Asked why she had cut her American trip short Bernadette Devlin explained that Chairman of the Civil Rights Association Frank Gormley has taken over the campaigning. Pleased with how the fundraising is going she sees feels her place now is back at home implementing the relief.
Bernadette Devlin does not know how much she raised in the United Sates, but estimates it will be one million dollars by the time the relief fund closes. All money raised is to be transferred to a central bank in New York and from there it will be transferred to a bank in Ireland. She will not say whether this bank will be in the north or the south of Ireland.
I’m just saying in Ireland because it’s not that I do not trust the Unionist government, I mean far be it for me to suggest that they would pinch it or anything.
She gave a personal guarantee to the American donors, that money raised would only be used for relief.
If I had thought it necessary to go to America to collect money for arms, I wouldn’t be the first person in this country who had gone and done it openly and I would go and do it openly if I thought it was necessary.
The Reverend Ian Paisley is to travel to America to present the Protestant side to the situation in Northern Ireland.
I think people in Americans are generally looking forward to seeing the Reverend Ian. They really don't believe he exists.
Bernadette Devlin refers to comments made by the Unionist politician William Stratton Mills who described her as ‘Fidel Castro in a miniskirt’. When asked about her socialism she says,
I’m as left as James Connolly and the starry plough.
William Stratton Mills also picked up on critical comments Bernadette Devlin has made about the Catholic Church, but she feels as a member of the church she is entitled to be critical.
An RTÉ News report broadcast on 3 September 1969. The reporter is Martin Wallace.