John Hume describes the social problems affecting his native city Derry and gives the background to 'The Troubles'.
To mark the first anniversary of the civil rights march that took place in Derry on 5 October 1968, ‘7 Days’ invites member of the Northern Ireland Parliament for Foyle John Hume to present his view of the City of Derry.
One in every five men is out of work in Derry and the areas of highest unemployment match areas traditionally opposed to Unionism. Much of the burden of economic development has fallen on the women of Derry. Since the 19th century, many women have sought employment in the shirt industry which has been the backbone of any economic prosperity in Derry.
The history of Derry can be read in the faces of Derry’s women.
Allied to unemployment, housing and the allocation of housing is one of Derry’s root problems and is the key factor in political control. Housing is regulated by the party in power and this power has been used to segregate people on a religious basis. Only one area of the city is devoted to housing the Catholic population and houses in this area are scarce.
Because houses mean votes and votes mean power.
Frustration with the political system led to the 5 October 1968 march in Derry to protest at the allocation of houses, jobs and the limited franchise in local government elections.
The Unionist Party was being met by its own slogans of ‘No surrender’ and ‘Not an Inch’ for the people of Bogside had had enough.
However the old mistrust and fears returned and a year later, on the anniversary of the first Siege of Derry, the Siege of Bogside took place.
John Hume wonders if Northern Ireland is capable of living with justice and equality. That inflexibility of the wing of Unionism leaves
A fertile ground for anyone who wishes to exploit the situation for any end.
He believes religion must be removed from politics, prejudice must end and people must live together in peace and justice.
As for Derry, the two traditions must meet, Derry has no future unless there is a change in the minds and hearts of people for Derry is the mother of us all.
This episode of ‘7 Days’ was broadcast on 3 October 1969. The narrator is John Hume.