March 1976: ‘Christians are partners, not competitors’

“The churches in the North have now to compete in the ghetto areas with pubs and clubs which have mushroomed during the past six years of violence. In addition to legalised places, as many as 60 unlicensed clubs now operatae in this city, producing a weekly profit of £60,000. If violence and banditry are the concomitant of booze, no wonder that in the year of the supposed ceasefire, 245 people were murdered and 700 armed raids took place which netted almost £500,000,” said Rev Hedley W. Plunkett, President of the Methodist Church in Ireland, speaking at the 82nd anniversary of the Derry Methodist Mission in Clooney Hall.

Dr Plunkett said ours was a country renowned for its conservative attitude to both politics and religion.