Battle a ‘key moment in Irish history’ - McCann

Bernadette McAliskey (nee Devlin) pictured here during the Battle of the Bogside in Derry in 1969.
Bernadette McAliskey (nee Devlin) pictured here during the Battle of the Bogside in Derry in 1969.

The Battle of the Bogside was a key moment in the history of Ireland and an example of people power in action, Eamonn McCann has said ahead of a public meeting on the 50th anniversary.

The veteran civil rights activist will be joined by Bernadette McAliskey to discuss the significance of the events of August 1969.

The event at Pilot’s Row on Monday night at 7pm will examine was the moment when the British Army took over from the RUC as the first responders to any challenge to the Northern State. It will also look at the Free Derry period which followed.

McAliskey and McCann, both of whom were involved in the events of August 1969 and later, will lead off the discussion, which has been organised by the Civil Rights for the 21st Century Committee.

Eamonn McCann said: “We are so used to defining our past solely by reference to Orange and Green hostilities that we can forget that it wasn’t always as stark or straightforward as this. Many of those involved in the Battle of the Bogside and then in leading positions within Free Derry wouldn’t have regarded themselves as Green at all, but as Reds of one sort and another.

“Also involved in the day-to-day business of Free Derry were around 50 ‘outsiders’ who had arrived to show solidarity with the Bogside. They came from Britain, the US, France, Germany etc. Most were students. Part of the point of the meeting will be to unearth this hidden part of our history, examine its significance and ask what lessons it holds for today. At the centre of this struggle is the role of ordinary people.”

For more information see ‘Rebel City: Battle Of The Bogside’ on Facebook.