The minister who gave the green light to the Apprentice Boys parade that sparked the ‘Battle of the Bogside’ and requested the deployment of British troops in the North has been added to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
Derry barrister Robert Porter (1923-2014), a Foyle College old boy, was Home Affairs Minister in the last Terence O’Neill-led government. A moderate, he eventually left the Unionist Party and later became deputy leader of the Alliance Party.
The dictionary states: “A supporter of the reformist Terence O’Neill, and then of James Chichester-Clark, he was the minister for home affairs responsible for requesting the deployment of British troops in response to the ‘Battle of the Bogside’ in 1969, and welcomed the imposition of direct rule in 1972. He resigned from the Unionist Party the same year, and in 1973 joined the Alliance Party, of which he became deputy leader. He subsequently sat as a judge and involved himself in various cross-community initiatives.”