Belfast Telegraph

Sinn Fein to hold 50th anniversary civil rights march from Coalisland to Dungannon

Sinn Fein are set to hold a commemorative march from Coalisland to Dungannon 50 years after a historic civil rights march took place along the same route.

They will launch the march at Caledon Court House on Monday to mark the 50th anniversary of the civil rights campaign.

The march will take place on Saturday August 18 and will follow the route of the original Civil Rights 1968 march from Coalisland to Dungannon.

In 1968 Nationalist MP Austin Currie and a number of others squatted in a house in Calendon, Co Tyrone in protest at the decision to allocate the house to an unmarried Protestant woman ahead of Catholic families in the area.

The incident led to the first civil rights march of the era on August 24, 1968 when the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association, the Campaign for Social Justice and others marched from Coalisland to Dungannon.

“This year marks 50 years since the beginning of the civil rights movement when thousands of citizens took to the streets to demand their rights and entitlement's," Mid-Ulster MP Francie Molloy said.

“To mark the anniversary, Sinn Fein have organised a commemorative march from Coalisland to Dungannon, along the route of the original civil rights march.

“The venue for today’s launch, Caledon Court House, holds massive historical significance as this was the venue for the Caledon Eviction, resulting in pickets and protests and the energising of people across the north to join the civil rights Movement.

Mr Molloy said that civil rights were still being denied to people in Northern Ireland.

“The same struggle continues against people in our society today. Citizens in the north still face attacks on their civil rights through the continued denial of rights to LGBT+ couples, Irish language speakers, and bereaved families seeking a coroner’s inquest," he said.

“Once again, we need to hear the voices of young people and progressives, echoing those who found their voice against discrimination decades ago. It’s time to stand up, mobilise, and fight for your rights. Join us at Coalisland Square on Saturday 18th August.”

In February former MP Bernadette McAliskey branded Sinn Fein MLA Declan Kearney "delusional" after he claimed republicans inspired the civil rights campaign.

Sinn Fein's national chairperson Declan Kearney said that decisions made by the IRA and Sinn Fein leadership helped form the civil rights movement 50 years ago.

But Mrs McAliskey, a civil rights veteran, hit out at the South Antrim MLA's comments, saying he was guilty of "silly rambling".

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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