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Coalisland Civil Rights March

19 August, 2008 - by Ian Milne

Sinn Féin Mid Ulster MLA Francie Molloy has announced has announced details of a Coalisland Civil Rights March to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the original march.

The March will start in Coalisland at 3pm on Saturday 23rd August and unveil a commemorative stone to all those took part in the Civil Rights Campaign including those who lost their life.

There will also be an exhibition on Saturday and Sunday 23rd & 24th August in the Coalisland Heritage Centre.

Speaking ahead of the events Mr Molloy said:

"Forty years ago Coalisland was at birth of the Civil Rights Movement. It is fitting that we will commemorate the original march in the town.

"In 1968 there was a huge optimism that here Ireland we could challenge the corrupt unionist state and bring about real change. It was a belief that the world was changing that echoed not just around Ireland but across the world.

"Sadly the Civil Rights Movement and its basic demands for housing, jobs and democracy were met with all the violence of the unionist state.

"We now have an opportunity to build a future based on equality and mutual respect.

"In 1968 unionism failed to rise to the demands for change and we have a situation today that again challenges unionism.

"Unionists know that if they want an Assembly and Executive taking meaningful decisions then they need to share power with republicans in a partnership government of equals. Anything less is not acceptable and anything less will not work.

"There are of course still major inequalities across our society. There is a huge crisis in housing and unequal economic development across the north. But these are issues that the Assembly and Executive can deal with if unionism can, unlike 1968, rise to the challenges and demands for equality." ENDS

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