Film: 8038

Politics | 1970 | Sound | Colour


The political and religious background of the six counties in Northern Ireland explaining the division between Protestants and Catholics, and the attempts by the government to resolve differences 1970's

Opens on a coastal shot of Ulster giving way to split screen images of burning streets, police in riot gear, a man being searched by the police and people fleeing from street unrest. Shot of graffiti on the wall that reads 'no pope here'. Cuts to crowd spilling out of St. Patrick's cathedral in Armagh and followed by people coming out of the other St. Patrick's Cathedral in Armagh which is a Protestant church.
An orange day parade is marching through a town, it includes children's bands and orange men wearing sashes. Cuts to a Londonderry street followed by an overview of the city from a hill outside. Exterior shot of the Victorian Guildhall within the city and its stain-glass windows inside which tell the story of the city's formation from the city's plantation by Cromwell in the 1660s. A little girl plays on her doorstep, alongside which some graffiti reads 'God Bless Paisley'. Protestant graffiti on walls around the city features the red white and blue of the British flag, William the Orange on a horse admonishing all to 'remember 1690' and the Red Hand of Ulster. Pro Catholic or Republican graffiti features the Irish tricolour or statements such as 'Up the IRA' and 'this is Free Belfast'. A group of people stand in the doorways of their houses which are flanked by pro Protestant graffiti on one side and two murals of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip on the other.
A brief history of the siege of Derry is illustrated by paintings, drawings and a dramatization of the apprentice boys running through the streets and loading canons. Cuts back to the orange day parade. Flags and banners depicting the siege and Union Jacks are being carried. The army observe proceedings from behind barbed wire. The orange day parade is a living reminder of the antagonism that exists between Protestants and Catholics. More shots of the army, the government has just banned all future Catholic and Protestant parades, this is a relief to the army. An armoured car goes through the [Belfast's?] streets. Soldiers rehearse putting on their riot gear in an army barracks. Close-up shots of them putting on their bullet-proof vests, helmets and visors, riot shields and batons and of a soldier putting a canister of CS gas in his pocket.
A column of soldiers leave a house protected by sand-bags and a barrier. One soldier stands watch for snipers as the others leave one at a time bearing their guns. They are seen through barbed wire as they turn a corner. The patrol continues through the streets of Belfast, civilians and other soldiers look on. They pass a sign indicating that the Falls Road is closed to all traffic without authorisation. The patrol passes three smiling women standing in a doorway.
Some cattle are being driven along the road by a farmer at a customs point at the border. The border stretches for almost 200 miles along green countryside. A customs official waves on a car pulling a caravan at the customs and excise point at Middletown on the border. The car pulls by a sign welcoming people to County Armagh. A farmer who owns land on either side of the border drives his tractor across a small bridge, his cattle graze on Republican land but they are driven back across the bridge to Ulster to be milked. A pig crosses the river, it illustrated the divide between the Republic and Ulster. On the left of the river is a state that provides free medical services, cheap food and all the benefits of being part of Britain. On the right is a strong church with a powerful say in matters of government, a country with no family planning and divorce. This is the source of the argument in the north. Cuts back to people coming out of St. Patrick's (Roman Catholic) in Armagh. Because of Unionist fears that the Catholic minority might one day outnumber them, there has been discrimination of Catholics in employment opportunities. An old man smokes a pipe on the side of the street, a dilapidated housing estate overlooked by a Church where a small boy wanders among the rubble. A dog wanders in a similar area and we focus on a sign saying 'Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners'.
Cuts to street riot scenes seen in the beginning. Men stand and enter a social services office, unemployment has been high but the government has attempted to attract industry to the north. Signs read 'Londonderry for your new factory' and show various factories that have invested in the north - Acrilan, Du Pont, STC, Monsanto, Grundig and Enkalon. A digger moves earth and men work on constructing a housing development. They are being built outside Londonderry to replace the slums shown earlier. Houses are being allocated by the government through a point system based on need rather than religion. A fireman takes shattered glass from a window of a building that has just been bomber, a shop window contains a sign reading 'business as usual'. People sweep glass away from shop-fronts. Soldiers are on the scene of a bomb-site, they are keeping spectators behind the barricades.

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