The Newry Civil Rights March: Archives and Discussion

The Newry Civil Rights March: Archives and Discussion

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Belfast, Newry, PRONI




Production 24/03/2022


1hr 45min 40sec





black and white, colour


Funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland under the Archiving Scheme 2


Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, Department for Communities, ITV, UTV Archive

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Using archival footage and documents, Northern Ireland Screen in partnership with PRONI and Belfast Film Festival, hosted this event to explore the Civil Rights marches which took place in late 1960s Northern Ireland. Specific focus was on the ill-fated march held in Newry on January 11th, 1969, which marked a turning point in the Civil Rights movement.

Chaired by writer and commentator Tom Kelly, a panel, including Thomas Keane, civil rights activist present at the march in Newry; historian Éamon Phoenix; and Northern Ireland Screen's Brónagh McAtasney, reflected on film footage from the time, gave first-hand accounts of their experiences and discuss the events which took place.

The event showcased newly digitised film footage from the UTV archive, held at PRONI and made available via Northern Ireland Screen’s Digital Film archive. It is part of an illustrated talks series drawing on content recently digitised through the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland Archiving Scheme 2.

Tom Kelly is a well-known writer and political/current affairs commentator. Tom is a former Vice-Chair of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), was Executive Director of the National Democratic Institute sponsored think-tank the Social Democratic Group, and a member of the inaugural Northern Ireland Policing Board.

PRONI Archive:
David Huddleston, Head of Records Management, Cataloguing and Access at PRONI presented a selection of records from the PRONI archive relating to the period.

Thomas Keane is a retired teacher and education consultant. A graduate and postgraduate of Queen’s University, Belfast, Thomas was a civil rights activist from 1968 to 1970 and also campaigned against internment. As a founding member of the SDLP, Thomas established a network of branches in the Newry, south Down and south Armagh areas from 1970 to 1974.

Dr Éamon Phoenix is a political historian, journalist and broadcaster. His books include Northern Nationalism: Nationalist Politics, Partition and the Catholic Minority in Northern Ireland 1890-1940 and Conflicts in the North of Ireland 1900-2000. He is member of the Taoiseach’s Expert Advisory Committee on Commemorations.

Brónagh McAtasney is Cataloguer at Northern Ireland Screen, focussing on the Ulster Television archive, 1959-1969. Bronagh was on the committee for the 50th anniversary of the Newry Civil Rights March, working with members of the original committee to re-create the march in its entirety in January 2019.


A joint production from Northern Ireland Screen, Public Records Office of Northern Ireland, Belfast Film Festival and Ulster Television.



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