The People’s Democracy March in Templepatrick

The People’s Democracy March in Templepatrick

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Belfast, Templepatrick




Production 01/01/1969


12min 48sec


mute, sound



black and white


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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It is illegal to download, copy, print or otherwise utilise in any other form this material, without written consent from the copyright holder.


The People’s Democracy March leaves Belfast City Hall on the way to Derry. One of the leaders, Michael Farrell lays out the demands of the movement. At Templepatrick, the march meets a counter-protest lead by Major Ronald Bunting, who can be seen talking to the police. Children chant their support for Rev Ian Paisley and there are scuffles.

This march would become infamous for the attack on it at Burntollet in Derry. Over 300 loyalists including many off-duty B Specials attacked the march violently and footage of the RUC doing little or nothing to prevent this went all over the world. The Burntollet Bridge incident was a major turning point for Northern Ireland. 

The People’s Democracy was a political movement born out of the Civil Rights movement. It mostly consisted of students and had a more radical approach to politics. It was initially led by a committee of ten members which consisted of Queen's University students Malcolm Miles, Fergus Woods, Anne McBurnley, Ian Godall, Bernadette Devlin, Joe Martin, Eddie McCamley, Michael O'Kane and Patricia Drinan, as well as Kevin Boyle, a law lecturer at QUB. Other prominent members included Cyril Toman, Eamon McCann and Michael Farrell. 

Major Ronald Terence Bunting was a British Army officer and unionist political figure in Northern Ireland. Bunting's first involvement with politics was as election agent to Republican Labour Party MP Gerry Fitt, although he broke from Fitt and became a close associate of Ian Paisley, playing a leading role in Paisley's campaigns against the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association, as well as running unsuccessfully for the Protestant Unionist Party in the Northern Ireland general election of 1969 in Belfast Victoria. Bunting had his own Ulster loyalist strong-arm group which he dubbed the Loyal Citizens of Ulster. The LCU, which existed between 1968 and 1969, was little more than another name for the East Belfast arm of the Ulster Protestant Volunteers. 


An Ulster Television Production.



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