The city’s unemployment rate, which had fallen to a post-war low of 10.1 per cent in March 1966, soared back to 20.1 per cent.
In 1967, the South Ward’s only major employer, Birmingham Sound Reproducers (BSR), established at Bligh’s Lane in 1951, closed with the loss of 1,000 jobs. The closure prompted the formation by local trade unionists of the Derry Unemployed Action Committee (DUAC). Pickets, rallies and protests were organised.
Alarmed by the rising spirit of political radicalism, Derry’s Catholic bishop, Dr. Neil Farren, warned young Catholics in an Easter 1968 pastoral letter,
“not to be led by the mob.”