The 1967 BSR closure prompted the formation by local trade unionists of the Derry Unemployed Action Committee (DUAC). Pickets, rallies and protests were organised. The Derry Housing Action Committee (DHAC) followed.
Homeless families stage a sit-in protest in the Guildhall chamber, 1968.
DHAC protest in the Guildhall, 1968.
Derry Housing Action Committee (DHAC)
Initially founded by a far-left group at Magee College, the DHAC quickly attracted support from republicans and others through a strategy of direct action. Prominent members included Brigid Bond, to be chairperson of Derry Civil Rights Association on Bloody Sunday. The occupation of a house in Harvey Street prevented a family being evicted. Homeless families were squatted into disused premises. Civic ceremonies and corporation meetings were regularly disrupted.
DHAC protest outside the courthouse in Bishop Street
NICRA was founded at a public meeting in Belfast in January 1967. A 13-member committee included representatives of the Dungannon-based Committee for Social Justice, the Republican Clubs, the NI Labour Party (NILP), the Ulster Liberal Party, the Communist Party of Ireland and the Irish Congress of Trade Unions. Regarding NICRA as a rival, the Nationalist Party declined to join.
NICRA’s formation reflected the wider relevance of the issues already animating Derry activists. The DUAC and DHAC occupied much of the territory appropriate to the new association. No NICRA branch was to emerge in Derry until 1970.