Nationalist Derry settled into a resigned political routine that was to last into the 1960s. Almost all non-unionist councillors and MPs came from the Nationalist Party. Fully supported by the Catholic Church, it was said that Nationalists were not so much elected as anointed.

Republicanism in the city went underground after partition, confined to small groups of veterans of past struggles. The main, but unsuccessful, challenge to the Nationalist Party came from labour and trade union groups.

DeValera's visit to Derry

A visit to the city by Eamonn DeValera in 1951 re-ignited nationalist sentiment. When marchers tried to carry a tricolour inside the walled city on St Patrick’s Day that year, they were battered off the streets by the police. The same happened the following year.


Internment without trial was introduced against republicans in the 1940s and again in the 1950s. However, there was very little IRA action in the city, even during the ‘border campaign’ between 1956 and 1962. There was much resentment against the internment of a small number of local men, but no mass protest.  Nationalists in Derry, after four decades of oppression, entered the 1960s with no effective leadership.