Sir, - The report in The Irish Times of the recent protest at Harryville, organised by the group United Against Bigotry, was a misrepresentation of the events which occurred. We, the undersigned, attended this protest. The group consisted of Protestant and Catholics from Northern Ireland, trade unionists from Britain and Dublin.
Far from the parishioners "expressing fury" at the protest, the majority of people leaving the church after Mass individually came to us, shook our hands warmly and thanked us for coming to support them. Many were very impressed at the presence of trade unionists from Britain showing solidarity, especially since some of them were in unions themselves. They expressed their feeling of isolation at this time, and welcomed our support and were impressed that there were many Protestants in the group.
The only voice of protest expressed to the group was by the two SDLP councillors present, whose comments got coverage in your paper. However, it is obvious that they do not represent the parishioners nor the parish priest who welcomed our presence there It is indicative of the policies of the SDLP that they have failed to mobilise a group comprising of Protestants and Catholics against the bigotry of the Harryville situation.
It is crucial, at the moment, to call for a large demonstration of Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland against sectarian marches and protests. This should be led by the trade union movement, which has the ability to unite Protestant and Catholic workers.
United Against Bigotry has done this successfully, showing first of all that many Protestant people are looking for a way to show their disgust at what is happening in Harryville. However, to end sectarianism this unity needs to be built on and we hope that many more people will join us to prevent the rise of sectarianism in Northern Ireland. - Yours, etc.,
New Ireland Road,
Rialto, Dublin 8.