Housing Conference Report

Report From the Irish News:
Event to mark 40 years since Caledon protest
By Claire Simpson – 21/06/08

THE 40th anniversary of the one of the pivotal events in the fight for civil rights in the north is being marked at a conference in Armagh city today.

In 1968 Nationalist MP Austin Currie squatted in a house in the Co Tyrone village of Caledon in protest at Dungannon Council’s refusal to allocate homes to Catholics.

The council built 15 houses the village but later decided that all but one of them should be allocated to Protestants, one of whom was a single 19-year-old woman.

Angered by the council’s decision, Mary Teresa Goodfellow, her husband Fran and their two children began squatting in No 11 Kinnegard Park in October 1967.

Eight months later, the Goodfellow family was dragged from the house by bailiffs.

Mr Currie then decided to squat in No 9 Kinnegard Park, the house which had been allocated to Ms Beattie, along with Mrs Goodfellow’s brother, Phelim Gilder-new, and local farmer Joe Campbell.

Writing in The Irish News today, Mr Currie said their action had helped force to the “British Government to intervene to remedy civil rights abuses in Northern Ireland”.

“We did indeed make history in Caledon this day 40 years ago,” he said.

He was later fined £5 – the “best value for a fiver I ever had,” he said.

Mr Currie will lead today’s conference in the City Hotel, Armagh, along with former Ulster Unionist MP Ken Maginness.

The conference will also look at the problems of social and affordable housing in recent years.

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