Image of the Week

Campaign for Equal Citizenship: 1987

Unknown Photographer

Location: Queen's University, South Belfast

Photo Date: 1987

A student addresses a meeting of the Campaign for Equal Citizenship (CEC) at Queen's University, January 1987, under the banner 'Equal Citizenship Now'. Established by unionists in Belfast in May 1986, the campaign's declared aim was to secure equal rights between Protestant unionists and Catholic nationalists in Northern Ireland and between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom.
The CEC argued that British political parties should organise and stand for election in Northern Ireland. They held that this would maintain the political, economic and social umbrella of the United Kingdom while at the same time dissolve political polarisation and sectarian conflict in Northern Ireland. Ulster Unionist Party member Robert McCartney QC was elected President for the CEC (1986-1988). McCartney was expelled from the UUP in May 1987 for his role in the campaign. He later formed the UK Unionist Party (UKUP), which campaigned around three principles: equal citizenship, pluralism and sovereignty. The UKUP claimed to uphold unionism in the tradition of Sir Edward Carson, regarded by unionists as the father of Ulster Unionism.