'Civil Rights Should Matter to Both Sides of Our Community'

The News Letter (Belfast, Northern Ireland), September 14, 2018 | Go to article overview

'Civil Rights Should Matter to Both Sides of Our Community'


Shankill Women's Centre is buzzing with activity when I arrive to chat with rights campaigner and community outreach worker Eileen Weir.

The walls are covered in colourful collage works with photographs and timetables for the many classes on offer from cookery to maths and English; a group of women have gathered with their knitting and are chatting away happily in a common room; the kitchen is well stocked with biscuits and tea and coffee-making facilities; a small creche area is busy.

"Anyone can drop in," explains Eileen, "Anyone who just needs to chat or who needs advice with something, it doesn't matter what their background is, we are here to help. Protestant, Catholic, we don't make distinctions, it doesn't matter about your race or your religion."

A small and sprightly woman with cropped hair and lively brown eyes, Eileen, 63, shows me into her office, where she oversees various programmes on offer at the centre, leading courses that are designed to boost the self-esteem and confidence of the women who arrive there often struggling with the effects of deprivation, poverty, abuse or trauma.

Over the past 30 years Eileen, who grew up on the Shankill, has campaigned for better rights for women since she arrived at the centre in the 1990s and has championed cross-community and peace-building projects that have led to her recently being recognised with two prestigious accolades: in March she received the 2018 Community Relations Exceptional Achievement Award and a few weeks ago she was presented with the Conn McCluskey civil rights award; previous recipients of the latter include John Hume and Ivan Cooper.

"We [at the Shankill Women's Centre] were working with women on the Falls well before the Good Friday Agreement," says Eileen. "We were always supporting each other, there was never any division. And we've continued that trend of helping each other and campaigning for better rights for both sides of the community. The civil rights movement is often talked about in the media as a republican or nationalist issue, which is nonsense because of course Protestants and unionists must have their rights recognised too. Civil rights is not a green or orange issue as it has often been presented. A Bill of Rights is something all of us are entitled to and something I would like to see."

Weir seems to have grown up with a strong sense of social justice. At 16 she joined the UDA believing it was a way of "helping the older people behind the barricades, the elderly where there was trouble, ensuring that they got their tea and milk and sugar.

''I saw it as a caring role. I felt it was important. My ma didn't know because she would have killed me. But I think I was misinformed. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

'Civil Rights Should Matter to Both Sides of Our Community'
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.