The ad hoc community group registered as Conway Street Community Enterprises Project Ltd, a not-for-profit organisation limited by guarantee. The committee hosted a community led public enquiry into the killing of a young man, Sean Downes, by a plastic bullet fired by the RUC.
This precipitated the government policy of Political Vetting which denied funding or support to any community organisation which may lead to public funds finding its way to a paramilitary organisation.
The mill was the first of several organisations to feel the weight of political vetting. The government did not have to provide any evidence to back up it’s claim and organisations had no right to appeal. All funding was withdrawn including wages for crèche staff and no contact was allowed by government agencies. Even the voluntary educational organisations were threatened with withdrawal of funding if they continued to support the mill. The influence of the ban was such that it permeated other funding sources such as European funding, International funding and some charities.
Sean Downes clutches his chest as he is struck by a plastic bullet in July 1984