In February the committee issued a statement deploring Ian Paisley's campaign against the visit of the Church of England Bishop of Ripon. It convened another meeting on 9 April to present the draft constitution and this meeting officially brought NICRA into existence. The new constitution, which was based on that of the NCCL, emphasised the association's character as a body which would make representations on the broad issues of civil liberties and would also take up individual cases of discrimination and ill-treatment. The five objectives of the association were:
I To defend the basic freedoms of all citizens.
2 To protect the rights of the individual.
3 To highlight all possible abuses of power.
4 To demand guarantees for freedom of speech, assembly and association.
5 To inform the public of their lawful rights.13
These objectives said nothing about concrete grievances over discrimination in housing, employment and the electoral franchise. They underline the character of NICRA at this stage as an organisation which, like the NCCL, was concerned with the defence of legal and constitutional rights and the grievances of individuals, not with militant protest.