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Belfast Blues: … And the hope for a "New Ireland"

  • Richard J. Neuhaus

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Take or leave a few lives, about 865 people have been killed by political violence in Northern Ireland since the troubles broke out afresh in 1969. It is not improbable that the toll will reach a thousand by March, 1974. The outsider is inclined to view March, 1974, as a kind of moment of truth for Northern Ireland, for that is the date by which, according to the British “White Paper“ of March, 1973, the people of Northern Ireland are to get themselves together around an elected Assembly. What happens if they don't get themselves together by then is unclear, but the alternatives now under discussion are not pleasant to contemplate. An outsider, such as I, might view March, 1974, as the fast approaching moment of truth, but as one Protestant leader there remarked: “Ireland has been undergoing ‘moments of truth,’ ‘definitive crises’ and 'once-and-for-all decisions’ for several hundred years now.

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