Page 10, 19th February 1971

19th February 1971
Page 10
Page 10, 19th February 1971 — N. Ireland Premier

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Locations: BELFAST


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N. Ireland Premier

prepares for battle


AS the occasional burst of gunfire or explosion of a petrol or nail bomb keeps Belfast-and Northern Ireland-on the brink of complete civil

unrest, Ulster Premier Major James Chichester-Clark plans tactics for a battle off the streets.

It is with his Unionist Right Wing, who plan to topple him from office at a specially-called meeting of

the all powerful 1.11ster Unionist Council in eleven days' time.

They are calling for him and his Cabinet to resign and allow a "strong" government to re establish law and order in Northern Ireland.

There is the promise of more violence in the streets as a "baptism" for the meeting. The hands of those who oppose the Premier would be strengthened by another outbreak.

For Major Chichester-Clark the last few days have been trying. He suggested to the Prime Minister. Mr. Heath, that internment was one way of taking the steam out of the guerrilla warfare. But Mr. Heath gave a definite "no," advising that internment could only lead to even greater violence.

The British Premier indicated that if there was a Right Wing take-over of the Unionist party, Westminster might impose direct rule.

REBEL RIGHT WING So Major Chichester-Clark has arrived back from Chequers with nothing to placate his rebellious rightwing. Its call for March 1 is explicit: "• . . recognising with increased anxious concern the abysmal and costly failure of the Government to maintain law and order and security in the community, calls on it to resign so that a new administration may urgently attempt to save the country from impending disaster."

The requisition call for the council meeting was signed by more than 200 of the 900 strong council an indication of the strength of the Right Wing, who are demanding the rearming of the Royal Ulster Constabulary to fight "terrorists."

The Ulster 'Prime Minister has already indicated that if the meeting shows a majority against him, he will at once resign the leadership of his Party and the Premiership.

NO IMPOSITION During a television interview on Panorama (BBC-1) on Monday evening, Cardinal Conway, Primate of all Ireland, said that the Catholic Church in Northern Ireland had done all that was possible to discourage violence. He said that he had met Major Chichester-Clark on only one occasion, but would welcome another meeting whenever it could be arranged.

The Cardinal assured the interviewer that the Church had no feeling about whether Ulster should be part of the United Kingdom or of a united Ireland. It imposed no political opinions on anyone.

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