FROM A SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT IN BELFAST JUST as the last three Northern Ireland Prime Ministers found out, so has Mr. William Whitelaw, the new Secretary of State when things seem to be going well in Northern Ireland politics the unexpected, or what is
feared most, happens.
True to form. the situation in the trouble-torn six counties changed unmistakably for the worse this week with two seemingly unconnected events.
One was the renewal of
South London association to build 150 homes
MW homes for over 150 amilies are to be built by the South London Family Housing Association on waste land at Coulsdon, Surrey, The association was formed five years ago by local branches of the Catholic Housing Aid Society.
Croydon Borough Council chose the association to develop the nine-acre site after studying their proposals costing over £1,165,000 -put forward in competition with three other associations.
We had only three weeks to survey the site and prepare our scheme," said Mr. Jack Griffin, the association's chairman.
sectarian gun battles between Catholics and Protestants in two large housing estates in Belfast; the other was the setting up of a Protcsant "no go" area Woodvale in Belfast-and the first public appearance on the streets of organised Protestants in paramilitary uniforms.
Some 700 British troops quickly put a stop to the sectarian gun battle between the Springmartin and I3allymurphy estates, but the second problem is the one which will take more time to solve.
It poses a number of questions. Is the creation of the Protestant "no go" area a determined effort by Protestant extremists to force the Westminster Government into clearing out the gunmen now holing up in the "no go" areas of the Catholic Creggan and the Bogside in Derry?
Is the Woodvale "no go" area the first of many-which the extremists say it is---if their demands are not met? And are the Protestants in IRA type uniforms armed and ready to do battle with the British troops? Intelligence sources suggest that the answer to all these questions is "yes."
Mr. Gerry Fitt, Labour MP for West Belfast at Westminster, and at least some of his colleagues are sure the Woodvale "no go" area is a plot by the William Craig-led Vanguard Movement and other organisations to stir the Army into action against the IRA in the Creggan and the Bogside.
He hopes Mr. Whitelaw, who has already said he will not use force--with resulting high civilian casualties-will continue to hold firm against such pressures.
Mr. Whitelaw and the Army wish more than anything to avoid a shooting match with Catholics and Protestants at the same time. It would be a situation of open civil war.
If this situation occurs, down the drain would go the valiant efforts of Mr. Whitelaw to isolate the gunmen not with the gun but by pouring in financial aid to such areas as Belfast and Derry with their high rate of unemployment.
Since taking office Mr. Whitelaw has been cautious in his public utterances. But he has breathed an air of hope to the people of Northern Ireland who want peace.
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death, had been smuggled out of Italy by Mgr. Georges Roche, who had become a close friend of the aged and failing cardinal.
Since Cardinal Tisserant noted indiscriminately in his diaries almost everything he heard, without distinction between fact and fiction, Vatican officials had been expecting something like the Pius XI rumours. which had been prevalent in Rome at the time, to he revived.
One Holy See official said : "1 was in Rome at the time and
had fairly close dealings with the Pope. The Pope was suffering from urernic poisoning and it was of that he died. not from heart attacks, although he did have a cardiac flutter.
"He was treated throughout by the pontifical doctor, Prof. Aminto Milani, aided by Prof. Filippo Rocchi," said this official.
Pius XI, according to close friends, did not want specialists called in for consultation. He joked with Prof. Milani : "You have treated me for years and I have trusted you for years. If you can't kill me all by yourself I won't let you bring in anyone to help you."
None the less, specialists were called in on February 8. The Ascension Day procession of the Holy Blood through the streets of Bruges, Belgium, is led by a huge statue of Christ on the Cross.
There is strong reason to believe that Pope Pius X1 did indeed intend to make another
strong denunciation of Fascism. First, he had summoned all Italian bishops to Rome for the 10th anniversary of the Concordat for an audience at which he intended to speak on February 11.
Secondly, at one of his last group audiences, that for the Cenacle Sisters, he told them: "I confide in you the first hints of a yet unpublished document in which we will discuss at greater length the situation in Italy."