Gabriel Fallon's DUBLIN DIARY
COULD it be that peace in Northern Ireland will eventually come about through "meaningful dialogue" between Ian Paisley and the Provisional I.R.A.? (In waters mounting to despair one clutches the tiniest straw!) The Provisional I.R.A. leader, David O'Connell, considers that this might well be so.. He said in a recent interview : "We believe that Paisley is perhaps the most genuine representative of the Unionist viewpoint in the North." He himself says that Faulkner does not represent anybody.
"We would agree with that. Faulkner does not represent the grassroots' feelings of Unionism. Paisley and Boal certainly do. On that basis we look to the people who are genuine representatives for meaningful dialogue."
According to O'Connell, Paisley states that the problem of Ulster must be solved by the Ulster people. "We agree entirely with him there. We believe that the root cause of the problem is British interference—it always has been. Paisley, in his recent R.T.E. interview stated that he would not necessarily accept the dictates of Westminster.
"He made it quite clear that he had no allegiance to any particular Prime Minister or Government. As well as that, we feel that Paisley, like Boat, is typical of the Ulsterman. which Faulkner certainly is not. His very personality, his gruff humour, puts him in a unique position."
And again: "Paisley, like ourselves, is realistic. His attitude towards internment was that it would not succeed," although unlike Boal, he did not oppose it on moral grounds.
"But his assessment has been proved correct. We have noted with interest the development of Paisley's social conscience, which is not merely propaganda talk on his side. We know for a fact that in his constituency he gives equal treatment to Protestants and Catholics."
There are people on all sides who would regard a dialogue between the I.R.A. and Paisley as a plot between Beelzebub and the Devil, as too questionable a price to pay for peace. But must the agony continue until there is still another slaughter of innocents, another McQuaid's pub, another series of assassinations in which the victims are described as "legitimate targets?" God forgive us all !
ioulTH the Vatican Council's
• • "Declaration on Christian Education" as well as Pius XI's encyclical on "Christian Education of Youth" strongly against them, a growing number of Catholics (both lay and cleric) continue to press for the establishment of multidenominational community schools as a solution to this country's political problems.
A petition signed by a group of Irish churchmen representing all the major denominations was recently sent to President de Valera urging him to intervene on the issue. Part of the petition runs: "We are gravely disturbed by the long-term consequences for our country arising from the
proposals presently implemented with regard to the community schools.
"At a time when education should be a unifying factor in our community we see these proposals as being exceptionally divisive. Such proposals cannot be regarded as being in the national interest.
"We regret that these proposals, in effect, constitute a repeal of the 1930 Vocational Education Act, under which our vocational schools have functioned so efficiently for 40 years on a basis of multidenominational co-operation and harmony."
This is a situation which calls for tactful dialogue. Nothing is to be gained by recrimination, or by the employment of sanctions, hidden or open.
Even if one chooses to ignore Pius Xi's encyclical, there is no gainsaying the Council's views.