THERE was disappointment in the Vatican this week at the failure of the attempt by the International Red Cross to end the hunger strike at the Maze prison near Belfast.
Support for the initiative was voiced in a front page comment in the Vatican's official newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano. last Friday. It said: "Since the credibility of the initiative (by the Red Cross) has been demonstrated it give hope that the prisoners too will give credit to this sign of goodwill by suspending a protest which has already claimed so many victims."
The British Government's assent to the Red Cross mission was "a positive sign in an extremely grave situation", it said. "Everyone is aware that something must be done and done immediately if the sacrifice of more lives is to be avoided."
The hunger strikers rejected the Red Cross efforts, saying they were being used as pawns by the British Government in the same way that the Irish Justice and Peace Commission had been.