BY A SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
A CALL for peace and reconciliation came from a Catholic parish priest in the Falls area of Belfast on Sunday, while the fires were still burning in the Shankill Road. on the other side of the barbed wire "peace line." following a night of tierce fighting between Protestant residents and troops.
Fr. Padraig Murphy, parish priest of St. Peter's, said in a statement on behalf of the priests and people of the parish: "Our genuine and heart felt sympathy goes out to all who suffered as a result of last night's rioting in the Shankill Road area.
"As you are our nearest neighbours and many friendly relationships have survived the present tensions and the division caused by the 'peaceline.' it is no pleasure to us to know that serious disturbances have again occurred in your area, with all the bewilderment and suffering they bring to both young and Old. As formerly. we are ready and anxious to assist you in any way we can.
"Disturbances of this kind in both our areas and whatever their origins, are simply not the way to community peace. •
"Believing that we have more interests in common than the things that divide us, we profess ourselves willing to combine in any constructive attempt to improve relations by better understanding and basic agreement that should he possible between us.
"As a positive first step, perhaps the unfortunate circumstances of the present offer an opportunity for ,spokesmen of both our conimtsnities to meet together and see what might he done by sharing our ideas and resources for the good of all.
"We have no doubt that the military commanders in both localities would assist in the promotion of such an endeavour and that it would be welcomed by the ministers and congregations of the various Christian denominations, including our own.
Rioting erupted again in Shankill Road the same evening, and did not finally come to an end until the troops withdrew from the area on Tuesday afternoon.