Page 8, 9th September 1949

9th September 1949
Page 8
Page 8, 9th September 1949 — IS THE NORTHERN IRELAND GOVERNMENT FIT TO RULE?
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IS THE NORTHERN IRELAND GOVERNMENT FIT TO RULE?

By the EARL OF WICKLOW/ When judged by the democratic standards of the West, such as are being discussed at Strasbourg at the moment, can the Stormont Government be con sidered fit to rule ?

There has been much talk, and a certain amount of far from friendly amusement, over the self-denying ordinance of Mr. Warnock, the Minister of Home Affairs in the Six Counties, who has divested himself of 41 of his arbitrary powers held under the Civil Authorities Special Powers Act. It is assumed that this belated gesture is not likely to be the result of benevolence, but is caused by his alarm at the Strasbourg debate calling for the establishment of a European Court of Human Rights.

A sidelight is given on the Stormont conception of human rights, when one finds that among these discarded powers are police right of arbitrary arrest; internment without trial; regulations giving the civil authority, military and police officers the right to close roads, take possession of land, buildings or other property, and destroy buildings, and also measures dealing with the seizure of vehicles by the police and the right of the police to question any person and to tiring a person without warrant before a magistrate.

POSITION OF CATHOLICS While making full allowance for the difficulty of ending partition, it cannot be denied that the misgovernment of Stormont is a scandal, and in this country we have the impression that the British Government is refusing to face a very ugly fact. It is the Cetholic minority in the North who are the victims.

A fine speech on this subject has been made by the Bishop of Clogher when addressing the 6,000 pilgrims from his diocese at the shrine of Blessed Oliver Minket in Drogheda; he affirmed that there was a definite persecution of Catholics in the — North, and that it seemed to be " the determination of the ruling powers to crush out the Catholic community, particularly in Tyrone and Fermanagh."

As an instance, he pointed out that in Enniskillen, when 50 houses were to be given out, Catholics got five, and lie said the same had happened in Omagh, GHETTO In this paper Mr. Douglas Hyde has already drawn attention to a

Pilgrims Special similar state of affairs in the city of Derry, where the Catholics are being The Cunard liner Britannic, which driven into an existence like that of was due to sail from New York for the ghetto, and has told how matters Liverpool yesterday, September 8, are little if at all better in Belfast. will make a special call at Boston, 'How long is all this to last, and is Massachusetts, to pick up a party of Mr. Warnock's gesture to be re600 pilgrims bound for Ireland. garded as genuine, giving hope of

They are led by Mgr. Richard better things in the future? . Cushing, Archbishop of Boston. If not, then the British Govern

rnent should consider whether, in the event of their not being prepared to end Partition, the Stormont Government should he allowed to continue its independent existence, for up to now the people of the Six Counties have been living under a system based on principles quite contrary to those which still prevail in Britain.

My own view is that the only satisfactory remedy is to end Partition, but so long as they are under British rule the Catholics of the Six Counties have a right to a protection from Westminster which so far they have not received.




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