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'Carnage in Northern Ireland'

September 11, 1988

Just because the IRA death-squads assassinated eight soldiers in Northern Ireland recently, says no more and no less about the standard of civil rights there, than the assassination of an equal number of blacks here in Los Angeles by gangs.

To argue that "civil rights" is the cause of the problem is silly. Catholics in Northern Ireland have greater access to housing and welfare benefits than Protestants, on account of their larger families. The employment differential is much less than the black-white differential in the United States; it is a quantum leap of logic to assume that discrimination "must" be the cause. How about the greater attraction of welfare benefits for (larger) Catholic families?

In any case, the IRA is simply not interested in reforms. Every "reform" since 1969 has simply encouraged them to continue their fight. Their aim is not reform, but the abolition of Northern Ireland as an entity. No amount of "reforms" would dissuade them.

Thus, the deal between the Westminster politicians and the Dublin politicians to engineer the future of Northern Ireland without the input of its citizens is doomed to failure. It is not just "extremists" who oppose the accord; most of the people are against it--vehemently!

Mainland British troops in Northern Ireland have already been reduced in numbers to 10,000 or so. Despite the County Tyrone aberration, most victims of the IRA's death squads have been fellow Ulstermen and women, serving bravely in the police or UDR militia.

DAVID McCALDEN

Director, Ulster-American

Heritage Foundation

Manhattan Beach

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