County Armagh in Northern Ireland lives under the shadow of violence as the British Parliamentary elections approach.
County Armagh in Northern Ireland lives under the shadow of violence as the British Parliamentary elections approach. Bombings and murders have been stepped up by the Provisional Irish Republican Army. But the candidates in the province also face political problems. Ulster Unionist support in many ridings is divided among the Democratic Unionists (the D.U.P.), the Ulster Unionists, (the U.U.), the United ulster Unionists, (the U.U.U.P.) and the Official Unionist Party, Ulster's biggest unionist group. The southern Armagh riding of incumbent Harold McCusker was considered as safe as any seat could be with a majority last election of 17,000 votes when he ran as a United Ulster unionist. This time as an Official Unionist, he is being challenged by David Calvert of Ian Paisley's D.U.P.
SYNOPSIS: This is Harold McCusker's third election campaign. He has been a member of parliament since 1974. As an Official Ulster Unionist he wants Northern Ireland to remain a part of the United Kingdom.
His constituency includes some of the most staunchly Republican areas of Ulster where many people support the Irish Republican movement. His unionist policies are thought to make him a target of the I.R.A. and every time he travels into Armagh's border district he is putting his life on the line. So far in this campaign six people have died violently in County Armagh. Many of those McCusker meets have relatives who have been tortured or killed. But when he is in the Protestant north of his constituency, McCusker campaigns in relative safety.
Here in a mainly Roman Catholic village, he is guarded by plain-clothes policemen, backed up by British soldiers. But he prefers the security precautions to be low key.