Britain tonight (Tuesday) gave the commander of its army garrison in Northern Ireland full charge of all security in the strife-ridden province.
Britain tonight (Tuesday) gave the commander of its army garrison in Northern Ireland full charge of all security in the strife-ridden province. This and other measures were announced following a meeting between Ulster Prime Minister Major James Chichester-Clark and British Premier Harold Wilson at Downing Street in London. The talks followed a week of sectarian rioting in Northern Ireland--a largely self-governing British province-- which left eight dead and more than 300 injured.
Police had sealed off the Downing Street area as a crowd of 300 gathered around the narrow dead-end thoroughfare. Rain dispersed most of them, but a number of people with banners waited.
Major Chichester-Clark was accompanied by three of his ministers, among them Development Minister Brian Faulkner.
The decision meant that the British Commander, Lieutenant-General Sir Ian Freeland, took over responsibility for the regular police force and the "B" Specials, the almost wholly Protestant reserve force, detested and feared by the Catholic minority.
Britain also moved to install two senior civil servants in Belfast for the first time to oversee the Protestant Unionist Government's programme of civil rights reforms. The rapid series of decisions flowing from the talks was aimed at halting renewed turmoil in Ulster. Major Chichester-Clark returned to Belfast tonight.
Belfast today was clearing away some of the damage caused in the fierce rioting in the city last week. Although some of the barricades are being removed, and there are fewer armed troops to be seen, the scars of violence in Belfast are still in evidence.
Damaged buildings are being demolished to avoid the danger of collapse and some fire-ravaged structures are still smoking.
In east Belfast, however, peace was maintained because of cooperation between Catholics and Protestants. In the area, with a population of 30,000 fringing upon the city's industries centres, ministers and priests worked together in an effort to keep passions down. Publicans cooperated by restricting the sales of alcoholic drinks.
A church hall in the area has been turned into a rumour control centre operating 24 hours a day. Rumours, it is felt, can be a highly dangerous element in the potentially dangerous situation and the moderates of east Belfast are working to ensure that violence does not take place.