fifty years ago September 9, 1971 Archives

From the Archives (September 9, 1971): Spectre of civil war in Northern Ireland

Roman Catholic opposition leaders rebuffed a British peace feeler to-day [Belfast, September 8] as bomb blasts rocked Northern Ireland’s capital and a Protestant politician raised the spectre of outright civil war. Fears of an impending offensive by gunmen of the outlawed Irish Republican Army (I.R.A.) sent Chief of Britain’s General Staff Gen. Sir Michael Carver flying into Belfast to review the military set-up. He flew from London unexpectedly last night for talks with officers commanding 12,500 British troops on peace-keeping duties in Ulster. Two bombs exploded in Belfast after midnight, one at an army veterans club and the other at a small factory. Five persons were taken to a hospital with undisclosed injuries. The British peace move was announced in London last night after two days of summit talks between Prime Minister Edward Heath and Irish Republic Prime Minister Jack Lynch that ended in icy dispute over ways of stopping the bloodshed in the North. One hundred lives have been lost in the past two years. Home Secretary Reginald Maudling invited all sections of Northern Ireland’s feuding communities to a round table conference aimed at giving the Catholic minority “an active, permanent and guaranteed role” in the British province ruled by Protestants for 50 years.

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