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The World: Not One Penny

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Protestant extremists in Northern Ireland sometimes threaten that the province might some day follow Rhodesia’s example and make a unilateral declaration of independence from Britain. Last week, on a two-day tour of Ulster, British Prime Minister Edward Heath warned of the consequences in the bluntest possible terms. Such an attempt not only would bring about a bloodbath, he said, but if it succeeded, Britain would not pay the new nation “one penny” of the $500 million that it now subsidizes the province with annually.

On his first official visit to Northern Ireland’s battle zones, Heath was guarded like a U.S. President venturing into Viet Nam. Armed troops surrounded him everywhere he went in Belfast and Londonderry. Heath did not hide Britain’s growing exasperation with Ulster’s warring factions. Irish sufferings “haunt us day by day,” he said. But what the British people “do not as yet find in Northern Ireland,” he added, “is the will to make an effective and lasting peace.” As Heath toured the province, the bombings and shootings went on. By week’s end the three-year death toll stood at 633.

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