Northern Ireland: Devil's Own Timing

In its eighth day of power, the Heath government was confronted with its first real crisis. London had already decided to bolster the 8,000-man garrison in Northern Ireland with 3,000 more British troops. Its decision followed a threat by Ulster's Protestant militants, led by the Rev. Ian Paisley, to hold a series of Orange Order parades of the kind that provoked last year's violence between Protestants and the Roman Catholic minority. The extra soldiers were needed sooner than anyone had expected.

The trouble was touched off by the jailing of Catholic Spitfire Bernadette Devlin, 23, who was re-elected as an...

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