NORTHERN IRELAND: The Protestants Strike for Power

They say it is the fatal destiny of Ireland that no purposes whatever which are meant for her good will prosper or take effect.

—Edmund Spenser

Spenser's grim comment was written 400 years ago, but the Irish drama seems to be eternal. The latest chapter in this unhappy story ended last week when the Executive, Northern Ireland's fragile coalition government of Protestants and Catholics, folded under the pressure of a devastating two-week general strike that had been called to preserve Protestant hegemony in Ulster. With the province near collapse, British Prime Minister Harold Wilson was forced to reimpose direct rule...

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