NORTHERN IRELAND: New Plans for Sharing Power

But Catholic and Protestant politicians are equally skeptical

Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher looked on pensively as her Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Humphrey Atkins, presented the long-awaited document to the House of Commons. The 16-page paper outlined an ambitious government plan for restoring self-government to Ulster after roughly eight years of direct rule by Westminster and a decade of sectarian violence that has claimed more than 2,000 lives. Atkins guardedly insisted that the Thatcher government's initiative contained "grounds for some optimism. I detect that the leaders of the political parties really do want to find a way forward."

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