Documents that are no longer top secret in Great Britain have been recently published; this caused a sensation in the country and all over the world.
At beginning of the 1970s, the government of Edward Heath considered the plans for resettlement of majority of Northern Ireland Catholics to the south, to Ireland. However, the plan was rejected. The same happened with the suggestion to deliver a strong blow against both sides of the conflict, the Catholics and the Protestants.
The British prime minister was given a ten-page document under the title “Revision of boundary limits and resettlement of the population”. The document suggested that Northern Ireland areas inhabited by Catholics should be handed over to the Republic of Ireland, or the Catholic families were to be removed to Ireland. The document was supplied with a map of the region showing how it would look after the boundary changes.
Besides, the authors of the document admitted that they had no notion how it was technically possible to resettle Catholics from Belfast and other large cities of Olster to Ireland.
The government invented the “extraordinary plan” because of the continuous bloodshed, as a result of which over 500 civil citizens were killed by the end of 1972.
But the plan was rejected, as it was believed that it was impossible to realize the idea for several quite obvious reasons. It was clear that the government of the Republic of Ireland will also claim a territory as a makeweight, and probably financial aid for the families that were to be resettled (the number of people was expected at the rate of over half a million). Then, the very mechanism of that resettlement wasn’t clear at all. It was not clear who and how was to be resettled, especially that Great Britain together with the USA persuaded the whole of the world community that they were strictly observing human rights in their countries. They concluded that resettlement of the Catholics would break the European Human Rights Convention; it wouldn’t also put an end to the activity of the Irish Republican Army and might seriously aggravate the life of those Catholics who remained in Northern Ireland.
At the same time, when the document was published, British Prime Minister Edward Heath considered use of force against both Northern Ireland communities. On July 23, 1972 he was informed that the Ministry of Defense developed a plan in case if the situation would aggravate.
If the situation became no more controllable, the army would have introduced a state of emergency on the whole territory of Northern Ireland and would deliver a strong blow against organizers of the disorders, at that, against both sides, the Catholics and the Protestants.
As the history reveals, no extreme situations occurred, and the plan “for great resettlement” wasn’t put into effect.
Svetlana Tarasova PRAVDA.Ru Great Britain
Translated by Maria Gousseva
Read the original in Russian: http://world.pravda.ru/world/2003/5/14/36/5115_catoliki.html
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