On This Day: People have spurned the IRA says Garrett FitzGerald
September 30 1973
Thousands Pray Together For Peace
Tens of thousands of Catholics and Protestants got together in cities, towns and villages throughout Northern Ireland to pray for peace. Mixed congregations, led by clergy representing all the Christian denominations, gathered in public parks, town squares, schools, playgrounds, on a beach, in a ballroom and on the Belfast “peaceline” for inter-denominational services.
One of the day's largest gatherings was outside St Stephen's Church, Millfield, Belfast, where over 2,000 took part in the 40-minute service.
People have Spurned the IRA Says FitzGerald
The people of Ireland have rejected almost unanimously the IRA, Ireland's Foreign Affairs Minister, Dr Garrett FitzGerald, claimed in a speech in New York to the National University of Ireland Club.
Dr FitzGerald appealed to all Irish-Americans to help in securing “peace and reconciliation, justice and hope for the future for the strife-torn people of Northern Ireland”.
The Irish Foreign Minister, in New York for the General Assembly, proposed that existing differences here could be settled by forming two representative bodies.
The first would be an executive authority in Northern Ireland composed of representatives from both sides, and a Council of Ireland. He said the Executive authority “would avoid a repetition of the kind of one-sided government that existed, up to 1972”.
He said his proposed Council of Ireland would be representative of the political systems in both parts of the country, with responsibility for needed economic actions and the task of working out a peace acceptable to a majority of the people of Northern Ireland.
He added: “Only by such a new departure can the conflicting aspirations of the majority of the people of Ireland on the one hand, and the Protestant community in Northern Ireland, on the other, be reconciled.
"The revolutionary character of a Council of Ireland would hold out to the majority of the Irish people a prospect of progress towards unity that is their legitimate aspiration.
"At the same time, the power given to a majority of the people in Northern Ireland to determine the pace of this evaluation would provide them with the guarantees they seek against being forced unwillingly into a united Ireland”.
One Job for the Council of Ireland – McBride
Environmental protection is one of the matters which might well be entrusted to the Council of Ireland if such a council is formed, said Mr Sean McBride, president of the Irish United Nations Association, speaking in Derry at a weekend conference dealing with human environment in Ireland.
The problems of environmental protection North and South were identical, and therefore a combined effort should be promoted, said Mr McBride.