Front Our Own Correspondent DUBLIN.
The attacks on the English electrical system prove that those responsible for the I.R.A. manifesto, pasted up through Ireland during the week-end, are resolved to carry the conflict into England itself.
Let it be said at once that the Irish .Government does not countenance any vehement action. Its view, however, is that it is powerless as long as its authority does not extend to the full country.
The suppression of peaceful public meetings in the North and the suspension of Habeas Corpus have in its view swept action out of the hands of peaceful, constitutional parties and passed the initiative over to revolutionaries, so that the control of constitutional parties is diminished.
The feeling in Dublin is that the only alternative to a longdrawn-out conflict is to make the settlement which was denied last 'April and to put an end to the root of all troubles—partition.
PROCLAMATION TEST The story began last Sunday when the British radio alarmed all regions with news of a manifesto by the I.R.A., which had been pasted up throughout Ireland. Signed by six well-known Separatist leaders in the name of " the Republican Government and the Army Council of the I.R.A.," it called on England to evacuate the Six Counties, and upon
" the people of all Ireland, at home and in exile, to assist in the effort we are about to make in God's name to compel that evacuation and to enthrone the Republic of Ireland."
The posters were put up with extraordinary simultaneity and efficiency, in Belfast, Dublin, Cork, and other centres throughout the thirty-two counties—a demonstration in itself of the extent, strength and discipline of the I.R.A. forces.
POLITICAL MANIFESTO There was some confusion in English reports of the affair over the joint signature, viz., of the Republican Government and the Army Council. In order to explain this, I must tell what virtually all the Press, at home and abroad, has ignored so far.
About a month ago, the Second Dail deputies, who have claimed hitherto to be the Government of a neverdisestablished Republic, issued a proclamation saying that they had committed their authority to the Army Council. Hence, the I.R.A. chiefs speak for the political as well as the military organisations of those Republicans who do not accept the new Constitution or the Association with the Commonwealth.
The Dublin newspapers made little of Sunday's demonstration, but the Belfast Press and authorities took great alarm. Already at Christmas, the Belfast Government had suspended Eabeas Corpus
and interned 34 men, against none of whom any offence has been alleged or proved. With this fiat challenge, following the suppression of peaceful, constitutional political meetings, the Northern Irish Government flung the gauntlet and must bear some responsibility for what has followed.
The police in the Six Counties, as I can testify, are in a jumpy state of nerves, and Sunday's affair has produced sharp tension. No one knows when or whence violence may break.
I anticipate wholesale, frantic internments, in which the victims will be people whom the junta at Stormont dislikes; but such action will not quell the highly organised men who have announced their resolve to destroy partition.
This is a grim prospect, though some people have seen it adumbrated ever since the British Government, a year ago, refused to make a settlement with those who approached them in a peaceful, constitutional way.
VIOLENCE DEPRECATED What can the peaceful statesmen of Ireland do to check action, however illadvised?
Irish opinion in general is against recourse to force, for two reasons:
(i) that the men to suffer must be Irishmen, since England uses misguided Irishmen to defend her positions here and (ii) that we have a peaceful, if difficult, way to achieve our end if only we muster enough moral strength; namely, by the conversion of 15 per cent. of Unionists and the defeat of Craigavon in a plebiscite.
This is certainly the view of the Government which has proscribed the I.R.A.