The Government is allowing the situation in Northern Ireland to drift, Bishop Eanionn Casey told the (ialwa),seen's Association at thcIr .eeent Jubilee dinner in London The Bishop of Galway said any effort to ioces the Government to take ,00ie positive action would be a valuable contribution to peace in Northein Ireland.
He said there seemed to be confusion in England regarding the position of the Catholic Church and Catholic bishols in Ireland. Some of the stat: .nents made by the .bishops seemed contradictory, sometimes because of the speed of events and developments on which they were required to comment.
"The main thrust of everything that has been said by Catholic bishops in the North of Ireland in recent years has been to point out again and again that violence in all its forms and from whatever source is incompatible with Christian living.
"Bishops there have endeavoured with all the vigour at their command to promote non-violence, justice and truth. And truth has been one of the major casualities there. There is a great deal of propaganda on both sides of the situation, and on both sides of the Irish Sea.
Bishop Casey commented sqi the prison conditions in II_ Block
at Long Kesh. He said that it had become a test of loyalty as a citizen how people viewed the question. "If one questions the wisdom or the justice of the policy being pursued by the authorites in H Block, one's integrity comes to be doubted in some quarters," he said.
"So perhaps I had better make one thing clear at the outset. I totally abhor all the violence in the North, including that of the Provisional IRA.
He condemned the conditions in H Block, He said.
"No civilised government should allow such a situation to continue and the fact that your Government at Westminster does so is merely a reflection of their general lack r initiative with regard to N .tern Ireland."
"There :ious despondency
in Nort/ re Ireland at the apparent re .icy of drift' which seems to b• the attitude of the Governmcst at Westminster with regard to Northern Ireland.
"It is self-evident that in such a political vacuum, the paramilitary organisations are permitted to set the pace, to take the initiatives. Any efforts on your part to force the Government at Westminster to more positive and responsible action in terms of taking political initiative would be a valuable contribution to peace there."