BELFAST ( - One of the most vocal pro-British unionist groups in Northern Ireland began a campaign on Wednesday urging voters in the violence-plagued province to vote against a proposed peace plan in a referendum planned for May.

      The Rev. Ian Paisley and his Democratic Unionist Party placed advertisements in newspapers urging people to "Vote No to Dublin Rule" on May 22. The peace agreement reached in multi-party talks on Good Friday would maintain links with Britain, but would also set up cross-border governing bodies with the Irish Republic. The Democratic Unionists rejected participation in the talks and have consistently railed against "the spread of papism" in Northern Ireland. Political analysts said the party is becoming marginalized among working-class Protestants, and would likely have little influence.

      Ironically, the pro-British group is being joined by fringe pro-Irish groups in opposing the plan, including the Continuity IRA and the Irish National Liberation Army who want nothing less than the complete end of British influence in the region and a union with the Irish Republic.

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April 16, 1998 volume 9, no. 74         DAILY CATHOLIC