Belfast — Despite much wrangling between the participants during the first week, British Secretary of State Humphrey Atkins has managed to keep the constitutional talks on Northern Ireland struggling forward. As a result the talks, adjourned this past weekend, will resume Jan. 21, Monitor special correspondent Alf McCreary reports.
Mr. Atkins has introduced an innovation apparently designed to encourage Northern Ireland's largest Protestant grouping, the Official Unionist Party, to join at least the fringes of the conference, which it has boycotted up to now. This is a series of parallel discussions covering a wide range of topics not necessarily on the main agenda. But so far the Official Unionists have kept up their boycott, and the Rev. Ian Paisley's Democratic Unionists have refused to take part in the informal discussions.