London — The British government, standing firm against granting political status to IRA hunger strikers in Northern Ireland, has also rejected a charge of "inflexibility" leveled at it by Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D) of massachusetts and three other prominent irish-Americans, Monitor correspondent David K. Willis reports.
Senator Kennedy, along with Sen. Daniel P. Moynihan (D) of New York, House Speaker Thomas P. O'Neill (D) of Massachusetts, and New York Gov. Hugh L. Carey, sent a telegram to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher May 6 urging her to compromise with IRA prisoners in Belfast. The telegram condemned "all violence, " but said British "inflexibility" must produce more violence and death.
Mrs. Thatcher issued a reply May 14 which said that on the contrary, her government had "acted with great flexibility." She repeated the refusal to grant political status, saying that to do so would be to surrender control of the prisons, provoke further coerc ion, and encourage more young people into violence.