Irish leaders

The high unemployment and other domestic ills of the Republic of Ireland would be enough to draw outsiders' sympathetic interest to the change of leadership there. But their inevitable concern is more international: that the new prime minister, Garret FitzGerald, not lose the momentum established by his predecessor, Charles Haughey, toward Anglo-Irish cooperation in easing the tragic problems on Northern Ireland. The currently publicized self-imposed starvation of IRA prisoners in Belfast cannot erase the memories of the innocent victims on Ulster soil and elsewhere who have been caught in the conflict's violence.

A mutual drive against such violence from any quarter has been one of the fruits of former Prime Minister Haughey's talks with Prime Minister Thatcher. These have also appeared to be valuable initiatives toward preparing the ground for alleviating political and sectarian divisiveness.

From all accounts Mr. FitzGerald intends to continue cooperative efforts and perhaps to offer some initiatives of his own, though he says the matter of Northern Ireland is too delicate to go into publicly at this state. In a situation inflamed by propaganda, there is much to be said for quiet efforts -- if this does not mean lesser efforts. Mr. FitzGerald is said to be motivated toward conciliation by his own family lineage combining northern and southern Irish strains. He should have every support in acting on suc h intentions.

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