Northern Advisory Committee to Provisional Government
In attendance are practically all members of the Provisional government, a number of northern Roman Catholic clergy (including 3 bishops), northern Sinn Feiners and O/Cs of the 2nd and 3rd Divisions of the IRA. Collins asked if the recent pact with Craig should be terminated given Craig’s refusal to have an enquiry into the recent murders in Belfast. Also, a war policy against the NI government was considered but, primarily because of the vulnerable position of the Catholics in Belfast, it was decided to implement the pact. In particular, it was decided to implement the clause in the pact that proposed the creation of Catholic Specials. However, it was decided to only do this in Belfast as it was recognised that a large section of the northern Catholics (especially those in the border areas) were against this proposal as it gave recognition to the NI government. (A Catholic police advisory committee had already been set up in Belfast under the chair of Bishop MacRory.) On the issue of local government bodies in NI with Sinn Fein/nationalist majorities giving recognition to the NI government, it was decided to convene a meeting of relevant councilors to consider the issue. On the issue of what should happen in the education sphere it was agreed that Minister of Education (Prof Hayes) should meet his northern counterpart to explore a basis for reasonable compromise. Finally, two northern advisory committees were set up – one to deal with general matters and the other to deal with the educational issue. Phoenix comments that for Collins the continued working of his pact with Craig depended on Craig (1) responding positively to the demand for an enquiry into the recent murders; (2) releasing prisoners and (3) curbing the Specials.