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Chicago Irish urge a US role

Irish-run city that it is, Chicago is gearing up to celebrate Britain's royal wedding in style. But even as bunting went up here in honor of Prince Charles and Lady Diana, about 1,200 Irish-Americans held a "Brits-out" rally, Monitor correspondent Jonathan Harsch reports.

Sporting shamrocks, billowing yards of green anything, and t-shirts celebrating Northern Ireland's hunger strikers, the crowd heard local politicians and two prominent speakers from Ireland call on Congress and President Reagan to "mediate" in Northern Ireland.

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Neil Blaney, an outspoken independent member of the Irish Dail (parliament) and of the European Parliament, said that pressure from the United States -- in the form of a public demand for a declaration of intent to withdrew -- is essential "to help us do what we of ourselves cannot do, . . . " he said.

Northern Irishman Oliver Hughes, brother of Francis Hughes, the second IRA prisoner to die in the hunger strike protest, offered a different perspective. He said it is necessary to win world attention, adding that President Reagan could convince British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher that withdrawal is in the best interest of all parties. A phased British withdrawal could be a quiet operation over a four- to five-year period, he said.

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