Rising street violence between Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland puts Britain's Tony Blair in a nasty bind. The province's First Minister, David Trimble, is pressing him to bounce Sinn Fein, the Irish Republican Army's political wing, from the local government to punish republican sympathizers for fighting. But Blair is likely to reckon that such a harsh measure could jeopardize the overall peace. That increases the possibility Trimble will resign, as he has twice before, paralyzing local government.
Meanwhile, Trimble warns that Ian Paisley's Democratic Unionists, who oppose the Good Friday peace pact, and Sinn Fein could become the dominant parties in the province's assembly after next May's elections. That would bog down the government even more.
Edited by Rose Brady