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IRISH PROTESTANT CLERICS BACK PEACE PLAN

Irish Protestant clerics lent their support Sunday to peace efforts in Northern Ireland, despite opposition from Protestant politicians in the British-ruled province.

"Two years ago peace did not look all that likely, and now we have it," Archbishop Donald Caird of Dublin told a service in Warrington, central England.

Northern Ireland's Protestant politicians have rejected recent moves toward peace, including the framework proposed by Britain and the Republic of Ireland, which they say concedes too much to Catholics, who seek to unite Northern Ireland with Ireland.

Bishop James Mehaffey of Derry and Raphoe told the British Broadcasting Corp. on Sunday that the Protestant politicians were undermining the peace process.

Peter Robinson, deputy leader of the Democratic Unionist party, one of Northern Ireland's main Protestant-based parties, called the bishop's statements "imbecilic gibberish."

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