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DUP wanted curfew, ID cards and west Belfast sealed off

By Michael McHugh

DUP proposals for a curfew in Northern Ireland in the Troubles were rejected by the Government.

ID cards, beefed-up border security and steps to seal off west Belfast would also have been adopted had the British Government accepted former leader Ian Paisley's proposals.

The DUP's intervention was intended to tackle the deliberate orchestration of violence in republican areas to lure members of the security forces into a trap.

The party said: "A curfew would serve the dual purpose of hampering the terrorists from moving their explosives to their intended target during the hours of darkness. The curfew would have the added bonus of forcing the civilian population in the area concerned to press on the IRA to stop their campaign because of the inconvenience such a curfew would bring."

In 1992, Mr Paisley also proposed a "ring of steel".

The official memo said: "It was pointed out that the proposal by Mr Paisley on this in fact meant sealing off west Belfast."

It was suggested security forces would welcome identity cards but officials felt they would be of limited value unless brought in throughout the UK.

Border security was also considered. The official wrote: "Closure of the border was extremely difficult, given the fact that some private land straddled the border, people living on one side went to school on the other."

Outlawing Sinn Fein and the UDA was also discussed.

The official wrote: "The Prime Minister thought it would be difficult to proscribe the UDA without also proscribing Sinn Fein."

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