Letter: Guns in Ulster

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Sir: The present brinkmanship conducted by David Trimble is deeply worrying. Since no one can reasonably doubt that the Sinn Fein leadership is "using any influence it may have to achieve the decommissioning of all paramilitary arms within two years", it is difficult to see any justification for his obdurate stand.

Nationalists are anxious about the very large number of weapons held legally in Protestant hands, not only in those of the security forces but also privately. In another shameful deal between the Major government and its Unionist supporters, the post-Dunblane legislation on ownership of handguns was not allowed to apply to Northern Ireland.

Why not now extend this legislation to the Province, and thus remove one major source of Nationalist concern? That step just could be the one which breaks the deadlock.


Clacton-on-Sea, Essex