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Letter: Loyalist violence

Sir: David Trimble, the Ulster Unionist leader, says signing up to the latest proposals put forward by the British and Irish Prime Ministers would mean his party compromising an important democratic principle, because it would involve forming a government with Sinn Fein before the IRA start decommissioning.

I trust he will accept that, from a Unionist perspective, it is just as well that such democratic principles were not held with such tenacity by the British and putative Irish governments in 1920 when they sowed the seeds of the modern Troubles by ignoring the outcome of the 1918 general election - when parties favouring Irish independence took more than 80 per cent of the vote in Ireland as a whole - and instead caved in to threats of violence from hundreds of thousands of well-armed Ulstermen by partitioning the island.

I know, history lessons will get us nowhere, but I hope Mr Trimble gives peace a chance.