Letter: Mowlam is right

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The Independent Culture
Sir: If we doubt that the ceasefire still holds, let us recall what life was like before.

Members of the security forces were murdered almost daily, there were bombing campaigns against the public on the mainland as well as in Northern Ireland and leading figures in our society were targeted for assassination. What we have now may fall a long way short of peace but is a lot better than it was.

David Trimble's insistence that recent events amount to an end of the IRA ceasefire is only another in a long line of excuses for the Unionists to abandon the peace process. Unionist leaders would clearly rather continue the conflict than share power.

ANDREW KERR

London W12

Sir: Mo Mowlam is right: the IRA ceasefire has not been broken.

Both Republican and Protestant ghettoes in Northern Ireland are run by their respective mafias, whose everyday activities include extortion, drug dealing, armed robbery - and punishing petty offenders, as mafias do the world over. This has nothing to do with politics.

Why then are the ghetto politicians loath to condemn these common criminals? Because they rely on them to carry out the occasional "spectacular" in the name of armed struggle. Thus the IRA, UVF, UFF et al only exist when the politicians bring them into being. The rest, sectarian or internecine, is just ordinary hooliganism.

TOM GINGER

Isleworth, Middlesex

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