Letter: Plea for Ulster

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The Independent Culture
Sir: One wonders whether those of your correspondents who make a statement like "We still hold Northern Ireland by military force" (letter, 13 September) have noticed that the "military force" component which has bolstered majoritarian rule there has to do with the threat or use of force by some of the disaffected minority.

This was a threat that was present and implicit from the beginning, since much of nationalist opinion never regarded partition as legitimate. And yet the unionists' position leads them to be reviled as "nay-sayers," who are "holding us to ransom".

They should accept absorption into "Ireland" for the greater good of all, it is said. It is curious that we never hear such appeals to the nationalist minority in Northern Ireland to accept the present disposition peaceably "for the greater good of all". There is an a priori assumption that the unification agenda is morally superior: one island must be one political entity.

The only way forward is represented by the Good Friday Agreement, but it should not be solely the unionist strand of thinking which is required to make "seismic" adjustments, surely. The nationalist shibboleths need moderating, too.

J M SMITH

West Kirby, Merseyside

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