Letter: Ulster blow

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The Independent Culture
Ulster blow

Sir: When Tony Blair launched the document The Way Forward after many frustrating hours in Belfast, he stated very plainly that two weeks hence we would know the "truth". Was it that republicans were insincere in their stance on decommissioning, or was it that unionists refuse to share power, maintaining their long out-dated arrogance?

Last Thursday we learned the answer. It was beamed across the globe.

It is deeply unjust to blame everyone - or no one - when, in his terms, it is clear that the Ulster Unionists are to blame for the failed attempt to establish an executive in Northern Ireland. Blair has allowed the "No" unionists in that party to dictate the agenda in much the same way as David Trimble has. This is not only insulting to nationalists and republicans, it is also a huge blow to those from the unionist community who find themselves even more marginalised in their support for the agreement and for the honourable compromise that it represents.

Tony Blair has put a huge amount of time and energy into Northern Ireland in recent times. But, in colluding with the irresponsible behaviour of Trimble and colleagues, he strengthens the "No" camp at the expense of the "Yes", he disempowers more than half of the, now voiceless, unionist community who support the Agreement and he makes its implementation less likely, not more.