Letter: Ulster's destiny

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The Independent Culture
Sir: John Hume sees himself as a man of destiny and has been so honoured as a Nobel Laureate. As your leader (12 July) says, he must not be passive now, but once again have the courage to lead from the front.

Your suggestion for his underwriting the preservation of a power-sharing administration, if necessary without Sinn Fein should the IRA refuse to decommission, is all that is required from him and his party. It is little to ask of the party which has preached peace and dialogue for so long.

It would speak volumes to sceptical Unionists who are, as I am, genuinely fearful of the "peace" being merely a pause for terrorist breath. It will be a tragedy if, instead of acting like a statesman, John Hume stands by to watch, with many of his nationalist colleagues, while David Trimble turns on the spit of unionist opinion, possibly unable to make that last crucial move.

The Nobel Prizes were both, in my view, advance rewards for unfinished business. The next few days will tell us all if the Nobel decisions were simply premature or ill-founded.

The people of Northern Ireland are desperate to be led the last vital step on the long road to the chance of a lasting peace. We are all holding our breath for proof that our Nobel Laureates are men of peaceful steel and not some malleable plastic replicas bending in the heat of extremist firebrands who care nothing for the future of our people.


Ballymoney, Co Antrim