Letter: Unionist worries

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The Independent Culture
Sir: All the older Irish political parties, and above all the Unionists, entered the democratic process backed by the gun. Fianna Fail and Fine Gale were armed to the teeth at their inception, but the Unionist record, incited by the Conservative front bench, is worse.

Lord Randolph Churchill produced the soundbite "Ulster will fight and Ulster will be right". In 1914 the Conservatives armed the Unionists. F E Smith bought with his own money a whole shipload of German arms and sent it to Ulster. Sir Nevile Henderson, the ambassador who declared war on Hitler, boasts in his book of 1943 how in 1914 he personally delivered 500 revolvers to the Unionists.

Michael Collins formed the IRA in 1916 in response to the Conservative and Unionist armed threat. This massive terrorist threat successfully brought into existence the Unionist-dominated Stormont parliament.

Recently, the Conservatives had a clear duty to retrieve their errors of the past by backing to the full the only available solution. Instead, as in 1914, they encourage the Unionists to pull out.

Gallons of Irish blood have been shed in the past for Conservative Party "principles". Let us hope the future does not see that bloodshed repeated.