Letters: Ulster impasse

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The Independent Culture
Letters: Ulster impasse

Sir: There is something surreal about Ulster Unionism.

Years of misrule provoked an armed rebellion which caused a huge amount of suffering and economic damage. Provocative, absurd and unnecessary Orange parades lead annually to violence on the streets. Unionists are currently blocking the establishment of a power-sharing executive by pressing demands that formed no part of the Good Friday agreement. They ignore beatings and expulsions that occur within the loyalist community but express outrage when the same things occur in republican areas.

They kept John Major's government in power when it was well past its sell-by date, earning no favours from Labour by doing so, and yet after all this they think they have the right to demand the replacement of Labour's Northern Ireland Secretary and the postponement of the review process, and to continue to veto the political progress in Ulster which an overwhelming majority voted for.

Isn't it high time for Mr Blair to take the Ulster Unionists aside and tell them that they are a major part of the problem in Ulster, not part of the solution? He should tell them that Mo stays, and set an early deadline for the Unionists to join a power-sharing executive in Ulster, or face the penalty of the progressive withdrawal of the huge subsidy that the long-suffering British people pay to keep the Ulster economy afloat.