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The good in Carson

Kenneth Griffith exposes his own intellectual dishonesty in his diatribe against Sir Edward Carson (Heroes & Villains, 4 March).

To cite the Archbishop of Canterbury's "apology" for England's "brutal domination and crass insensitivity in the 800 years of our relationship with Ireland", while deliberately omitting to mention the Roman Catholic Primate of All Ireland's parallel apology to the people of Great Britain for the sins of Irish nationalism, was to engage in selective history and set the tone for his essay.

Griffith further cites that Carson "worked cruelly to humiliate the Suffragettes" yet fails to mention that the Unionist constitution for a provisional Ulster government in 1914 provided for votes for women.

Griffith's unreconstructed Irish nationalism is unveiled in his claim that "Edward Carson saw the Scottish Irish as the key to maintaining England's supremacy in Ireland", a claim which fails totally to understand Irish Unionism. Carson wished to maintain Ireland as an equal partner with England (and Scotland and Wales) in a United Kingdom. His belief, and that of Unionists today, was that the sum of the four constituent parts is greater than the whole.

In the end, Carson magnanimously accepted the partition of Ireland as an honourable compromise between Unionism and Nationalism. Unionists continue to accept that compromise. Nationalists do not.

It is fortunate for those of us who live in Northern Ireland that embittered and antiquated attitudes such as those of Griffith are uncommon enough to make lasting peace a realistic prospect.

martin moore

Newtownabbey, County Antrim