Letter: A united Ireland is a valid aim

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THE COMMENTS offered by your contributors to 'Ulster - What can be done?' (31 October) reflect the ignorance that pertains to the whole issue of Ireland. In particular, the notion that the Roman Catholic Church enjoys official status in the Republic (Tariq Ali) is frequently propagated by Unionists. The truth is that the Catholic Church was never established in the Republic. It merely enjoyed a 'special status' as the church of the vast majority. This status was removed in 1972 following a referendum.

Furthermore, the solution advocated by Lord Dacre that reunification of Ireland should be denied as a legitimate aspiration is dangerous. It is perfectly right that the nationalist position should be recognised. To deny the possibility of unification is to legitimise a wrong that was done in 1918. In the general election of that year, nationalists won the vast majority of Irish seats on the basis of establishing an independent Ireland. This was ignored by the British Government and partition followed. A minority position prevailed thus creating a 'statelet' with a democratic legitimacy. Until that is recognised there can be no solution to the problems of Northern Ireland.

K J Rowles

Holmforth, West Yorks