Letter: An alliance barring the way to peace

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Sir: I applaud wholeheartedly the words of Dick Spring, the Irish Foreign Minister, on the front page of today's Independent. In doing so I am reluctant to introduce a churlish note, and before doing so, I state my position as one who has had some involvement with 'moderate' politics in Ulster and as a unionist with a small 'u'.

Many, many people in the North welcomed the recent election results in the South, in particular the rise of the Labour Party, and especially the collapse of Fianna Fail, until recently led by Charles Haughey. We hoped that the result would lead to the 'rainbow coalition' of Labour, Progressive Democrats and Fine Gael, all of which had advocated the unconditional alteration of Articles Two and Three of the Republic's constitution - the territorial claim to the North. We knew that Fianna Fail would never willingly give up the claim to the North, as it is the direct descendant of the old IRA.

We read Mr Spring's words saying that 'new political relationships . . . would be founded on a reality which is now widely recognised, rather than on the inherited myths on both sides of the divide'. We fear that Labour's unholy alliance with Fianna Fail will first not be easily forgotten by its voters of last time, many of whom voted for Labour specifically as the only apparent way open to them to ensure the removal of the corrupt and discredited Fianna Fail government, and second, will result in Mr Spring's being shackled in following his convictions on Articles Two and Three. The result will be the continuing impasse in political development in Ulster. Already we see the backwoodsmen of Fianna Fail complaining that Mr Spring has gone too far in putting Articles Two and Three on the negotiating table.

We hope that Mr Spring's 'unholy alliance' will soon fall apart and that it is not too late for him to recover from a tragic mistake. If this was to occur, I feel that the whole atmosphere for progress could be transformed.

Yours faithfully,



County Tyrone

26 March