Letter: False hopes for an Irish settlement

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The Independent Online
Sir: Stephen Plowden insists (letter, 9 July) that peace in Northern Ireland can only be achieved by 'giving equal respect to both Unionist and nationalist identities'. This is impossible. The two 'identities' cannot be reconciled; these political philosophies flatly contradict each other. Unionism claims that the English, Irish, Scots and Welsh share enough in everyday life to allow a common political system to exist. And that where different political interests occur, these differences are small and can be accommodated by a broad-minded majority.

The nationalists deny all this. They insist that this common ground was cleared by English conquest and colonisation; so, it must be rejected utterly. Hence the remaking of the Irish Free State as the Republic, and the Irish rejection of membership of a British Commonwealth.

These changes were the work of Fianna Fail and its leader, Mr de Valera. His successor, Mr Reynolds, has made clear that Articles 2 and 3 of the Republic's constitution will only be abandoned when they become redundant. That is, when the six counties are absorbed by the Republic. Mr Plowden's hopes for a settlement are, therefore, false.

Yours faithfully,