Letter: Human rights issues legitimise terrorism

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From Professor David Marsland

Sir: You published on 28 December two letters arguing that participation of Sinn Fein in all-party talks should not be conditional on the decommissioning of IRA weaponry. Your readers should not be deceived by their logic-chopping disregard of relevant facts.

Sinn Fein has supported its friends in taking up arms to murder thousands of British soldiers, policemen and civilians - and this in one of the few genuine democracies in the world. They represent a tiny minority of the Northern Ireland electorate - 10 per cent at best.

In my opinion, we should not be talking to them at all. They should be behind bars. But if we have to talk with them, we must at least ensure that their friends' capacity to renew their murderous campaign is removed first.

Yours sincerely,

David Marsland

London, SW3