Letter: Irish dancing

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OLIVER SWANTON should know that The Point club in Donegal was attracting both Catholics and Protestants as long ago as 1975 ("Northern Ireland, 1999", Real Life, 4 April). I grew up a Protestant in Derry - even then a primarily Catholic city. The city centre was a no-go area but as teenagers we would meet up in a local pub and head off to The Point. Crossing the border was easy despite the checkpoints. On the way home I would drop off Catholic friends at neutral areas for them to walk home as it was not safe to take Dad's car into Catholic areas. I imagine young people still have to take such precautions.

Youth music has always crossed divides, yet this has rarely extended into the rest of social and political life. What has changed in Northern Ireland is that young people are no longer afraid to admit they have friends from the "other" community. And once people can acknowledge that, there is hope for a peaceful political solution in the long term.

RUTH HALSTEAD

Ossett, West Yorkshire

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