Letter: Irish votes

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DAVID WALTON (Letters, 15 August) questions the legitimacy of the Act of Union of 1801 (which united Ireland and Britain under a Westminster government) on the basis that the Irish parliament contained an unrepresentative number of Protestants. I need hardly remind him that, at the time, the right to vote in both Ireland and Britain was the preserve of the wealthy, who tended to elect their own kind and thus maintained governments with a rather narrow viewpoint. This is hardly democracy as we know it today but was accepted as such at the time. If this makes the Act of Union suspect, then all legislation passed prior to universal suffrage is equally illegitimate.

MICHAEL WATTS

Newtownards, Co Down

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