Letter: It is Gerry Adams who must do the persuading

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The Independent Online
GERRY ADAMS, whatever his faults or virtues, is an intelligent man. Yet, to many people, he must appear singularly obtuse when he says he cannot understand why the British 'will not join the ranks of the persuaders' ('Britain devious - Adams', 19 December).

The British position is clear: until the majority of the population of Northern Ireland decide to unite with the Republic (assuming that the Republic will accept them) the Union will be defended through thick and thin. Many, like Mr Adams, are infatuated with the goal of Irish unity. Larger than life, the Reverend Ian Paisley represents the antithesis. Unfortunately, like blinkered horses, the vision of both of them is limited.

Mr Adams believes that: 'The British hold the power to keep the Unionists in a negative mindset.' Plainly he cannot see that he and others like him have the same power over Republicans. The policies Mr Adams supports suggest that he sees gentle persuasion as an unlikely way of achieving his heart's desire. He believes, therefore, that peace will come and violence end if the British coerce Unionists into a united Ireland.

The British are saying it is up to Mr Adams and anyone like him, north or south of the border, including the Irish government, to show Unionist Irishmen how they and the whole of Ireland will be better and happier in an Ireland united. That seems reasonable.

Frank Laycock

Dublin 4

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