Letter: Many Ulster Catholics want to remain in UK

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The Independent Online
Sir: In the first sentence of her article giving 'a Catholic view' (' 'We're beginning to find our voice' ', 13 August), Professor Mary McAleese says,

The Catholic population (of Ulster) has undergone an almost phenomenal change in terms of . . . its willingness to articulate its nationalism.

Her assumption that 'the Catholic population' is committed to Irish nationalism is untrue. It is an assumption which is assiduously propagated by Irish nationalists but it is a false and unfounded assumption. I am disappointed that it should be made by such a prominent person as the pro-vice-chancellor of Queen's University.

She must surely know that a significant section of the Roman Catholic population in Ulster does not want a United Ireland but wishes Ulster to remain within the United Kingdom. This fact has been demonstrated repeatedly in opinion polls and confirmed in election results. Even those who vote for the SDLP are not all supporters of a United Ireland. The 1992 report on Social Attitudes in Northern Ireland showed that 30 per cent of SDLP adherents wish to stay in the UK.

That significant section of the Roman Catholic population, together with the Protestant population, constitutes what the leader of the Ulster Unionist Party describes as 'the greater number of the people' in Ulster and that 'greater number' is opposed to a United Ireland.

Mary McAleese says that 'over the last 18 months the problem is beginning to be analysed in the correct way', but in fact her own analysis is fundamentally and fatally flawed.

Yours faithfully,


City Hall


17 August