Letter: Northern Ireland: a time for new concepts; Unionist fears; violence that can return

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The Independent Online
Sir: In the aftermath of the IRA ceasefire, to which I give a hearty but cautious welcome, I find myself filled with sympathy for the Unionist politicians and pundits (Conor Cruise O'Brien, Ian Paisley, et al). They must live in a world so lacking in hope, and so full of despair, to continue with their numbing negativity and intransigence.

Surely, they have the maturity to hide their personal doubts, which we all share, and grasp at the proffered straw. Their continued chant of mistrust and betrayal simply ensures that, while they hold sway and influence, peace will never come and the people of Northern Ireland will continue to suffer.

Sooner or later, someone has to trust somebody or nothing will change. Let them doubt privately, but let's have some constructive thinking in public. If this initiative fails, the IRA will see no point in talking for many years to come.




12 March