Letter: Northern Ireland: the Army's continuing support for the RUC; Labour's policy

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The Independent Online
Dear Sir: Ruth Dudley Edwards is to be congratulated on her piece ('Tony, abandon the Emerald Isle', 23 August) urging Tony Blair to get some open minds working on devising a policy on Northern Ireland.

Current Labour Party policy is contradictory (ie, unity by consent and support for the Downing Street declaration). Unity by consent presumes to decide the future of the island of Ireland, while the declaration leaves it to the people of both parts of Ireland to decide their own future.

This declaration is supported by all parties in the Irish Parliament, all parties in Westminster, the Ulster Unionist Party, the Social Democratic and Labour Party, and the Alliance Party. The only parties opposed to it are Sinn Fein and the Democratic Unionist Party.

In opinion polls, an overwhelming majority of the people in both the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland support the declaration. Why then does Labour cling to a policy position which does not reflect the views of the people living in Ireland and indirectly lends a helping hand to the most intransigent Nationalist and Unionist elements? It would be an unthinkable position in relation to, for example, South Africa or the Middle East.

Yours sincerely,


Leader, Democratic Left