Letter: Parallel systems in Vanuatu

Sir: Dr Peter Hayes' suggestion (letter; "Rebellion at the birth of Ulster", 21 June) that every individual in Northern Ireland be given a choice between being subject to two parallel political, judicial and administrative structures run in parallel by Britain and the Irish Republic has a historical antecedent.

Such a system operated in the former New Hebrides (now Vanuatu) which was administered as a co-dominion by Britain and France until the mid- 1980s. Each country operated parallel police forces, law courts and administrative structures with everyone being able to choose one or the other.

It was cumbersome but worked tolerably well. Unfortunately the requisite imagination and willingness to make such a scheme work in Northern Ireland appears to be lacking in large sections of both communities.


Lecturer in

Public Health

Manchester University