Letter: Seven stark realities to be faced in Northern Ireland

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The Independent Online
Sir: While I deplore the pan- nationalist talks between John Hume, leader of the SDLP, and Gerry Adams, leader of Sinn Fein, they have highlighted the issue at the heart of the conflict in Ulster - nationhood. The pan- nationalist position, put forward by Mr Hume and Mr Adams, is that on the island of Ireland there is one nation. The truth is that there are two, Ulster and Eire.

Ireland is a geographical unit but not a single nation. Mr Hume and the Provos have no right to assume that one island must mean one nation. Norway and Sweden share the same peninsula but are separate nations and each respects the territorial integrity of its neighbour. Ulster's message must be 'one island, but two nations' and that must be expressed as forcefully as possible.

The first joint statement by Mr Hume and Mr Adams earlier this year referred to 'national self-determination', the central plank in their proposals, but they are dishonest in how they apply that principle. It is recognised in international law and respected by democrats throughout the world. But Mr Hume and Sinn Fein refuse to recognise Ulster's right to self-determination.

Seventy years ago, Ulster exercised its right to self-determination when it determined to remain within the British family of nations. Today, Ulster still has the inalienable right to self-determination, the right to determine its future without Dublin's interference.

Yours faithfully,


City Hall


1 October