Sir: I was somewhat alarmed to read in a letter by RA McCartney (22 October) of his fear of a bloodbath in Northern Ireland in certain circumstances: principally the withdrawal of Britain from the country. He believes that this would bring about a slaughter of Catholics by Protestants who have about 100,000 legally held lethal weapons at their disposal.
Northern Ireland has a different licensing system to that in Britain. The figure for privately held weapons includes airguns, personal protection weapons issued to people under threat, and people involved with animals which can be dangerous.
Why does RA McCartney assume that only Protestants hold legal weapons? Let me just say that for over 40 years I have been shooting in the company of members of both persuasions - just as many Catholics as Protestants - and we have got on famously, whether on the clay pigeon range or by marsh or covert.
A Catholic friend, on seeing your letter, remarked: "I wonder what he thinks we'd be doing, seeing probably a quarter of the guns are in our hands? Sitting waiting to be done in?"
Your correspondent is fortunate that he can put his name and address to his letter while I cannot, lest I target myself as a holder of firearms to the wild men of either side.
Name and address withheld
County AntrimReuse content