Sir: The question of the "loyalists" of Northern Ireland is not whether they are British or Irish (letter, 22 January), but to what extent they are a nation unto themselves. The people of Ulster have a national identity that is separate from, but attached to, their British, or even Irish, identity. Most countries of Europe are in fact a patchwork of peoples who have a complex and shifting relationship with the nation state to which they legally belong.
Ireland is inhabited by two nations, two peoples, and the violence will not end until that fact is accepted and respected by all sides. Merely to "decant" the trouble from a British container into an Irish one would not change a thing. Though it would, if forced upon the Ulster people, mean another hundred years of killing with Irish soldiers and policemen who have to put on uniforms and wander the streets as easy meat for the guns of Ulsterite die-hards.
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