LETTERS: IRA fears repeat of 1921 treaty

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From Ms Patricia Moynihan.

Sir: After reading today's letters about "arms decommissioning", I would like to point out that the nervousness of the IRA and Sinn Fein regarding the handing over of their weapons before peace talks can properly begin originates in a much earlier process involving Eamon De Valera, Michael Collins, Lloyd George and Winston Churchill in the treaty negotiations of 1921.

Before these talks could begin, it was a precondition laid down by the British that the members of the IRA should come out of hiding and make themselves known. This they did in July of that year.

By this act, they lost any strength of successful resistance they might have made should the treaty negotiations fail to secure a united Ireland. This was, indeed, what happened.

Sinn Fein made it clear two years ago that present difficulties had arisen directly from the problems of the 1921 agreement, although the British Government consistently denies this. It might help towards a better understanding between the two parties if the problems of the 1921 peace talks process were honestly addressed within the framework of the proposed talks.

A degree of trust must be established and such an approach might ultimately prove helpful.

Yours sincerely,

Patricia Moynihan.

Twyford, Hampshire

29 December