LETTERS: Peace for Ireland, progress for Britain

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The Independent Online
Sir: Andrew Marr's article, "Why Europhobes get all the best headlines" (31 January), following Sir Geoffrey Howe's measured words of warning, is both perceptive and timely. The recent shift in presentation by the Cabinet on its approach to European Union is clearly motivated by its desperation for the assured votes of a handful of Tory Euro-sceptics. It is clear from the reaction of the Ulster Unionists to the leaked document that has caused today's furore that this Government can make no further progress towards a lasting settlement in Northern Ireland in the face of centuries of mistrust. The Unionists are not going to budge and, if they won't, the Euro-sceptics must - if this Government is to survive. The way forward in Northern Ireland, as in other areas where mistrust is endemic, is for a higher and impartial authority to address the fundamental issues with a Bill of Rights and effective social legislation. These already exist in two pieces of EU legislation rejected by this Government.

The future for all of us is bleak unless governments are prepared to commit wholeheartedly to Europe. Sectarian myopia isn't only the preserve of the parties in Northern Ireland.

Yours faithfully, David Sellicks Tonbridge, Kent 1 February