A shared island
Sir, – Mary Lou McDonald talks about the need to reach out to “those for whom Irish unity would not be their first option” (News, September 10th).
There was not much “reaching out” to the unionist community at the large Sinn Féin and IRA demonstration that was the Bobby Storey funeral. They haven’t gone away, you know.
She is also dismissive of Seamus Mallon’s view that nationalists and unionists must find some common purpose as a precursor to a united Ireland and seems to believe that somehow, bouncing almost a million unionists into a united Ireland on a “50 per cent plus one” vote will actually work, without protest, without strife and without violence. Given the historic link between arms and politics in the North, going back to Carson in 1913, she should know better.Rather than tub-thumping about a united Ireland without unionist consent, Ms McDonald should concentrate on improving relations with the unionist community.
A visible sign of this would be a reduction in the number of “peace walls” in the North; at the last count there were still about 80 of these structures in Belfast and many of these were erected after the Belfast Agreement.
The day Sinn Féin can stop glorifying IRA murder and terror and still retain its support in the North, together with the day the last peace wall comes down, is when we can seriously start to consider a new relationship with Northern Ireland. – Yours, etc,