An independent Northern Ireland?


Sir, – While I have the greatest respect for Colm Tóibín, I found his recent article advocating the creation of a new independent Northern Ireland state naive at best and dangerous at worst (News Agenda, March 15th). He introduced us to a hitherto unknown component of the Belfast Agreement which decreed, “that Northern Ireland needed 50 years of pure stability, with the question of constitutional change fully parked so that other more urgent matters could be addressed”.

I’m quite sure many of the non-unionist supporters of the Belfast Agreement were unaware of this component – particularly those who ceased violence in the belief that their political aims could be achieved democratically.

I understand the kneejerk response for much of the Irish intelligentsia is to detest nationalism but to then advocate for the creation of a new nation state is pretty hypocritical. Mr Tóibín’s justification for the creation of an independent Northern Ireland is that it has its own football team. Perhaps Mr Tóibín was unware that other than soccer, almost every other sports star in the North competes for Ireland at a national level.

Some of the recent contributors to The Irish Times should place more faith in the mechanisms of the Belfast Agreement to do their job, namely that the constitutional status of Northern Ireland will not change until such time as the majority of its electorate democratically consents to it.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with the Irish Government or political groups in the South preparing for a change to the constitutional status of the North, in fact it would be reckless not to. – Yours, etc,