Border poll and Northern Ireland

Sir, – Your editorial ("Abrupt U-turn raises suspicion", (August 2nd) accused Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald of a U-turn. As you stated, she first said (correctly) that a Border poll would not be appropriate while "uncertainty" remains over Brexit. She later said that if the UK crashes out of the EU next March that would be an appropriate time to have such a Border poll. Where is the U-turn? Surely crashing out of the EU would remove any lingering "uncertainty" over Brexit, and Northern Ireland's people would be left with the only remaining alternative to succumbing to the general chaos of post-Brexit isolation; that is, to exercise a guaranteed option of rejoining the EU by removal of the Border and Irish reunification. The constitutional means to do that is a Border poll, as provided under the Belfast Agreement. That is a logical sequence. What is the alternative option of The Irish Times editorial board: keep calm and carry on? – Yours, etc,



Sir, – Mary Lou-turn McDonald? – Yours, etc,




Co Dublin.

Sir, – Peter Robinson expressed rational and reasonable arguments in Donegal recently, urging the DUP to develop strategies for northern Ireland’s future regarding Brexit and its consequences on Irish and Northern Irish relations.

Mr Robinson also said that Northern Ireland should prepare for the possibility that it might eventually join with Ireland as one country.

The DUP’s response was predictable and once more exposed the intellectual vacuity of their politics.

Comments by members of the DUP on Mr Robinson’s remarks included “dangerous and demoralising” from Sammy Wilson and that a united Ireland is “not going to happen, so why should I prepare for it?”; and Lord Empey’s view that Mr Robinson is a “Sinn Féin echo chamber”.

The DUP MLAs have been on holiday for 18 months and it is depressingly obvious that they have been giving no thought whatsoever to the political challenges facing our country.

My fear has been for years that unless the DUP moderates its entrenched policies of “No surrender” and “Not an inch” eventually Northern Ireland will be dragged into a united Ireland completely unprepared.

The DUP leader Arlene Foster has said that in the unlikely scenario of a united Ireland she would flee her country and her party. Is that the best we can expect from DUP leadership? – Yours, etc,



Co Down.

Sir, – Surely it is time for Sinn Féin and the DUP to get back to doing what they were elected to do. Some 18 months have passed since the collapse of the Assembly. I think the citizens of Northern Ireland deserve better, especially with all the issues surrounding Brexit. I don’t know of any part of Europe that would tolerate elected representatives not taking their seats after all this time. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 5.