A chara, – I disagree with Michael McDowell on many issues but his insight on the big constitutional issue is spot-on (“The North needs reconciliation not a referendum”, Opinion & Analysis, May 5th).
There are around 100 “peace walls” in Northern Ireland, some resembling Donald Trump’s “beautiful” border wall. They separate communities that live in fear of each other. There can never be a united Ireland until there is first a united Northern Ireland.
Politicians and parties that campaign loudly for or against a Border poll are cynically stirring up fear among loyalists because the continued polarisation of communities strengthens their mutual electoral bases.
The two sovereign governments should develop a two-pronged strategy aimed at fostering the middle ground in NI politics, and a multi-agency campaign to dismantle those “peace walls”.
Neither of these objectives will be easily achieved and will obviously take time, and, given the current preoccupations in Westminster, focusing such attention on Northern Ireland may prove impossible.
Nonetheless, the achievement of both these objectives would be an end in itself.
And, who knows, should there be an implosion of the DUP in the near future, the political landscape may suddenly change. – Yours, etc,