Electoral pacts in Northern Ireland

Air, – Pat Leahy concludes ("Tribal lines of UK election will define history", Opinion & Analysis, November 10th) that electoral pacts to contest the forthcoming Westminster election in Northern Ireland are a step back "towards tribalism rather than forward and away from it". I agree.

It was, however, disappointing that he omitted reference to the cross-community Alliance Party, which resists pacts to give voters choice in all 18 constituencies, several of which are potentially winnable seats for Alliance. Another factor suggesting change for good as a context for the forthcoming election is the surge for Alliance, as evidenced in the success of its leader, Naomi Long, elected to the European Parliament with over 105,000 first-preference votes, and gains of 21 seats in last March’s local council elections.

An increase in cross-community support in a polarised society gives hope of something better to come.

Divisive pacts do not. – Yours, etc,