Northern Ireland’s political impasse


Sir, – Until the politicians in Northern Ireland begin to behave like adults, the British government should turn off the tap that feeds their troughs and go back to direct rule until a cohort of mature and sensible politicians emerges, intent on leading rather than squabbling over tribal issues, with their eyes fixed firmly on the past and with attitudes hopelessly biased by prejudices arising from that past, some of which may be valid but which should not be allowed to constrain the future for Northern Ireland in 2017, with Brexit and so many other challenges in play. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 4.

A chara, – I read that Northern Secretary James Brokenshire and Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan are going to “stall . . . to determine if Sinn Féin might shift its position” (“Sinn Féin withdraws from Stormont negotiations”, March 27th). I assume you understand what negotiations are? Why then are we told that it is only one party to these negotiations that needs to “shift” its position?

I would suggest, in the current circumstances, if one is looking for stubborn intransigence, weighed down with the heavy burden of historical supremacist ideology, one should look no further than the DUP and its current directionless leadership.

Maybe the British and Irish governments and their respective media might consider putting some pressure on in that direction to bring about some real progress, or is that too much to hope for? – Is mise,



Co Leitrim.

Sir, – The failure of the two behemoths, the DUP and Sinn Féin, to get back to the successful governance of Northern Ireland is another reminder, as if we needed it, that it is critical that the parties of the centre get their act together.

Sinn Féin smells blood and is doing its crocodile impression after its recent parliamentary success. It is patently obvious that that party thinks its hour has come and is out to make Northern Ireland ungovernable. It is arrogantly and opportunistically exploiting the thermal of goodwill of Martin McGuinness’s passing, and must be told so.

The demand list is reminiscent of the ruses it used at critical points in the past, manipulating every exigency to its advantage. Sinn Féin is not interested in the discredited “peace process”. Its only interest is in the unification process. The mustering of wannabes trying to demonstrate that they are “sound on the national question” is nothing short of pathetic. Be careful Ireland, you may get what you wish for. – Yours, etc,