Rockall, Ireland and Scotland


Sir, – Alex Massie’s contribution on Rockall was as disingenuous as one would expect from a staff member of the Tory Spectator magazine (“Scotland stupefied at Irish reaction to Rockall row”, Opinion & Analysis, June 12th). He should note that another London newspaper, the Economist, addressed this very issue some years ago. Its primary view would agree with the Irish position that an uninhabitable piece of rock in the middle of the ocean should not have its own economic zone. At a second level, it examined the four competing claims to the rock under the criteria used in the international law of the seas and concluded, on balance, that Ireland had the most valid claim.

We in Ireland have a right to be astonished that a nationalist government in Edinburgh should believe that a line drawn on a map by some imperial bureaucrat and claimed by force of arms should have any standing in international law. The nearest equivalent in current international affairs is China’s claim to the Spratly Islands and other uninhabitable rocks in the South China Sea based on a couple of marks made on a map by some imperial mandarin.

We can only hope that Scotland and the UK do not propose to assert their absurd and anachronistic claim to Rockall by similar means. – Yours, etc,



Co Donegal.

Sir, – Nothing else for it. Partition and a hard border.Works every time. – Yours, etc,



Co Dublin.