‘Shared islands’ idea has already failed


A chara, – John Wilson Foster’s suggestion (October 27th) about the Taoiseach’s “shared island unit” initiative is somewhat naive.

Mr Wilson Foster suggests a“shared islands unit” would be more appropriate.

If my memory serves me right there was an arrangement called the United kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland which failed Ireland miserably.

That is why so many people emigrated to Great Britain, America and other parts of the world prior to and during the first decades of Irish independence and why there was such inequality in Northern Ireland.

The Taoiseach’s initiative, I presume, is an attempt to aid economic and social cohesion on our island to prevent our populations North and South from having to submit to the possibility of emigration.

Mr Wilson Foster is also a little disingenuous when he relegates the vexation between nationalists and unionists in the North to the back burner.

He wrongly interprets the current attitude of those of us living in the Republic as being vexatious towards the UK. We have enjoyed a reasonable period of peace and economic harmony during our time in the EU where both juristictions prospered and he should not see our dismay and subsequent defence of the EU as being vexatious.

The EU has done more to enhance the peaceful coexistence of the two parts of Ireland and a divided Ulster than Britain ever achieved.

We in the Republic are quite confident in acknowledging our similarities with the UK, historical and cultural and very happy to celebrate the differences.

As a Belfast-born citizen, educated in England and having lived in the Republic for nearly 50 years (emanating from families nationlist and unionist) I welcome the visiting professor of research’s interest and observations but would invite him to do a little more research. – Is mise,