The future of Northern Ireland


A chara, – Andy Pollak (November 7th) stresses the need for “intermediary steps” in regard to seeking a united Ireland. He states that that is what he and his former colleagues in the Centre for Cross Border Studies have done.

“As somebody from a Northern Protestant background who has lived (mainly) in the South for the past 46 years”, he expresses his astonishment at how little political, media and public discussion there has been about such steps.

He avers that these will be necessary so as “not to stumble into renewed conflict following the kind of crude border poll that is constantly demanded by Sinn Féin”.

As somebody also from a northern background, which is partially Protestant (Unitarian and Presbyterian), and who has lived (exclusively) in the south for the past 47 years, I share his astonishment, but would also point out that, for several years now, Sinn Féin has been calling for a Green Paper on Irish unity which would deal, among other things, with the intermediate steps in question.

Unfortunately, Mr Pollak, in the process of urging the required progress, cannot resist his customary inclination to cast an inaccurate aspersion on Sinn Féin. – Is mise,


Rathmines, Dublin 6.

A chara, – Andy Pollak is right to draw attention to Martin Mansergh’s words of caution (November 5th) against seeking to “bounce” unionists into a united Ireland by way of referendum.

An intermediate approach to reunification could be the re-locating of Seanad Éireann to a Border county with a quota of seats reserved for senators from Northern Ireland.

Any takers? – Is mise,




Sir, – Perhaps it’s a sign of advancing middle age but I find myself increasingly in agreement with the views of Martin Mansergh. – Yours, etc,


Bray, Co Wicklow.

Sir, – I read with interest your letters from Martin Mansergh and Andy Pollak about the centenary of partition. I feel many people from a unionist tradition in Northern Ireland would read with interest detailed proposals from an Irish government about their prospects, rights and responsibilities inside a united Ireland. This is essential before any “crude border poll” can take place.

My grandfather voted for partition because he knew his grandchildren would be better off within the UK. After 100 years marked by conflict and bitterness, it is my responsibility to consider the matter again in the interests of my grandchildren. – Yours, etc,


Bangor, Co Down.