The future of unionism

Sir – Regarding the suggestion by Jim O'Callaghan of setting aside cabinet seats in a united Ireland for unionist parties, and the subsequent opinion column by Newton Emerson on the topic ("Jim O'Callaghan's united Ireland plan will be unpopular with FF base and Republic's electorate", Opinion & Analysis, March 24th), we should be wary of the constitutional contortions it would take to absorb the unionist community into a united Ireland, with no guarantee of success.

Ireland has already cast its lot, taking its place as a modern, outward-looking nation within the European Union. In contrast, it is quite clear the UK at present is a country in the throes of perpetual constitutional crisis as those who seek to find a new common identity clash with those who yearn for some nostalgic past and those who would wish for their constituent parts to be independent.

While a united Ireland should be an aspiration for all Irish people, it has to take into account the broad state of relations in these islands, and therefore it is just too early to plan for it now.

Better to let the UK, including its unionist population, consider its future before we even try and engage in this discussion.


In the meantime, let Ireland continue along its path as a settled, successful pluralistic state. – Yours, etc,