Understanding Northern Ireland


Sir, – Fionola Meredith’s bleak portrait of life in Northern Ireland smacks of despair (“Southerners should be careful what they wish for with a border poll”, Opinion & Analysis, March 13th).

Despite its many problems, I still prefer life in the six counties to gangland Dublin, with its health, education and housing problems.

Part of Northern Ireland’s impasse is caused by endless talk of a “numbers game” and border poll predictions. This has driven moderate voters into the trenches. The situation has been aggravated by the UK parliament’s paralysis over Brexit.

Honest dialogue, north and south, leading up to a “people’s vote” might just clear the air. – Yours, etc,



Co Down.

Sir, – Una Mullally asks why so few southerners visit the north (“Southern patriotic grandstanding must stop if we want a united Ireland”, Opinion & Analysis, March 11th).

Maybe we are uncomfortable with neighbours whose “culture” and identity are expressed by intolerance and hostility to nationalists as egregiously displayed in thousands of belligerently themed annual marches, the widespread flaunting of flags and emblems in public spaces giving a céad míle “two fingers” to Irishness, a history of institutional resistance to equality and inclusion, and a reluctance to recognise the synergy benefits of all-island cooperation in many social and business fields.

The Canaries and the Algarve will not be challenged as holiday destinations by Northern Ireland in the near-future. – Yours, etc,




Co Kerry.