16 MARCH 1991, Page 25


Unconditional union

Sir: I have seldom read a better critical analysis of the Northern Ireland situation than the article by Noel Malcolm (Politics, 23 February). A copy of it should be presented to every politician, journalist and political observer who sets foot here. The reason Irish immigrants to Great Britain can integrate and live in peace there is that they know that no amount of agitation (or terrorism) will change the status of Liverpool or Kilburn. The conditional Britishness of Northern Ireland, emphasised time after time by Secretaries of State 'as long as the majority wish it', is a constant signal to the IRA and Irish Nationalists in general that Northern Ireland is up for grabs. For too long the people of Northern Ireland have been made to pay for the English colonial guilty conscience about past wrong-doing in Ireland. This has taken the form of concession after conces- sion to the nationalists. Arguably Scotland fared even worse than Ireland under En- glish rule from the savage repression of the Jacobite rebellion to the Highland clear- ances. Odd then that we do not see similar concessions to the Scot Nats, nor hints that Scotland remains British 'as long as. .

Total, honest and unconditional integra- tion of Northern Ireland into the rest of the United Kingdom is the only solution which has not yet been tried. If it were, then the claims of the Irish Nationalists would gradually fade away into a romantic fan- tasy as likely to come to fruition as the dreams of the Basques and the Bretons. J. McCormick 9 Thornhill Crescent, Knock, Belfast