19 MARCH 1988, Page 24

LETTERS A political right

Sir: I welcome many of Noel Malcolm's comments (Politics, 27 February) about the dangers of a return to devolution in Northern Ireland. The Anglo-Irish Agree- ment suggests the establishment of a de- volved administration as a way-out of the Intergovernmental Conference. In view of the Conservative Government's opposition to devolution in Scotland and Wales, the wording of the agreement is particularly hypocritical.

However, Mr Malcolm failed to mention the most significant difference between the voters in Northern Ireland, and the voters in the rest of the United Kingdom. The citizens of Northern Ireland are denied the most fundamental political right of any citizen in a true democracy — the right to vote for or against the government of the state in which they live. In that respect, Northern Ireland is not as British as Finchley.

A recent opinion poll conducted in the province indicated that the majority of Protestants and Catholics were in favour of the Conservative, Labour and SDP/Liberal parties organising in Northern Ireland, and contesting elections here.

I would agree with Noel Malcolm that Mrs Thatcher's best approach to the consti- tutional problem of Northern Ireland would be to do very little. However it is time that she extended Conservative party organisation to this part of the United Kingdom.

Jeffrey Peel

Campaign for Equal Citizenship for Northern Ireland, 29 Sharry Drive, Lisburn, Co Antrim