30 JUNE 2001, Page 32

From Mr G. Jardin Sir: Leo McKinstry speaks of the

Ulster Protestant world into which he was born and in which he has lived half his life (The triumph of the pygmies', 23 June). He may have been born into it, but his piece offers little subtle insight into a complicated society.

The Sunningdale Agreement of 1974 showed immense flexibility from unionist Ulster about sharing power with Irish nationalists. It was the. sophistry of the Council of Ireland that triggered the successful strike against Sunningdale, not the concept of power-sharing.

Unionist Ulster would even now accept a reworked Sunningdale settlement, with the addition of IRA/Sinn Fein, if the republicans could demonstrate to its satisfaction that they had abandoned armed struggle for good. That is its line in the sand.

The Belfast Agreement might well go the same way as Sunningdale because Blair, Ahern, Adams and Hume have no idea as to where the limits of unionist toleration of political change actually lie.

G. Jardin

London E14