4 MARCH 1949, Page 18


SIR,—You refer in an editorial paragraph to my letter to The Times claiming that Fermanagh, Tyrone and Armagh had voted in a majority against remaining in the United Kingdom. You rightly note that I had (stupidly) forgotten the unopposed constituencies. This is so and invali- dates my argument for Armagh, about which I was quite wrong. For Fermanagh and Tyrone, however, my contention remains valid. These countries were quite arbitrarily included with the other four by British Act of Parliament in 1920. No plebiscite was held before or since, but at every election since then they have, by the only constitutional means within their power, opted out. This question merits an answer ; if it is unjust (as I hold it to be) to want to coerce an unwilling Unionist minority in under the Dublin Government, is it not equally unjust to retain two unwilling counties under the Belfast Government ?

It has never been made quite clear, either, why the four "Unionist" counties insist upon the large measure of Home Rule of which Stormont is the instrument and the symbol. One wonders if Scots or Welsh Nationalists introducing a Bill for a Scots or a Welsh Parliament would gain Northern Irish Unionist support ? So long as Northern Ireland claims the right to be governed as no other part of the United Kingdom is, the suspicion will be permissible that Ulster "loyalists" desire Northern Ireland to be considered as an integral part of the United Kingdom only in so far as this suits the interests of the Unionist