10 OCTOBER 1981, Page 19

All to gain?

Sir: I must disagree with Mr Chancellor who wrote on .19 September about 'the thankless and disagreeable job' of the Northern Ireland Secretary. It appears that in this period of Western economic depression the one department which does not depend upon this economic situation is that of the Northern Ireland office.

Thus, perhaps the success of this department depends almost entirely on the efforts and ingenuity of its Minister. It is one of the few departments in the Cabinet in which a Minister can certainly improve his standing within Parliament: he has all to gain, and little to lose, as no previous Minister has successfully managed to solve the delicate Irish problem.

It is therefore most depressing to find that such an unadventurous and insipid man has been chosen to fulfil this most demanding of roles.

Laurence Hicks Beech Tree Farmouse, Rushmere, Lowestoft, Suffolk