23 SEPTEMBER 1995, Page 30

Burnside broadside

Sir: The content and innuendo of Kevin Myers's article (What you see is what you get', 16 September) on the 'tribal' charac- teristics of a number of Ulster Unionists, including myself and the newly elected leader of the Ulster Party, David Trimble, implies neo-fascist leanings. Mr Myers needs a history lesson in the fascist connec- tions within Irish politics in this century.

David Trimble and I proudly supported Bill Craig, the leader of Vanguard in the early 1970s (who as a tail gunner in Lan- casters during the last war fought against the evils of fascism), in defence of the con- stitutional position of Northern Ireland within the United Kingdom, which a vacil- lating Heath government had put in jeop- ardy. Why was that defence necessary? Because there were those within the Fianna Fail Republican tradition, including Cabi- net ministers, who in pursuance of the Republic's imperialistic constitutional claim to Northern Ireland helped to form and arm a fascist terrorist organisation — the Provisional IRA. But fascist connections within the Irish Republic are not new. In 1945, after six years of unhelpful neutrality, the Republican government, to its shame, officially signed the book of condolence in the German Embassy in Dublin following the death of Hitler.

When the United Kingdom defended the freedom of British citizens in the Falklands against invasion from a fascist dictatorship, the Dublin government was one of the few voices in the international community to oppose the actions of the British.

It is insulting to David Trimble to be criti- cised for what Mr Myers calls 'coat-trailing through bruised and resentful Catholic areas' when David was doing no more than defend- ing the rights of Orangemen, opposed by Sinn Fein protesters, returning from a church service along a route that they had walked peacefully in Portadown for 188 years.

Unionists have a record of opposing authoritarian dictatorship, which is more than can be said for Dublin's neutrality towards fascism and the aping of fascist tac- tics and methods by Sinn Fein/IRA. Mr Myers should attribute neo-fascist tenden- cies to the Irish Republican tribe, not to Ulster Unionists.

David W.B. Burnside

The Hill, Ballymoney, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland