There are too many “crape hangers” in Ulster, especially in relation to our economic problems, said Mr Brian Faulkner, Minister of Home Affairs, when he spoke at a meeting of East Down Unionist Association at Dunsfort on Saturday night [August 6].
Mr Faulkner said that self-criticism was good for any community and, when it was constructive, was a positive help to all who shouldered the public responsibility. But criticism for its own sake could be carried too far. It could produce an outlook which easily substantiated criticism for both mental and physical hard work, he said.
“Some of the people who moan about our economic problems do so, of course, for political reasons,” said Mr Faulkner.
“Unionists should be far more active about replying to such people, for Ulster has a success story of which any country would be proud. Quite obviously, it is the envy of our neighbours in the Republic.
“The total trade of Northern Ireland last year was £621,679,000. In the same period the total trade of Eire was £329,123,000. There, in concrete form, is a ready comparison of the health of the two economies.
“The total trade of Northern Ireland works out at about £410 per head of the population, compared with £110 in Eire,” Mr Faulkner went on.
“Is it any wonder that the Dublin Government wants to break into our economy? Is it any wonder that they are anxious for economic co-operation between North and South? Is it any wonder that their politicians are quite prepared to admit that the aim of all economic co-operation is political unity?
“Of course not, because political unity offers Eire the attractive possibility of sharing in our high standard of living.”