Letter: ​A successful Northern Ireland is more likely to convince majority of voters to retain the Union

A letter from John Rogers
Jim Allister, Jamie Bryson and Darrin Foster at Moygashel Orange Hall. Photo: Liam McBurney/PA WireJim Allister, Jamie Bryson and Darrin Foster at Moygashel Orange Hall. Photo: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
Jim Allister, Jamie Bryson and Darrin Foster at Moygashel Orange Hall. Photo: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

The last line of a recent politics article (DUP divisions laid bare at Westminster as Stormont set to return, Friday February 2) is very telling.

It states: ‘Jamie Bryson also addressed a meeting that drew around 120 people.’

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120 people, that’s all. That’s how many people showed up to hear Jamie and Jim Allister speak at Moygashel Orange Hall.

Letter to the editorLetter to the editor
Letter to the editor

It’s far from a huge crowd and the paltry turnout should remind us all that hardline loyalists and unionists are in a small minority in Northern Ireland.

These people only ever offer criticism. They never propose any solutions. Their lack of vision only serves to hold Northern Ireland back.

It might surprise some of your readers to know that many of us from the Republic want Northern Ireland to succeed. It is probably less surprising to know that most of us down here wish that Brexit had never happened.

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But what’s done is done and so let all of us on this oft-benighted island try and work together for our common good — peace, prosperity!

A Northern Ireland that remains a constituent part of the United Kingdom, whilst simultaneously having better access to the EU than the rest of the United Kingdom is a Northern Ireland that has a real chance of success.

And a Northern Ireland that succeeds is much more likely to continue to convince the vast majority of voters to retain the Union.

It’s true that I would like to see a united Ireland someday but only in a way that benefits everyone, on both sides of the border.

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A united Ireland that stumbles into being as a result of a dysfunctional Northern Ireland is not what anyone wants.

Better that we all work now on getting Northern Ireland back to its best version of itself. Then we can have a calm conversation about our shared future, be that the retention of the status quo or some form of a new Ireland.

But the only people who can have that conversation are the grownups. So let us tell the small but always loud minority to whist and be quiet and leave this to those of us who have a bit of cop on.

That goes to Allister and Bryson and their ilk. But it also goes to anyone who is currently recklessly harping on about border polls and how a united Ireland is within touching distance. Those people are not helping either.

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I know that your paper is arguing for a candid debate of the latest deal as regards the Windsor Framework. This is important to be sure.

Yet I suggest that unionism needs to also have frank internal conversations about who within your own ranks is opposed to a return to Stormont no matter what.

And you need to accurately identify the size of support these debunkers actually have within the loyalist and unionist community.

One hundred and twenty brave souls at an Orange hall does not a massive movement make. Ordinary, decent unionists neither need nor want the tiny TUV tail wagging the dog.

John Rogers, Galway

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