There is plenty of evidence that Northern Ireland wants to stay in the UK

A letter from Dr WB Smith:

Monday, 26th July 2021, 5:42 pm
Updated Monday, 26th July 2021, 6:04 pm
An bomb at the Old Bailey in London on March 8 1973, one of a number of IRA attacks to coincide with the referendum in Northern Ireland on staying in the UK

Your correspondent Kevin Kerr from Birmingham (‘UK view is untested,’ July 24, see link below) claims that the people of Northern Ireland have never been asked whether they wish to remain part of the UK.

This is not so. In the border referendum of March 8 1973, 99% (almost 600,000) of voters opted to remain part of the UK rather than joining with the Republic to form a united Ireland.

Knowing they would lose, the SDLP boycotted the vote. There was nevertheless a turnout of 59%.

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Letter to the editor

The Provisional IRA displayed their democratic credentials by planting four car bombs in London on voting day.

In the referendum on the Good Friday Agreement in 1998, 71% (677,000) of voters opted in favour, with a turnout of 81%. So did 94% of voters in the Republic. Mr Kerr will recall that at the core of the agreement is the declaration, agreed between the British and Irish governments, that “Northern Ireland in its entirety remains part of the United Kingdom”.

In the most recent NI Life and Times Survey, that for 2020, 55% of respondents said that Northern Ireland should “remain part of the UK”, a mere 26% that it should “reunify with the rest of Ireland”.

What more evidence would convince Mr Kerr to accept the validity of Peter Robinson’s statement that it is the settled view of the majority of people in Northern Ireland that they wish to remain an integral part of the UK?

Dr WB Smith, Belfast BT15

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