UUP councillor: My unionism is not transactional, Mr Adams

Sinn Fein of party president Gerry Adams speaking at a Sinn Fein conference on the constitutional question in Belfast. Photo: Sinn Fein/PA Wire
Sinn Fein of party president Gerry Adams speaking at a Sinn Fein conference on the constitutional question in Belfast. Photo: Sinn Fein/PA Wire

Gerry Adams is missing the point in thinking that any ‘reaching out to unionists’ approach is going to ‘unlock’ unionist opposition to a united Ireland.

When Mr Adams (Adams: we need a new approach to woo unionists to a united Ireland, June 25) says that the economic case for unification ‘will not on its own win some unionists over’ he shows a remarkable lack of understanding of the word ‘some’, never mind of that of unionists.

Letter to the editor

Letter to the editor

If an economic case had substance then surely Adams himself would be a proponent of remaining part of the world’s fifth largest economy in the UK rather than dropping to 39th with Ireland?

Mr Adams’ belated conversion to talk of a ‘shared future’ is something quite different to that of what he told a republican audience in Fermanagh not so long ago, when he stated that they (republicans) needed to ‘break the bastards’.

His change of tone is therefore somewhat welcome. So too is his statement that ‘everyone accepts the right of the other to be Irish or British – to be unionist or nationalist or republican’.

However, had he adopted this approach some 45 years ago a lot of people would still be alive today.

The unfortunate thing for Adams, Sinn Fein and the IRA is that their words neither stack up with their murderous past, nor their determination to strip Northern Ireland of every trace of Britishness.

My unionism is neither a transactional relationship nor a desire to live in some sort of Irish caliphate.

Rather, my unionism is centred on a shared history of our peoples and their desire to build a nation together which went on to impact the globe. The focus on freedom, democracy and liberal values has made us as an example to the world and a destination for people of every nation to learn, live, grow and enjoy.

Those bonds have been forged in war and peace, in austerity and prosperity. We would crawl on our hands and knees to vote to remain in the Union.

Perhaps Mr Adams should remove the scales from his eyes and look differently at the great nation he is so determined to leave. However, I do not anticipate a Damascus conversion. Instead I suspect he is merely playing politics ahead of an election in the Republic of Ireland.

Richard Holmes, Ulster Unionist councillor, Causeway Coast and Glens