Sir Jeffrey Donaldson’s reaction to Arlene Foster’s comment, that in the event of a united Ireland she would probably leave the country, deserves serious consideration by all who wish for a united country on this island.
Certainly the Free State was a “cold” place for Irish Unionists who had supported the Union of Great Britain and Ireland.
Their response was to emigrate or withdraw into their social circle of church and school and to maintain their businesses and employees of a similar persuasion.
The Catholic Church dominated Irish society and the government of the Free State. Today the Republic is totally changed. Church and State are separated both legally and effectively. The various scandals within the Catholic Church have taken a heavy toll.
One’s religion, if any, is of no interest to anyone except the persons themselves. Economic Growth rate in 2017, (ref. the European Commission), was 7.3%, mainly from domestic activity and marks the fastest growth rate in the EU.
It represents a rate three times that in the UK. This hardly bodes well for Northern Ireland in the future Brexit.
Sir Jeffrey listed the various failures for equal treatment of unionists in the councils controlled by Sinn Fein as an indication of what could happen in a united country.
Currently Sinn Fein holds 18% in electoral support in the Republic and do not control any council. Such discriminatory behaviour as listed would not be acceptable in modern Ireland.
When Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip made a state visit to the Republic at the invitation of President Mary McAleese in May 2011 the protocol was impeccable and more importantly it was heart warming.
It should be recalled that Her Majesty’s response to the welcome commenced with a few words delivered impeccably in the Irish language.
Peter Griffin, Waterford