Breidge Gadd (‘Many nationalists in NI were happy with the status quo until Brexit,’ November 1) claims that the Good Friday (or Belfast) Agreement gave “nationalists” a comfort zone – now threatened by Brexit.
This comfort zone enabled them to regard themselves as Irish and European while being in the UK.
And to illustrate this she cites two of her family living in London and one in Dublin. Yet whether in the EU or not (her example could be multiplied many, many times over) it illustrates more than anything else the inter-connectedness within and between the islands of the archipelago we inhabit.
Long before the Good Friday Agreement was ever heard of I took it for granted at school that I was of Ireland and, as Ireland was of Europe, I was a European. I was not an African or an Asian nor an American.
I also took it for granted that as I was of an archipelago, an island group, close to the European mainland, commonly referred to as the British Isles – the Britannic islands of the Greek and Roman geographers. I did not have anyone telling me otherwise.
The Good Friday Agreement was welcome in that it was seen as giving recognition to this position against the totalitarian mind-set of 1916 that would have us if Irish to belong to the mystical “volk” as interpreted by them. To be otherwise yet affirming to be Irish was to be a traitor to the “volk”.
Breidge Gadd, however, in arriving at her premises, operates with a further meaning of “Irish”, that sees “Irish” as meaning not of a “volk”, but a citizen of “Ireland” (that is Ireland appropriated by the Republic, an appropriation that Fifa did not allow to its football team).
That seems be the reason why her children feel comfortable in London and Dublin; they can feel at ease in sharing their European citizenship with other Londoners or with the people of Belfast when on a visit.
That may be so or not for them. The Good Friday Agreement does not compel a “citizenship” definition for being Irish.
But that said, she goes on to write of “nationalists” or Sinn Fein (and this is the most interesting part) as though they are now ardent European unionists.
It would be good if they were. However, many find this hard to take in. It seems to be a stance ordered by fiat.
There has been no debate within Sinn Fein on the pros and cons of integration in the European Union that anyone knows anything about.
And the news media does not seem to care.
WA Miller, Belfast