Re Ben Lowry’s article (‘Unionists are very divided but will need to co-operate amid so many huge challenges,’ June 30):
Those whose memories are long enough will remember that after Sean Lemass the prime minister of the Irish Republic secured a Free Trade Agreement with the rest of the Britannic isles, plus a cattle subsidy — but this was not until after he gave de facto recognition to Northern Ireland (opening the way to a later de jure recognition) by visiting Terence O’Neill at Stormont — it was followed by the rampant nationalistic celebrations of the 1916 Commemoration.
The rampancy of that was simply a distraction from what was happening: the abandonment of Irish separatism.
Eamon de Valera’s nationalism was a disaster with heightened emigration to England in particular. It was either a return to the union of the United Kingdom or within Europe.
The Free Trade Agreement of 1965 was a life line to Dublin enabling it to prepare for entry with the rest of the Britannic isles into what was then the Common Market.
Dublin also, it should be added, had something of a lifeline thrown to it by way of a cheap loan from London when it was being hammered by Brussels a few years ago.
Similarly today Leo Varadkar’s “pro nationalist Dublin government” to which Ben Lowry refers is a stance to distract from what is feared – a border down through the Irish Sea.
Brussels, too, does not want that as its preference is for a customs union should the UK go ahead with leaving the EU.
Making loud noises about an “Irish border” is a means to that end.
Yet it is very much a unionist matter on which unionists should be on the offensive, pointing out the unique relation within the EU of the Irish Republic and the rest of the Britannic isles – no border down the Irish Sea (or the North Channel for that matter).
W A Miller, Belfast BT13