The hatred that Northern Ireland Office officials had for the late Rt. Hon. James Molyneaux, so clearly evident in the recently declassified government files, flowed directly from the fact that he understood what the NIO was trying to do and that he frustrated their efforts to create the system of government in Northern Ireland which they desired.
No one should therefore be surprised at the venom they displayed. I would, however, really like to know the identity of the officials who wrote the assessment.
What those officials and their political masters refused to acknowledge, although they could not be ignorant of the fact, was that the IRA and all of their fellow travellers had as their sole objective the dismemberment of the United Kingdom.
Since this was a political and constitutional policy which all unionists rejected, James Molyneaux was correct to oppose what the NIO was attempting.
In that he had the support of the UUP and of party Members of Parliament.
The fact that the efforts made by the NIO to undermine him, and subvert his leadership, failed, is proof of the support he enjoyed for the principles he espoused.
If the government had followed the advice offered by the unionist Leader I believe that things would have improved rapidly.
Successive governments chose instead to try to buy off the IRA and their supporters and in so doing simply encouraged them to continue with their violence.
Why the government of the UK followed that course is as yet unknown – but equally unknown are the understandings already reached and the undertakings given to the supporters of a united republican Ireland solution.
William Ross, Dungiven