Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

'Carnage in Northern Ireland'

September 11, 1988

I agree with the Times' editorial ("Carnage in Northern Ireland," Aug. 29) that Britain will eventually withdraw from Northern Ireland and now is the time for reconciliation between Protestants and Catholics. But, speaking as one of Ulster Protestant background, the problem is that the Anglo-Irish Accord is another part of 20 years of efforts to stabilize British rule, which will only prolong the war. Anyone who does not understand that does not know Irish nationalism.

Britain gerrymandered Ulster in the 1920s to produce the Northern Ireland "statelet" and give the illusion that it was only interested in upholding democracy. The fact is that half the counties forced into the new entity had anti-British majorities and Irish nationalists in the area were killed, driven from their homes, and denied employment to keep the minority from becoming the majority. Whenever the views of the majority interfered with British rule they were overridden, from the 1918 vote for a free and united Ireland to the 1985 imposition of the accord. It is time to let the natural majority of the island have its say or for the government to heed the wishes of most of the 55 million citizens of the United Kingdom, who foot the nearly $3-billion-a-year Northern Ireland subsidy and who want to get out. It is absurd to let 900,000 largely right-wing loyalists have an absolute veto over everyone else, especially since there is no serious threat to the Protestants.

Fears about a post-withdrawal blood bath are unfounded. Once the British troops leave, that will eliminate official and IRA violence. The anticipation of a loyalist backlash assumes that the extremist Rev. Ian Paisley's paranoia about Catholicism has some basis in reality. Protestants in the republic today love their country. The main sticking point is divorce but a majority of even Catholics favor reform--the 1986 referendum on this was defeated because it did not protect the rights of women (and Protestant loyalist leaders admit that a change in the law banning divorce would not diminish their opposition to reunification). It is time that Protestants realized that the north will only prosper when the war ends and that there is no future in continuing to act like colonists. Unfortunately, the accord guarantees that British troops will prop up Protestant intransigence, which is why it has accomplished nothing.

SCOTT SMITH

Thousand Oaks

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|