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Price of peace in Northern Ireland

January 05, 2007

Re "Sinn Fein move could spell N. Irish progress," Dec. 29

Although I enjoyed the article on the progress in Northern Ireland, it was apparent that The Times' tendency to present facts in unusual ways persists to this day.

The Times states that Northern Ireland's republicans "fought for years for independence from Britain and suffered years of arrests and killings at the hands of the police." I hope that none of the still-grieving relatives of police officers in Northern Ireland, regularly murdered with a short-range shot in the dark of the night, explosives strapped to the underside of their cars or by a sniper while on patrol in the streets, read this. I will not dispute that there were atrocities on both sides, but to make a statement such as this is to insult the memory of police officers everywhere who put their lives on the line in the interests of their communities. Had the story included this sentence about officers in New York or Los Angeles, there would be an outcry, and rightly so.

JON PHILLIPS

Torrance

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Re "Less-troubled times," editorial, Jan. 3

The Times' interest and, generally, sentiments are welcome, especially to this Sinn Fein detractor, who lives in Ireland but still votes in Redondo Beach. But Sinn Fein is no longer the Irish Republican Army's "political wing." Very few now are members of the weaponless and virtually moribund IRA. And although most Irish hope that Sinn Fein will join the North's policing board, that would not be "the final piece to the jigsaw puzzle of a new arrangement in which the North's pro-British Protestant majority shares power with the Catholic minority." That would only come if the Democratic Unionist Party's leader, virulent anti-Catholic preacher Ian Paisley, agrees to share government with Sinn Fein.

DAVID IRBY

An Daingean, Ireland

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