Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 23 August 2014

Apology must come from Irish government

I would fully support the recent calls for an apology from the Irish government for the toxic role of the state in the Troubles and their treatment of Protestants during the past century.

This played a central part in shaping attitudes in Northern Ireland: if Protestants had a siege mentality, it was because they were, indeed, under siege from a hostile Catholic population led by the Irish government.

There were a host of overt and covert anti-Protestant stances in the south, including the special position of the Catholic Church, the territorial claim over the north, and the repeated refusal to extradite IRA terrorists.

All of this led to ethnic cleansing, where the Protestant percentage of the Republic declined from 10% in 1916 to under 2% today.

There is now a most welcome sea-change in the attitude of the Irish government to unionists, but a public apology is essential to help heal the sense of hurt still felt by Protestants on the island.

DAVID COLLINS

Belfast

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