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At least if it was direct rule we could have a party

Like thousands of other Ulster people, I travelled down to Dublin last weekend with my son and some friends.

I was amazed and impressed by Dublin. It had a real cosmopolitan and European feel abut the place.

We, of course, went out at night and the place was buzzing.

No one was thrown out of bars at 1am and, if you exercised your choice (which I didn't), you could go on to a club which went on to the early hours.

Compare this to 21st century Belfast, where the police recently raided clubs at 1am to make sure grown-up people were not served alcohol after this time.

Not too long ago they also raided a poker club in Belfast, as this was apparently against the law. It is stuff that would have happened in 1920s Chicago.

I am old enough to remember the Rev Ian Paisley ranting and raving about the control of the Catholic Church in the Republic.

How ironic it is now that the south's social laws are much more liberal than ours and it is us who are now controlled by a DUP-led evangelical rump at Stormont, which seems to be determined to shape and control our social agenda. We don't all live in the world they live in.

I have always been in favour of devolution, but as time goes on, I hear some of the stuff coming out of Stormont and begin to think of the hazy days of direct rule.

At least the boys at Westminster live in the 21st century.

PETER DORNAN

Bangor, Co Down

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