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'Gay cake' saga could only happen in Northern Ireland

I wish to take issue with Suzanne Breen's article (News, October 25). She argues that Catholic shop assistants should not be asked to write on a cake 'Support Orange marches' or a Protestant assistant be asked to support a cake honouring the hunger strikers. Whatever happened to conciliation and equality?

As a bookseller for many years, with Catholic and Protestant staff, I stocked books that promoted both unionist and nationalist politics. We kept a wide-ranging stock that did not necessarily reflect the opinions of the proprietors or staff. We sold books on sexual education that included advice on contraception and abortion. And novels about gay and incestuous love.

As a general bookseller, I would have considered it unethical to refuse to obtain a book for a customer on the grounds of religious, or political, prejudice. And this was all before the Equality Commission was set up.

The question to ask is: why, in the whole of the British Isles, the sad 'cake' saga could only be taking place in Northern Ireland?

DENIS MAYNE

Bangor, Co Down

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