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Parties must strive for lasting stability

It is obvious that the aspiration for a united Ireland will never be achieved while Northern Ireland remains disunited internally.

Paradoxically, then, it would be in the best interest of nationalism to promote inter-community unity within Northern Ireland.

On the other hand, it would appear to be in the best interest of unionism to perpetuate disunity.

The logical choice for nationalists is obvious, and nationalists have already conceded in the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement that Northern Ireland will remain within the United Kingdom as long as the majority of the population wishes it to remain so.

Unionists, however, are caught on the horns of a dilemma.

If they extend the hand of friendship and unity to nationalists, they increase the possibility of a united Ireland at some future date.

If they perpetuate disunity by viewing and treating nationalists as untrustworthy, subversive, reptilian aliens, Northern Ireland will remain unstable and unsuited to devolved self-governance by mutual consent.

Consequential direct rule from Westminster would further alienate nationalists, encourage dissident republicanism, exacerbate sectarianism and further destabilise Northern Ireland.

The section of the Northern Ireland population who simply want a stable, peaceful environment, whether the place be labelled British, Irish, or neither, is ignored by the dominant extremist political parties.

It would be in the best interest and common good of the whole population if those political parties and their supporters could put aside their traditional tribal identity labels and aspirations and strive towards a united, peaceful and stable Northern Ireland.

That need not necessarily lead to a united Ireland. Nor need it perpetuate Northern Ireland as a constituent of the United Kingdom. There are other imaginative possibilities.

Brexit-related circumstances might stimulate the imagination.

DENNIS GOLDEN

Strabane, Co Tyrone

Belfast Telegraph

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