Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Republicans failed to promote a united Ireland

NATIONALISTS and republicans in Northern Ireland who have lived there all their lives, or for decades, are naturalised British citizens for voting purposes with all rights and benefits that other people in the UK are entitled to.

Northern Ireland is very much part of the UK and that is a legal fact. It has been since the Act of Union in the 1800s and the Government Of Ireland Act 1920.

Those who want to believe that British authority in Northern Ireland will eventually go can pretend or delude themselves all they want about it being part of an extra-jurisdictional republic in waiting, but this is simply not the case.

The island of Ireland is divided and there is not the slightest hint that it will ever change.

Republicans, while refusing to accept British rule, still vote and play the British system, because there is no other system for them.

Hypothetically, if the Crown decided to pull out tomorrow morning with the people in Northern Ireland voting to leave the UK, Dublin would not rush in to take over Northern Ireland and would almost certainly ask for a referendum by the people there before they would even dream of it.

Hard-line republicans have failed to persuade the majority of people in Northern Ireland that they would be better off under a republic, and they continue to fail, it would seem.

This is the biggest problem they have – not Orangemen, the PSNI, the NIO, or M15.

Maurice Fitzgerald

Co Cork

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