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Trimble and Hoey seek to assure PM on violence

Good Friday Agreement architect Lord Trimble and Ulster-born pro-Brexit Labour MP Kate Hoey have written to the Prime Minister urging her not to let her Brexit decisions be "dominated by groundless fears about Northern Ireland".

In the letter, released yesterday, the Nobel Peace Prize holder and the Vauxhall MP seek to offer informed counsel on NI affairs to the Prime Minister in "the over-heated context of Brexit".

The parliamentarians dismiss claims that the weight of opinion in Northern Ireland is moving away from membership of the UK, turning for support to the Northern Ireland Life and Times Survey which has been conducted since 1998 by UU and QUB.

The letter stated: "The Latest Life & Times survey showed that support from both communities for Irish unity was around 20%, and only a little above pre-referendum levels.

"Support for Irish unity among self-described Protestants remains minuscule..."

They also argue that there is no evidence that Catholics form a rising share of the Northern Ireland population, and suggest that fears of violence are overstated.

"A few dozen dissidents may always be capable of criminal activity, as the recent Londonderry car-bomb showed, but the security services have managed the dangers with admirable skill and no doubt continue to do so."

The ex-Stormont First Minister and the veteran MP conclude: "We believe the dangers facing Northern Ireland are much smaller than you may have been led to believe.

"You face difficult decisions on the UK's future outside the EU.

"We do not believe that these decisions should not be dominated by groundless fears about Northern Ireland."

Belfast Telegraph