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Interpretation of my comments a surprise

I was surprised to read in the Belfast Telegraph (News, December 31) that I had given an Irish Government official the impression that it was my intention to advise our children to move away from Northern Ireland.

At that time many young people did seek further education in universities in England and Scotland, rather than continue to live in the local environment of sectarianism and violence.

Inadequate provision for university places here exacerbated the problem, much to the benefit of some universities, especially in Scotland. It is a matter of regret that many students, having left, never came back, thereby enriching other places and impoverishing this community.

Having so significantly failed to predict the likely unionist reaction to the Anglo-Irish Agreement in 1985, the Irish Government should be commended for subsequently sending officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs to meet a diversity of people in Northern Ireland to engage in conversations, which covered a wide range of possibilities.


Former Moderator, the Presbyterian Church in Ireland

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph