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Letter of the day: By highlighting links between the peoples of these islands, Brexit could bring an end sectarian politics

Golden opportunity

BREXIT may owe more by way of reaction - an assertion of English nationalism - to media pandering to the loud voices of Irish separatist nationalism and Scottish separatist nationalism than to nostalgia for past glories, as Brian McClinton (Write Back, January 14) all-too-sweepingly suggests.

The matter, however, is much more complex than that and may, to some extent, lie in the nature of the EU itself and the perceptions it gives rise to.

Put bluntly, some see it as a means of ripping off others, whether through drawing subventions while ignoring responsibilities, or operating as tax havens of a sort, with the UK being a major financial contributor to sustaining it all.

Whether President Macron of France and Chancellor Merkel of Germany can succeed in getting the greater integration they are about to seek - and which the EU, as a union, needs if these defects are to be corrected - remains to be seen.

As for Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, his understandable concern to block Brexit, because of the consequences Brexit has for these Britannic islands, combined with his need to isolate extremist republicans, led him into some wild talk, implying that the Republic was leading the EU in dealing with Brexit.

But the Brexit debate has a positive side which ought to be seized: a recognition of our interrelatedness in these islands, combined with the fact that, on matters of ethics - abortion and same-sex marriage - the DUP is the only party close to the Catholic hierarchy.

Media commentators and parties must seize this: it opens the possibility in Northern Ireland of a process of loosening sectarianism from politics.

WA MILLER

Belfast

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