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Parties are being held to ransom by extremists

MARGARET Thatcher may have ruled out the repartition of Ireland in the 1980s (DebateNI, January 6), but I wonder would she be so dismissive now after the Haass talks debacle.

What this debacle has revealed is that the unionist community cannot be trusted to arrive at any serious agreement.

Although they managed to make it seem otherwise, Irish republicans are equally troubled by reaching serious agreement where, as in the case of unionists, there is some loss of absolute position.

The loyalists and the republican dissidents are effectively controlling each of their respective negotiating positions and holding them to ransom. Nobody can negotiate with either party under these sorts of conditions.

The repartition of Ireland, with a line stretching from Limavady to Downpatrick, would be a better bet in terms of dealing with these difficulties.

I would see it primarily as allowing a Dublin government to deal with the impossibilities of the northern state in its own way which, because it is a small state, would mean that there could be no coercion involved.

The trouble would then be focused on the reduced north-eastern state, where a holding job would be done by direct rule from the London parliament.

Or is it the case that we must wait until someone else has some clarity of thought, while the situation here teeters into despair?



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