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Signatories of open letter need to explain the type of future they are proposing for all of our children

letter of the day: nationalist demands

On Monday an open letter, signed by 200 prominent nationalists and republicans, expressed concerns about the nature of our society.

It didn't set out the type of future they are supporting, but it was focused very narrowly on the demands and aspirations of one part of the community.

Northern Ireland is a beautiful place and its people have great attributes, but we got it wrong when it came to building constructive and inclusive relationships. That is true across these islands more generally.

In 1998 we showed a determination to give ourselves another chance based on a genuinely shared future.

It's a work in progress, but the key is that we all agree to make this place work, whatever our constitutional preferences are.

The open letter used narrow language, conjuring up an exclusive concept of Irishness that does not include one-fifth of the population of this island.

Do the letter's signatories want an Ireland that includes the British/Irish tradition and recognises the mistakes of the past? Do they repudiate the unnecessary campaign of violence waged by the IRA and its loyalist equivalents?

Do they agree that the use of such violence was wrong, unjustified and unjustifiable?

Each of its authors should answer these questions so that we can better judge the type of future they're proposing for ourselves and for our children.

TREVOR RINGLAND

Holywood, Co Down

Belfast Telegraph

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