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We must learn to stand on our own feet

Ed Curran (Comment, May 17) is quite right to castigate our local politicians for not being realistic about the need to drastically reduce the size of Northern Ireland's public sector.

The province has indeed become something similar to one of the former Eastern bloc states.

But what led to this dependency culture - and when did it come about?

It was not always so.

Not so long ago schoolchildren were taught to be proud of Ulster's great manufacturing and industrial base.

We had 'the biggest shipyard' and 'the biggest ropeworks' - not to mention some of the nation's top entrepreneurs and inventors.

However, industrial decline coincided with the onset of the Troubles and successive British Governments, unsure how to deal with the increasing threat of violence, resorted to pouring money in as a means of placating an agitated population.

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This misguided policy led to the enormous growth in the public sector and it worked a treat - at the time.

Now, just like some of the former Eastern bloc populations who all long for the easy comforts of communism, we just cannot face up to life without the grants and handouts, the quangos, the benefits and all the endless consultation.


Carrickfergus, Co Antrim