There are three letters of note in the Irish Times this morning which, taken together, go to the heart of the border poll issue.
In the first, Letter Writer 1 from Dublin 5 declares “If a nationalist solution is imposed by whatever means, other than the inclusion of a willing majority of unionists, the result would almost certainly see a return to violence.”
Letter Writer 2 from Cork points out that “It might be helpful if those wishing to talk about a united Ireland would clarify what precisely they mean by the term.”
Letter Writer 3 from Dublin 15 notes that “Irish unity. Is back at the centre of political discussion. A referendum on a united Ireland is a key provision of the Good Friday Agreement….The most important first step is to establish a Citizens’ Assembly to discuss what a united Ireland might look like and how best we can manage a smooth transition”
So there you have it. Letter Writer 1 believes that there must be a willing majority of unionists [my italics] or else some unionists will return to the gun. Sound familiar?
Letter Writer 2 inches cautiously towards what is clearly essential: some detailed notion of what a united Ireland would look like.
Letter Writer 3 points out how we can arrive at a picture of a future united Ireland – by the government establishing a Citizens’ Assembly to examine, plan and construct the shape of a new Ireland.
I suggest that we start with Letter Writer 3’s suggestion and then see if the Dublin government can find the moral courage to set up a Citizens’ Assembly so we stop wasting time assessing Letter Writers 1 and 2. After all, Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael are republican parties. Or have I got that wrong?